Rats are actually very intelligent and adaptable creatures, which means they are fairly easy to train.

If you want to train your pet rat to do some tricks, there are many different options to choose from. Some of these tricks will take your rat longer to learn, but it is definitely worth the effort.

5 Tricks you can teach your pet rat

1. Sit Still on Your Shoulder

One of the most common tricks that people teach their rats is how to sit still on their shoulder, even as they move around the house. You should only attempt to teach your rat this trick once you have established a firm bond with it. This requires a good amount of trust, so you don’t want to start training them too soon.

The first step in training your rat to do this trick is to simply put it on your shoulder and give it a treat. This will establish a positive association with being on your shoulder.

Make sure that you pay close attention to how your rat is behaving while on your shoulder. If it seems a bit jittery or nervous, you’ll want to put them back in their cage and start again in a few minutes. It is important that you not stretch your training sessions out too long, as this can be counterproductive.

Also, remember to continue rewarding your rat with treats when it stays still on your shoulder. Eventually, they will become a reliable companion that you can walk around with.

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pet rat on shoulder

2. Go Fetch

While it is definitely possible to teach your rat how to fetch, it can be a bit tricky. This endeavor will likely require a bit more patience, so you’ll need to be prepared.

You will want to start off by simply tossing the object that you want your rat to bring back. If they go after the object, give them a treat. You should also give your pet verbal praise like “good job!” when they do it right.

Once you have repeated this process three or four times, you’ll want to begin saying “go fetch” when you toss the object. Your rat will eventually know to go get the object when you deliver this command. Don’t forget to always give them a treat when they bring the item back to you.

Remember to say “come” in a forceful tone when your rat picks up the object you have thrown. This completes the process, but you’ll have to go through it with them a number of times. As long as you are patient, you should be able to get them to fetch on command with a good degree of consistency.

3. Stand Up

Teaching your rat to stand up is pretty simple and straightforward. You will require some delicious treats to give your pet the proper motivation.

The first step in this process is to present the treat to your rat and say “stand!” You want to deliver this command in a forceful manner, but don’t yell. These animals are known for being very skittish, so you don’t want to scare them. This will only make it harder to get them to do what you want.

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Once they stand up on their hind legs to reach out for the treat, you’ll want to give it to them. You’ll need to gradually increase the distance that you keep the treat from your pet. This will encourage them to reach out further, which will cause them to stand straight up.

pet rats playing music

4. Jump

It’s actually easier than you might think to train your pet rat to jump on command. These animals are naturally skilled jumpers, so you shouldn’t have to devote a lot of time to this endeavor.

When you are training your rat to jump, make sure they are on a soft surface like a pillow so they don’t get injured during each training session. It is imperative that they are comfortable, because otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting them to focus.

First you’ll want to place a pillow next to the one that your rat is on. Hold up a treat in front of them and move it over to the other pillow. Remember to use the “Jump!” command when doing this. When your rat jumps to the second pillow for the treat, you will give it to them.

5. Shake Your Hand

It is impossible to actually get a rat to shake hands, but you can get pretty close if you are committed. You can start by taking a treat and touching your rat’s paw while using the “shake” command. Then you will give them the treat. You’ll have to repeat this process quite a few times, but your pet will eventually catch on.

At a certain point you will only want to give your rat the treat if it they touch your hand with their paw. Otherwise it is just going to look like they are lifting up their paw, as opposed to “shaking hands”. Remember to use the same word when you deliver the command. Consistency is crucial when it comes to training your rat to do anything, including shaking hands.

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  • If you want to train your rat to sit on your shoulder, you should wait at least a week or two after you have brought them home.
  • All you have to do is just put a treat on your shoulder and let your pet rat eat it. They will eventually make a positive connection.
  • Keep a close eye on your rat while it is on your shoulder. If it seems agitated or anxious, take a break and start again.
  • To teach your rat to fetch, you’ll need to choose one specific object that you want them to pick up and bring back to you.
  • Always give your rat a treat after they bring back the object.
  • Use the “go fetch” or just “fetch” command after throwing the object.
  • To get your rat to stand up, hold a treat out above them at a distance that forces them to stretch upward. Always give them the treat when they do this.
  • Teaching your rat to jump can be tricky, but these animals are natural jumpers.
  • Throw a treat to the pillow next to your hamster while giving the “jump!” command.
  • When teaching your rat to shake hands, just take a treat and touch their paw while saying the “shake” command.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".