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Exposure Therapy for Mice

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Exposure Therapy for Mice Empty Exposure Therapy for Mice

Post by ShiruSenpai Sat 15 May 2021, 3:05 am

Reading the title of this, you may think I'm talking about some sort of harmful experiment on mice that would essentially scare them. I assure you, that is not the case. To explain what exposure therapy really does let's think about how one learns when one is a child. As a child, one did not simply know how to speak. Speech is taught by those around someone simply by speaking. The child is exposed to speech and therefore adapts to understand and use it.
Now say for example you have a mouse that is discomforted by your presence or you moving around them. You could simply keep your distance and not interact with the mouse, however the mouse will never learn to trust you or even enjoy being around you.
So let's look at the other option. The goal is to have the mouse interactive with you without fear and the best way to do this is for the mouse to simply get used to you. Remember, new things are often scary for us humans, imagine how scary a new giant must be. Let's also not forget that mice can pick up anxiety from their owners so if you aren't comfortable, the mouse won't be either. My suggestion is fairly simple and I have proof that it works.
If you're comfortable, lie down on your bed and simply let the mice explore. Relax, listen to music and don't move too much. Your mice will get used to you and your scent.
If you aren't comfortable with this you can try having your mouse cage near your work space. I often have my mice on my desk while I work. They like to come out of their boxes and interact with me, crawl along my keyboard, get some food and water from their food area and they sometimes even snuggle into my hand.
The key is to observe and monitor. If the mouse is actively showing signs of discomfort (excessive grooming, urinating on you or another mouse, desperately trying to find an escape route) then it's time for the mouse to have some alone time.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions please ask.

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Exposure Therapy for Mice Empty Re: Exposure Therapy for Mice

Post by Dee67 Mon 17 May 2021, 6:24 pm

@ShiruSenpai This is exactly how I was able to get Figgus Newton to be the incredibly sweet, cuddly, friendly mouse he is, and it didn't take long at all, started by allowing him to crawl all over me in the tub, then the bed, and now he sits with me nightly while I watch TV and snuggles while I scritch him. Thanks for your post.

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Post by SarahAdams Tue 18 May 2021, 4:49 pm

The method you outline works with many animals. I've done it to tame feral cats and my rats.

The goal is always to have the animal see you as a totally harmless provider of good things!

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