Training Your Ferret – The Basics6 min read

Ferrets are the third most popular pet in the United States, and people love them for their energetic and active behavior.

Ferrets are inquisitive and curious, and they have a quest and tremendous capacity to learn. Contrary to popular belief, they respond well to training, all due to their high intelligence. 

You need Patience

The most basic training tool is patience. It is the key to training ferrets. They can be trained, just like a cat or a dog, but it requires compassion and sanity on your part. 

Training ferrets is easy if you follow some tricks and tips. Persistence, tenderness, recognition, and treat are all you need.

Learn what to do, what kind of behavior you have to maintain, how to teach your pet, and bear a dash of imagination and positivity.

You will be all set to teach your pet the essential tricks.

How to Stop your Ferret from Nipping and Biting 

Ferrets have a habit of nipping people, whether their owners or admirers. They may do that when they are playful or when they feel threatened. However, they do not realize how much it hurts us!

It is necessary to stop the “nipping” before it gets out of control; otherwise, you’ll be in for a nasty shock when you take it out for a walk and a child wants to cuddle your ferret. 

If your ferret is a biter, there are several causes to it. Young ferrets bite instinctively but adult ferrets bite because they have been neglected or frightened of humans and thus become unsociable.

You need to gently but firmly reprimand your pet. A strict verbal command of disapproval will go a long way in making your pet realize that nipping you is unacceptable.

You can also use a gentle form of punishment that works well to discipline human kids; this can be a time-out. 

Prepare an extra cage of 24 by 12 inches. Ensure not to use their traveling enclosure; otherwise, they will be unable to differentiate between the two. 

Keeping them in the cage for more than 3 to 5 minutes may cause them to forget why they’re being punished. So keep it short and brief…

Another trick is to spray bitter apples all over yourself. Ferrets detest the smell and will do anything to avoid smelling a scent they find disgusting.

You can find bitter apple spray at any reliable pet store.

Calling your Ferret using “Come to Me”

This training may be tricky for you and your pet both, and it will test all of your patience!

a ferret looking up at their owner

Here, a ferret-friendly treat comes in handy. Employ this treat to make them come to you. While this is not impossible, it requires rigorous training and preparation.

Suppose your ferret is hiding in a corner or hiding behind a drawer, or sneaking up an air conditioning duct or vent. What should you do then? 

Training them to respond to their name and commands will make your life much easier and save your pets from harm’s way in unforeseen circumstances.

You can show a treat on the palm of your hand then call out, “Come.” Remember to use their name directly after the command.

If you give them a reason to come, they’ll come. Also, don’t provide ferrets false promises. Rewarding and praising their effort will encourage them. 

Practice this every day, and before you know, your ferret will be responding well to commands and running to you when you call their name, all for a treat.

Another way to make them listen is to use sounds. Find one sound that intrigues your ferret. It can be a squeaky toy or a rattle.

Because they are curious, they’ll want to investigate where the noises came from. Use this to your advantage, and you’ll hit the jackpot.

You can start by calling their names under the noise. Gradually reduce the squeak and the number of times they respond to their names, until it just comes down to them hearing their name once, without the squeaky toy.

And do not forget to reward this significant achievement.

The Grand Finale- Training your Ferret to Use the Litter Box.

This is the most challenging training piece; it would not be held against you if I called it a Herculean task.

Even the most thoughtful pet owner will be annoyed when his favorite carpet is covered in pee stains or his house reeks of ferret poop.

The younger you begin training your ferret, the better. Babies are easier to train, are malleable, and take to the idea pretty quickly. Keep a litter box securely attached in a secluded corner of the cage.

Keeping the litter box in the enclosure is an excellent idea. It will ensure that the ferret doesn’t have many other places to do its business.

Outside the cage, the ferret has many choices about where to play, usually away from the litter box, which can lead to unnecessary accidents that make your life a living hell.

When your ferret wakes up after a sound sleep, start introducing it to the litter box. Place the litter box in the corner it prefers. That will encourage it to use it.

If accidents happen outside the litter box, pick it up and put it in the designated spot to let them know that this is where they’re supposed to do their business.

Feel free to restrict their free reign and space until they prove you that they know where to relieve themselves.

a ferret sleeping in a small bed

If your furry friend likes to pee or poop outside its litter box, you can use these simple tricks to stop it.

  • You can also spray bitter apple to keep it away from that spot. You know how they hate that smell.

You may substitute lime juice, if bitter apple juice cannot be obtained, for keeping ferrets away from the place.

Reward good behavior. Ferrets adore treats, so use them as an incentive. Praise and affection will encourage your ferret to do the right thing.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while training ferrets:

  • This trick business is just a business for your pet; they expect a payoff every time you make them do some tasks. Otherwise, they tend to think it is not worth their while.
  • Make all activities fun. Ferrets like treats and praise. If you make them do chores, they’ll lose interest at some point.
  • Frequency, consistency, and patience are the keys to successfully training your ferret.
  • It’s better to keep lessons short. Ferrets have a short attention span, so long lessons can turn monotonous, and active ferrets are easily bored, etc.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a well-behaved, toilet-trained ferret in no time!

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