Posted: June 1, 2012, 10 a.m. EDT
Q: I’ve had my ferret Gizmo for two months, and I also have two dogs and a cat inside. I’ve been very cautious and letting them get to know one another from me holding Gizmo or on his leash. I’m now trying to supervise holding Gizmo and one of the dogs, even letting Gizmo walk around one room freely with the other pets. All seems to go pretty well until Gizmo jumps at/on the dogs. Why does he do this? And, most importantly, how do I stop this?
A: Ferrets seem to think they are indestructible and this can lead them into unfortunate situations, like jumping at the dog to entice play.
You didn’t mention the size, breed, age of the dogs or their tolerance of the ferret. I have had a small dog that enjoyed interacting with my ferrets (only under constant supervision) and other dogs that see them as prey. My cats spend a lot of time with the ferrets, even sharing sleeping space.
If your dogs aren’t responding well to the ferret’s behavior, do not allow them time together. You can work with the ferret and train him not to jump at the dogs (by removing him from the situation when he does or encouraging playtime with you more than the dogs). If your ferret is very young, keep it separated from your dogs; most young animals are not really in control of their impulses. If your ferret is older, be patient; but never leave your ferret and your dogs alone.
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