A Treasure Chest of Ferret Musings

A Treasure Chest of Ferret MusingsPet ferrets are funny little critters, and your mind will often wind up in strange places once you start thinking about them. Ferret musings often take you down paths you otherwise wouldn’t travel. But it’s all good and all fun.

That’s what our latest little ferret book is all about. In it, you’ll get:

  • Chapter 1: What is a Ferret?
  • Chapter 2: Basic Ferret-Ownership Facts
  • Chapter 3: Some Interesting and Odd Ferret Facts
  • Chapter 4: Why a Ferret?
  • Chapter 5: My Husband’s Take on Pet Ferrets
  • Chapter 6: A Straight-from-the-Ferret’s-Mouth Ferret Manual
  • Chapter 7: Ferret Name Games

And here are a few excerpts from A Treasure Chest of Ferret Musings:

Well, first off, a ferret is a small, elongated, long-whiskered bundle of energy – when it isn’t sleeping, which is most of the time. It is a creature that when active (which, again, is only about 6 hours a day) is furiously playing – running, jumping, hiding, chewing, stealing. Or not . . . because it may be asleep. A ferret, then, is a seeming contradiction – a living paradox.

Mitochondrial  DNA analysis indicates that ferrets were domesticated about 2, 500 years ago. Some people claim that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate ferrets, but there really isn’t any good evidence to support the claim. There are colonies of feral ferrets in remote areas of New Zealand and on the Shetland Islands.

Finally, and slightly related, a ferret is a marriage-saver. There is almost nothing that can lift you out of a depression or turn aside an angry mood like watching a pet ferret play. So when my wife is angry with me – gratuitously and for absolutely no justifiable reason – she will often go play with and talk to her ferrets. And then, when she comes out of her room again, she is in a good mood. Her anger has passed, and she doesn’t wish I lived somewhere else. So, thanks to Rikki and Possum and Loki and Luna, my wife’s ferrets, our marriage is still intact.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

There are many methods you can use to come up with a name. For starters, try a variation of the name “ferret,” which  derives from the Latin word for thief (furo). Just play around with that, especially if yours particularly lives up to that moniker – for example, Thief, Robbie, Raffles (a famous British thief), Spy, Robin Hood, Bandit, Dodger, etc. Of course, Ferret or Furo work just as well.

A Treasure Chest of Ferrets Musings

*     *     *

More ferret books from Karen:

“Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale”Twelve-year-old Danny McGuire loves his pet ferret, Oliver – but Danny’s parents don’t. They also think he should do more of the things “normal boys” do. Still, Danny manages to remain fairly cheerful and keep his grades up. Oliver consoles him, his mountain-bike rides bring him solace, and his best friend Mike offers some hard-won advice.  It all works out, for the most part, until . . . things go terribly wrong. But, then, it pays to remember that a rescue ferret can sometimes “rescue” a bad situation

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets HappyWe ferret owners are all a little “crazy” when it comes to our fuzzy kids. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys? These are the questions this little book will answer.

Getting Started With Pet Ferrets: A Primer for Prospective and New Ferret Owners – Karen’s goal in writing this book is simply to help people who are in the same position she was when she first started out (accidentally) with ferrets. Four years ago, she had no knowledge of ferrets and ferret care and no idea about where to turn for help. Her aim, then, is to provide all the basic ferret information in one place, making it easily accessible and fun to read. This book is meant to be, just as the title suggests, a primer for new and prospective ferret owners.

2 in 1 Ferret Book: Getting Started with Pet Ferrets and Ferret Toys – So you finally got that pet ferret you’ve been wanting. But now what? Ferrets do make great pets. They are fun, quirky, lovable, playful, mischievous, and entertaining little critters. But they also require a commitment on your part. You will need to invest time, money, and energy to take care of your woozles properly. Reading our 2 in 1 Ferret Book will aid you in preparing and getting outfitted for your ferret journey – especially the ferret-cage and ferret-readiness checklists. And then there are the toys – most likely lots of them. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys? This book contains our two top-selling ferret books with new additional material. 

 

Some Ferret Resources

Panda Ferret PlayingHere are a few ferret resources to help you with both general and specific information, as well as in the case of a ferret emergency.

1. American Ferret Association, Inc

888-FERRET-1

afa@ferret.org

www.ferret.org

2. The Ferret Council Ferret Emergency Response, Rescue & Evaluation Team (FERRET)

EMERGENCIES ONLY: 860-906-8798

info@ferretemergency.org

www.ferretemergency.org.

3. Ferret Health Advancement Department, Michigan State University

ferrethealth.msu.edu

4. International Ferret Congress

ferretcongress@ferrectcongress.org

www.ferretcongress.org.

5. Support our shelters

ferretshelterfund@supportourshelters.org

www.supportourshelters.org.

Also, you might check out our 2 in 1 Ferret Book.

 

New “2 in 1 Ferret Book”

A New Ferret Book that Includes Both Getting Started with Pet Ferrets and Ferret Toys – With Updated Information and New Material

New Ferret BookHere’s a brief description:

So you finally got that pet ferret you’ve been wanting. But now what?

Ferrets do make great pets. They are fun, quirky, lovable, playful, mischievous, and entertaining little critters. But they also require a commitment on your part. You will need to invest time, money, and energy to take care of your woozles properly. Reading our 2 in 1 Ferret Book will aid you in preparing and getting outfitted for your ferret journey – especially the ferret-cage and ferret-readiness checklists.

And then there are the toys – most likely lots of them. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys?

This book contains our two top-selling ferret books with new additional material. 

Our new 2 in 1 Ferret Book will give you the basics of ferret care and the low-down on ferret toys. It’ll also save you some money – always a good thing this time of year.

Happy Holidays!

 

How Would Pet Ferrets Train and Manage Their Humans? Take a Look . . .

Our Humorous Little Ferret Book is Finally Here – A Ferret Manual: How to Train and Manage Your Human.

Here’s the description:

So you really think you “own” your pet ferrets and that they live in “your” house? Well, think A Ferret Manualagain – because it just may be otherwise. And that’s exactly why we’ve written this humorous little book, “A Ferret Manual: How to Train and Manage Your Human.” It examines ferret training and ferret care from a ferret’s-eye point of view. Here’s what you’ll get . . .

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Toys – Get What You Really Want

Meal Time – Make ‘em Get It Right

Litter Pans and Cage Configuration – Or the Power of Poop

Real Estate – Location and Size

The Annoyance of “Ferret Proofing”

Conclusion

Ferrets are unique pets and will often, as we demonstrate in this little book, make you see things in a unique way. Enjoy.

Here’s a sample:

So, you’ve finally acquired your very own human, have you? Good for you and congratulations! It sure beats being crowded together with a bunch of total strangers in a tiny cage at the pet store, doesn’t it? But . . . while this is a great accomplishment and a first step toward a happy life in a home of your own, your job is just beginning. You have a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

First of all, humans aren’t really very teachable. But, then, there are very few animals as inquisitive and as intelligent as ferrets. That means training your human will require, in varying degrees as your unique situation demands, inventiveness, persistence, consistent application, and time.

Okay, let’s get started. 

 

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Following are the four important truths about or principles of human nature that will form the foundation of our guidelines and rules for training and managing your human. Remember these and adapt your training tactics accordingly, and you should see some success in your human-training efforts.

1. Humans are basically lazy creatures.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

Because they are lazy, then, and slaves to the law of inertia, humans are just downright hard to train. The difficulty lies in getting them to change a behavior. For some bizarre reason, they prefer the familiar and easy to the better course. And never forget that humans just aren’t as smart as ferrets. There’s really nothing you can do about that, though.

For a human, it takes a lot of effort to learn something new and change a thinking pattern and/or a behavior. That’s why they dig in their heels and resist change: because it takes effort. Ironically, though, humans often expend more energy resisting change, owing to their inherent laziness, than they would actually making the change. (But, remember, they’re just not all that bright.) So, one of the keys to successfully training and managing your human will be persistence. You will simply have to work at it assiduously until you’ve achieved the desired results.

Just don’t give up. Success could be right around the corner.

And here’s another sample:

Litter Pans and Cage Configuration – Or the Power of Poop

Never, ever underestimate the power of poop. But keep in mind, too, that with every power there are attendant dangers. Here’s what I mean.

We ferrets have our own peculiar and distinctive pooping preferences – especially when it comes to location. Your human, however, will have a hard time fully understanding this and grasping our uniqueness as pets. And, as a result, they just lump ferrets in with other pets – say, dogs* – and think that, like those other pets, we just stop and poop wherever we are when we get the urge. In addition, since your human really does believe he or she owns you, your human may try to determine for you where you should poop. But don’t fall for either of these poop-related fallacies.

Keeping in mind our four principles of human nature, work toward a cage-and-litter-pan configuration that suits you. For example, if your human does even a little reading, she will know that placing a small piece of your poop in a litter pan is supposed to encourage you to do your business in that pan. Sounds a little disgusting, I know, but just humor your human, and try to do a little pooping in that pan where the piece is. Hopefully, your human will also realize that we like to back into a corner to do our business and, knowing this, will have provided triangular-shaped corner litter pans. This will, of course, make it much easier to play along with your humans pooping plans.

If, however, you just can’t bring yourself to poop in the pan designated by your human, then it’s time to exercise the “power of poop.” Just find the spot in your cage where you’d most like to do your business and then start pooping there. Your human will then either move that pan to or buy another one to place in your preferred spot. Pretty simple, really.

But do be careful. If you don’t poop judiciously and strategically, you may find a whole floor of your cage covered with litter pans. And this, of course, would greatly decrease your play and sleep area. Even worse, if you don’t confine you pooping to only one floor of your cage, you may find litter pans cluttering all the floor areas. So . . . have a pooping plan.

*(Note: It’s often the case that humans have other pets, dogs more often than not. And, owing to their innate lack of intelligence and tendency not to observe well, your human will sometimes want you to be friends with a dog way before the dog is ready. So . . . be careful when this happens. Avoid both teeth and crushing paws. If a dog does get too rough with you, don’t bite in self-defense – the dog will likely bite back. Instead, run and hide under the nearest low piece of furniture – and stay there. Your human will see your behavior and be more cautious about introducing other pets after that.)

 A Ferret Manual: How to Train and Manage Your Human – we think it’s a fun little read.

Stopping Your Pet Ferret’s Biting – Early

Ferrets, just like dogs and children, need to be taught the basics of good behavior early in their fuzzy lives. They don’t come into the world knowing what you want them to do and howMale Panda Ferret Marshall you want them to act. So you need to start early and be consistent and persistent.

Baby ferrets tend to explore their brand-new world with their mouths. They also bite and chew to lessen teething pain. That’s why a mature carpet shark, if she isn’t trained out of this behavior, can be pretty aggressive when it comes to biting.

So here a five tips to help you train your fuzzies not to bite and nip . . .

Ferret Toys Book1. Give them lots of hard rubber chew toys. This way your ferrets take out most of their chewing urges on the toys – instead of your fingers.

2. Deal with a nip/bite immediately. Scruff your ferret – that is, grab him firmly with thumb and fingers by the loose skin on the back of the neck – and say loudly and firmly, “No!” or “No bite!” You can also follow this with loud hissing, the sound a mother ferret uses to scold and discipline her kits.

3. Do not reward the kit for biting. If, for example, you’re already holding your baby fuzzy and he attempts to bite, don’t turn him loose to play. Rather, put him in prison – back in the cage – for punishment.

4. Never hit your ferret. Violence and aggression only engender more violence and aggression. Your ferret could also interpret hitting as a sign that you want to play even harder. Hitting is usually ineffective and can result in even worse behavioral problems down the road,Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

5. Be consistent. You may think it’s cute to get your little fuzz ball all worked up and watch him play bite your hand. The thing is, though, he won’t know that biting at other times and with other people isn’t acceptable. So be consistent in your efforts to teach him not to bite – teaching him that you won’t tolerate this behavior at any time.

Train your fuzzies early on not to bite and nip, and you and they will get along just fine.

A Ferret Manual

Here’s an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released little book titled A Ferret Manuel: How to Train and Manage Your Human. It’s a humorous, ferret’s-eye view of the often comical relations between humans and pet ferrets.

So, you’ve finally acquired your very own human, have you? Good. Good for you and congratulations! It sure beats being crowded together with a bunch of total strangers in a tiny cage at the pet store, doesn’t it? But . . . while this is a great accomplishment and a first step toward a happy life in a home of your own, your job is just beginning. You have a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

First of all, humans aren’t really very teachable. But, then, there are very few animals as inquisitive and intelligent as ferrets. That means training your human will require, in varying degrees as your unique situation demands, inventiveness, persistence, consistent application, and time.

Okay, let’s get started.

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Following are the four important truths about or principles of human nature that will form the foundation of our guidelines and rules for training and managing your human. Remember these and adapt your training tactics accordingly, and you should see some success in your human-training efforts.

1. Humans are basically lazy creatures.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

Because they are lazy, then, and slaves to the law of inertia, humans are just downright hard to train. The difficulty lies in getting them to change a behavior. For some bizarre reason, they prefer the familiar and easy to the better course. And never forget that humans just aren’t as smart as ferrets. There’s really nothing you can do about that, though.

For a human, it takes a lot of effort to learn something new and change a thinking pattern and/or a behavior. That’s why they dig in their heels and resist change: because it takes effort. Ironically, though, humans often expend more energy resisting change, owing to their inherent laziness, than they would actually making the change. (But, remember, they’re just not all that bright.) So, one of the keys to successfully training and managing your human will be persistence. You will simply have to work at it assiduously until you’ve achieved the desired results.

Just don’t give up. Success could be right around the corner.

2. Humans are incorrigible creatures of habit.

This truth about human nature is tightly bound up with the first one above. Because humans are lazy, they are also creatures of habit. They tend to keep doing the same thing the same way over and over because – well, because it’s just easier for them that way. It will take a lot of effort on your part to get your human to do something in a new and different way.

But the good news in all this is that once you’ve trained your human to engage in a certain behavior, your work is usually done with respect to that particular thing. Your human will keep doing whatever-it-is out of habit without thinking about it. While this aspect of human nature makes training your human quite a bit of work, it does mean that managing a behavior once inculcated is fairly easy.

Suppose, for example, you don’t like the food that your human has been giving you. You can’t, of course, just tell your human about it – she can’t speak our language. (Again, keep in mind that humans aren’t as clever as we are.) But after you’ve put in the necessary training effort (using some choice training tactics I’ll get to in a little bit), most of your work will be done. When your human learns to buy the kind of food you like best, she will keep doing it simply out of habit, even if she forgets the reason she started doing it in the first place. Once trained, humans are generally pretty easy to manage . . .

And here are links to our other ferret books:

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

“Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale”

 

More Ferret Training – Litter-Box Training Your Pet Ferrets

Teaching your pet ferret to use her litter box is essential for her health. It keeps the rest of the cage and play areas clean and feces free. It also goes a long way toward building a good relationship between your ferret the rest of the household.

Litter training pet ferrets begins with getting the right litter pans and the right ferret litter. Ferrets like to back up into a fairly tight space (usually a corner) to do their business. So I suggest using a triangle-shaped corner litter box with two high sides and a lower front side for easy entry. You also need to use a quality dust-free litter. I’ve tried several kinds of cat litter but none of them was really satisfactory. I’ve finally settled on Critter Litter, and I and my ferrets (Rikki and Possum) are very happy with it.

As with any animal or person, it is best to start potty training a pet ferret when he is is young. It can be done at any age, but it just takes a little more work and little more time with older ferrets. When you introduce your ferret to his new home, notice where he poops and place the litter box there. (Ferrets tend to poop several times an hour, so it won’t take long.) Some people find it helpful to put immovable objects in every corner of the cage except the one for the litter box. If possible, place a small piece of poop in the box for a visual and olfactory cue.

As you get to know your ferret, you’ll soon learn the signs that indicate she is about to poop. When you see her backing into a corner, for instance, be ready. Try to get her into her litter pan before she does her business. If she does it in the pan, reward your ferret with a treat for a job well done.

Also, place your ferret in the litter box when he first wakes up because this is a common time for pooping. Also, at the end of playtime, set your ferret on the litter box and wait. If he uses it, offer a treat. If he doesn’t, withhold the treat. (You may need to be careful, though, because some ferrets are good at faking it.) Within a few days, your ferret should get the idea.

It might not seem very pleasant, but get in the habit of examining your ferret’s feces. A change in the color, texture, or frequency may signal a health problem that needs to be addressed. (Getting Started with Pet Ferrets has a helpful section on this.)

My male panda ferret has proven to be quite “stubborn” when it comes to litter training. So, I’ll soon buy another ferret litter pan. That way, there will be one for every corner of the lower level of the cage and one for each of his favorite corners in my room. Sometimes, you justPanda Ferret in Litter Pan have to do what you gotta do.

It may take some time for a ferret to learn to use a litter box, especially if the kit was removed from its mother before she could train it to do so. So just be patient. Never hit your ferret when he makes a mistake. Above all, never rub his nose in an “accident.” (Your ferret could breathe in some of the fecal matter and get sick from it.)

Ferret Training – Harness Training Your Pet Ferret

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 Panda Ferret Playing in Ferret Toy Tunnelshe’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:

  1. Start when your ferret is very young (around 10 weeks old).
  2. Put the harness on your ferret. (Offer a treat if he doesn’t keep still while you put the harness on.)
  3. Let your ferret wear the harness for five minutes or so. Offer a treat and then remove the harness.
  4. 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.
  5. When your ferret seems to be comfortable with the harness, attach the leash (lead).
  6. 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.
  7. When your ferret seems comfortable with the lead, hold the lead but let the ferret lead you.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.