How To Choose the Best Ferret Harness, Ferret Lead or
Taking your fuzzy outside for a walk wearing a ferret harness can be quite a challenge. I have done this a couple of times myself recently. And I have to admit, although not all that practical, it is fun. Though my dog seemed extremely bored at the slow pace we were moving ;-)
Walking your ferret on a lead is a great way to keep him physically and mentally active. Make sure he has had all his vaccinations as you might encounter other animals (or their droppings).
Before you take Mr Fuzzbutt out, you’ll need the right ferret supplies though. I recommend choosing a ferret harness instead of a ferret collar. As strong-headed as they are, ferrets will tend to pull their lead. Wearing just a collar can cause him to choke himself, or even slip out of it all together.
The 8-shape is pretty uncomfortable for your fuzzy, so unless you want to play dress-up with the vest type, I recommend the H-shape. It should have strong plastic clasps. Not metal ones, they can get pretty hot in the sun (though you really shouldn’t take your fuzzy out when it’s really warm).
A ferret collar with a bell is useful in the house to know where your fuzzy is (thus preventing to accidentally step on him). Never leave your ferret alone when wearing a color though. They may get stuck somewhere and nearly strangle themselves trying to get away.
As for the looks and materials, those choices are really up to you. You can buy ferret collars in leather with diamond studs, or plain nylon ones.
I Have My Ferret Harness…Now What?
Now it’s time to train your willful woozel to wear his brand new ferret harness. As usual when you want to teach your ferret something, bring on the treats.
Pick up Mr Fuzzbutt and set him down on your lap, give him a treat.
Gently close the top clasp around his neck and reward when successful.
Now repeat this for the clasp that goes around his ribs.
By now he’s most likely rolling, tugging, squirming and wriggling to get out of the darn thing.
Unfortunately for you, you still have to match the harness to his size. So keep rewarding him with treats while you adjust the length of the straps.
Finished? Still have 10 fingers? Great! Time for another reward, and have some chocolate yourself ;-)
Keep a close eye on him and distract him with a treat or toy when he becomes too focused on the ferret harness.
Keep the sessions short, say 5 minutes, then remove the harness and reward.
Repeat this a couple of times. When you notice he’s getting used to the harness and doesn’t try to break free of it anymore, you can take him outside with you.
Again, the first couple of times you’ll only want to be outside for a couple of minutes. You can increase the time as you and your fuzzy adjust to this new experience.
I always take treats with me, that way I can reward my fuzzbutts during the walk. And if, God forbid, they should escape, I can (hopefully) call them back because they know I have treats.
Have more than 1 fuzzy? Then you can get a ‘coupler’. This will hook several fuzzies together on 1 lead, decreasing the chance of you getting tangled in the leads. Though not by much…
Place name tags on the ferret harnesses, not just in case they escape, but to easily figure out which harness goes on which fuzzy. Otherwise you’ll waste too much time adjusting the harnesses for different ferrets.
Carry your ferret outside and inside. Once your fuzzy knows the front door leads to magical interesting places, he’ll do everything he can to break out. Carrying him will somewhat prevent him from putting two and two together.
Want to start early and train your baby ferret? I totally recommend that. Unfortunately, most ferret harnesses will be too big, even at the smallest size. You can easily solve this by making it smaller with a safety pin.