Taming advice?

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Taming advice? Empty Taming advice?

Post by FairyMouse on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 1:31 pm

Hello! I have five little female mice who get along great, and I've been catching them (trying not to be rough) and then putting them in a smaller, empty bin (about the size of a shoebox, but taller) for taming. Within seconds all but a few of them are running up and down my arms and accepting pets and kisses, and then in a few minutes the more skittish ones warm up to me too. Then I put them in a little pouch I have and they all snuggle together and get warm and sleepy, and I pick them up individually and pet them... a few of my mice actually really enjoy me giving them little scritches behind the ears and under the chin, and they like me stroking their little heads, too.

But inside their home cage they're entirely different. They run from me like their lives depend on it, and while I can tell that they're getting a tiny bit braver, it's not working very well. Also none of them will take food from my hand. They might just be picky as I haven't tried much for treats yet, but none of them will take food or treats (so far I've tried peanut butter and Oxbow dried strawberry treats, and some alfalfa treats I have for my chinchilla XD).

Any advice or experience is welcome!

Thankyou Hug
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Post by ShinyRattata on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 10:23 pm

Something I’ve heard works really well but is sort of a last resort is witholding something they need like food or water and offer it to them by hand only several times daily, until they learn to associate you with food or water. Once they are much tamer,  you give the needed item back and start to work with treats! I did it once with my first mouse with her water. I kept the water bottle out and only let her drink when I was holding her every couple of hours, and by day three she was climbing onto my hand on her own.

I did have one pet store mouse who became friendly just by me offering him cool things to investigate, like small dog toys, things with holes, strange materials. I heard mice are very curious and appreciate exploring new things, and he became my sweetest mouse who could actually enjoy going places in my shirt pocket.

One thing I noticed will UN-tame them in a heartbeat is picking up by the tail. People say it is ok to grasp by the base of the tail and “lift gently,” but in my personal experience, even my tamest mice get jumpy after that.

Just my two cents!


Last edited by ShinyRattata on Sat 16 Mar 2019, 5:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : More ideas!)

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Post by Sparrow on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 4:33 pm

Taming mice is easy once you learn what works per individual female. For my groups, I take each mouse out one at a time and play with her alone for about 30 minutes. With 5 mice, you might want to reduce the time to 15-20 minutes per mouse and once they are fully comfortable with you (after about 1 week) start taking out 2 mice at a time. Some mice love riding on the shoulder, some enjoy snuggling into the arm, some enjoy running around our arms and so on. Mice love out of cage time if they know they will have more fun out. So letting them ride on you works very well and gets even the most timid mice to warm up to you.

Good treat that works wonders when training them and luring them out is millet and sunflower seeds. Some mice also love mealworms and cheerios. I wouldn't advice you to try to hand feed them though, because if they will start to see you as a source of food, they might start nipping at you. Instead, what you could do is hide the treats around the cage after each taming session. So they will come to expect a treat hiding away in the cage if they come out to you first.

When you spend time with them individually you will start to see the personalities and what works per each mouse. Getting them used to their names is something that you should try to work on. As well as using word commands when doing specific actions around the cage. When refilling the food bowl you say "food", when giving new toys you say "new toy", when giving water you say "water", when you clean the cage, you say "cleaning time" and so on... Do the same when taking them out and when taking an individual mouse out, also say her name to her.

Mice are ridiculously smart, so they pick up on things like that after just few attempts. Getting them used to words and associating them with specific actions will make your life with them a whole lot easier, especially since you have a large enough group of mice. All of this makes taming easier.

For some mice, just giving them extra attention works wonders, especially if they are very shy.

Last but not least: Be patient. Any bit of progress is a success! Smile
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Post by FairyMouse on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 5:09 pm

@ShinyRattata wrote:Something I’ve heard works really well but is sort of a last resort is witholding something they need like food or water and offer it to them by hand only several times daily, until they learn to associate you with food or water. Once they are much tamer,  you give the needed item back and start to work with treats! I did it once with my first mouse with her water. I kept the water bottle out and only let her drink when I was holding her every couple of hours, and by day three she was climbing onto my hand on her own.

I did have one pet store mouse who became friendly just by me offering him cool things to investigate, like small dog toys, things with holes, strange materials. I heard mice are very curious and appreciate exploring new things, and he became my sweetest mouse who could actually enjoy going places in my shirt pocket.

One thing I noticed will UN-tame them in a heartbeat is picking up by the tail. People say it is ok to grasp by the base of the tail and “lift gently,” but in my personal experience, even my tamest mice get jumpy after that.

Just my two cents!

@Sparrow wrote:Taming mice is easy once you learn what works per individual female. For my groups, I take each mouse out one at a time and play with her alone for about 30 minutes. With 5 mice, you might want to reduce the time to 15-20 minutes per mouse and once they are fully comfortable with you (after about 1 week) start taking out 2 mice at a time. Some mice love riding on the shoulder, some enjoy snuggling into the arm, some enjoy running around our arms and so on. Mice love out of cage time if they know they will have more fun out. So letting them ride on you works very well and gets even the most timid mice to warm up to you.

Good treat that works wonders when training them and luring them out is millet and sunflower seeds. Some mice also love mealworms and cheerios. I wouldn't advice you to try to hand feed them though, because if they will start to see you as a source of food, they might start nipping at you. Instead, what you could do is hide the treats around the cage after each taming session. So they will come to expect a treat hiding away in the cage if they come out to you first.

When you spend time with them individually you will start to see the personalities and what works per each mouse. Getting them used to their names is something that you should try to work on. As well as using word commands when doing specific actions around the cage. When refilling the food bowl you say "food", when giving new toys you say "new toy", when giving water you say "water", when you clean the cage, you say "cleaning time" and so on... Do the same when taking them out and when taking an individual mouse out, also say her name to her.

Mice are ridiculously smart, so they pick up on things like that after just few attempts. Getting them used to words and associating them with specific actions will make your life with them a whole lot easier, especially since you have a large enough group of mice. All of this makes taming easier.

For some mice, just giving them extra attention works wonders, especially if they are very shy.

Last but not least: Be patient. Any bit of progress is a success! Smile

Thank-you both!

One of my little ones really likes to just sit in my hand outside the cage, and she'll even lay down and nuzzle up to my hand. Weirdly enough, she's the most skittish in cage out of all my mice.

Any thoughts on this?

I've also noticed that most of my mice hesitate just a little tiny bit longer before bolting away from my hand now XD I think that's a good sign?
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Post by Sparrow on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 6:28 pm

Instead of leaving your hand in the enclosure for them to climb in, you could try just using your sleeve. I have a mouse that is half wild (a rescue) and this is the only way I can get her to not run away from me. She is happy enough to interact with me outside of the cage but the one and only way to get her to climb on me inside of the cage is to just use my sleeve, with no skin showing. It worked on two of my males as well. Might be worth giving it a try!
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Post by FairyMouse on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 8:38 pm

@Sparrow wrote:Instead of leaving your hand in the enclosure for them to climb in, you could try just using your sleeve. I have a mouse that is half wild (a rescue) and this is the only way I can get her to not run away from me. She is happy enough to interact with me outside of the cage but the one and only way to get her to climb on me inside of the cage is to just use my sleeve, with no skin showing. It worked on two of my males as well. Might be worth giving it a try!

Oh, that's weird! I'll have to try it!
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