The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

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The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Francois on Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:09 am

Intros can be difficult, but it easier to know what to excpect. I hope that by sharing my experioance with Doodles, Sunshine and Jack may be helpfull to others.

Background:

Jack: big fluffy Alpha, 12 months old was left on his own when his brother passed away. The big guy was devestated over the loss Cry

Doodles and Sunshine: two brothers rescued from the DSPCA, about 10weeks old and very friendly natured.

The first encountered wasn't a good one. It was between Jack and Doodles while I had Doodles on my lap and Jack freeranginging. Jack pounced poor noodles and gave him an agressive bite on his haunch. Retrospecively it was a stupid idea to intro Doodles straight in Jacks territory. So we decided to slow things down.

For the following week we had Doodles and Sunshine in a seperate room, let them settle in and cuddel them and let them crawl into my our sweaters. Then wearingthe same sweaters, we played with Jack. Jack was very interested in the scent...
We figured it was the best way to get Jack accustomed to the boys sent that way, and as we found out, scent is everything in introductions!

We also let Jack explore the boys cage (we took them out). Jack didn't seem very happy with that, so we decided not to force him on it.

They beginning of this week, we moved the boys cage into the room with Jack (well out of reach) When ever Jack was in, we would take Doodles and Sunshine out. If Jack spotted them, he would make a dispay in charging the cage, but that subsided after a while to keen interest.

So after a few days we bathed Jack and our boys (seperately) and get them into the bath together after being rubbed with vanilla essence.

How did that go? Just one little spat between Jack and Doodles (poor Doodles always seem to be put in the frontline) but after a few minutes they all settled down:



Doodles and Sunshine and to the righ is Jack.

Jack didn't seem to be interested in them and Sunshine went over for some interaction:




They seems happy enough to share some cuddles as well:




With all that going fine we decided to repeat the intro 2 days later, with one difference:

We didn't bathe them and only put on the vanilla essence.

This was a complete difference, as Jack charged them straight away. Obviously the vanilla scent did not mask enough. But seeing it was permissable alpha behavior and Jack stopped as soon Doodles and Sunshine submitted, we decided to let them in a good while untill they settled down. Doodles and Sunshine were visibly in shock and would move (lots of fear pooping)

We let them settle a bit more, got Jack's favourite toy (a feather wand) and let them play a bit.

Beforehand I had cleaned out Jack's cage and washed everything down and removed all old toys. and we put them in the cage together (which is a 3 level cage)

We got some repeated dominance behaviour from Jack and while Doodles seemed to be again the first one to suffer, Doodles submitted quickly and was left alone. Sunshine was hiding in teh narrow space beween the wooden hut and the wire and Jaqck was frantically trying to get to him, but couldn't.

I get the feeling if Sunshine would just have had it gotten over with and submitted, it wouldn't have been so bad for him. He was bunkered up in that space for hours.


After that they all seem to settle down and besides a few minor spats between Doodles and Jack. It was OK. although whenever Sunshine came out of hiding, Jack would come charging.

(All of the time I could hear Sunshine wailing on the 25khz band, the poor guy was terrified)

Funny at one point, the 2 boys seemed to realise that inside the hut they had one up to Jack. Jack would poke his head through the window where Doodles was and Doodles would then pop out the door and paw Jack like a tag game. and then swith back to the window when Jack was coming for the door. Since the windows were too small for Jack to go through, Doodles would exit through the window as an escape route.

The evening ended where Jack seemed to be happy with the boys having the hut. He layed down infront of it and allowed Doodles to sniff him over. At one point there was play fighting between Doodles and Jack (Jack even ended up on his back) At this stage there was a lot of "giggling" going on on the 55khz band. Smile

Although it was hard to deterrmin who was giggling, Jack seemed happy enopugh, bruxing and boggling away while Doodles made his playfull charges. At some point Sunshine apeared and when Jack was looking to pounce him, Doodles would jump on him. It does look like these 2 little brothers and tighly knit.

This morning Jack seemed fine with the boys being on the lower level. He does make a lunge at them when they go to the middle level (which send them scampering to the hut) but is content to leave them at the hut.

It will be an ongoing process, but I do think Jack is enjoying their company. Smile

I just made sure that the boys have acces to water and food on the ground level as the food is usually on top level and the water on mid level.

Francois
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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Zoundz on Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:08 am

Really interesting read! Grin Wonderful to know about the different noises too!

xx

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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Francois on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:43 pm

Day 2 of Doodles, Sunshine and Jack in the cage.

I'm started to get a bit worried about Jacks behaviour. Jack continues to charge Doodles and Sunshine if they leave the hut. Sad
While we had Jack out for cuddles, Doodles did some exploring and got up to the third level and checked out jacks hammock and rag heap. When we put Jack back in (and Doodles was back in the hut) Jack was very displaeased to find Doodles' scent on the third level and then raced down to the lower level into the hut to pounce Doodles. Poor Doodles was terrified Sad

While Jack seemes fine to have the 2 lads in the hut (which they are too afraid to leave) any venture outside the hut is immediately punished by Jack.

While I have food and water accesable form the hut, it can't be a happy experiance for those 2 young rats.
We take them out for little runs on the couch for them to have some fun time, and we discovered that we can't bring out Jack at the same time or he will charge them with even more ferocity then in the cage. Sad

Not sure if this is normal behaviour for 2 days into the intro, but it does seem that Jack is overly territorial and stands in the way of the 3 of them becoming friends.

Any advise anyone can give? Is this "normal" and will this settle down in a few more days/weeks or do I have to think of alternate solutions?

In retrospect, Jack used to chase Ted back into the cage when freeranging. At least Ted was similar in size and was able to knock some sense in Jack at times.

I do hope the get along, because Jack is, with us humans, such a kind lad and the 2 new boys are just sweet little souls.

If this goes on it would be very unfair towards Doodles and Sunshine to have to live in terror in the confines of the hut. Sad


Last edited by Francois on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Those damn keyboard pixies!)

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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Zoundz on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:20 am

Hmm - it's still early days, give it a few more days and it might settle. I have to say, personally, for the first week frequently when I intro bucks I give them no cage furniture at all. They can't hide from each other, and sometimes there are injuries, but I find they settle their differences much quicker in the long run, and there's less chance of them being 'boxed in' and hurting each other through panic.

xx

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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Francois on Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:46 pm

Things have taken to the worse Sad

Last night we were hopefull seeing Sunshine finally venturing outside the hut to say hello to Jack. They sat next to each other and both seemed content. Then suddenly Jack lunged out violently to Sunshine, hissing, puffed up and teeth baring and poor Sunshine wedged himself behind the hut. Jack them charged into the hut and starting attacking Doodles relentlessly to the point where I had to intervene as bites were delivered while Doodles was pinned down submitting. Jack wouldn't stop... Sad

Now I know that fight can appear worse then they are and that Jack has everyright to lay down the rules as alpha, but it came to the judgement call where I said "enough". (and the gut feeling I got on it)

I had taken Doodles and Sunshine out of the cage, back into the quarantaine cage. I found that both of them had quite a few wounds (scabbing over) and that their behaviour had turned from being playfull ratties to being in a constant state of catatonic fear.

Putting one and one together (having Jack's behaviour previously with Ted in retrospect) I think Jacks just can't help himself. One moment he seems happy with the 2 boys in the cage and the next, its like a switch has flicked in his little brain. ( as I had seen him do in the past with Ted as well. He seems even worse when freeranging)

This morning the 2 boys were happily playing in their own cage, and greeting me as I came into the room. (which they didn't during the time they were in with Jack, they were too afraid to move) and they looked bright eyed again

Jack's behaviour seems weird enough, seems to be looking for the boys and coming up to me in that rattie way where you feel he is looking for your "special powers" to fix something.

Its sad realy, we don't want Jack to be on his own and I think he doesn't want to be alone either, but with his overly territorial behaviour, he puts those 2 little boys through hell (or even do worse). I would have figured that (after reading up on it) that introducing 2 young rats would make it easier. I have seen adult rats putting intro'd youngsters in their place, but never as violently as Jack does.

Its back to the drawing board for now. While it seems that I only given 3 days to settle in and it may have been short, I'm not comfortable in putting them together again at this stage as the violence just seems to escalate.

Sure I want Jack to be happy, but not at the expensive of Doodles and Sunshine to function as punching/biting bags.

I kinda feel sad over the situation, because Jack is a kind personality (considdering the cuddling abuse he will tolerate from us), but he goes haywire at random when dealing with the 2 youngsters. Sad






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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Zoundz on Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:40 pm

Sad hmm... I think still perhaps moving a bit fast for them all. I do recommend trying it without cage furniture though, it does make a difference I've found. You see, while they could escape and hide from him, they couldn't sort out their differences with each other - so he was probably getting more and more frustrated!

xx

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Re: The introduction of Doodles and Sunshine to Jack

Post by Francois on Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:59 pm

Thanks Zoundz, I will take your advise in council Smile

For now I will be given the 2 young boys a break and let them be happy little ratties, but there is definitly some logic in your advise. Perhaps trying to let them settle in a smaller cage? 3 levels does give them lots of running away room and perhaps blocking off 1 or 2 levels untill the get along?

I had noticed that Jack would just stay on his toplevel in his hammock and would only come down to ground level to give the boys a beating.

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