A ferret is a domesticated form of European polecat. It has brown, white, black or mixed color fur. There are a few questions that people have regarding the Ferrets. Let’s try and get answers to all these questions one by one. How to Stop Ferrets from Biting You.
Why do Ferrets Bite? How to Stop Ferrets from Biting their Owner?
Ferrets have poor eyesight; hence, they explore the world with the help of their mouth. Ferrets generally bite when they are poorly handled. Other than this, they tend to attack people who appear to be a possible danger. There are some categories of ferrets which bite due to lack of confidence. It is their character to bite to express each and every emotion. Nevertheless, you can still train them to not to bite you in any situation, no matter what.
Do Ferrets Bite Hard?
Well, to be honest, it depends on what type of a bite it is. Generally, ferrets bite when they get scared. Some scream on top of their lungs to show their fear regarding unforeseen dangers. Sometimes, they do nip in a playful manner as well. Don’t forget that it is a natural habit for them. But, as their habit tends to be very painful for us, with some persistence and training, we can make our ferrets stop biting us altogether.
How Can I Train My Ferret to Not to Bite?
Well, there are different ways that can be used to train your ferret to not to bite you, even in a playful manner. Following are some of those techniques. These include some ways of punishing the ferrets after they bite the owner all of a sudden while others are the ways using which you can train the ferrets to not to bite people in any case. Let’s discuss these techniques turn wise.
When your ferret bites, hold it via the loose skin of the back of the neck and bring it to your eye level. Upon bringing it closer, close its mouth with the help of your thumb and index finger. Then, firmly look into its eyes and say “NO.” Keep your voice loud, but it should not be like a yell. Undoubtedly, seeing such unexpected behavior from your side, it will scream like a little baby, but do not panic or feel guilty at all. Remember, you are NOT hurting your ferret at all. You are just giving it a lesson to not to bite people.
Another way that can be used to punish the ferret is by putting it inside the travel carrier or a cage for around 5 or less than 5 minutes. It is a simple punishment just as we give time out to children. When time out is given to children, they are restricted to move, play or do anything for a set amount of time. This form of punishment gives them a lesson that they did something wrong, for which they got punished. While giving time out to your ferrets, be careful that it gets an idea that biting leads to punishment. Otherwise, if you leave it in there for a longer period of time, it might even go to sleep. And, in that case, your form of punishment will seem like a pleasure for them and they won’t learn the lesson which you are trying to teach them. Make them feel that cage doesn’t mean nap time. Instead, it is a punishment which is given to them when they bite people.
Ferrets are generally playful and love to have a fun time with their owners. The sad part is that when they get fully engaged in the game, they tend to bite the people involved. They tend to get so involved that they forget that their playful act of biting can actually hurt someone really badly. If it does so, give it a toy to nibble on. This will train your ferret giving it an idea that it is good to bite on lifeless toys but it is punishable to bite human beings.
Keep in mind that your aggression towards your ferret will make it bite you even more. Never flick on their nose, scream, yell, hurt, pinch or hit them. You might hurt them trying to make them regret on their mistake. But this act of yours will make them feel afraid of you and once they get that feeling that you are someone harmful to them, they will bite you, even more, considering you a sign of danger.
Another interesting technique you can use is to apply bitter apple, bitter lime or Fooey on your ankles, hands, toes or any other body parts where your ferret tends to bite you. Other than that, you can also apply some bitter spray on an earbud and put it on their mouth when they bite you. This bitter taste will make them repent on their act. Apart from this, if your ferret is habitual of biting the cable cords or other wires, you can also apply bitter apple on these wires to keep the ferrets away from them. Once you start applying such bitter sprays on your body, appliances, wires and cages, these will let them associate biting with a bitter taste.
Treat the kits differently than the adults. Never use the same methods on both kits as well as adults. Kits are extremely delicate and these are unaware of how to behave when close to human beings. Hence, keep in mind that you will have to first train them before expecting something exceptional from them. In case of kits, you can use technique #1 and then can put them down when they stop squirming. Even after that, don’t forget to praise the kit for behaving well.
Adult ferrets seem to get suspicious when they are handled. So, while training them, be persistent. Give them as much skin to fur contact as possible. This will help them in developing more trust in you and once they develop full trust, they will not bite you, even in a playful manner.
If your ferret, which was well-trained, starts biting all of a sudden, take it to the Veterinarian as soon as possible. It may be a sign that your ferret might be deaf or blind. If it ends up being blind or deaf, then keep in mind that you cannot go close to them like normal ferrets. We are saying so because if you do so, they might attack you, feeling panicky. For deaf and blind ferrets, you need to develop other techniques to give them a prior indication that you are approaching closer to them.
Other than that, when your ferret was poorly handled while being young, or if it lacks confidence, it might bite out of fear. Once you detect that your ferret bites out of fear, be even gentler with it. You can train it is several short stages. Initially, try to acclimate it before picking it up on a regular basis. You can even give it some gentle touches to make it get familiar with you. Furthermore, you can try feeding it out of your hands to make it get used to you. Then, once you see the ferret getting comfortable with you, you can then pick it up slowly. Keep in mind that this training phase should be split into shorter sessions and split across numerous days. Expecting to get everything done in a day or two will be too quick for your ferret to cope up with.
Last but not least, another way using which you can train your ferret to not to bite you is completely ignoring it and walking away when it bites you while playing. When they bite, simply walk away from them. Undoubtedly, they will chase you to play more, but when you will ignore them completely, this will give them think about what they did wrong, for which they got ignored.
Bitting – A Way to Communicate
Other than these, keep an eye on whether the ferret is using biting as a way to communicate with you. If you are holding the ferret and they bite you to keep them down, don’t put them down just then. Instead, hold them in your hands for a few more seconds. If you put them down a straightaway, they will interpret it to be the way to tell you to keep them down. You don’t want to give them such painful ideas, do you? If your ferret bites you just to get attention, simply ignore them. Make them feel that this is no way to get someone to attend them promptly.
Well, these were all the tips, tricks and ways that you can use to transform your ferocious ferret into a calm creature. Initially, you will find some difficulties in implementing these ideas. But, remember that persistent is the key. Stick to your plans, methods of training, and you will soon see huge differences in the behavior of your beloved ferrets.
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