There is no specific trick that works when it comes to training a ferret. There is no right way as each ferret is different in nature and temperament. You should use a mixture of techniques to get the best from training your ferret. Some key components include patience, consistency, and giving your ferret what he individually wants is likely to be most appropriate. There can be various things that you would want your ferret to learn from coming to you when you call his name to using a litter tray.
It comes as no surprise to ferret owners that their pets are intelligent animals, and training can be a useful way of bonding with your pet and helping your ferret become a well-adjusted animal in a home and family environment.
Key Areas of Ferret Training
Being consistent also means doing things repetitively. While it may appear boring to you, it is the easiest way to reinforce behaviour that you want to see or to prevent one that you do not. If your ferret loves being outside his cage, then put him in his litter tray as soon as he wakes, and let him out as soon as you see him use his tray. Consistency is achieved if you use the same litter material and place the tray in the same place in their cage or enclosure.
If you own two ferrets, try not to name them with similar sounding names like Molly and Polly, as it can be confusing to your ferret. Training a ferret to come to their own name helps if they are called names that sound very different.
Ferrets can respond to actions when prompted. Doing the same thing after a prompt can be picked up by your pet. Helping your pet to stand while giving the command will encourage him to stand. Doing this from a young age can be effective too. So begin training your ferret when he is a kit can be more fruitful. Scruffing your ferret’s neck and saying “No!” can sometimes deal with inappropriate behaviours as long as it is done every time that behaviour is shown to you. With patience, you can see results.
Positive Reinforcement for Your Ferret
Training of most animals depends on positive reinforcement. This is usually where a reward is provided as soon as the desired behaviour is observed and less desired behaviours are ignored. A reward does not have to be food, but it can be used as a treat. Sometimes simple physical contact can be seen as a reward by a pet. This method needs patience, as you may need to waityou’re your pet to do the desired behaviour before rewarding it. Offering time outside the cage playing with a favourite toy can also be a treat. Many pets will observe how their handler feels and reacts when they are doing something the handler is happy with. Showing excitement, a high-pitched voice and making a fuss over your ferret may be just as rewarding as giving it a small treat.
While training your ferret to do complicated manoeuvres such as rolling over, your rewarding of observed behaviour may begin by providing a treat as soon as your ferret lies down, then as he rolls onto one of his sides another treat is given, and this continues until your pet has rolled over completely.
Training with food should be small amounts of your pet’s favourite treat. Do not use his normal food, it should be something that your furry friend really loves so that he can work for it. If your pet starts doing a behaviour that you do not want to see, then withdraw attention and do not offer any reward; otherwise, you will be rewarding behaviour that you do not want to see. Never lash out or be abusive towards your pet, as this will not be conducive to training and will also act as reinforcement for the behaviour. It is best to provide a time out period, such as time in their cage instead of time with you, or ignore your pet.
Build on the Natural Behaviours of a Ferret
If your ferret enjoys playing outside, then it will easier to train to use a leash compared to one that dislikes being outside. More often, you will be observing your pet playing or doing actions that is instinctive to him. If you see your pet ferret playing with a cotton reel and moving it along with his paws, reward him, then he will do it more, reward him again and use commands. Your ferret will be rewarded for doing something that he was doing naturally. Ferrets enjoy exploring their environment in their own way. Once you realise this, you may find that your pet is less likely to escape and run away from you and can be easily trained to walk on a leash if given some freedom to explore in his own way.
Owners Need Training too
Owners sometimes need training because ferrets can sometimes indicate what it is that they want. If you tend to notice that your pet always goes to a certain place in the house to go to the toilet, then use this place to train your pet to use a tray at this location. If your little pal goes to his ferret cage when he is out of it because he wants into it, then use this cue to train your pet to enter his cage. Make training fun and play with your pets so that it does not become too serious.
Using Sound to Train Your Ferret
Sounds are powerful cues to most animals from clicks to whistles, calling your pet’s name to using a squeaky toy, your ferret is always listening in its environment. It is important for your pet to come to you when called because you can use his name to alert him to danger as well as come to you when you want him to. A ferret can be trained to come to a noise when it is followed by a reward. Instant reinforcement can be obtained by using a clicker in much the same way. As soon as the desired behaviour has been observed, a click will provide immediate positive reinforcement.