Posted: July 18, 2013, 6:05 p.m. EDT
Ferret Riley/© Courtesy Hannah Swears
Be aware of the temperature of the surfaces your ferret walks on when outside.
Q: What is the best way to leash- and harness-train my ferret?
A: With nice weather, it is natural for people to want to try to walk their ferrets outside. Most ferrets can slip out of a collar, so a harness and leash are definitely the best way to go for outdoor walks. The harness also offers you a quick and safe way to pick up your pet to get it out of harm’s way should the need arise; such as if a strange dog approaches or a mob of little kids run up to see what you have.
Acclimate your pet to the harness by putting it on your ferret for short periods of time inside the house. Do this at least a couple of times a day and progress to longer periods of time during each session. When your ferret seems to have adjusted to the harness, then attach the leash.
Initially, you can let the leash drag behind your ferret while he walks around the house. Always be there and watching when you do this to be sure that the harness doesn’t catch on anything. After your ferret has mastered this stage, then start holding the leash.
During this whole process, offer your ferret a treat or two to reward him for putting up with the harness and leash. Most ferrets will eventually adapt to wearing the harness and leash. Be sure the harness is snug so that your ferret cannot slip out of it, but don’t make it so tight that your pet cannot breathe or is in pain.
Additional tips: Ferrets do not tolerate hot temperatures. Do not walk your ferret outside on days when the temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If humidity is high, the temperature should be even lower. Avoid walking your ferret on surfaces like hot sidewalks and driveways, which can get a lot hotter than the air temperature. If you walk your ferret through grassy areas, be sure to check your pet for ticks and fleas when you complete your walk.
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