Rats learn quickly. Using positive reinforcements such as treats and praise will ensure that your pet rat is eager to learn. The mental stimulation that training provides will enhance the rat’s natural intelligence.

Quick Tip

Gnawing is an important part of your rat's dental routine so make sure that they have plenty of gnaw toys available.

View our products

Burgess Rat food

When teaching your rat a trick, for instance coming to his name, repeat the word while holding a treat. When he comes to you release the treat to him, praise him verbally, and/or reward by giving physical contact such as scratching or by holding him. One of the most useful things you can train your rat to do is to use a litter box.

Things to remember when training your rat is that the rats own personality may determine what tricks it will be best at. Active females often do better at tricks that require agility and speed. Some rats are smarter than others are. Gearing the training to the rat’s activity level and intelligence will save both you and your rat from becoming frustrated.

Be sure that there are not a lot of distractions during training time. Keeping the training area consistent will help to keep the rat’s natural instinct to explore new things at bay. Do not try to train male rats where female rats have recently been, or vice versa. The scent will distract them and the training session will be useless.

Keep your training session’s short- between 10 and 15 minutes. Never punish your rat if it doesn’t perform.

Did you know?

Rats have glands on the bottom of their feet so they leave a wet trail wherever they walk.

Did you know?

Rats have poor eyesight and will often sway when standing still, they do this to detect motion.

Litter Training

Litter box training rats is fairly simple, and really depends on the individual rats whether they’ll pick it up or not. Females tend to pick it up better than males, and the younger the rats the better. It’s important to know that rats probably won’t use the box 100% of the time, and they will still urinate around the cage (they are marking their territory).

Step 1: The box

Hi-corner litter pans that can attach to the cage are generally best since the rats cannot move the box around.

Step 2: Location, Location, Location

Deciding where to put the litter pan is very important. It should go on the bottom level of the cage, away from the food, water, and shelter box and preferably in one of the corners away from the door. If you are starting with an existing group of rats and cage, put the box in the corner that the rats are tending to toilet at the most.

Step 3: What litter to use in the box

This is perhaps the most important step, and it will make or break the litter box training. A different litter must be used in the litter box than is used in the rest of the cage. The rats need to be able to differentiate the toilet area from the rest of the cage.

Step 4: Make the litter box dirty

When filling the litter box for the first time, fill it with the dirty bedding/litter from the cage. Clean the rest of the cage, and put the new, different bedding in the rest of the cage. By doing this your rats will start to realise that the litter tray is the area to go to the toilet.

Step 5: If they don’t get it yet

If they still can’t find the toilet area place and continue to go to the toilet all over the cage, place all the droppings that are outside the litter box into the litter box, and keep the rest of the cage super clean..

Step 6: Maintaining

So now the rats are using the toilet area fairly reliably. They still need help finding the potty. At least for the first few cage cleanings, only change about half of the litter in the litter box, or put a layer of dirty litter on top of the clean litter. Also continue to place any rogue litter droppings in the litter box. Over time they should continue to use the box more and more.

Quick Tip

You should clean your rats home at least once a week using hot water and a pet-safe disinfectant.

View our products

Burgess Rat food

Have a question?

If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.

Email us