Training Your Ferret


Training your ferret … hmmmm!

Let me think now …

… is that an oxymoron? ?

People do train their ferrets not to do certain things and I’m sure they get magnificent results from their determined efforts but I, alas, am not such a dedicated soul regarding the general stuff.

Training them not to nip or bite, yes. That is SO important, because you don’t want to have a ferret which is a mischievous little brat.

But the other stuff, like training it to go into the litter tray or not to dig in the water or food dish???

If you have the time and patience – go for it! I wish you all the best!

I’ve found that the success of trying to train a ferret depends entirely on the ferret’s personality.

For instance ….

With nip training –- some of our ferrets have understood from their first “No” that they shouldn’t play rough and are so gentle I would trust a child to hold them.

Others know they shouldn’t nip but just can’t seem to stop themselves. You can almost see them wincing as they go for your feet because they know they’re going to get into trouble .. but what the heck!

With litter training — one ferret will be asleep in the chest of drawers and when it wakes up, instead of using the spot where all the others poop and piddle, it will run out of the room, down the corridor and find some obscure place (like under the desk in the study) to relieve itself.

Another will be asleep somewhere else and, when it wakes up, will run straight to the designated area and relieve itself.

Harness training? Well, I usually end up carrying my lot on the odd occasions we take them for a walk.

And as far as getting them not to dig …? * Snort *

Snoopy is almost an obsessive compulsive when it comes to trying to get into the mattress, no matter what obstacles we put around to try and deter her. It was only when Philip finally screwed the boards against the four sides of the base of our bed and she found she was well and truly licked that she gave up.

Now she’s hell bent about getting inside Philip’s chair, and we have to think of all kinds of creative ideas to keep her out!

None of the other ferrets has any interest in mattresses or the chair, only Snoops.

And Otis is the one who loves to snorkel in the dog’s water dish and also dive into her food dish, so as to scatter her food all over the laundry floor. That caused a bit of a challenge but I found the solution by buying a couple of $2 non-skid mats and putting the dishes on them. Apparently the fact that he can’t push the dishes around while he’s head first in them spoils the fun so he’s left them alone since my purchase! Bliss!!

House plants? We just don’t have any inside.

Carpets? They have all been pulled up and wooden floors have taken their place right through the house.

However – it’s always good to know the principles of training so I’ve just written down my opinion on how to train ferrets, together with what other owners have told me works for them, and hope the advice will be of help to any newbies out there! ?


Nip Training

IMHO, this is the most important thing you should do because no one likes a ferret that bites. If your ferret is nippy, you have to make it understand that that sort of behavior is unacceptable because it wouldn’t be fair to the ferret if you stopped interacting with it because you were afraid it’d bite you.

Young ferret play involves lots of biting and because their fur and skin is quite thick, they’ll happily use their teeth when playing with us. Ouch!

Generally speaking, adult ferrets nip because they’re frightened, scared, or were not handled when they were young so aren’t socialized properly. It can also mean that your ferret is deaf or blind.

If you have a kit who’s nipping because of enthusiastic play and not out of fear, you can grab it by the scruff of the neck and shake it (not hard but firmly), making a growling noise like its mother would.

You can also say “NO” very loudly and tap it – don’t smack it – on its bottom.

Again, don’t tap it so hard that you send the ferret flying – it’s enough that the ferret equates the word NO with an uncomfortable sensation on its bottom and usually when that connects, all you have to do is say “NO” and the ferret will stop nipping.

If the ferret is older and hasn’t been socialized properly, you might find that it will bite rather than nip and that will need a lot of patience and understanding on your part while you are training it that biting is unacceptable.

So, what do you do when a large adult ferret bites your finger?

You can try to push your finger further into its mouth so that it gags and lets go. Or you can squeeze the sides of its jaw to open its mouth and if that doesn’t work, then you can put its head under running water, all while you are shouting “NO”.

I know that most ferret owners don’t agree with the concept of nose flicking but I’ve had occasions when we first got Milo and Otis and found that Milo would bite my eyebrow or lip if I put my face down close to him. If I tried to shake him by the scruff to let go, he’d just bite down harder. In desperation I’ve had to flick his nose hard several times so that he’d let go. However when I was flicking his nose, I was also saying “NO” very loudly so that he would understand his behavior was unacceptable.

That was quite an experience, I can tell you! Now let me just explain that when I got them, they hadn’t been handled for the first five months of their lives. Plus they both had very skittish personalities so would get nervous with sudden movements, etc.

I’ve had them for two years now and am finally able to kiss them both on their nose without any worries but it took time and a lot of handling (and spilt blood ?) for them to realize that they had no need to be scared of us.

Kahlua knows full well she shouldn’t bite but once she’s under the sheets, she seems to think it’s her right to attack any toes or ankles or even kneecaps she comes across. Quite often I see her lick, lick, licking before she chomps down and her eyes are screwed up as if to say, “Oh oh — this means trouble but I just can’t help myself!”

When I shout “No”, she lets go immediately and looks at me as if to say, “Spoilsport!”

You can get some Bitter Apple and apply it to your hands so that the ferret would get a nasty taste in its mouth if it nipped. If there is no Bitter Apple available in your area, go to your vet and ask him to recommend something similar.

Another option is having a water spray bottle nearby so that if your ferret thinks it funny to nip and run, you can squirt it and yell “NO” at the same time.

As long as you persist in saying “NO” when you punish your ferret for nipping, it will learn to associate that word with your displeasure and eventually all you’ll have to do is say “NO” and your ferret will stop doing whatever he shouldn’t be doing.

If you find that your new ferret is deaf or blind, then you will have to take special precautions that you don’t startle it when you pick it up.

If it’s blind, then call its name before you approach it so it knows you’re around. If it’s deaf, then stroke it gently before picking it up.

Take time to train your ferret not to nip and you’ll find it’s well worth the time and effort.

DO NOT take it to the vet to have its canine teeth filed down or removed. That is barbaric and any decent vet will refuse to do it.

Here are some sites which might give you more ideas about nip training …

Nip Training Ferrets (STA Ferret Rescue)

How to Train a Ferret Not to Bite Co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS (wikiHOW)


Litter Training

Ferrets can be trained to use their litter tray but unlike cats, they don’t automatically go in the tray.

Generally speaking, ferrets will back into a corner to relieve themselves.

They usually go immediately after waking up, so if you want your ferret to come out and play, make sure you wake it up and leave it in its cage until it uses the tray to avoid accidents.

If you see your ferret backing into a corner, not the litter tray, just pick it up and put it into the tray. Once it has finished using it, praise it and give it a special treat. The ferret will soon equate using the litter tray with getting nice treats, so that will encourage it to always go in the tray.

If your ferret is running around the house and you notice it backing into a corner in the room, pick it up and quickly put it in the litter tray.

If your ferret lives in the house, then you’ll find that it will usually use the same corner in the room so if you don’t want to put a litter tray down on the floor, use a newspaper there.

When your ferret is running around the house, it might poop or piddle in other corners or even in the middle of the room.

Buy a good supply of cheap toilet rolls – you’ll be able to use them to clean up any accidents.

Don’t push your ferret’s face into its poop or piddle if it accidentally goes in the wrong place – it’s pointless and cruel.
Here are a couple of articles which should help you with litter training your ferret …

How to Litter Train Your Ferret Co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS (wikiHOW)

Training Your Ferret to Use the Litter Box by Rebecca Jones (



Harness Training

NEVER use a leash which is just attached to a collar. The ferret will easily slip out of the collar and run away. The best type is an H-brace harness which fits snugly around your ferret’s body neck and body and which they can’t wriggle out of.

Some ferrets tend to lie flat when they get their first taste of walking on a leash outside and the owners often end up carrying them around. If your ferret does that, don’t drag it along but pick it up and put it down occasionally so it can smell the grass, etc. Slowly it will get used to going out and walking with you.

Make sure you keep an eye out for passing dogs and pick your ferret up if there’s one close by. Also resist the temptation to let strangers pet your ferret when outside.

Don’t take your ferret out when it’s very hot or cold.

Before you take your ferret out for a walk, make sure that your ferret’s vaccinations are all up-to-date so that it doesn’t pick up any diseases (like canine distemper).

An article which might give you ideas about harness training …

How to Train Your Ferret to Walk on a Leash Co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS (wikiHOW)


Teaching Your Ferret Not to Dig

House plants

You can always identify a ferret owner’s house – no house plants!

If you do have house plants and you don’t want to get rid of them, go to a garden center and pick out some heavy stones to put on the soil.

Make sure that they stones are heavy enough so that the ferret can’t flick it out but that you can pour water through the stones to keep the plant watered. Note though, that if the stones aren’t literally glued together, it will probably be a waste of time! Ferrets are really persistent. All contents of potted plant belong on the floor!

Food dishes

Ferrets also love digging in their food dish and snorkeling through their water dish, and even in your dog’s or cat’s food dish.

If your ferret is digging at the dishes in its cage, get a bowl that angles inwards and don’t fill the dish up with too much dry food. Also replace the water dish with a water bottle – but be aware some bottles leak.

If your ferret runs around the house and causes mayhem with his food dishes there, I found that putting the dishes on non-skid mats have somehow made it not so much fun to mess around in.

Put your cat food bowl up high, like on the top of the washing machine, and make sure you feed your dog separately so that the ferret isn’t around to play in that dish.

Beds and couches

Some ferrets don’t care about scratching your mattress or couch, while others are totally obsessed with getting inside, and wrecking, both.

If your ferret has free run of your house, be aware that he might just find it nice to go under your bed to poop or piddle.

I suggest you do whatever is necessary to prevent your ferret having access under the bed. ANYTHING!

With couches, it depends on the style. We recently bought a lounge suite and I thought, because it was very low to the ground and the fabric very tough, that our ferrets wouldn’t be able to get into it.

Stupid mistake!

Little did I know that there were openings in the top two corners of the sofa, behind the fitted cushions, and one ferret found its way inside the couch that way. She then told the others and I suddenly had all 6 of them scratching their way up the back, behind the cushions to get into the couch.

We cut a small flap at the back (yes, a brand new $1000 couch!) so that the ferrets can go in and out without wrecking the back but that didn’t work because they’d lie on the material at the bottom and use that as comfy hammocks. That also made it easier for them to scratch at the foam inside, so we cut the material away and emptied two jars of white pepper on the floor before tipping the couch back upright.

No more troubles with ferrets sleeping inside the couch.

This is war, people ?


If you have carpets in your house and you need to keep certain doors shut, get a plastic sheet, cut it in an inverted H-shape (to fit around the door frame) and put it under the door. Once you stick the plastic down with duct tape, it should keep the carpet safe from your ferret.

However be aware that some ferrets will pick at the duct tape and they might be able to get under the plastic. If that happens, pour white pepper down on the carpet – that will make the ferret sneeze when in the area so it will put it off going under the plastic.

If your ferret loves to dig, get a plastic tub and fill it with gravel for fish tanks, or maybe ping-pong balls, or even rice or short pasta. That is a healthy, safe way for your ferret to enjoy its favorite pastime  ?



Teaching Your Ferret Tricks

Huh? Tricks? Oh no, I have never tried to teach my ferrets any tricks. They’re the ones that taught me to jump hoops for them! ?


26 thoughts on “Training Your Ferret”

  1. I do have a question I recently got a three-month-old boy and he seems to bite or naw on stuff even eat things like his bedding like I find pieces of the bedding fabric torn out and missing I’m assuming he had eaten it what can I do or should I do to combat him from eating the fabric

  2. Hi Nick
    I remember when I used to breed ferrets, it worried me when I saw holes in the T-shirts I had for my kits’ bedding as it was obvious that one or more of them were eating the fabric 😮
    What you can do is get some Bitter Apple spray and if there are certain areas which he favours, then spray around there. Bitter Apple is non-toxic so if he gets a mouthful, he’d just spit it out rather than carry on eating!
    I’d also suggest you get some ferret or cat laxative and give the proper amount to him for a couple of days just to make sure any bits of fabric are evicted from his gut. The last thing you need is for him to get a blockage in his gut. Keep an eye out for skinny shaped poop or any changes in his behaviour (such as lethargy) as that could mean trouble 🙁
    Take a look at my page about blockages if worried and get him to a ferret vet asap if you suspect it might be that!
    Pure canned pumpkin is also great for moving objects in a ferret’s gut. I haven’t tried it myself but have heard glowing reports from other owners who swear by it …

    You might also think about changing the type of bedding you have for your little man. I’ve heard denim is pretty good and deters chewers so if you have an old pair of jeans, put that in his cage and see how it goes.
    Chewing could also be a sign of boredom – are you interacting with him often or is he just stuck in his cage all day?
    Hope that’s been of some help 🙂
    Hugs to your guy from his new buddies down under 😀

  3. Hi. I just bought my ferret and he is biting a lot and very hard. He also looks pretty young. I don’t know if he is just stressed from the sudden change of surrounding or he was just never taught not to bite. I bought him from petco, I don’t know if that information helps. I don’t want to scruff him because I don’t want to cause him any extra stress, if that’s even the problem. I don’t know what to do to stop the biting.

  4. Hi Jaelyn
    Sorry about the delay in replying but my spam filter put your comment in the Spam box and I only just saw it this morning 🙁
    It’s not nice when a ferret bites and it is necessary to nip that habit in the bud (pun intended 😉 )!!
    Did you read my suggestions on this page about “Nip Training”? The links I put down also have good suggestions on how to train your ferret not to bite.
    And I stress – always praise your ferret when it does what you told it to and give it a little treat.
    Ferrets are very intelligent animals and it won’t take your ferret long to understand what you are teaching it and to learn what to do to get the treat from you.
    Here are some sites which have other ideas for you to consider as well …

    Do you know if your ferret is deaf? Deaf ferrets can bite from fear or surprise as they don’t hear you behind them but there’s a great site which gives advice on what to do if you do have a deaf ferret …

    Once you find the solution which works then make sure you always praise your boy for listening to you and give him a treat you know he likes so that he understands he’s doing the right thing by not biting!
    Be persistent and consistent and it shouldn’t take long for him to stop biting!
    Best of luck and hugs to your little guy from his new buddies down under 😀

  5. I have a question concerning one of my Ferrets. Brenda Lee wants to bite all the time and I can not get her to stop. My roommate said it is cause the people who had her before me gave her raw chicken legs. Bobby Dean does not bite, I got him from the same people. Bonnie and buddy does not bite.

  6. Hi Missy
    I doubt very much that raw chicken legs made Brenda Lee a biter 🙂
    It could well be that she was nippy as a kit so her previous owners never handled her and she got worse. Bobby Dean probably is very laid back so perhaps he was handled a lot and that’s why he’s not a nipper!
    Please take a look at the section I’ve written about “Nip Training” on this page.
    Ferrets all have such different personalities – some seem to enjoy biting their owners 😮 My last albino girl, Mojo, was like that! She was a little horror when I got her from the breeder and I was shocked, because in the past all of my albinos were absolutely smoochy, cuddly little things.
    Mojo didn’t have any of those cuddly traits – she was horrible so I had to train her that biting was unacceptable and I did what I wrote down on this page to get her to stop.
    It worked but she was like Kahlua … she would come to me and lick lick lick before I’d see her close her eyes and I knew she was going to try and bite me on my arm. I’d shout “NO BITING” and she’d stop and look at me, so I’d pick her up, praise her, kiss her on the nose, stroke her and tell her “Gentle! Be gentle” in a soft voice as I cuddled her.
    She was very good with me but she still liked to try and bite my husband when he sat on the bed to put his clothes on! LOL! 😀
    So please try what I’ve suggested here and don’t forget to praise her when she listens to you. If you give your guys any treats, make sure you give her something she likes and tell her she’s a good girl for listening to you.
    It might take a little while but she will understand and I know she will obey. At least all my nippy ferrets have learned that biting is unacceptable so Brenda Lee will too. Ferrets are very smart little critters and respond well to learning how to behave 😀
    Hope that’s been of some help!
    Hugs to your little ones from their new buddies down under 🙂

  7. Thanks for that, Seth. When you posted that on my Furquin’s Ferrets FB page, I put the link up on my Training page (see above).
    I see you posted the link to another short video … I will post that one on this page too.
    Great stuff!!

  8. nona,
    i have two baby ferrets, sammy (the boy) and luna (the girl), i got them at eight weeks according to the sign on their cage in early to mid july but i received birth certificates indicating that they were born in may? anyways there is no way they are older than 4 months at the most…
    the girl is very smart and trainable, she has been a breeze! she uses the litter box had a foot nipping fetish that disappeared once we trained her not to…
    but the boy sammy, he likes to dig my feet which is kinda funny but he also likes to naw behind my knees and any soft skin under the blankets. i tried scruffing/dragging it was totally ineffective. i love him so much but it hurts! then i give him ferrotone and he licks sweetly then once it is gone news at my wrist so hard!!!! 🙁
    when the two of them sleep they cuddle away. but when they play they never dook!! they hiss at eachother something awful a lot… i am concerned what should i do? i have been anticipating the Dooking and the only time i heard my boy dook was when i just a moment ago was playing with him from my rolling computer chair and accidentally ran over his tail!!!!!! D:< )': !! i am so upset, i checked his tail it was fine and then spent some time petting him until he seemed calm and over the ordeal. but i am really beating myself up over it. i thought we were playing i was tickling his belly then he started Dooking like crazy and i noticed his tail! very sad.
    they are both overall well tempered and not aggressive to strangers. very sweet with new people in fact but i feel like sammy is so rough with me. they are constantly out of their cage and playing with each other or myself. i spend the most time with sammy as well, how can i get him to be more respecting and understanding without scruffing. i own bitter apple spray but i am concerned if i use if on my skin my ferrets will draw back and not like me?? could the lack of Dooking be due to the young age? i hear them clucking when they play with each other. also i always see that they should be handled, but is there a point when you could be handling them too much to the point that they don't want to go near you bc you pick them up too much?! they always come running to me when i call them and sammy gives me kisses on my face, i feel so sad i know they love me but i would like to know what you think, could you give me any tips to improve my ferret parenting? i care so much i want to be the best for them!!!!! ps. i could record video of them playing if you would care to see and hear what i mean.
    christina, sammy, and luna <3

  9. Hi Christina
    Apologies for my late reply but I’ve been down with the flu this week so feeling very sorry for myself since I couldn’t cuddle my babies 🙁
    You seem to have two gorgeous little ferrets, Christina, and I honestly don’t know what to suggest to make Sammy stop gnawing at your wrist or other areas.
    I’ve had ferrets who liked to go “lick lick lick CHOMP”!!! When they did that, I used to yell “NO BITING!!!”
    When you say Sammy “gnaws” on your flesh, do you really mean bites you? You can train him not to bite by making sure he knows those two very important words.
    This is how I’ve done it with my guys …
    If I get a new ferret and he bites me, I scruff him and say extremely loudly “NO BITING”, tapping him (not hitting) on his nose and shaking him (not roughly).
    I then stroke him and say in a quiet voice, “Gently … good boy … kiss!” I kiss him on the nose and stroke him.
    I do this a couple of times before he gets the message and then the next time he tries to bite me but stops when I yell at him, I praise him again and give him a treat which I know he likes.
    Again, it only has to happen a couple of times for him to realise that biting me means getting yelled at but not biting when I tell him to means getting treats 😀
    You could try that with Sammy – I’m sure he’ll react the same way and, as you said, he’s a smart boy so it won’t take long for the penny to drop 🙂
    I don’t think your ferrets will hate you if you put Bitter Apple on the areas where Sammy likes to gnaw but, of course, it would be hard to make sure that it’s on your skin when he’s there and about to do that. You could try and see how it works.
    Re the dooking – my guys don’t dook at all when they’re playing with each other. Being boys, they play quite rough and I get occasions when there’s lots of squealing, stink bombs and bottlebrush tails 😮
    I’ve had a total of 18 ferrets over the past 23 years and only had 3 which enjoying dooking! My first boy, Chucky, used to dook as he walked around – that’s why I named him Chucky 😉 The other two would dook when they were doing their weasel wardance but the others were pretty quiet! So I really wouldn’t worry too much about Sammy and Luna not dooking when playing 😀
    Please feel free to send me a video clip of them playing if you’d like to … I would love to see your babies but I don’t think I’d be able to give you any advice about them not dooking when they play! You can find my gmail address on the Contact page!
    Christina, you sound like a wonderful “ferrent” and I think Sammy and Luna were very lucky to have been chosen by you as I know they will have a great life in your home!
    I hope what I’ve said has been helpful and I also hope you’ll give Sammy and Luna a big hug from their new friends down under 🙂

  10. Hello, Nona. I’ve been so impressed with all the experience you have had with ferrets! What a good source of information! ‘Tried and true’ information is the best always! I know you said ferrets usually ‘fight for dominance’ when introducing a new ferret. My niece bought a male ferret(4 years old maybe) that had been ‘given up’ by a family who had had him just by himself. He is a gentle sweet ferret and is a blessing! But I knew to introduce him slowly to my two females(honestly you should do this with most animals!). What happens is that he seems to try to ‘hump’ the girls and roll with them and they always ‘squeak or ‘scream’ as you call it. I watch carefully, of course, but when this happens I am afraid he’s hurting them and pick him up. I haven’t tried your discipline tactics yet as I just found this site this morning. Should I let it go on for a few minutes or am I right by removing him, and doing the discipline tactic with him? I am already sharing blankets so they get the smell of the other ones. I’ve had the two females since this summer (2017) and just acquired this male just before Christmas. I do not have them ‘free roaming’ but they get out of their two cages at least once a day for a couple of hours. I have seven small dogs, 4 Toy Poodles(one mix), 2 Chis, and a tiny Yorkie. The Yorkie, and two Chi’s stay on the couch and pretty much ignore the ferrets. The two larger Poodles get excited and want to play with butt in the air and sometimes ‘paw’ at them, so I usually have one in a kennel and one out. But they mind me really well and will go sit on the couch if I tell them to. The smallest black Toy Poodle is just so calm and loves to follow them and stands real still when they want to ‘sniff’ her. My Malti or Yorkie-poo wants to ‘sniff them out’ from where they’re hiding, never tries biting at them but wants to jump at them when I pick them up! I have 3 cats who ignore them too. As I’ve said I am very careful with the mix of my ferrets and dogs. But I am not sure about leaving ‘Charley’ out with the two girls very long. Does the ‘screaming’ mean I should pick him or one of them up or not? He seems to do it mostly with the older female but has done it with the younger one too. Maybe I just need more time as I’ve only had him a little while. When I let them out they get the run of the whole living room, kitchen, and hallway. They have lots of ‘cluttered’ spaces that they can go in and out of which is good for them, NOT for me! Ha!

  11. Hi Lynda
    Thank you so much for your very kind words about my site 🙂 It really was a labour of love, as I find these little guys to be the most adorable and hilarious little creatures and wanted to share that with others!
    You said …

    What happens is that he seems to try to ‘hump’ the girls and roll with them and they always ‘squeak or ‘scream’ as you call it. I watch carefully, of course, but when this happens I am afraid he’s hurting them and pick him up.

    When I first read that I thought that perhaps Charley hadn’t been sterilised but, seeing you’re in the States, that can’t be the case 🙁 I can only assume that he’s showing the girls who’s boss and they obviously don’t appreciate it!
    When he does that again, shout “Charley NO!” and pick him up, growl/hiss in his face (!!!), and shake him, not hard but hard enough for him to realise that what he’s doing isn’t good. Then try and put his with the girls, stroke him and tell him”, “Gentle, be gentle!” in a quiet voice. If he tries to grab one of the girls again, go through the command “Charley NO!” and the rest of the routine.
    I don’t think it’ll take him long to understand that it’s not good to be a bully and once you see he listens to you and stops, pick him up and say, “Good boy, Charley!” and give him a treat you know he loves.
    If you do this consistently and persistently, I’m sure it won’t take long for the penny to drop!
    You asked about the screaming one of your girl does. Yes, that means she’s not a happy camper so I’d suggest trying the method I gave you to get Charley to stop being a pest 😀
    I was also thinking it might be a good idea for you to give your ferrets a smoothie to have together! My guys absolutely love their smoothie and they come running to the kitchen the minute they hear me use the electric beater to mix it all up 😀
    200ml no lactose milk
    1 egg yolk
    1 Astaxanthin capsule (you can prick it on an upside down thumb tack then squeeze the content into the jug – you can swallow the rest of the capsule!)
    Whisk it all together and serve 🙂
    Astaxanthin is a great antioxidant and will only be good for them.

    I reckon having all your ferrets licking their smoothie together would also help to bond them, together with what you are doing with their blankets, etc.
    It’s wonderful to read how tolerant your dogs and cats are of your ferrets! You are obviously a very knowledgeable pet owner and it’s lovely to read about how your other animals act with the ferrets. As we say in Australia, “ONYA!” (short for Good On Ya 😉 )
    I do hope my advice will help you restore peace in your house – as I said, be persistent and consistent and it should all work out!
    Hugs to your three from my wolverines down under!

  12. Okay so I have two ferrets and the female digs at the potty pads opt in there and gets inside them and will not stop at nothing to do it.. I do everything I can to tuck the sides under the tray but she keeps finding ways.. Idk what to do…

  13. Oh Kristal, I can totally empathise with your dilemma but I don’t have any answers to that 🙁
    At present I have two boys and they poop everywhere and anywhere in the house! I have never had such indiscriminate poopers with any of my other ferrets over the 24 years of being a ferret slave!
    All my guys have been free roam in the house and most of them would use the newspapers I have in the corners or under the vanity in the bathroom so it was really easy to keep the floors pretty clean. But these two … oh Lordy! Never mind that they poop under the dining table or other hard-to-get-at spots but they also poop an inch away from the newspaper (sometimes not every time thank goodness)!!
    I just buy rolls of cheap toilet paper from K-Mart and have a roll in each room so that I can pick up the mess or blot their puddles as soon as I see them!
    I guess you could try getting the paper pellets for kitty litter and put them in the tray to see if that’ll work instead of the potty pads. Some ferrets get a real kick out of shredding paper and it seems like your girl is one of those types 😛
    Anyway, try that and see if it’ll work with her!
    Sorry I can’t be of more help.
    Hugs to your dynamic duo from their new friends down under 😀

  14. Kristal … I don’t know if you saw the Weekly Weasel photo on my home page. In case you missed it, it shows you’re not the only one with a ferret who won’t use the potty pads 😀

  15. hi there!
    We have a sweet neutered male ferret that was found as a stray. He is NOT good at using the litter box. Any tips?

  16. Oh Shelmarie … I’m afraid I am unable to help you when it comes to training a ferret to poop/piddle in his litter box 🙁
    The only thing I can suggest is that perhaps you should try putting newspaper or a potty pad down to see if he prefers that? You can see the photo of the ferret and the potty pad which I posted in a comment just above yours 😉
    I’ve had ferrets for 24 years now – all free roam in the house – and for 22 of those years, all my ferrets seemed to know that it was important to use the newspapers I had laid out in strategic corners!
    I used to have a “business” of 6 at all times and when one or two left me for the Rainbow Bridge, I’d replace them.
    Since I’ve grown old and doddery, my husband suggested to me that I should scale back to owning just two and I reluctantly agreed. When my last two girls left me 2 years ago, I got two young brothers from our Rescue. Both are gorgeous boys but oh boy, do they like to poop/piddle wherever they get the urge! 😮
    We put them in the bathroom at night and when we let them out in the mornings, we have to walk into the bathroom like it’s a minefield! Poop behind the door, poop opposite the door, poop right in the middle of the door! It’s awful!
    I never had this with my other babies – they would religiously poop on the papers I had put out and it was so easy to clean up the next morning, but my two wolverines …. totally untrainable! ?
    Try the potty pads/newspapers and see if he likes them but if not …! I can only suggest you speak to someone in your ferret club/rescue and ask them for advice because, sadly, I have none! Sorry ?
    Big hugs to your boy from the wolverines down under and I wish you the very best of luck with his training !!! 😀

  17. I just happened to come across this feed while looking for things toxic to ferrets. exterminator wanted to put down glue traps w/ roach pheromones.

    then I read on.

    I let lois and clark out for 2-4hrs a day as time permits but I have been unsuccessful at getting them to use a litter box OUTSIDE the cage even when placed in an area they are known to use. they just start using another spot. lois usually goes “back home” to her own toilet but clark is another story. and I always reward her when lois goes in her cage. she even tries to trick me and pretend she is going and then comes to me for her snack. nice try, lois! these kids are not stupid.

    what actually made me write is when you said, “this is war!”.

    I don’t think I am paranoid but sometimes I think they are plotting against me. if I slip up on security, they are always there to capitalize.
    I cant put anything down anywhere. I have to put everything away. I cant even go to the bathroom w/o locking my stuff up or its gone when I get back. I have to use a box w/ a clasp cuz lois will find a way to open it if I don’t.
    its funny, or maybe not. but I feel they are watching me and waiting to pounce.

    any suggestions on getting them to use the litter box outside of their house? they rarely slip when in their house.


  18. Oh George – I’m afraid that when it comes to training ferrets, I am a miserable failure ?
    With my past ferrets, not one of them pooped under the couch even if they slept in it. Not one of them pooped behind the bathroom door when they were put in there for the night. Not one of them left little brown “presents” in the middle of the floor (unless they were ill, that is)!
    When my last two oldies left me for the Bridge, I thought I couldn’t have any more ferrets as the pain of losing my girls was too intense but after a couple of weeks of having me walk around the house with a long face and finding hard to laugh, my husband went to Ferret Rescue and got me two 6 month old brothers who had just been handed in!
    They were gorgeous, big, boofy sable boys and I felt absolutely happy once again! HOWEVER … my wolverines are absolutely HOPELESS when it comes to using the papers I’ve placed in strategic spots around the house!
    I had to send my husband out to get a sheet of carpet protector to fit under the couch as they loved pooping under it and I was worried about our floor getting damaged with my constant mopping and cleaning. When we open the bathroom door every morning, I have to put on my glasses to see all the little mines that my boys have dropped, especially behind the door where they prefer to shred the newspaper I put there instead of pooping on it! ?
    So George – I regret I cannot help you as I’m tearing my hair out here with their bad habits! But apart from that, I must say that they are my beautiful boys and make me so happy so I put up with that! ?
    Please give Lois and Clark (love their names!) a big hug from Mischa and Grisha, their new buddies down under ❤️
    Cheers (and good luck in your quest to train them! Perhaps a ferret rescue owner could give you ideas?)

  19. Hi Nona,

    Do you have any experience with carpet digging and correcting a ferret’s bad behavior? My two new babies (adopted 2 & 3 year olds) are very well behaved overall, but our entire house is not ferret proofed yet (and I’m not sure we will grant them access to all rooms in the future). It is a mostly carpeted house, and we have many doors (which come in handy to block access to the ferrets) however, they are both digging at the bottoms of the doors.

    We are actively playing with the ferrets (so they are not bored) and I am not keen on redecorating my house by creating some sort of cut up plastic mats to place in all of the doorways. I just think that these little buggers should be able to handle some sort of correction techniques that are gentle.

    I’ve tried saying “NO!” during the behavior (and clapping loudly), and tried giving them a “time-out”. (However, I just learned that a time out should be given in a travel carrier and not their main cage), so I will have to attempt that instead.

    I was also reading about someone who made a loud “rattle-can” by placing pennies in a soda can and taping it closed shut. If the ferret doesn’t respond with the loud “no”, then toss the can *nearby* so to alarm the ferret during the bad behavior? I have a background with dog training, and it seems like something like this “rattle-can” might just create a fear of loud noises….?

    Do you have any suggestions for correcting bad behavior, such as digging at carpets (that doesn’t include significant home altering techniques)?

    I have also read that a dig box is helpful, as ferrets are natural diggers, but I do believe in this case that this little mister and miss just want access to the forbidden rooms.

    😛 Thank you! ~Tegan

  20. Hi Tegan
    Oh dear – I’m sorry but I have never been able to train my babies not to scratch when we had carpets. We redecorated and put down wooden floors so that solved the problem! ?
    To give you an example – my present two, two gorgeous brothers, are absolutely hopeless about using the newspapers I have placed strategically around the house. Not only that but they poop under the couch and also behind the bathroom door during the night so that I have to open the door and carefully check for their little “presents” — however not one of my oldies ever did that! I had to send my husband to the hardware store to get a carpet protector to fit under the couch to protect the floor ?
    So you see, I’m not really the person to ask about ferret training ? Perhaps it might help to speak to a ferret rescue owner and ask them if they have any good ideas to pass onto you?
    I apologise for not being able to suggest anything practical but I think my ferrets have trained me rather than vice versa ❤️
    With best wishes

  21. So I have two ferrets that I’ve had for a while and recently they started scratching at their cage when I’m trying to sleep. They do it during the day when they aren’t out too. They get let out for a while almost everyday and I’ve tried letting them roam around my room at night, but they don’t go to sleep. They just keep running around and getting into everything. Nothing I try works. I’ve tried spraying lemon juice on the cage, I’ve tried a scruffing them, I’ve even tried bopping them on the nose and nothing works?

  22. Oh Lexi – so sorry to hear about that but I don’t know what to suggest!
    Can you shut them up in the bathroom at night? ?‍♀️
    My guys have always been free roam and they’d go to sleep in my chest of drawers or in our bed and our dog at the time was cool with that. However when she died and we got a rescue dog, he was very twitchy about the ferrets so I had to put them in the bathroom for the night. They were fine with that, and our dog got to sleep soundly!
    I’m sorry I can’t give you any more advice on how to stop them from bothering you!
    Hugs to your babies from his new buddies down under ❤

  23. For ferrets that bite you need to hiss at them with the word BAD. finger training with ferret oil on your finger as they go to nip push there face away with your finger this enstills the lesson not to nip
    But you must let them have a bit of the oil.

  24. Hi Anne
    Thank you so much for your advice – I’m sure many newbies will appreciate it!
    I’ve hissed and shaken the kits a la their mamas when they bit hard but never heard about ferret oil to add to the mix! Thank you for that ?
    Hope you and your ferrets stay healthy and well during these very trying times ?

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