I get a lot of lettters from people who are worried that their new pet will never become the social, loving friend they hoped for. It’s often hard for new rats to adjust to their surroundings. Some may be easier to adjust than others (like my rats Samantha and Roxy) and others might be more difficult (take Piglet, for instance, who still is anxious). Like humans, all rats have different personalities. It’s possible that poor little Piglet is destined to be shy. But other rats just need to be coaxed out of their shells. Getting your rat to trust you and other humans is a very important part of your relationship with your rat. Here are a few tips on how to turn your insecure little friend into a friendly and outgoing companion. An important fact to remember when dealing with rats is that they love food–and in general, they’ll like a person who can give them a tasty treat. The trick with trust training is to use a type of food that forces the rat to stick by you in order to eat it. If you give a piece of fruit, your furry little friend can dart out of her house, grab it, and run back in to eat in peace. If you use yogurt, pudding or baby food on a spoon, she is forced to stay put and lick the food off the spoon. Because rats are often suspicious of new foods, it’s important to get your rat used to the food you plan to use for trust training before you use it in training. Put dabs of it on a small dish and place it in the cage. If, by the next day, the food is still there, assume it wasn’t a winner and try something new. Once you’ve found something you think your rats enjoy, start the training. Keep in mind, the only time your rats should be getting treats is during the training. No exceptions! Objectives of trust training are the following: Your rat should come to the cage door, crawl out onto your hand or arm, and allow you to hold him while he eats the food. Training is very simple. Place some of the pre-selected food on a spoon and show it to your rat. Once she begins to lick the food, use it to lure her to the cage door. Once she feels comfortable at the cage door, lure her into your hand, and get her to sit in your hand to eat the food. Although it’s simple, training can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.