Rats are great pets for training. They respond well to positive reinforcement, much like dogs, and can be trained to do a large variety of tricks. The main part of this training is rewarding behaviour that you want to encourage with both food and/or verbal praise. Training has the added benefit of socialising your rat and building a bond with you.
When it comes to teaching the rat their name for example, hold out some food and call its name. Repeat as many times as you need to until the rat as associated the reward with its name, and will now be more responsive to you. This also works for other types of training, you encourage the rat to perform the behaviour that you want and then reward it. This type of training is all about consistency, repetition and patience.
The first two “tricks” that I found helpful for my rat were the “come here” command, and litterbox training. This way I know that he will run back to me when I let him out of his cage and the litter training helps to keep the rat cage clean and makes it easier to maintain a high level of cleanliness.
Here are my 3 main tips when it comes to rat training:
- You must remain consistent, since inconsistency will confuse the rat and make the training take longer
- With this consistency is repetition which is the main way that a rat will learn its tricks. You are aiming to encourage certain behaviour again and again so it becomes more habitual.
- And lastly you must have patience. This consistency and repetition can feel boring at times, but you must keep up with it and have patience with your rat’s development as that is what is going to help the succeed in the end.
Hope these tips help you as they helped me. Just remember that all rats will learn at a different pace to try to stick with it and you will be rewarded in the end.
Here are some other resources for rat training: