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Basic Ferret Training

Now here's the fun begins. Patience and Tolerance are needed in great supply when dealing with ferrets. Dog will obey commands because they love us and want to please you and get your approval. You give a ferret a command and if they could talk they would say "Meh! whats in it for me." A ferret will do only what it wants to do. The one thing you must try to never do is underestimate a ferret. I'm my opinion they are one of the most intelligent, devious, resourceful, sneaky, cunning, stubborn and obstinate creatures on the planet. A determined ferret on a mission of its own will not stop of its own accord until it succeeds. A brief look at a ferrets psychology. For now I will only address three main topics. Litter box training, Coming when called and some no nip training. For these you will need the accessories mentioned in training aids.

  • Litter Box training - This will be a test of wills. First you need to place a litter tray in the corner of their habitat/enclosure. I spread the litter evenly about 2 cm deep. I find any more is a waste and they will of play in their litter box and you will end up with pellets everywhere.Ferrets are not only hunters but are often preyed up. This is why they will back up into corners. Darker the better. If you see them doing their business somewhere else, don't yell at them. Calmly Pick them up. Pop their bum in the tray. Give them some praise. "Good Ferret" Hit your Clicker, then give them a smear of Nutrigel. (Or what ever you choose to reward them)
  • Coming when called - This was the easiest thing to teach while using Nutrigel. I would do the following: Call Sassy, Tap my foot on the floor 3 times and pat my thigh 3 times.  She would come running over, climb up my calf and sit on my thigh. I would then use the clicker 3 times and give her a smear of Nutrigel on my finger. Do This twice a day when the ferret is out of sight or in another room.

  • Biting/Nipping - This is a normal thing for ferrets to do and its how they play with other ferrets. Ferrets have thicker skin than ours so it doesn't hurt them as much. The time you have to chastise a ferret, I suggest the following. Say "No" in a firm voice (Don't shout as this will likely scare them) followed by a "Hiss" (Like a snake, Ferrets hiss at each other when angry) followed by a squeal type of sound "eeek) So its "NO - Hiss - eek. Spraying hands, toes & ferret with the Bitter Apple mentioned in the Ferret Aids page will definitely deter a nipping ferret. They will go to bite, Sniffle sneeze and go find something tastier to chew on.