Welcome to Part 3: How to Stop Ferret Biting of our 3part series on ferret biting.
You are watching: How to train your ferret not to bite
If you would like to understand what your ferret may be trying to tell you, feel free to go back to Part 1: Why Baby Ferrets Bite or Part 2: Why Adult Ferrets Bite
One of the most common questions we receive at The Modern Ferret is how to train a ferret not to bite. Unfortunately, many ferrets are abandoned because they have a problem with biting. Lucky for you, teaching a ferret not to bite is a relatively easy process with a little training and a lot of patience!
In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step protocol we personally use to teach aggressive ferrets not to bite.
Our Own Ferret Biting Experience
In the steps below, I list exactly what we did in our ownhome to stop an extremely aggressive ferret from biting. The first day we tookher home, she bit both me and my fiancé hard enough to draw blood. After amonth of round-the-clock bite training, she improved by 90%. We were able to adopther out to another couple with a ferret and after checking in with them monthslater, they confirmed she hadn’t bitten them once!
If your ferret is a biter (even a really aggressive one!)there are proven steps you can take to train them to stop.
Our Step by Step Ferret Bite Training:
Step 3: Scruff. After you freeze and stop playtime (for about 2 seconds), calmly use your other free hand to gently but firmly scruff your ferret (grab the skin on the back of your ferret’s neck). IMPORTANT: NEVER SCRUFF YOUR FERRET OUT OF ANGER! As long as you don’t pinch the skin too high or too aggressively, this does not harm your ferret (ferret mothers use the scruffing technique to control their kits). Since you are using one hand to scruff, try to keep their butt on the floor as you drag them off from their bite. O
Step 4: Time-out. If you have done steps 1-3 multiple times in the last 10 minutes or so and your ferret is clearly not taking the hint, go through steps 1-3 next time they bite and then place them in ‘time-out’. Personally, we prefer to use a space separate from their cage because we don’t want our ferrets to associate their cage with punishment (we put them in their cage every night before bed). Time-out should be an entirely different zone associated only with bad behavior. For the aggressive ferret we mentioned earlier, we placed her in a tall, clean, empty trash bin with a lid. You’ll want to keep it empty and lidded to keep it dark and boring. Set a timer for 3 minutes.
Step 5: Remove Ferret from Time-out. After the 3 minutes is up, gently take your ferret out of their time-out box. For very aggressive ferrets, you can use a glove to protect your hand. Try to make sure you are calm when you pick them up.
One common misconception is that it is okay to hit yourferret on the nose (or any part of their body) when they bite you.
While this may feel like an appropriate knee-jerk reaction (“ouch!Knock it off!”), this will only confuse your ferret. Also, you couldpotentially injure your little guy.
See more: How Much Does A Pound Of Pecans Cost, Shelled Pecans
When you hit your ferret after they bite you, it doesn’ttell them “stop biting me!” -instead, it communicates to them, “playing roughis good!”
Aggression from you will only be met with more aggressionfrom your ferret.
Ferret Biting Mistake #2: Jailing
An important note – ferrets inherently interact with their mouths (just like the puppy in the photo above). So you should never aim to completely punish and rid them of gentle gnawing, playing and mouthing you. You only want to punish hard and unacceptable bites. In fact, if your ferret starts to softly gnaw and graze you without pressure throughout the bite training process – reward that behavior by simply not using a biting protocol. They are testing and learning the limits you’ve set!
If your ferret bites, we encourage you to empathize with your little fuzzbutt and try to understand why they are doing it. Are they scared? Show them they can trust you. Are they in pain? Take them to the vet. Are they confused? Give them the patience they deserve to show them how to be a better pet. At the end of the day, you are each other’s family. And we don’t give up on family!
Want to brush up on what your ferret may be trying to tell you? Check out Part 1: Why Baby Ferrets Bite or Part 2: Why Adult Ferrets Bite