Knowing how to tame your pet will give you knowledge on gaining their trust and becoming friends. Ferrets are naturally a little nippy as they explore the world and often the behavior has been unintentionally strengthened. When trust is gained, they will show their affection and even cuddle you.
It Takes Time
You have to be patient with your Ferrets; the time it takes to tame them depends on their personality. It may take a day, weeks, maybe even months. Home breed Ferrets can be tamed easily since they would already know how to socialize with humans and other pets.
Don’t act like a predator in front of them, and avoid loud noises at your home. This makes them feel more threatened and may come to never trust you. They won’t even come near you at first but later slowly comes out from their hides to get food from you.
Difficulty Levels in Taming
Baby Ferrets are quite hard to tame compared to their adults. Adult Ferrets are mature and don’t rush things. They will be happy to eat beside you and to cuddle with you.
On the other hand, baby Ferrets are very active and love to run about throughout the day. This makes them quite difficult to tame. However, you control their food so that the baby Ferret responds to your attempts.
Taming Biting Ferrets
Ferrets explore the environment with their mouths and they have poor eyesight. They bite for oodles of reasons, so it is overly simplistic to say they bite for just one reason. A ferret might be communicating many things in the way of biting. This means just one method of control is not going to work for all situations.
Ferrets must be taught not to nip or bite. A domestically bred ferret will usually not be vicious or aggressive, but it is in its nature to enjoy games that simulate hunting, tug-of-war, chasing, or mock combat.
A young ferret will not understand what hurts you and what doesn’t hurt you until you communicate the boundaries. Some ferrets do respond to fear, pain, or to certain noises or actions by biting.
Ferrets often play-bite, bite to get attention, to get put down, out of fear, or to initiate play. They do not realize those sharp little carnivore teeth of theirs are no fun for human hands.
In this case, don’t try to pet them at first. Let them run around and when they sit somewhere, go and sit beside them with some food for them. When they are hungry, they will come near you and/or jump to your lap to ask for food.
Remember, they are not aggressive. They are just naughty. Naughty Ferrets will be more friendly and love to play with you eventually when they learn to trust you.
Tame your Ferret
Never become too physically intimate right after buying a Ferret. Give them space to get to know you and your house. Visit their enclosure often and chat with them in a quiet tone. Place food and water inside their enclosure.
Few Ferrets never get food directly from your hand, and some may never eat at your presence at all. You have to act accordingly. If they get their food from your hand, then that’s great! If not, be more patient.
For about a day or two, keep the food in their enclosure and walk away if they are not eating food from you. But after that, hold their food in your hands so that they can approach you for their food.
They will eventually approach you within a week to obtain food. Continue to hand-feed them. If they are nervous, then you can place the food under your legs and cover your legs along with the food in a blanket. In this way, if they are nervous to eat from you, they can still hide in one end of the blanket.
The key is Trust
Repeat this same process until your Ferret learns to approach you when they see you. Within weeks, your pet will start to believe and trust you.
Always give them treats using your hand and integrate staying when they eat instead of staying away. If you don’t, it will be quite hard for them to get to know you, and they will start to see you as a predator.
After gaining their trust, they will allow you to pet and lift them. Remember that you have to be very gentle when you pet them. Never grab them and pull them up suddenly. This will make them frightened of you and may never approach you again.
Cuddling your Ferrets
Be very careful when you handle Ferrets. Only lift and play with them once they are comfortable with you. The first few days upon getting them will be spent building their trust, and you can do this by placing some treats on your lap.
They enjoy eating, and you being the provider would give them the impression that you aren’t a predator to them. When proper trust is built, you may start to pet them gently.
The daily repetition of this will make them less scared of you and may eventually make them feel comfortable playing with you.
Never grab them from behind and always handle them using two hands. Your right hand should be on top of your pet’s shoulder, and you’re underneath your pet. Never squeeze them. Provide support to their legs using your fingers. Never hold them vertically, and always place them close to your chest so that they feel secure and refrain from panicking.
Be extremely attentive when placing them back to their enclosure – they may jump off from your hands and injure themselves. If they are uncomfortable with you, they will struggle when you hold them.
If this happens, just put them back down gently and try again tomorrow.
Whenever you are handling them, make sure the environment is quiet, and no one else is watching you.
Is there a way to bond faster?
Not entirely – this suggestion is roughly the same concept. Keep your Ferret in a playpen for the first few weeks; they will play and exercise and get hungry. Make sure to provide what they need in a gentle manner.
Is it alright for your friends to cuddle them?
Yes, but only once your Ferrets are comfortable with you that you may allow your friends to do the same. It is natural your pets won’t be comfortable with that arrangement but follow this process still.
Ferrets and Toddlers
Ferrets are not recommended for a household with children younger than 6 or 7 years, and especially close supervision would be required around infants or babies. Because they are natural hunters, ferrets usually can’t be trained to get along with birds, fish, rabbits, rodents, or lizards.
If you have these animals in your home, you will need to provide vigilant supervision at all times. But ferrets can generally be trained to get along with cats and dogs.
Punishments for Misbehavior?
Punishing with a tap on the nose, water spray, hitting, or throwing him will not teach your ferret an appropriate alternative behavior and will exacerbate fear biting. Time out is a gentle form of punishment but avoid any other more physical retribution.
Punishment tends to escalate behavior in the long term and teaches your ferret that aggression is appropriate. There are very few ferrets who genuinely cannot be improved and taught not to bite. It does take patience and time, and a consistent technique.
Avoid punishment and use rewards for calm behavior. A ferret will take 3 weeks to learn to stop biting, perhaps even longer if the behavior is very firm or you have a fearful animal.
Ferrets are not aggressive pets; in fact, they are quite timid. The sudden change in environment is bound to spook them, and they may even bite if you aren’t careful and gentle. Build their trust in you by properly taming them so they grow comfortable with you.