To properly welcome your ferret to its home, it is necessary to anticipate its needs and to provide it with the accessories contributing to its well-being. This animal is clean but it is not naturally used to defecating all the time in the same place. In this article, therefore, in addition to the choice of litter, we address the issues of ferret education.
Name your ferret
As with any domestic animal, and even more so with intelligent animals like the ferret, the name given to the animal is the gateway to education. Because your ferret must understand that you are talking to him. However, you will find over time that this animal with a generally strong character, can pretend not to hear your name …
You must always use your full name, and not replace it with nicknames or derivatives, otherwise the process would lose its efficiency. When he exits outside the cage, you will call him out and reward him with a treat if he comes back to you. He will understand quickly!
When it comes to delicacies, keep in mind that you should not go out of their carnivorous diet. Small pieces of boneless dried poultry will work well.
Potty training the ferret
Ferrets cannot be educated as thoroughly as a dog. You can teach him basic commands and instill in him a few behaviors, such as pooping in one place, but he will never be as docile as a dog.
The ferret will tell you where to put the litter box. It does not defecate where it feeds, nor where it sleeps. So, when it does its first poop, you materialize the space by putting the litter box or newspaper in it. To be sure it identifies the destination of that area, leave a small poop or two in place. If he relieves himself somewhere other than this designated place, you will pick up his needs to put them in his litter box, while showing him. The other area will be cleaned carefully with soapy water and vinegar to remove any odor. Do not use no bleach because the smell of this product attracts the ferret and it will start to relieve itself again in that area when you don’t want it.
While waiting for the habit to be formed, praise your ferret every time he has used his litter box. To make sure he understands, you can also place the ferret in the area as soon as he wakes up.
If your ferret continues to defecate elsewhere than in the intended location, try soaking the area with mustard diluted in water as the smell repels the ferret.
Finally, some ferret owners give up and multiply the litter boxes to place one in each place where the ferret defecates, because these places are ultimately few.
Cleaning ferret litter
Your role is essential for your ferret to learn to use the litter box. If you delay in removing the previous excrement from its litter, it will not hesitate to relieve itself next to it. But be careful, if the litter box is too clean, he may decide to sleep there and the litter box will then have changed. destination. The trick is to leave some excrement against an edge to remind the animal what the litter box is for.
You also need to make sure that your ferret has everything it needs to build its nest because if it happens to sleep in its litter box, it may be that it does not have the resting area it needs. This place is essential given the amount of time the animal spends sleeping. This nest can be a hammock, a plastic or wicker box in which you can put scraps of fabric, hay, straw …
The ferret’s litter box
There are litter boxes specially designed for ferrets. They are usually triangular in shape to fit in a corner. Ferrets are energetic animals who like to knock over any containers they come across. It is therefore essential that the litter box is fixed against the wall or on the cage grid. Some people opt for a cat litter box, sized to suit the ferret.
What material to choose for ferret litter?
For small rodents like mice, degus or gerbils, litter is essential because it lines the entire floor of the cage. These small animals therefore have their noses in them all the time. This is why we must be attentive to the risks of dust and allergy that the litter can cause.
For ferrets, the problem of health is not as important. The role of the litter is above all to absorb odors. As your ferret can be difficult with the choice of material, we recommend that you test a cat litter box first, in a small container, so that you can give the package to a cat owner if your pet doesn’t like it.
Your financial capacities will direct you more towards a litter ensuring a good quality-price ratio or towards a high-end product.
General ferret education
The younger the ferret, the easier the education. However, you must wait until 2 months of age, when the ferret is weaned. If the adoption is done before, the animal risks suffering from behavioral problems.
As with many animals, education requires patience. Keep in mind that the education of a ferret remains limited. In addition, you must meet his exercise needs: he needs to get out of his cage at least 3 hours a day. If you don’t, the ferret may build up its energy and be more difficult to deal with once outside. Finally, the time to let off steam is distinct from the education time. Breakout times should be fully dedicated to physical exercise and play.
Management of the bite
Education is also aimed at teaching your ferret not to bite you. You must first identify the cause of the bite because if it is due to pain that you have caused it unintentionally, through clumsiness, or if the ferret bites because it was afraid of a noise or of a violent gesture, you must not scold him since he reacted by instinct. In these cases, you have to take him in your arms and reassure him.
However, ferrets can also bite out of play or aggression. We must not then let the situation pass without reacting. You take him by the neck and pin him to the ground until he comes to a stop. Moderate your strength so as not to break a bone. He will eventually understand and if he occasionally bites afterwards, a firm “no” will call him to order.