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SOS! Need help with litter training ferret.

Discussion in 'Ferrets' started by Ferret999!, Oct 30, 2020.


  1. Ferret999!

    Ferret999! PetForums Newbie

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    I am a first time ferret owner to a now 14 week old boy called Alfie. I got him at 9 weeks.

    Hes great. But there's two things we're struggling to master!

    Toilet training: when hes in his cage (a tall multilevel thing) he goes in his litter tray. Everytime. When he used to be in his playpen he went in the litter tray, every time. But he just won't go in a litter tray EVER when he's free roaming. He has access to one room. I put a bed or a litter tray in every corner he goes in, but he just goes next to it, or in the middle of the room, or anywhere but a litter tray.

    His cage is always open when he's out so he always goes in and out of it throughout the day for food, water and to sleep.

    I've tried putting him in the litter tray hourly, not letting him out of the cage until he's been. I'm sure he's saving some just to be defiant! Lol.

    What can I do?!

    Another thing! Biting! Hes so nippy still. He bites other people quite hard, but doesn't bite me hard at all, just little nips. Except for the ankles! That hurts! He goes in time out every time. For up to 5 mins or so. But even after 5 weeks he doesn't seem to be getting it. Is the apple bitter spray a good idea to try?

    Any help would be amazing!! IMG-20201025-WA0016.jpg
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I know nothing about Ferrets btw but is the litter tray that’s outside his cage/run clean? If so, maybe don’t wash it, just wipe it after he uses it (in his cage) so his scent is still on it when he’s free ranging?

    That might attract him to it?

    If he’s biting whilst handled and you give him “time out” I guess that teaches him biting stops handling, which maybe he’s not enjoying?
     
  3. Ferret999!

    Ferret999! PetForums Newbie

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    I clean it properly every other day or so (depending) but always leave a little poo in there so he knows. I reward him every time I catch him using the litter tray.

    He doesn't like time out. I scruff him for a few moments and say "no" before time out so im not instantly putting him down.
     
  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    No animal responds well to rough treatment so I’d give up on scruffing him :(

    Maybe that’s why he bites? I would.

    Animals don’t understand English either so telling him No means nothing.

    Hopefully, some Ferret experts on here can guide you.
     
    Tiggers likes this.
  5. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    He needs company - ferrets need companionship. Ferrets bite and play rough, it's what they do and he doesn't have companionship to be able to play as he naturally would fulfilling those instincts so he'll treat you as he would another ferret. My advice as kit season is over would be to approach a ferret rescue - experienced ones will help match your boy with appropriate companionship and help with intros, they'll also be neutered and microchipped for you so it's not something you have to worry about with a new ferret.

    When he is out it's a larger area - my advice start of with a smaller area, until he is more reliably using the litter tray and then give him more area outside to explore. If you keep moving the litter tray it will also confuse him - I kept mine in a 6ft double tier hutch indoors, I left the bottom of the hutch open and mine would go back in to use their litter tray as that was their usual toileting area. Ferrets tend to stick to and keep a certain area for toileting.

    You also need to think about neutering him - entire males will get bitey during mating season come spring. He'll also start smelling really musky - he'll urinate and poo to leave his mark around. Neutering will prevent hormonal aggression and marking.

    Also ensure he is fed an appropriate diet - Ferrets are very active, they eat a lot and they are obligate carnivores, they do much better on a complete raw diet over kibble. Whole raw food such as frozen thawed mice, chicks etc... are also good for them as it provides a complete meal the raw bones helps keep their teeth in good condition, raw chicken wings can also help provide something to keep their teeth in good condition. Hungry ferrets are more likely to be nippy and bitey.
     
    Patchwork Petcare and Lurcherlad like this.
  6. Ferret999!

    Ferret999! PetForums Newbie

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    A scruff is not Rough treatment for a ferret, it is a behaviour that they would receive from their mum and something that is done routinely. Its does not hurt and is not done in anger.
    Ferrets are very clever, just like you can teach a dog to respond to an 'English word' you can teach a ferret too. Saying 'no' is of course appropriate. They, like dogs, respond to the tone, pitch etc to know what the command is that you want from them. Hence the repetition of the word 'no' when I dont like what he is doing.
    unless your fluent in dog? How else do you teach your non English speaking dog to understand you?

    I agree, hopefully someone who has owned a ferret before may help! I did not come on here asking for advice to be told what i am doing is wrong from someone who owns a dog.

    But thanks for trying!

    QUOTE="Lurcherlad, post: 1065686542, member: 1356501"]No animal responds well to rough treatment so I’d give up on scruffing him :(

    Maybe that’s why he bites? I would.

    Animals don’t understand English either so telling him No means nothing.

    Hopefully, some Ferret experts on here can guide you.[/QUOTE]
     
  7. Ferret999!

    Ferret999! PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for this! I have been thinking about getting another ferret for companionship and will 100% consider a rescue.

    he is due to be neutured in 2 weeks timezone! Already on it!

    and the same for his toileting areas. There are 2 litter trays that have not moved position in weeks, where he tried to go frequently before and a bed/toy in every other corner or place he has tried to toilet. So now he just goes in the middle of the room. He knows where his litter tray is. He goes back to it when hes out of the cage, he goes past it to reach his upper levels for food and sleep. He just doesnt use it. Its a difficult room to shut off part of, but it is not big enough for him to struggle finding it, if that makes sense. Will keep trying!

    on terms of his diet, i believe he is fed well. A combination of kibble and meats (not entire animals) but I dont think this is the reason, and if it is, well I'm just going to have to work on it because raw is not an option for us.

    Thank you! :)

     
  8. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    [/QUOTE]


    Please be civil towards members offering advice, your response here was rude.
     
    Babyshoes likes this.
  9. David Fyfe

    David Fyfe PetForums Newbie

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  10. David Fyfe

    David Fyfe PetForums Newbie

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    They may never be completely litter trained like cats. My ferrets are really good in their cage too but when they sleep under my couch and nature calls they don't go in the cage/litter pan so I cut up puppy pee pads and put them in the corners they use. I also use pee pads in the litter pan instead of litter to minimise smell. As they get older they will only use three or four corners. The trick is to let them choose and use pads. Or you could put towels in the corners you don't want them to use. They won't go there.
     
    Ferret999! likes this.
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