I was so embarrassed and immediately started looking out for information about How To Disciple a Ferret? Now, you may ask why I started to look out for how to discipline a ferrt? So, here is what happened to me…
Being a new ferret mom, I was super excited to introduce my furry friend to my friends. And they eagerly agreed to come over and meet my new ferret as they were ferret lovers. But to my utter disappointment, my ferret showed an extremely bad behavior.
So, here I am discussing all How To Disciple A Ferret so that you do not get embarrassed just as I was. Read on to know more.
How to Discipline a Ferret?
It is extremely important that you be patient while disciplining your ferret. The reason we say this is because ferrets are quite stubborn pets. Don’t be mistaken that you cannot train them!
Even though ferrets are stubborn, you can train them with some techniques that we would be discussing further. It’s just that, if your ferret is enjoying an activity, for instance scratching your beautiful rug, it might be difficult to stop him. A typical stubborn ferret behavior we must say!
If you want to live peacefully with your ferret, it is best that you train him to be disciplined. This includes training your ferret to socialize properly, use a litterbox and respond to his name.
Discipling your ferret can either be done by the reward method or punishment method and it is always best to discourage bad behavior with a firm NO.
How To Discipline a Ferret? Top 8 Ways
Discipling your ferret is a huge task. With a lot of calmness, you should try and follow the below methods to discipline your ferret in almost all the important aspects.
1. Reward Them
As the name suggests, rewarding your ferret for all the good things that he does will encourage him to continue the same behavior. Positive reinforcement works well on animals and your ferret is no different.
You can reward your ferret with ferret treats like scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, or any other treat that your ferret loves to show him that he is doing a good job. You can also check out this great ferret treat, that my ferret loves. It was of great help when I started training him.
Few instances where you can use the reward system include:
- You can train your ferret to use the litter tray with this method
- If you want to train your ferret to respond to the sound of a clicker, make the sound, and wait for your ferret to appear. Once he comes to you, you can reward him and then do the same activity again. Take a look at this clicker I found online. This is easily available at pet stores too.
So, the possibilities of using the reward system to train your ferrets for activities are endless.
However, anything excess is harmful. The treat you provide shouldn’t cause any harm to your ferret. Apart from treats, you can also give warm hugs and snuggles to your furry friend as a reward.
2. Punish Them
If your ferret has done something which is not appropriate or can cause a potential danger to your furry friend, you should punish him to make him understand that this behavior should not be repeated.
You should try to get your ferret’s attention to stop and punish him. It is highly possible that your ferret may not listen to you as he might be busy with his notorious activity.
In this case, you should simply lift your ferret up and put him in a submissive position, so that his face is facing towards you. Take a look at the image for reference.
You should lightly scruff your ferret, by grabbing the neck on your ferret’s back between your thumb and fingers. However, this should be done lightly and in no way should it harm your furball.
In order to punish your ferret, apart from scruffing them, you can provide something bitter like a bitter apple or also a timeout.
3. Giving Them Time Out
Time out is a gentle punishment that you can use to discipline your ferret. However, you should consider the below points while giving timeout to your ferret:
- Never put your ferret in his routine cage for a timeout. This will give them an idea that if he behaves, he will be put in his cage, and hence can repeat the aggressive behavior if he wants to go to his cage.
- A travel cage or a special time out cage that contains a water bowl and litter tray can be used.
- You should give a timeout for only 3 to 5 minutes, as your ferret has a short attention span and can easily forget why he was given a timeout if it is prolonged.
- If you take your ferret out of the time out cage, he might bite you or show aggressive behavior as a form of revenge. You should be patient and again put him to time out. Repeated timeouts will make him understand that his behavior is not acceptable.
4. Train Your Ferret Not to Bite
A ferret biting can cause harm to you. It can also be injurious to your ferret if it keeps on biting and nibbling any unsafe objects like cords or plastic items. Hence, it is important that you train your ferret not to bite.
There can be a number of reasons for your ferret biting. You first need to identify the reason to rectify your ferret’s behavior. Even the most docile ferret will bite if you step on the ferret’s tail.
If your ferret is biting during your playtime, it indicates that he is very excited. So, you should immediately stop playing and provide some time for your ferret to calm down. Excessive biting can sometimes even hurt you.
In a similar way, if your ferret starts biting due to a change in the environment, give him some time to settle down and he will then stop biting.
You can also use methods like scruffing his neck, making a hissing sound similar to the ferret’s hiss, or using a bitter spray on the items that he tends to bite the most, like his cage bars or your furniture.
We have covered many more useful details on training your ferret not to bite here.
5. Train Your Ferret To Sit
Follow the below steps to train your ferret to sit.
- Hold a treat that your ferret loves, maybe a boiled egg or anything, and keep it at a level higher than your ferret’s level.
- Now slowly lower down the treat so that your ferret also lowers down. Keep repeating the word “Sit” while you do so.
- Once your ferret is seated, you can give him the treat and snuggle him.
It might take some time, almost a few weeks to train your ferret to sit. Eventually, it will be done. But, as a ferret owner, you should be patient with this exercise.
6. Making Him Respond to His Name
It is important to train your ferret to respond to his name. It might take around 2 to 3 weeks, but with consistent practicing, this can be achieved.
Below is a tried and tested method that you can use:
- Call out your ferret’s name along with making some noise from a squishy ferret toy.
- Your ferret will hear the toy’s sound and come to you.
- Gradually, you should decrease the toy’s sound and simultaneously call out for your ferret.
- Once your ferret has started noticing that you are calling his name, you can slowly put away the toy and simply call out for your furry friend.
7. Encourage Your Ferret to Use the Litter Box
Litter training is very important. If you want your ferret to use the litter box, make sure you select a proper litter tray and place it in the cage. The litter tray should be kept away from the food and water bowl.
Now, to help your ferret determine the spot where he needs to do his “business”, you can place a few ferret’s droppings in the litter box. This will help him understand what the litter tray is meant for.
You should make it a point to clean the litter daily, and the entire litter box at least once a week.
8. Discourage Bad Behavior By Firmly Saying NO
You can discourage your furry friend from repeating bad behavior by firmly saying NO and pointing out your finger. Make sure you make eye contact while saying so.
So, the next time you find your ferret biting your finger, or any other thing, you should immediately reprimand him by saying NO.
It will require a lot of patience and persistence from your side to make your ferret understand the meaning of NO.
Top 6 Reasons Your Ferret is Not Disciplined
Along with discussing how to discipline a ferret, it is also important to understand why your ferret might not be disciplined. Read on to know more.
1. Kits and Adult Ferrets Should Be Treated Differently
Baby ferrets or kits are easier to train as compared to adult ferrets. The older ferrets tend to be more stubborn, and hence can be difficult to train. It is best you start disciplining your ferret at the earliest.
2. Trust Issues
Your ferret might have trust issues and hence is not disciplined. The most common reason for trust issues is that your ferret might have been abused as a kit by the previous owner or at the pet shop.
Hence, abused ferrets are a bit more difficult to discipline.
3. Your Ferret Is Trying to Communicate With You
Sometimes, things like biting, which might seem like undisciplined behavior might be a sign of your ferret trying to communicate something with you. Closely monitor your furry ferret’s behavior to get an idea about this.
4. Your Ferret Might Be Getting Blind and Deaf
If your perfectly healthy ferret starts acting differently, shows aggressive behavior, or starts biting, you should get him diagnosed. He might be turning blind and deaf.
A blind and deaf ferret might start feeling vulnerable on losing his senses, and thus show aggression if you try to pick it up or play with him.
Hormonal changes in your young ferret can cause him to start biting. It is possible that your adult intact ferret is suffering from an adrenal gland disease, causing him discomfort. This can lead to your ferret biting you.
Sometimes, a female ferret biting also indicates that he is in pain. So, you should always try to check if there is something wrong with your ferret if it starts biting suddenly.
6. Aggressive Behavior
There can be many reasons why your ferret is behaving in an aggressive manner. An aggressive ferret might want to get your attention, or he is hungry. Your ferret also might be aggressive if there is a new pet in your house.
5 Things To Avoid While Disciplining Your Ferret
Do not yell at your ferret under any condition. If you yell at your ferret, it might start fearing you. This is definitely not a good sign.
2. Prolonged Time Out
The maximum limit for timeout should be 5 minutes. Your furry friend is extremely forgetful and has a short attention span. If you keep your ferret in a timeout for more than 5 minutes, it will forget that it was a punishment.
Thus, there will not be any meaning in giving the timeout.
3. Using Your Ferret’s Cage for Timeout
A ferret cage is something that should be a comfort zone for your ferret. If you use your cage for timeout, you will ruin the comfort zone of your ferret.
On the contrary, it might also happen, that your ferret will think that a certain negative behavior will help him get into the cage. Hence, the effect of timeout will be totally opposite to what it was intended for.
4. Smacking or Hitting your ferret
In the process of disciplining your ferret, you should never hit or smack it. This is an extremely abusive behavior, which can impact your relationship with your ferret, and moreover, make your ferret extremely fearful towards you.
5. Flicking Your Ferret’s Nose
A ferret’s nose is extremely sensitive, and flicking it can also cause permanent nasal cavity damage in your ferret.
You should avoid this mean behavior at any cost.
In conclusion, now that you know how to discipline a ferret, always keep in mind that it will take a lot of patience, consistency, and efforts from your end to discipline your pet ferret.
There is an extremely thin line between disciplining your ferret and abusing it. Make sure that you take utmost care that you never hit, yell, or abuse your ferret.
Ferrets are small creatures that deserve all your love. Maintaining a balance between the reward and the punishment system is all that we can say!