Teaching your Roof Rat tricks
The easiest way to train a Roof Rat is to reward a naturally occuring behaviour that is similar to the “trick” you want him to learn to do, while at the same time repeating the trigger word, sound or gesture that you want him to associate with that trick.
So, for example, if you want your Roof Rat to come when called, put him down someplace where he can run around a bit, but won’t easily get very far, and call him while holding out a treat (the reward.) He will eventually run toward the treat and, when he does, praise him and give him his reward. Practice this several times, in the same place, in the same way: each time, he will respond faster.
Once he masters “come when called” on (for example) the sofa, you want to “generalize” the command response. So, try the same thing, but on the floor instead of the sofa. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t do as well at first: he needs to learn that it means the same thing when you call him, regardless of the context.
Also, instead of showing him the treat before you call him, keep it hidden and give him his reward after he’s earned it. Act happy and praise him whenever he does the right thing, so that he learns it is a social act of friendship, and not just about the treat. If your Roof Rat likes you, making you happy is also a reward for him!
Teaching him another trick is the same process: identify a naturally occuring Roof Rat behaviour, and praise and reward him for it when he performs it in the right context. For example, Roof Rats are great at standing on their hind legs, and they do it all the time. That’s not a “trick.” When they do it at the “right” time, in response to your command, that is a trick. To teach your Roof Rat to stand on his hind legs at your command, you just need to make sure he will want to do it anyway, then say the command when you think he’s going to do it, and praise and reward him after he does.
And how do you get a Roof Rat to stand up? No problem! Show him a treat just out of his reach. Like this:
Roof Rats are especially easy to train, because they are intelligent, always hungry, love treats, and they are always doing interesting behaviours that you can exploit as “tricks.” They will hop around, climb, jump, walk across narrow paths, etc. It’s really up to your imagination what you can “teach” them to do on command! Have fun!