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Litter Training Trouble With Young Ferret

Is litter training different for young ferrets?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: January 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: I just got a new ferret about three weeks ago. She is doing fine and getting along with my other two ferrets. All of them are female, and the newest one is about 12 weeks old.

The two older ferrets are litter-box trained and almost never have accidents in the cage. The new ferret seems to be completely the opposite. She soils almost every corner of the cage. I've put an extra litter box in for her, but she still only uses it some of the time.

I've been trying to use the positive reinforcement technique to train her, by giving her time out of the cage and giving her a treat when she does it right. Also when I see her starting to go in the wrong spot, I put her in the box to try and reinforce the idea. None of this seems to be helping. She also has Waardenburg syndrome and is deaf. Is there any advice you can give me to help correct this litter-training problem?

A: You are training her correctly, but she is only 12 weeks old so it may take her a little while to figure it out, especially if she didn’t have access to a litter box before you got her. Also, some ferrets take very easily to a litter box, while others do not. Your new ferret may be the ferret that uses the box most of the time, but not always. Patience and time will tell you more, but keep doing what you are doing to encourage her to use the appropriate spot.

I also suggest placing a number of litter boxes in the cage and limiting bedding (if she goes on the bedding) to steer her in the right direction.

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Litter Training Trouble With Young Ferret

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Reader Comments
GREAT! Positive reinforcement! I have a new Ferret - about 2 months old - a female. I already love her to pieces, but am having some problems training her. For one thing, she has a 4 year old (Silas) and 3 year old brother (Woodstock. The latter and her get along fine, but Silas torments her. Always. Since she is constantly jumped, she often has "Scared Poopless" accidents. I hope he accepts her soon. Sometimes he seems to jump on her back and scruff her, but also pees on her. She tries to hold her own, but is so tiny compared to Silas. She seems to think pooping at my feet will gain my attention - even when I am laying in bed. LOL! I never cage my companions, we share my bedroom, bathroom and big walk-in closet. The older ones sleep under my bed in my underware and sock drawers but Silas will not let Starr (My new girl) join them. She sleeps in my hamper or occasionally, in my hands in bed.
Joe, Pflugerville, TX
Posted: 1/16/2009 1:16:07 PM
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