Teaching Your Ferret Tricks
by Lee Dobbins
Ferret may seem flighty but they are actually rather smart and you can teach your ferret tricks. Just look at the ferrets that have starred in movies and you can see that they can be trained. The trick to training ferrets is that you need to remember that they are very active and won't sit still for a long training session. To teach your ferret tricks, you should plan on small training sessions that are full of activities that your ferret will enjoy. If you incorporate activities that stimulate your ferrets natural tendencies into the training, that will make your job much easier.
Anyone who has a ferret will tell you that they are curious creatures with a short attention span so you might be wondering how on earth you are going to get their attention in order to train them. The best way is to hold the training sessions in an area that they have already fully explored. This way you won't be batteling them as they try to climb off your shoulder to check out something new. In fact, teaching your ferret to stay on your shoulders, is the first trick! To teach them to do this you want to use the method of encouragement. Coerce them onto your shoulder with a treat and some kind words. If they start to climb off, say "NO" loudly and sharply. Eventually they will get the message that it is more pleasant to stay on your shoulder.
When teaching your ferret to do tricks, you must remember that he is only going to obey if there is something in it for him. Most animals are trained in this manner, whether it be a treat or affection of the owner you need to give him a reason to do the trick. Find out what your ferrets favorite treat is and get him to perform the desired trick and then reward him with the treat. Eventually he will associate the action (or trick) with getting a treat and perform on command.
Ferrets can learn a variety of tricks including sit, stay on your shoulder and roll over. To start training you must find a way to get your ferret to do the action - for example you might notice that if you hold his favorite treat in the air over his nose he will sit up. Do this while saying "SIT" and when he sits up give him the treat. Keep repeating the command, try to get the word out before he "sits" and then reward. This will take patience and repetition but eventually he will start "sitting up" when you say sit.
Training your ferret to do tricks is a great way to spend time with your pet. Remember to always use the reward system and never hit or punish your pet. With some time and persistence (and a lot of treats) you'll soon have the best trained ferret on the block!
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for ferrets.pet-breeds.com where you can find more articles on ferret care.