Can I Train My Pet Rat

If you're asking, "Can I train my pet rat," the answer is yes. Pet rats can be trained, just as pet mice can. Training your pet rat is a little different than training a dog, since the animal works for a reward rather than affection.

Taming Your Rat
Training is easiest if you start with a baby pet rat. Your first goal is to tame your pet rat, if it is not tamed already. This will get the rat used to being handled.

To pick up a pet rat, lift it by the middle of the tail and place it in the palm of your hand. Initially, the rat will try to escape. Be patient and keep holding it for short periods of time. Once the rat wants to stay around you and comes to the edge of its cage looking for you, it is tame.

Rat Training
Once your pet rat is tame, start teaching it something simple, such as allowing the rat to find food in your pocket. This will get him used to doing things for a reward. Once your rat knows it will get food, you can add additional tricks.

Rats learn by repetition. You will need to repeat the trick numerous times with food. Eventually you can start working without food.

To train the pet rat to sit up, move your finger in an upward motion, then hold a bit of food just above the rat's nose. As the rat lifts up, move the food up until the rat is in a sitting position. Give the tidbit to the rat.

After a while, the rat will learn to expect food when you make your hand gesture. Now you can start getting it used to doing the trick without food. Every other time you do the trick, do it without food in your hand.

If the rat continues to show that it understands what you expect, reduce the reward to every fourth time it does the trick. Eventually, the rat will do the trick whenever it sees you make the motion with your finger.

You an also teach a pet rat to run a maze. Simply place the food at the end of the maze. See how well the rat naviagates the maze. If your rat seems confused or unable to find the food in a reasonable amount of time, move the food closer to the rat. As it gets used to working in the maze and sniffing out the food, you can move the food closer to the end of the maze.

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