A Biting Ferret

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This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Anja at the Friendly Ferret

How to stop your ferret from biting?

If you want to have a ferret as pet, then you have probably heard that they are beasts and their teeth are pretty sharp. Most ferrets bite when they come to a new family and that is not a permanent situation. You can make your ferret stop biting and I will show you how, but first, I want to talk about ferrets in general.

Ferrets are feisty little animals who have a thick skin and when they are playing with each other they bite and they bite hard. But thanks to their skin, they don’t feel pain. The main problem with ferrets is that they love to bite during play and since 99% of their day is actually a game, it is hard to see when they aren’t biting. If your ferret bites you, you have to be aware that he/she is not doing that to hurt you, he/she is doing that because that is the only way he/she knows how to play. As you can see, here is where you have to intervene and show that there are other ways to play.

If you got a small kit, he/she will probably bite you. Most small ferrets aren’t aware that their bites hurt us so you have to teach not to bite. If you ever had a puppy you can see that this is a similar behavior to puppies. They also need to learn not to bite because that is a natural process of socialization every pet needs to go through.

Now, let’s get back to ferrets and their biting habits. Like I have already mentioned, they aren’t aware that they are hurting you and you have to show them that biting is a big NO-NO around humans. They don’t know that our skin isn’t as thick as theirs and actually, they probably don’t care about that.

How to make your ferret stop biting?

This is not a hard task, but it is a long process so if it doesn’t work in the first week, don’t give up. There are a few methods you can try with your ferret to break the biting habit and not every one works on every ferret. They are very different and that is what makes them so interesting. I want to show you a few methods you can try, but remember, if one of them doesn’t work, don’t give up, just go to the next one. With time you will have a well-behaved ferret and you will be a very proud ferret owner.

Gentle Pinch & Hiss

This is the most common method because you are actually doing what their mother would do when they misbehave. She would grab her kit and sit on the kit while hissing (or even drag him/her). Now, you don’t have to drag your ferret around, but you can gently pinch it to the ground and hiss every time your ferret bites you.

 

Scruff your ferret

Another method that involves your direct interaction with the ferret is scruffing. Grab your ferret by the scruff (skin on the back where mothers carry their ferrets) and hiss at him. Be gentle and you won’t hurt your ferret with this behavior, but he/she will know that he/she did something wrong.

Time-Out

The above 2 methods are the most popular and they work on a majority of ferrets, but besides those, there are some others. For example, the time-out method. When your ferret bites you put the ferret in a crate for 5 minutes until he/she calms down. Then let the ferret out and repeat everytime he/she tries to bite you.

Put lemon on your hands

It doesn’t have to be lemon, but it has to taste awful. That way when your ferret bites you, the taste will be awful and he/she will be shocked for a few seconds. You can use lemon juice, vinegar, pepper or anything you can think of.
If you want to play with your ferret (and I know you do) I suggest you don’t use your hands as toys because he/she will chase your hands and bite them even more often. A great solution for that is toys on a string. Those toys will keep almost every ferret entertained for hours and they allow you to interact with the ferret. Besides keeping his/her focus on the toy, you are also creating a bond between you two.

I can’t say enough that you mustn’t give up if you don’t see progress. This is a process that can last from a few weeks to a couple of months so don’t give up, you have to be more stubborn than your fuzzy. Trust me, they are worth it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The post is written by Anja, a blogger and ferret enthusiast who loves her two ferrets more than anything. She has a blog about them where she writes educational ferret posts. If you are interested in her work, visit her blog Friendly Ferret.