Rats--as pets - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Rats--as pets

My son will be bringing two lab rats home. We have set up a habitat for them in the laundry room which the dogs have no interest in. However, I assume that the dogs will become interested in when my son starts spending time in there.

We had pet rats years ago and my GSX girls just kind of accepted them as part of the household. I was reading on the couch when one of the rats escaped and came upstairs--followed by the cat--followed by the dogs. It was a slow parade as they all were very cautious.

Anyone have any tips and advice on how to live with rats and dogs?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 11:46 PM
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I've had rats and dogs, and really, the rat was more interested in the dog than the dog was in the rat. Reba learned to keep clear of Marcus' cage, lest he reach out and grab a pawful of her hair. She would pass by, watch him for a minute and then be on her way.

If your dogs are very prey driven, I would just keep the cage someplace higher up or put away where they might not be able to get at it or obsess over it. My setup was pretty large, so it just set in the living room floor, but it never got bothered.

Past that, enjoy the madness...lol. I miss keeping rats...I keep getting tempted to get another one, but I just don't know if it's a good idea at the moment. I just miss their personalities, and doing up the cages all elaborate-like. That was one of my favorite parts: changing around all their toys and shelves and hammocks. I'd love to build a massive cage someday (thinking maybe 5' tall or so) and just go nuts with things to climb and places to hide...make it as much as a decorative piece as it is a habitat.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 12:01 AM
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:52 AM
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I have 6 rats and 2 GSD's. we all live together pretty harmoniously for the most part. The dogs will sit and watch the rats and talk to them a lot. But i agree my rats have done more damage to the dogs so far i keep my cages in my bedroom where i can close the door because i dont think i would trust the dogs alone with them unattended. And when the rats get out for play time the dogs need to be locked out of the room. Because i dont wanna take any chances.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! I think that it will be o.k. but am glad of the reassurance.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 11:14 AM
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I have a cage with 3 rats which is placed out of reach on a counter top. I had hopes of DD getting along with them but his idea of that is different than mine. He thinks they are toys or food right now. I would love to have the rats free range with DD around but I am waiting until he is more mature (13 weeks now) and can handle a down-stay under these circumstances. The rats are not intimidated by him at all.
Love my ratties, would not want to be without them.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 11:18 AM
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I have a huge Critter Nation cage for my rats, and neither of my dogs bother them, although my pup will go up to say hello once in a while. I've clipped towels over the bars and the rats are always pulling them back like curtains to watch the dogs, lol!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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I think my son may have gone overboard. He has a multi level ferret cage just full of toys and nesting materials. My husband is tolerant but confused. BTW, son is 27 years old. His landlords won't allow rats and his girlfriend is not happy about this.

The rats are Long Evans Hooded rats raised for psych lab experiments. The environment is spartan and we are curious to see how the rats react to so much stimuli. They are being used in an experiment about alcohol and bravery. If they are freaked out by the new habitat maybe I can give them a cocktail to help relax them. JK...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:42 PM
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I hate to worry you, but those bars might be too far apart for the rats, if they're on the smaller side. Many people do use the Ferret Nation to house their rats, but they'll use a wire mesh from the hardware store on the outside. Did he just get this cage? maybe he can return it for a Critter Nation - the bars are closer together, and run horizontally so they can climb them.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 02:07 PM
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Lucky rats!
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