Just like our human children, our fuzzy kids need fresh air and sunshine to be in their best health. It’s a good idea, then, to get your pet ferret outdoors as often as you can. But keep in mind that ferret SAFETY comes first. And a good way to ensure your ferret’s safety when she’s outdoors is by keeping her on a harness and leash. This will allow her freedom of movement while still keeping her close enough for you to ensure safety.
In the beginning, though, ferrets dislike wearing a harness because it is unfamiliar to them. But, still, that harness is important for them to wear whenever you take them outside. So you need to train them to accept and wear. Here’s how:
- Start when your ferret is very young (around 10 weeks old).
- Put the harness on your ferret. (Offer a treat if he doesn’t keep still while you put the harness on.)
- Let your ferret wear the harness for five minutes or so. Offer a treat and then remove the harness.
- Repeat Steps 2 and 3 every day until your ferret starts to feel comfortable in the harness. Gradually increase the amount of time he wears the harness.
- When your ferret seems to be comfortable with the harness, attach the leash (lead).
- Let your ferret run around the house freely with the harness and lead for a few minutes each day (similar to Steps 2-4). Monitor your ferret to be sure the leash does not get caught in furniture, doors, etc.
- When your ferret seems comfortable with the lead, hold the lead but let the ferret lead you.
- Gradually, start to use the leash to guide your ferret where you want him to go. Offer a treat each time he follows your guidance.
- When your ferret seems comfortable with a leash and harness, take him outdoors for short walks. Allow your ferret to explore safely, using the leash to direct him away from dangers. Lengthen your walks and extend your ferret’s range as appropriate.
Note: Always bring water and treats with you when going outside with your ferret. Make sure all your ferret’s vaccines are up to date, and do not take your ferret outside in temperatures below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) or above 78 degrees F (26 degrees C). Most ferrets enjoy playing in snow, but if you let them do so, be sure you can rescue them from deep drifts.