Posted: November 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I have one male ferret that constantly goes under the covers at night when I’m watching TV and nips at my feet. I think I reinforced this, because I pull him out and put him on the floor when it happens. He thinks it’s a game and comes back to do it again. It’s gotten so I wear long socks and slippers to bed so that he can’t get at me. Is there any way to stop him from biting my feet?
A: I think you are right that you reinforced the behavior, and now it is an exciting game for your ferret! The best way to stop the behavior is to stop reinforcing it — stop rewarding him for biting.
Because you are wearing slippers, go ahead and let him nip, but don’t react. It will take awhile for him to stop because he has a history of this being a fun game, but it should stop eventually. The other option is to not let him out for playtime when you are in bed watching TV.
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