Play and training/taming
I’m giving them more and more space to explore, inside the structure. Soon I’ll remove more and more of the hiding places, ending finally with just a scaled boat and a body. I’ve been working with them late at night, the most active time for them– and the least for me these days. 11:30pm-1:30am. Last night I fell asleep in there while some of them ran around.
To get them to follow my finger, I scratch the floor until they come over to investigate, and just before they get to my finger, I move it away at a steady pace. They walk a few steps, and I give them a treat and signal the correct response with a vocal cue (I’ve been using ‘yes’). With repetition, everything stays the same except the distance grows. If they don’t get it at a certain distance, I make the next one easier, until they get it.
Working with 10 rats at once is impossible. So I’ll have to figure in time to work with each one individually, for about 10 minutes at a time. Before that, they all need to become more confident with being around a giant who picks them up and makes silly sounds at them.
This is little Ivo, grooming outside in the playpen:
Dino and Livio running around and play-fighting. These guys are escape artists, and amazing when they dash.
After a long play session, rats get tired: