How To Bond With Your Ferret: The Ultimate Guide
Ferrets can make great companion animals. If you wonder how to bond with your new pet ferret, you must keep in mind that ferrets have different personalities and behaviours. Nevertheless, they have been domesticated for thousands of years and there are a few steps that can guarantee you a strong bond.
Here are some examples of how to bond with your ferret.
Regardless if you have adopted an adult ferret or it’s a newborn, you need to allow some time for your pet to settle into the new environment and get to know you. You might want to cuddle and be close to it straight away but its important to read the signals your ferret it’s giving out.
They need to explore their new home and build trust with their new human. If you see them running around confidently and not hiding, this is the first sign that you can slowly start to get to know each other.
Start Introducing Yourself
Once your ferret’s been giving out the right signals, you can start building a trusting relationship with it. You can do that by talking to your ferret whilst feeding it or giving treats. Always reward your ferret for good behaviour with treats.
You can use a clicker and use the sound to identify to your ferret when it has done something good and then follow it immediately with a treat such as piece of cooked meat. After awhile, your ferret will associate the clicking sound means that they have been good.How To Raise And Care For A Ferret
Use a soft tone of voice and phrase such as “good boy/girl”. Never use aggressive or loud tone with your ferret even if it’s misbehaved as it will only break down your bond and make your ferret afraid of you.
Once they familiarize themselves with your voice, you can start putting your hand near their face to smell, so they can start getting used to your scent. Ferrets have incredibly strong senses when it comes to smell. They can even smell water and that’s why blind ferrets don’t have problem locating water sources.
If there are more people in your household, it’s good idea to introduce each member one by one, so you don’t overwhelm your ferret.
Petting and Feeding Your Ferret
If you want to bond with your ferret, once your ferret is used to your scent, you can start petting and touching your ferret in a gentle way. You can do this with the help of treats. Ferrets love treats! Whilst they are eating, try to pet them and make sure you look out for their reaction.
If they pull away, they are not ready for that step yet. Once you feel comfortable around each other, try to place a treat in the palm of your hand for your ferret to take.
Be aware that your ferret, especially if young, might still nip and can confuse your fingers for food. It’s important to discipline correct behaviour from young age and to socialise them with humans and with other pets in the house.
Eating is one of the most important things for a ferret as their metabolic system is so quick and they are hungry often. (check out this article about eating habits) That’s why feeding is a good time for bonding and training.
Love and Affection
If you approach your ferret with love and patience, they will sense and understand that. The same if you are not patient and angry with them, they will sense those emotions also and react to it by being afraid of you and pulling away.
Keep in mind that if you want to bond with your ferret, the more affection you give him or her, the quicker they will warm up to you and respond to you more.
Once your ferret trust you, it can start licking you, seeking you out and even sleeping in your lap. Sleeping is a vulnerable time for any animal. That’s why an animal will usually hide or hide away somewhere. If your ferret seeks you out to sleep and nap with or on you, means that they trust you.
How To Safely Hold Your Ferret
Once you have built the trust and your ferret feels comfortable, you can now cuddle your ferret. Before picking them up it’s important to understand what the appropriate way is to hold them, so you don’t injure or make them nervous.
Never pick up a ferret by the ears, legs or arms. Follow those steps to pick up your ferret in a safe way:
- Hold your ferret above the belly but under the chest and then you can place one of your arms under its armpit.
- Whilst holding the ferret under his armpits with one arm, make sure you support the bottom half of its body with your other arm.
- You can pick them up by the excess skin on the back of their neck or otherwise known as scruff as that’s how their mothers pick them up, so they are familiar with it
- Once you have picked up your ferret, make sure you hold it close to your body. This is also a great way to bond.
- You can also put them in a kangaroo pouch as they will feel snuggled.
- When placing them down, it’s important to be extra careful so they don’t wriggle out of your arms mid air as they can injure themselves.
You can try picking you ferret (safely as described above) when sleeping and hold it close to your chest. If it wakes up you can place it in your lap and use your fingers to scratch their belly or back. Ferrets love scratches!
The first few times you do this, your ferret might try to get away, but eventually they will trust you it might continue to sleep in your arms and understand that its safe with you which is very important.
If your ferret is trying to get away, don’t push it. It’s important to read the signals your ferret is giving out. That shouldn’t discourage you, it just means you haven’t reached that level in your relationship.
Exercising and Playing With You Ferret
If feeding time is number one for bonding with your ferret, then playtime would be number two. Games and exercise is a great way to bond with your ferret. If you want the love of your ferret, you should play with them minimum of 4 hours per day.
You need to make sure that the area where you will be letting your ferret play is safe proved. For playtime, you should invest in buying your ferret some toys to play with. Research toys made for ferrets. You can purchase those online or from your local pet shop.
Pets love tunnels as that reminds them of their natural habitat where they chase their prey through underground tunnels. To start with, you can buy them some chew toys made of hemp rope, but you shouldn’t be letting them play with toys made of latex.
Put the toys in their cage, so the ferret can get used to chewing on them and not on the furniture. Make sure that the toys you give your ferret don’t have small parts that can detach for you ferret to choke on.
Ferrets love the game of chase. You can get your ferret to chase you around in a safe area, so they don’t run away. Try to chase after your ferret and then encourage it to chase you.
This will help it exercise its natural hunting skills in a safe and playful way. To prevent your ferret nipping at your feet, you can use a piece of cloth to drag behind you.
Can Ferrets Go Outside
To increase your ferret’s exercise, you can try and teach your ferret to walk on a leash with a harness. You can purchase a harness online or from your local pet shop. You need to make sure you get the right harness, so it fits your ferret’s body shape. It must go around the ferret’s upper body and not around the neck. Do the following before going outside with your ferret on the leash:
Practice inside the house or in the garden with the ferret on the leash and make sure your pet is comfortable
Ensure the harness is not too tight but also not too loose as you don’t want your ferret to wriggle out of it and escape. If your ferret escapes, it can get injured or die.
Once you’re out on the walk, keep your ferret away from other animals for its own safety. If you notice another animal getting aggressive towards your ferret, try to use the leash to guide it in the other direction.
To create a strong and long-lasting bond with your ferret you can:
- Look out for their basic needs – good place to sleep, well balanced and high-quality food, cleanliness. The more you care for them, the more likely is that they will trust you and show affection
- Play games and exercise your ferret. This will stimulate their mind, enrich their life and will help to create a strong bond
- Trick training using treats
- Taking your ferret out for walks on a lead
- Providing them with different games, tunnels and toys to play with
- Strengthen your relationship by petting and holding your ferret near your chest
- Don’t force things. Invest time and patience in building your relationship organically and creating trust.