In my opinion, the most important training for a ferret is litter box training. For young ferrets it can be a quick lesson, though one that ferret caretakers need to be keen on. If your ferret is an older ferret and still not up to snuff on the litter box routine, it can be trained with patience and some improvising.
Ferrets are very intelligent creatures, which can sometimes lead to the lessons we teach being used against us! That being the case, we need to realize that training routines can be easily comprehended when the routine is steady. A repeated task and reward system works well with ferrets young and old for any training, including litter box training.
Why The Need To Train?
Ferrets, when raised by their mother for the appropriate number of weeks, are taught where to potty by her. She leads them to the appropriate spot, away from food, and coaxes them to do their business by chortling ever so gently. For a baby, it is a traumatic event! Such lessons can occur up through 10 to 12 weeks of age. Some ferrets are removed from their mother before these lessons are learned. This is when the caretaker must take over.
Young ferrets can be confused initially with litter box routines, especially ferrets that were housed in an enclosure that had the same material for playing in, sleeping on and using as litter. Thus begins the confusion as to whether the litter box is to sleep in or to use as the loo.
For the full article, pick up the 2010 issue of Critters USA or click here to buy the issue.