The rat is a very intelligent animal. It is able not only to execute the simplest commands, but also to participate in experiments, overcoming mazes and solving rather complicated tasks. To teach your pet such tricks, you need to understand how to train a rat, what techniques you need to use for this, and what maximum you can achieve.
Training of any animal is recommended to begin with the simplest. Accustoming to a name, the ability to come into the cage by knocking, the habit of climbing on the shoulder at the command - these are the basic knowledge that a rodent must possess before more complex actions are required of it. It is curious that a white domestic rat learns slower than an animal with a different coat color. However, this does not mean that it does not make sense to waste energy - you just have to show maximum patience and spend a little more time.
Before you train a rat, you need to pay attention to the degree of satiety - it should not be hungry. But feed before the "lesson" is not worth it. Well, if she received food 12 hours ago. One of the simplest exercises is the hind legs stand. With all the simplicity of training and execution, the trick looks quite impressive. In order for the white domestic rat to stand on its hind legs, you need to give it a sniff of a treat and slowly raise it from her face. The animal, reaching for the aroma, will be forced to climb the back of the body. After the animal has taken the desired position, you can give the treat.
Understanding how to train a rat at home, it is easy to teach her to jump from one object to another, perhaps even through a hoop. For example, you decide that she will ride on stools. First, let the animal explore the area where the training will take place. After that, the objects are slightly moved away from each other. An animal located on one of them, with the help of goodies, is forced to switch to another. There it gets a "yummy". Such actions will have to be done many times until the stools are at a sufficient distance. It is very important to fix each correct action. You cannot scold a pet, otherwise it will cease to trust you. Using a treat, you can teach a rodent many interesting actions.
Before you train a rat, you need to understand at least a little of its psychology. For example, these animals hardly distinguish the sounds of human speech. Therefore, it is very difficult to train specifically for the teams of this pet. The animal is confused in the words you pronounce. Instead, it makes more sense to use sounds. For example, you can use a clicker. Training with this device is based on the positive reinforcement of the correct actions of the pet. The application of this technique allows the animal to concentrate on the task for a long time.
It is difficult for rodents to understand speech. Therefore, the clicker is ideal for those who do not yet know how to train a rat. The sound emitted by the device is quite clear. The pet will quickly figure out what it means to reward. During classes, it is better not to talk to the animal at all, so as not to distract or confuse him. Clicking with a clicker is necessary as praise, while the lack of results is simply ignored. You cannot scold or punish rats.
Training tips are useful even for those who already know how to train a rat. For beginners, this is very important information, without which all of their activities may turn out to be meaningless:
- The lesson should not take much time. 15-25 minutes is the maximum during which the rat is able to concentrate.
- Do not skimp on affection and praise - this will allow the animal to feel more confident.
- So that the rat is not afraid of the voice, you should talk with it a lot and often - but not during the lesson.
- If there are several animals, each should be given the same amount of time.
- Training is best combined with games, then the animal will be less tired.
- Training without dainty will be ineffective. As praise, you can use chopped nuts, pieces of vegetables, fruits or meat products. The pieces should be very small so that the animal does not eat up, but understands that this is an encouragement.
When training, it is important to observe the principle of "from simple to complex." Only this approach will give the desired result.
Why are rats easy to train?
From nature, they laid the desire for the development and creation of logical chains that lead to the achieved goal. Without this, they would simply not be able to survive. We just learned to understand them and direct unrestrained energy in the right direction.
I would also like to note that they constantly communicate with each other, transmit information about the location of goodies in the apartment, how to get to them and what needs to be done to get the desired prize.
Once we trained two rats. They needed to play with the ball or take it in its paws and raise it. For this they received a tasty treat. We conducted trainings for a couple of days for 5-15 minutes with only two, when at that time the rest of the pack was wandering out of range. But at one of these moments, a third friend suddenly runs up, who did not participate in the training, but watched all of this, pushed the ball and waiting for the tasty treat. It would seem, how does she know what to do? Now the three of them are trying to grab the ball from each other to get the coveted candy.
Rats respond well to voice commands, but they should be short, clear and in an ode to intonation. They know their nicknames. If, for example, you are looking for them in a room, you can simply call one of the flocks by name, or you can call everyone to a sound in a voice that resembles the flick of a fountain pen. You can also call a typical feline kitty kitty.
Rat Clicker Training
When the girl and I started rat-breeding, we watched with delight various videos where rats run, wear balls, throw them into a ring, run through tunnels and perform other interesting tricks. But we had no idea how this is done.
At first, we simply suggested that the rat take some action and gave a tasty treat in return. Then, after talking with other rat lovers, we learned that you can train with a clicker. Pipelines showed how he looks, clearly demonstrated and told the basic principles of working with him. The next day, I ran to the pet store for a miracle device. Instead of a clicker, you can use the click on the automatic handle, the lid of the baby food can, a click on the tongue, etc. But there is one caveat, the click should not be too loud: it often scares the animals, which slows down the learning process.
On the first day, we practiced with one rat for 5 minutes, on the other, for about 30 minutes. On the next day, there was no difference between the execution: they performed the same thing that we trained with them. That is, a rat does not have to repeat the same thing hundreds of times. A couple of minutes is enough - and they already understand what is required of them. All that remains is to perfect and complicate the action that the rat must perform in order to earn praise. They grasp everything instantly.
For some commands, such as a call to the nickname, a request to jump into your arms or not touch anything, they don’t even have to give a yummy, just grab your hands by the ear, pat, warm in your hands. This is also praise for them, because they simply adore the attention and love from the owner. If at all there is no encouragement at all, the rats, of course, are not much offended, but the "sediment" remains. Yes, and how can you want something from the animal, but at the same time give nothing in return? This is too cruel.
What does rat training begin with?
With the understanding that the rat is not trained at all in the generally accepted concept of "training".
What is the difference? - Training (simplified) is the development and consolidation of the animal’s skills necessary for the animals to perform a task. “The principle of carrot and stick” is necessarily included in the training; in relation to the rat, only the method of motivation is possible - stimulating the animal to perform certain, well-known to him, natural actions for a piece of goodies - reinforcement.
Such a method will be closer not to training, but to various methods of TEACHING a domestic animal to perform actions characteristic of it by its rat nature, receiving in return a treat and by mutual agreement of the parties.
Having understood this, you can move on.
The perception of sounds in a rat is very different from the human, many rat rats “hear” sounds differently than a human would have heard.
The rattling ears have the sweetest clatter and hissing sounds, without long vowels. For example, the name Abraham is unlikely to please her brain, but Sonya, Klaus, Anfisa, Charlik or Swell may well come up.
If the combination of sounds is unpleasant for decorative rats, then they will simply ignore them. Perhaps, due to this misunderstanding with a poorly chosen name, many believe that rats cannot be taught to respond to their own nickname.
It’s easy to accustom a rat to a name if the nickname of the beast is clear, and each approach to a certain set of sounds is accompanied by a “pretty” treat.
Call this name when:
- put food
- pick up
- give something tasty
- scratch the back and cheeks (favorite places of rats).
A rat with its sensitive hearing quickly remembers the combination of sounds of its name, and if you called it Pusey today and tomorrow Baby, the small rat brain will be confused.
Nickname should be one! And it should be spoken only with pleasant associations!
If something goes wrong with the name, take the habit of tapping or snapping your fingers, clicking on your tongue, or whistling softly. Krysk will quickly get used to such an unusual (for you) nickname and will respond to it.
Receive a “vote of confidence”
Teaching the animal to the hands is the first stage from which the upbringing of the rat and further training begin.
The second step will be the ability to leave the cage when the rat itself wants it. The second stage is difficult to carry out without:
- tame hands
- accustoming to the name.
When the glorious beast learns how to easily run up to you at the call and return to the cage on your own, without coercion, you can begin to teach him to perform a number of simple tricks.
The cover must be absolutely manual!
Where to begin?
From observation. Observe the pet and you will see that the rat naturally performs a number of different actions - natural habits that an inattentive person may well attribute to circus tricks obtained as a result of directed training:
- easily stands on its hind legs and can even go over them,
- runs on a vertical surface or on a rope up and down with his head,
- with pleasure "cuts" circles,
- wears small objects in his teeth,
- easily jumps from one fulcrum to another over an open distance,
- manages to squeeze through any narrow subject,
- demonstrates the wonders of acrobatics and even vaulting, sitting on your shoulder or head.
And this is far from an incomplete list of rat skill! It remains to consolidate these skills so that your beast can perform these tricks at your request. To do this, you need to train the rat.
Teams need time and patience to teach rats. On average, the animal remembers your requirements (always reinforced by delicacy and scratching!) For the 20th-200th time.
This does not mean that repeating the task 200 times, the rat will perform it like a clock!
Perhaps she generally refuses to perform some tricks, or maybe she will have 5-7 repetitions to remember your requirements.
The neural connections in the rat brain and central nervous system, which are responsible for the formation of memory and conditioned reflexes, are very different from similar connections in the brain of humans and other animals.
A trained rat is not a trained dog or a well-trained man at all - remember this, and be sure to consider the individual characteristics of your pet!
A little tip for beginners:
- It will be easier to teach one young animal (cub) than a couple of the same age at the same time.
- A rat is an animal no less flocking than a human being and does not tolerate loneliness and enclosed spaces. The wheel for running does not solve the problem in the required amount of movement.
- Needing live contact, the young rat will make contact easier and faster, choosing as his friend the one who is patient and affectionate - that is, you.
- And no loud shouts with threatening intonation! - Only an affectionate voice and patient expectation when the animal "understands" that a repeat of the action is followed by a piece of goodies, and then he will do the trick, asking for a yummy.
Successful training depends not only on your patience, and the level of ability of a pet pet.
Raise a rat, adhering to the basic rules:
- In order for the rat to be interested in classes, it should not be completely full or, conversely, very hungry.
- The place intended for training should be familiar to the animal.
You can’t conduct classes in the cage!
- Before starting, let the animal familiarize himself with the props (sniff, gnaw, ride).
- When preparing a treat, keep in mind that the pieces should be “for one bite”, so that the rat does not have the temptation to take the treat away and thereby leave the “training ground”.
- Cheese is not the best option for promotion, some of its types are generally contraindicated in rodents.
- The ideal time for lessons is in the afternoon. Time - 30 minutes (3-4 session-approaches).
Never force an animal to do the trick with the help of physical impact (push it into a pipe, transfer from stool to stool, cling to a rope, etc.).
- During classes, do not touch the rat with your hands (the exception is praise-scratching) and even more so, do not inflict pain as a punishment for lack of interest.
- Complicating tricks and adding new ones is possible only with the full development of the previous one.
- Daily training begins with a repetition of the passed.
- The rat receives treats exclusively during classes and for proper performance.
- The habit of getting a tidbit will just negate all the rules of training.
- When training, use sound signals (click, whistle or approving "Yes!").
Important! The signal is given exactly at the moment when the animal performs an action, and not when everything is already done or not done at all. A treat, unlike a signal, is given at the end of an action.
Is it possible to teach a rat to bring objects or to choose one of many others?
Rats do an excellent job of all tasks - they themselves like spending time with the owner and completing various tasks. All tricks are easy for them, thanks to their natural dexterity and quick wits. White animals cope with tasks slightly worse than color ones due to weaker vision, but they can also teach to bring a ball or some other object.
To do this, you need:
- a small ball in which a delicious bait is placed,
- the sound signal that the rat has learned well,
- an encouraging treat, which must be the same as the bait.
The bait should be out of reach for the animal, but the ball itself should be easily moved by the rat with the help of paws.
When the ball is of interest to the animal, select it and immediately give it a treat.
Complicate the task. Now the rat can get a treat only by rolling the ball (at least pushing it) in your direction. Do not forget to give the signal in time and immediately encourage a treat.
As soon as the animal realizes that to get a treat you need to roll the ball towards you, slowly increase the distance between yourself and the ball.
Attention! The distance should not increase very gradually, literally by 10-15 cm!
When the rat will roll the ball towards you without problems, you can surprise those present with a “sample of the item”.
To do this, mix a lot of balls, in one of which a piece of goodies will be placed, and invite the animal to find the “hidden one”. The rat will easily perform the usual trick.
When the main tutorial stages (tutorial explanation, step-by-step instruction on the educational process) are completed, it is important not to forget that it is impossible to stop the taste promotion.
They can be reduced, but not completely excluded!
Rats have very developed food reactions and, if the taste stimulation stops, the animals will be reluctant to engage, they may even stop listening at all - you will lose their confidence.