Clicker Training Pet Rats
(If your rats are truly frightened or aggressive, likely a different method is needed first. Start with How to Relate to Fearful or Aggressive Rats, and read more about the RAT-C method in Constructional Approach Treatment-Rats.)
At the heart of Clicker Training is Positive Reinforcement. Read more about Using Positive Reinforcement to Help Rats Trust. Clicker training adds a special element to this method by the use of a clicker. More on this method below.
Karen Borga begins to help shy rats learn to trust by introducing them to Clicker Training. She:
1. Waits for the shy rat to offer any tiny friendly behavior.
2. At the moment of that behavior, she CLICKS.
3. Then she follows up by offering a treat (in this case a small dab of yogurt on a spoon).
A clicker-trained rat (any animal) learns that when she hears a CLICK, this means the behavior she just did, was good or desired. She knows this because she has connected that a CLICK means a reward is coming.
When a rat, or a human, for that matter, does something, and there are consequences - pleasant or unpleasant - we modify our behavior accordingly. So when the shy rats takes a step forward and the result is good for the rat, she is likely to want to do more of that behavior in the future. She will become more friendly. And best of all the behavior will stick. She LEARNS.