Can You Teach Your Ferret Tricks?

You know I never wondered about whether you could teach a ferret tricks until I saw the following ferret video on Youtube.

 

This made me realize just how intelligent fuzzies really are. I mean, I already knew they were clever, they had been teaching me tricks ever since I first got them ;-) But now I knew I could actually teach my ferrets tricks as well.

Yep, you can teach your ferret tricks, much in the same way as you would teach a dog tricks. Just remember your fuzzy won’t work to please you like a dog would. He’ll work to please himself. More particularly, he’ll work to please his stomach. That’s right, it’s time to whip out the ferret treats J
Housetraining

Though most people wouldn’t consider housetraining a ferret trick, it kind of is. Especially if your goal is consistent use of the litter box. It’ll take quite a bit of time and determination on your part to convince your fuzzy it’s in his best interest to use the litter box.

 

Heeeeeere Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Fuzzy…

No matter how careful you are in ferret proofing your home, your fuzzy lives for mischief. One day you’ll turn around during fuzzy playtime and wonder where your furball has run off to. All the common hidey-holes are empty and panic is creeping up on you…after 30 frantic minutes of searching you finally recover your precious fuzzy from an all new hidey-hole. You’re relieved, obviously, but wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if you could just call your fuzzy and he would come?

Getting your fuzzy to come when you call is more than a trick, it's a must do. You could teach them to respond to their name, a squeaky toy, the rattling of the ferret treats box or any sound you like.

Mine come when I rattle their treat box and when I whistle in a certain way. If they’re in the yard under the hedge, all I have to do is whistle and both heads will pop up from underneath the hedge before they run towards me as fast as their little legs can carry them.

Here’s what you do. Make sure your furball had some playtime, so he’s not as easily distracted. Pick him up and get your ferret treats ready. Now make whatever sound you want your ferret to respond to, I’ll take a whistle as an example. While you whistle, give a treat. Repeat this several times, let’s say 10. Keep the sessions where you’re trying to teach your ferret tricks short. It’s supposed to be fun. All you have to do now is repeat this session several times a day. Some fuzzies will catch on quick, others ... not so quick. You could try changing treats if your furball doesn’t seem interested in cooperating.

After a couple of sessions you can leave your ferret on the floor close to you while you whistle and reward. Try to time your whistle when your fuzzy is looking at you. Otherwise he may have seen something more interesting than you and your box of treats.

 

More Ferret Tricks

Sit Up Straight

As curious as fuzzies are, this is one of the easier ferret tricks to teach your fuzzbutt. All you have to do, is take a treat and slowly move it over your fuzzbutt’s head (from the nose the back off the head and a little bit upwards).  He’ll try to follow it with his nose, which means he’ll end up with his head in the air.

Perfect this slowly until he’s sitting up. Once you notice he’s got the hang of the movement, you can add a verbal command like ‘sit’ every time your fuzzy makes the sitting motion.

Roll Over

Get your fuzzy to lie on his belly. Then, with a treat in one hand moving the treat to the side of his head, gently roll him on to his back with the other hand. Give him a belly scratch and the treat.

You might want to try this by just moving the treat first and not rolling him over yourself (it makes him feel vulnerable). He should roll over on his own trying to get the treat. If he just moves his head to the other side, don’t reward him.

Repeat this several times. Next step is to make him roll over all the way. Instead of stopping when he’s on his back, keep rolling him until he’s back on his belly and then reward him.

 

Important Tips When Training Ferrets

  • Teaching a ferret tricks takes time, patience and persistence.

  • Separate the ferret tricks you want to teach your fuzzy into small steps. Then teach the trick to him one step at a time, add the next step when he knows the first one.

  • Only practice in a room your fuzzbutt is used to, otherwise he’ll be all over the place, discovering.

  • Remember to keep sessions short and to reward every single time.

  • Oh, and don’t forget to send me a video of your ferret tricks.