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How to Train a Pet Rat

Learn tips and tricks for training a pet rat from veterinarian Anthony Pilny in this Howcast rat video.

Transcript

One of the most important things that you can do with your rat, as we discussed many times, is proper socialization. And some people do consider training as aspect of socialization and training as a means to make sure that your pet has the best disposition, is the nicest, is easy to work with, and becomes an overall totally enjoyable type of pet.

When it comes to training a pet rat, this is a different area, because this is going to depend on what you may consider, or what you need your rat to do. It's very well known that rats are very smart animals. They are used extensively in bio medical research for different areas of learning, behavior, the ability for recognition. We have all heard of putting a rat in a maze and having them find their way through. They can learn through conditioning behaviors, often times with a reward. So a lot of times what people may train their rats to do are not going to be what we think you can train your dog to do.

They generally won't sit on command. They generally won't learn these types of tricks, but what they can learn to do, and often with food rewards, is to respond to their names, respond to interaction with people. They can be trained to use litter boxes or litter pans, that they will eliminate in one area of the cage. Some rats can actually be trained to respond to different stimuli that's often food driven.

People have trained their rats to run through obstacle courses, which can be entertaining, as well. So training is going to require time. It's going to require patience. It's going to require positive reinforcement with a favorite food, or a favorite type of treat, but it's also going to require a sensible approach to what you think your pet rat may need to do for you. It may be as much as setting up an obstacle course, or a maze.

It may be as much as them just learning to come when they're called, or to be able to be socialized to being handled. I wouldn't expect that you're going to be able to make your rat able to do a lot of tricks, although they can be trained to do that. But most often, training and aspects of training relate to socialization, handling, and overall having a really nice pet.

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