This video features Abby & Katie demonstrating how to teach a pet rat to walk across a tightrope on command! If the text in this video goes by too fast for you, please pause it so that you may read it all! Also, here are a few tips that got left out due to timing constraints:
– For beginner-level ratties, use ropes that are about one inch in diameter. You can try them with more narrow tightropes after they’ve mastered this trick.
– When setting up your rope, always make it as taught as possible. Tightropes are named such for a reason — if the line is too slack, it will be much more difficult for your rat to keep his balance on it. Also, make sure that your knots are tight and won’t come undone while your rattie is walking across!
– It’s relatively simple to build your own training platforms using wooden planks, PVC pipe, and large eye hooks. (See my video here: http://youtu.be/FtTbxPmrkvI ) However, if you don’t have these items handy, you can easily improvise by using a couple of kitchen chairs, taped-down cardboard boxes, etc. Just make absolutely certain that your platforms are stable and will not tip over!
– This video shows my ratties walking on tightropes that are relatively high up, because Abby & Katie are already master tightrope walkers. For beginner rats, it is best to set up your tightropes lower to the ground, in case of falls.
– If your rat hesitates to walk across the rope at first, try Shaping. Start by luring him to the tightrope and holding the treat just far enough down the line that he’ll need to put a paw or two on the rope in order to reach for the reward. Then the moment at least one paw actually touches the rope, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat this process until your rattie feels comfortable putting both of his front paws on the rope. Once he’s mastered this, start holding the treat further along the line so that he’ll have to stretch in order to grab the goody. Continue to increase the distance gradually until he has to step onto the rope with at least one of his back paws. After he’s been rewarded a few times for putting all four paws on the rope, try luring him all the way across again. Your rattie should then be given an especially big, tasty treat for succeeding at his first tightrope walk!
For more info on how to train pet rats, please see:
Introduction to Rattie Training: Part One – http://youtu.be/BkiPutSj-V4
Introduction to Rattie Training: Part Two – http://youtu.be/aadXsxMGtWE
DISCLAIMER: I am not, and do not claim to be, a professional trainer of any kind. I do, however, have more than a decade of animal training experience using positive reinforcement. I am confident that my training methods will be effective with any pet; however, because each animal is a unique individual, I cannot guarantee that you will have the same results as I’ve had. I also will NOT be held responsible for any injuries that may occur as a result of attempting anything described in these videos without taking the necessary
Thank you! 🙂