How to Train Your Rat to Do Tricks

Five Methods:Training basicsStanding upHandshakeLay down!Coming when called

Rats are very smart and intelligent animals that can be taught a wide variety of tricks and actions. Read the article below for helpful and simple tips that can be useful for training your rat to do these tricks and actions.

Method 1
Training basics

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    Quickly when the rat gets into the position of the trick you want it to do, say the name of the command and give the rat a treat. This is how you reinforce the action. However, when your rat gets used to the trick in question, stop giving treats out too much, as they can fatten your rat. You can try giving a healthier rat snack, or just use affection instead.
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    Remember to train your rat(s) every day. All rodents need some time outside the cage. But if you have more than one rat, don't keep all your attention on one certain rat. If you want only one rat to learn a certain command, only take out that rat and teach it to him, and then put it back. If you have a friend, and two rats, one person can teach one rat, but you or your friend might have to go to another room, so the rats won't be distracted.
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    Try buying your rat an exercise ball. (may be called a hamster ball in pet stores) This is great for when you want your rat to be able to:
    • get out while you clean its cage.
    • get some exercise in a new way.
    • be able to explore places by itself without chance of escape.
      • This is especially good if you have two or more rats; buy a ball for each rat and set up rat races, or race your rat (on your hands and knees)! Make yourself and your rat crawl under chairs, over very small obstacles, and even through things, such as grass or even a sea of bouncy balls.
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    Train without distractions. It's easier to train your rat in a really quiet place with no disruptions. Choose a safe location where you are unlikely to be interrupted.

Method 2
Standing up

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    Use a treat to guide the rat upward. Try raising the treat to the air. Your rat will probably stand up. Quickly say "stand" and give him/her a treat! It's pretty easy to train rats, right?

Method 3

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    To make your rat "handshake" put a treat in your hand, near the rat's paws. Then slowly and very gently, take your rats paw and put it on the treat. Say "handshake", feed the treat to your rat, and give him/her a little pat!

Method 4
Lay down!

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    To make your rat lie down, put a treat on the floor (just of the area you are working in). If your rat isn't paying attention, snap your fingers near the treat. Then, when your rat is on the floor, quickly say "lie down".
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    When your rat looks to be doing something interesting in his/her cage, like for example, standing up, or maybe doing something cool, say the name of the command and drop a treat in the cage near your rat.

Method 5
Coming when called

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    Place your rat a little bit away from you. Try a shorter distance at first, then longer as your rat starts understanding the concept.
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    Hold a treat out so your rat notices it. As it comes to get the treat, say the rat's name (if your rat's name is more than two syllables long, try using a nickname or shortened version instead).
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    Repeat frequently, but make sure not to overwork or overfeed your rat. When the rat knows to respond, drop the treats and use affection instead.


  • Talk to your rat often, even though it probably can't understand you. Your rat will get used to your voice. It even helps with lowering stress levels.
  • Try not to give your rats to many high protein treats, too much protein makes the rats coat greasy and hard to maintain.
  • When training your rat you have to guide them through the trick you want them to do and you have to say the command you want them to respond to and you need to give them a treat immediately after they do the trick!
  • Make your rat a maze and put a treat at the end. He/she will love the reward.
  • While your rat is doing the tricks help them out and when they succeed show them love and let them know you are proud of them!
  • Don't yell or scold your rat if they do something wrong, this may make them scared or even bite.
  • Mix in training with play so your rat will get used to you while its still being trained.
  • It's always best to have more than one rat. They are social animals and are happier in groups. A happy rat is easier to train and the rats can learn from one another.
  • Make sure to feed treats in smaller bits, so you can get on with training and feed your rat more of those delicious crumbs!
  • Exercise balls really aren't recommended for rats it doesn't really allow them to explore, they don't see well, and can't touch or smell their surroundings in a ball, rats also hate to be shut away In spaces that are to small for them you will be stressing your rats out and ultimately harming them.
  • If you have more than one rat, make sure you spend equal time amounts with both of them.
  • Let your rat run through a scavenger hunt. Leave a trail of treats and see if he or she can find.
  • Try making sounds for the training instead of words because it is easier for them and will help to train it faster.
  • After they do a trick reward them with strawberries, grapes, cream cheese, yogurt, cereal, and oats.


  • When training your rat, don't make him/her do anything that might hurt him/her.
  • Make sure that you wash your hands frequently and during training, try not to put your fingers near your rat's face; they may smell like food.
  • Some rats may not respond the same to these tricks and ideas. You may have to try different things.
  • Don't overwork your rat.
  • When choosing treats, don't use their normal everyday food (it won't be a treat that way).

Article Info

Categories: Mice and Rats