This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Kids Q & A
By Karen Robbins
Fiona Bates, WA, letter
QI am a sixth grade student at Sakai Intermediate School, and I’ve decided to research rat training (seeing as I own two rats). So, you are one of the people I have decided to ask for any tips or advice.
I will be displaying my research at an open house. Any posters, brochures, or other things that I can use in my display would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
AThe Whole Mouse Catalog online
has a section on Science Fair Projects.
There is a web site in the U.K. called
Podels by Emily
Butler that has lots of information on training rats and a page
on the North of England Rat Society’s web site
Training Your Rat.
There are also three rat training books available in pet shops
or online: Training Your Pet Rat by Gerry Buscis and Barbara
Somerville, The Complete Guide to Rat Training by Debbie
Ducommun, and Rat Training by Miriam Fields-Babineau. Our
Caresheet has some basic
training tips, and we have an article online
Your Rat To Fetch Things that is a fun thing to teach your rats to do.
This should answer most of your questions.
When training rats, you need to keep the sessions short and use tiny bits of their favorite food as the reward. Some people use a clicker to train their pets. A Skinner box is used to study behavior conditioning by teaching an animal to perform certain actions (like pressing a lever) in response to specific stimuli.
Agility training is another form of training you can teach your
rats. This is similar to dog agility with tunnels, weave poles,
hoops, etc. If you are interested in teaching your rats agility,
there are several web sites with good info to get you started:
North of England Rat Society’s
The Agile Rat web site, Eva Johansson
in Sweden with some articles on Agility,
and Estelle Sandford’s web site with a page on
agility and obedience.
Good luck with your project!