The Art of Natural Dressage

Rats. And mini-agility.
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Author:  Ania [ Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:23 am ]
Post subject:  Rats. And mini-agility.

I remember there was a conversation in this forum about training rats, but can't find it. So I started a new topic :)
I don't have a daily contact with any horse now, but since a few months I own some rats... for many reasons. One of them is that I found a very knowledgeable community of rat friends. From them I learned that rats can have pedigrees and be carefully bred to make them as healthy and human-friendly as possible. And to make them live a little longer...

Two of them are with me now.
Igor Happy Feet - standard, rex, lavender bareback: which means that his ears are straight up (they can also have dumbo ears, that are larger and lower, which makes the rat look even more funny than they are), his coat is curly and his head and neck and shoulders are light grey/brown. All this makes a cute rat :)
Tinto - standard, standard, albino: that means he has normal ears and coat and he's albino... because Tinto is a lab rat. He was lucky to be rescued after finishing tests (they are normally put down) and I adopted him. He was agressive at the beginning, castrating him helped a little but he still defends his territory and for this reason he can't live in the same cage with the other rat.

Here they are:

Of course we are clicker training ;) they learn to stand on a pedestal and jump over small obstacles (sort of mini cavaletti). They learn very quickly, although generally they prefer to have their own ideas about what to do. I also made an interview with a lady who trains her rats since a longer time (for my website/blog about all kinds of animals). I'm doing things differently (using less corrections in my training 8) ) and not so often, because most of the time they are just running around (me) and being cute. So here is something more to read: Agility Rats: interview with Marna Kazmaier.

Hope you like them! And these tails are really not ugly ;)

Author:  Bine [ Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rats. And mini-agility.

Hi Ania! I loooooooooooooove rats!!!! And they are so easy to train because they are smart and food-motivated.
For my first 2 rats, Sam & Benny (both lab rats, died at age 2, almost to the day) I had built a big agility course that included jumps, hoops, stairs made from books, a balance beam, a tunnel of taped together cardboard toilet paper rolls, a slide and lots of other fun toys. They had a blast!!!!
My third rat was bred by a friend of mine whose boyfriend was a biologist. He had gone to Greece, caught some wild rats, smuggled them back home and bred them. I had high hopes that Speedy would live longer. Unfortunately that was not the case, she also passed away at 2 years old. Since she was only the 3rd generation in captivity she was extremely shy, lightning fast when she ran and she never was as tame as my other rats.
My last rat was an orphaned wild Florida Wood Rat who I found when she was 4 days old. (Since rat babies open their eyes when they are 14 days old, it was easy to calculate when she was born.) She lived FIVE years!!!! I don't know if she just had better genes as a wild rat or if the food that I gave her made a difference. Maybe a bit of both! ;) She was also extremely shy, extremely fast and very aloof but in this case she was totally tame with me since I raised her.

I do have a recipe for an incredible food mix recipe for rats, pm me if you're interested. You can freeze it and add fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and other treats.

Good luck with Igor and Tinto, they are both gorgeous!!!!!!!!! :)

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