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Ferret training 101

www.PetMD.com, the largest global source of pet health information, is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

potty training your ferret

When we talk about training your pet ferret, we're not talking about training it to do acrobatic or magic tricks, and it is doubtful that they will ever replace dogs on sleds or surfboards. But ferrets, like dogs (and even cats), will respond to basic training techniques. Besides, a little training will make life more pleasurable for you and your ferret.

Ferret

Ferret boot camp 

Why train a ferret? Well, like any animal they sometimes need a little direction. They also need to learn boundaries, and the younger they are once training begins, the better.

One problem you may face with your ferret is nipping. Ferrets like to bite things, and sometimes that"thing" might be you. This needs to be, ahem, nipped in the bud, and there are a few ways to do this. Teething rusks and hard dog biscuits can help to distract and refocus your ferret's biting impulse, along with some disciplinary measures.

But don't panic at the word "disciplinary," it does not involve hurting your pet. A few simple things, like making a high pitched scream-like sound when bitten, holding your ferret by the scruff (the nape of the neck) and saying "no" in a very firm voice, or even hissing at the ferret when it bites will help teach your ferret that nipping people and other things (like furniture) is wrong. These techniques can work for training your ferret not to do other things, too.

One other method that some people swear by is spraying bitter apple scent on things they don't want the ferret to bite or chew on. This can be bought in spray form at a pet store.

Just don't forget about positive reinforcement. All animals, including ferrets, respond very well to positive training moves. Cuddles, treats, and praise given whenever your ferret does something good can work wonders on making the training stick.

Up next: Litter training >>

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