Learn what kind of food, diet, cages, bedding, and toys are good for your little pet rats!
Pet Rats - Taming, teaching and training rats!
Using a Rat Leash on Your Rats
This is a very controversial issue, because some people consider leashing your rats a very cruel and unnatural act. However, if done properly, a leash helps when you need some control over your rats. TAKE NOTE: Rats have really delicate ribcages. When using a leash on your rat, don't treat it like a dog. Only follow your rat, and never try to tug it.
My two rats enjoy indoor leash walking. To be honest, they hate having a leash (I use a ferret leash) put on, but once it's done they love the privilege of walking on the floor. You may think it's cruel to restrict such a free running rodent, but the reason I use a leash on my rats is because I don't want them to chew on electric wires and hide somewhere where I cannot reach.
Can you imagine the thought of a pet rat stuck behind the fridge and not able to get out, or being electrocuted? That's why I think the leash is the lesser of evils. However, I would be very, very careful if you want to walk your rats on a leash outdoors (I wouldn't recommend it at all!). Rats can get very scared and slip out of the leash very, very easily!
Before you use a leash on your rat, it's best that your rat is tame and sociable, and even better if you are bonded with your rat. If your rat doesn't have a very strong bond with you, it will most likley run away into the bushes!Once your rat has learned their name you can teach them to walk on a harness and leash. I use a ferret harness becuase it can be fitted to a rats size.
Your leash/harness HAS TO HAVE a loop for the head AND tummy! If not, your rats will just slip out. Mine is in the shape of a figure-8 and it can be tightened and loosened. You have to be really careful if you intend on making a homemade leash for your rats! Done improperly, it could choke them, or they could slip out. It would be better to get an adjustable rabbit or ferret leash instead of making one. It's safer by far, and they are only 4-5 bucks.
Training a rat to wear a harness can be kind of tricky. Before a rat will walk on a leash they need to become comfortable with a harness. When you put the harness on your rat be prepared for them to squirm and wiggle out of it. Some may even drag their bodies on the ground to get the harness off. Don't worry, this is totally normal. Make sure the harness isn't too tight - you can check this by sticking your pinky finger under the straps. If your finger won't fit, then the harness is too tight.
Every time you put your rat in the harness give them a treat and let them know you're still there by petting them. Don't worry if your rat looks in pain or can't walk because they will do this to try to get you to take the harness off. Once they become comfortable with the harness they will be able to walk normally.
After the harness training you can attach the leash. Let the rat wander around the house a little with you following. Every so often give a little tug on the leash and call your rats name. Over a period of time start trying to get your rat to follow you instead of you following them.
Ferret Harness/Lead Set
The #1 ferret harness and lead combo available to ferret owners nationwidefully. Adjustable to fit all sizes with matching lead to complete outfit. Quik-snap buckles to facilitate putting on and taking off. Fully adjustable to fit all sizes, with matching lead to complete the outfit.
FancyPetRats.com last updated 11 Apr, 2017