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.