Will she ever tame?

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Will she ever tame?

Post by GillianK on Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:51 am

I bought Dorothy when she was aged 7-months-old, and when I got her she was extremely skittish, terrified of people, or of even being touched. It took the previous owner about 5 minutes to catch her so that I could take her home. I thought this odd, but I was sure that it was just because she clearly hadn't been handled by previous owner (who also bred her) It only took me a matter of days to tame Blanche and Stella (who I bought at 8-weeks--old) and I thought I'd manage to tame Dorothy.

I've tried everything, carried her about in a rat bag, I've tried loads of patience, I've tried forced contact, shes seen how close Blanche is with me and how Blanche isn't scared, I've hand fed her lots of treats so she associates me with good things and shes had daily handling and long periods of daily free range near me for the 2 and a half months I've had her, and although we've made progress its been sooo slow. She will sniff my hand if I put it to her in the cage but still tries to run away. She will sit on my shoulder but is scared stiff, and when I place her on the sofa or bed whilst I'm surfing internet or watching TV, although she'll come up to me (to get treats, which she'll take from my hand) she backs off or runs away if I try to pet her. That said if my hubby comes near she runs to me and tried to hide from him under my jumper or something (whilst Blanche runs up to hubby to say hello!)

Is it because of her age when I got her? Is it impossible to tame an older rat who had been practically wild before?

That said, I like Dorothy. She was bought to keep Blanche company, and she does this very well. Dorothy is very cute and sweet, and I feel sorry for her because its not her fault she had a bad start in life with her previous owner neglecting to handle her. Just wouldn't have minded another friendly rat like what I have with Blanche.
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Re: Will she ever tame?

Post by Zoundz on Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:16 pm

I would say what you're doing is fine, but to be honest some rats, especially with this sort of start in life, never get to liking being handled, and it's often kinder to sort of let them be. Let them enjoy rat company - if they don't like human company. With a lot of patience and doing what you're doing, you should bring her round eventually though.

xx

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Re: Will she ever tame?

Post by smokierat on Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:14 am

I agree with Laura..she obviously does trust you,and is getting used to you,maybe she's just not a 'people' rat and from her point of view,as long as she's having a happy,fulfilled life and it sounds like she is Smile they have such individual personalities,she shouldn't be too scared or stressed if you keep up the hand feeling etc.she's lucky to have someone who cares enough to make an a effort Smile

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Re: Will she ever tame?

Post by redrach on Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:11 am

I'd agree with the above.
I'd continue with treats and the gently-gently approach, but would give up on the forced contact now.
I've a skitty rescue who was 4 weeks when we got her, even at that young age lack of handling had a big effect on her. We've had her 5 months now and she still hates being held and only comes near me on her terms.
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Re: Will she ever tame?

Post by Mel on Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:18 am

Like others have said it could be that she's comfortable around you but that's just her personality. A rat that takes treats off you while out of the cage can't be too scared of you Grin

Luna, one of my girls from Bongo Fury who had been handled from she was teeny and gets so much human attention is never that keen to be lifted up, she much prefers doing things herself and choosing when to come to me. Ruby, her sister, is the complete opposite and will run to my hands, climb up my arms and ask to be lifted out of the cage all the time. They have had the same treatment but just different personalities!

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Re: Will she ever tame?

Post by GillianK on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:18 am

Thanks everyone for responses. Yeah I'll keep doing what I'm doing, and think you're right I'll cut down on forced contact and just accept her as she is. Whilst she is always going to be a little skittish, she's a great little rat and a brilliant companion for Blanche.

I remember that Blanche and her sister Stella would have had a little argument now and then. I'd see them both up on hind legs at each other the odd time. Nothing serious resulted, and ultimately they were best friends. But apart from establishing pecking order in Dorothy's first week I have never seen Blanche and Dorothy fight. Shes done exactly what I bought her for, she adores Blanche and happily allows her to be the dominant rat and as I said she's very sweet. I just need to accept that she'll always be that bit skittish with me.
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