Rats learn quickly. Using positive reinforcements such as treats and praise will ensure that your pet rat is eager to learn. The mental stimulation that training provides will enhance the rat’s natural intelligence.
Rats require lots of exercise and stimulation and will love to explore so housing them in a large cage is important.
When teaching your rat a trick, for instance coming to his name, repeat the word while holding a treat. When he comes to you release the treat to him, praise him verbally, and/or reward by giving physical contact such as scratching or by holding him. One of the most useful things you can train your rat to do is to use a litter box.
Things to remember when training your rat is that the rats own personality may determine what tricks it will be best at. Active females often do better at tricks that require agility and speed. Some rats are smarter than others are. Gearing the training to the rat’s activity level and intelligence will save both you and your rat from becoming frustrated.
Be sure that there are not a lot of distractions during training time. Keeping the training area consistent will help to keep the rat’s natural instinct to explore new things at bay. Do not try to train male rats where female rats have recently been, or vice versa. The scent will distract them and the training session will be useless.
Keep your training session’s short- between 10 and 15 minutes. Never punish your rat if it doesn’t perform.
Rats tails are used for temperature regulation and communication as well as balance.
A pack of rats is called a 'mischief'.
Litter box training rats is fairly simple, and really depends on the individual rats whether they’ll pick it up or not. Females tend to pick it up better than males, and the younger the rats the better. It’s important to know that rats probably won’t use the box 100% of the time, and they will still urinate around the cage (they are marking their territory).
Step 1: The box
Hi-corner litter pans that can attach to the cage are generally best since the rats cannot move the box around.
Step 2: Location, Location, Location
Deciding where to put the litter pan is very important. It should go on the bottom level of the cage, away from the food, water, and shelter box and preferably in one of the corners away from the door. If you are starting with an existing group of rats and cage, put the box in the corner that the rats are tending to toilet at the most.
Step 3: What litter to use in the box
This is perhaps the most important step, and it will make or break the litter box training. A different litter must be used in the litter box than is used in the rest of the cage. The rats need to be able to differentiate the toilet area from the rest of the cage.
Step 4: Make the litter box dirty
When filling the litter box for the first time, fill it with the dirty bedding/litter from the cage. Clean the rest of the cage, and put the new, different bedding in the rest of the cage. By doing this your rats will start to realise that the litter tray is the area to go to the toilet.
Step 5: If they don’t get it yet
If they still can’t find the toilet area place and continue to go to the toilet all over the cage, place all the droppings that are outside the litter box into the litter box, and keep the rest of the cage super clean..
Step 6: Maintaining
So now the rats are using the toilet area fairly reliably. They still need help finding the potty. At least for the first few cage cleanings, only change about half of the litter in the litter box, or put a layer of dirty litter on top of the clean litter. Also continue to place any rogue litter droppings in the litter box. Over time they should continue to use the box more and more.
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