We just clicked…

IMG_1509So after many delays and interruptions, I’ve finally started click training with the Zephyr boys. With Salt ill and only four rats in total my free range arrangements are complicated just now – I can’t let both Salt and Adso out together, or Adso tries to drive off the sickly risk-to-the-colony rat and beatings ensue. So I either let them out in two pairs separately, or put Pepper and Fingermouse in the bathroom and swap Salt and Adso in shifts. I’m trying to keep Pepper and the Zephyrs familiar with each other so that I can put him back in the big cage without issues as and when Salt passes on.

Today is a shift day, and I thought I’d start the training with Adso in the attempt to address his attitude problem with being caught again at the end of free range. Every time I try to put him back in the carrier he screeches, swears and runs for cover as if I’m trying to murder him, which is not only embarrassing in front of visitors but makes for an irritating clear-up, especially when I’m tired. My long term goal is to teach him to jump into the carrier on command, which will likely work far better since he’ll think it was his idea!

He’s a very different rat to train from Salt and Pepper. He picked up “coming to Daddy gets you a treat” instantaneously, and the rest of the session was devoted to establishing that we only get a treat if Daddy actually told us to come here 😉 He was comically greedy about it – several times I caught him running to the far end of the sofa, then peering coyly back at me as if to say “Go on! Say the magic word!” He also came out of the bonding bag when I called him, which is something I could never get Salt and Pepper to do – all rats love their hidey holes, but Salt and Pep had seen a bit too much of the seamy side of life to leave their safehouse once they’d settled in.

Tomorrow will be Fingermouse’s turn; he’s turning into a proper little escape artist and is likely to need training so I can retrieve him from under furniture without too much pain. He already seems more motivated by getting my attention than Adso – he’s spontaneously started jumping up my trouser leg and trying to climb to my shoulder to say hello, whereas Adso’s fairly aloof and is definitely in it for the treats. (I am somewhat regretting Fing’s love of leg-scaling since it’s scorching weather here at the moment and I’m usually wearing either thin trousers or shorts, but it’s such a cute habit I don’t want to discourage it!)

Onward and upward, then, and I’m sure there’ll be cute videos some time soon 🙂

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