So you are wondering how to train a ferret?
Well your ferret will rely on you for guidance as to what to do and what not to do so this is really important.
Think about like this, when you were little you would have had a parent or someone looking after you who would have informed you of what was right and what was wrong. How would you known that caring for animals and looking after them was a good thing rather than neglecting or ignoring them like other people do? You have to learn it somewhere right? Whether it was from someone else or through experience.
Well ferrets are exactly the same. Their mums will usually tell them the best way to do things and how to do them. Well guess what? You are now their mum, at least when it comes telling them where to go to toilet, how to behave, what not to bite and so on.
So when learning how to train a ferret there is an old field of psychology called behaviorism that has been used for years and years to teach animals how to behave that you need to be aware of. Behaviorism is a way of rewarding your ferret when they do something you want them to do, like going to toilet in their litter tray, and punish them when they do something you don’t want them to do. How this is important…
Punishment should not physically hurt your ferret. It’s a just a reminder not to do something. This may be a tap on the bum to get their attention, taking something away, or a strong verbal command such as ‘NO!’. And of course a reward might be a tickle, affection or treat.
Now sure animal trainers use behavioral techniques to train animals to do the most impressive tricks. However when considering how to train a ferret we’re mostly interested in helping your ferret to behave in a way that keeps them happy and healthy. This includes where to go to toilet so that it can be cleaned out easily, not to bite or nip so you can play and bond, and not to do things like chew wire cables.
Now the absolute key when it comes to how to train a ferret is…
You have to be consistent! If you ferret does something that you want them to do or don’t want them to do you have to let them know it every time until they start doing it as a habit. If you reward or punish them sometimes and other times don’t bother they will often get confused and be unsure what it is you want. Also you want to reward or punish immediately your ferret behaves in a certain way. Leave it too long and they won’t know what they’re being guided to do. Being consistent is how to train a ferret.
Also it is important to note that some people won’t train their ferret as they feel guilty not letting them do what ever they want. This is really rather silly. You wouldn’t let a baby play with a knife just because they wanted to, and you shouldn’t let your ferret do something that will affect their health and happiness and your relationship with them in the long term.