Behavior and Training

ferret

Ferrets have powerful, distinct and engaging personalities, and a playful and fastidious nature. Ferrets are diurnal creatures with their periods of greatest activity just before sunrise and shortly after sunset. They sleep about eighteen to twenty hours of the day, waking up twice a day for very active periods of about two hours. Due to their very high metabolism, ferrets also awaken roughly every four hours for a few minutes to eat, relieve themselves, and play briefly. When they wake, ferrets shiver very noticeably for periods up to twenty minutes. This is normal as the ferret is increasing his body temperature after sleep due to his higher metabolism and inherently higher body temperature. As burrow-living animals, ferrets require a dark, quiet place to sleep. The most suitable bedding are old towels, sweaters, pants and the like in which they can roll up or bury themselves.

Ferrets are extremely curious and will investigate anything and everything. This curiosity is the leading cause of premature death among ferrets. It is important to supervise your ferret at all times when he is at play. If you allow your ferrets to roam about your home, never close refrigerators, washers, driers, etc. without first ensuring no ferrets are exploring the interior or roosting within.

Litter Training

Ferrets are latrine animals and prefer to use a specific area for this purpose. Generally, a ferret will relieve himself within a few minutes of waking up. Being small predators, ferrets would be in the middle of the food chain in the wild, so their instinct is to find a sheltered corner as a latrine. All these things make it possible to litter train a ferret with considerable success.
The ferret should have a litter box or paper placed in a corner near his nest or in his cage and be confined to the nest/litter area until after he has relieved himself. Afterwards, he can be released to play in the rest of the home as he will not relieve himself again until after his next sleep. The size of the nest/litter area can slowly be expanded as the ferret learns to use a specific area for a latrine, much like paper training a puppy. As a precaution, a litter box can be placed in a secluded, out-of-sight corner of each room for the ferret's use as these are his natural preferences. The use of a fine, dust-free, clumping litter in a litter box or newspapers is suggested. Remember to clean up daily.

Play (Nipping)

Ferrets are very playful animals, much like kittens or puppies who never grow up. They have many behaviors related to play and play "hunting" which confuse or even frighten people unfamiliar with ferret body language. The most common action is a "war dance" where the ferret arches his back, throws his head back with fangs bared, often bushing up his tail, and maniacally bounces forward, backwards, sideways, while chittering away. As seemingly mad as this dance may seem, it is only a challenge to come down to his level and play. If you imitate his actions, he will become more frenzied (hard to imagine though this may seem) and start chasing you, stop suddenly, turn, and run: Now its your turn to chase him. Another common message is pawing the ground while semiprone: This is a challenge to a fight or hunt. Paw the ground yourself, and he will jump at you, then retreat. A few more bouts of pawing and jumping, and he will attack your hand or wrist, wrestling it down and attempting to kill it.

All ferrets have an affinity for people and want to include their parents in their play which is a major bounding component in a ferret's life. Due to his extremely strong jaws and small, sharp teeth, a young ferret can break a person's skin during these games. Ferrets have thick fur and skin which protects them when they play together and it takes a while for them to realize that we have no fur and only thin skin which is no protection. Once they realize that they are hurting us, ferrets modify their play so as not to do any damage. This rough play is part of a ferret's life, especially when young. Nipping, pinching the skin hard without breaking it, is another invitation to play. Some kits never nip at all, but most that do will eventually outgrow this tendency as ferrets do mellow with age.

Call to schedule your pet's wellness or urgent care exam now: (952) 758-6722

Testimonials

  • We have been clients of New Prague Animal Care for over 13 years. They have provided exceptional and compassionate care for our “pack” (6 dogs and 3 cats). As a professional dog trainer, breeder of Best in Show and Master Hunter Retrievers as well an owner of multiple kennel/ doggy daycare facilities (30+ years), I have worked with numerous veterinary clinics both in the Twin Cities and nationwide. Dr. Steve and his crew rate among the finest I have worked with. The clinic has all of the fea

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    Show More - Kathryn N
  • My dad has taken all of his dogs there for years, and I take mine there as well. Dr. Lavalle's bedside manner is amazing, and his staff are so genuine and caring. I always have, and will continue referring people to take their pets here. They are hands down the best veterinary care in the area!

    - Amber C
  • Have taken our dogs to Dr. Lavallee for over 10 years and he is great with each of them. He and his staff are very caring and helpful.

    - Barb S
  • Middle of a snow storm a few days ago. My little puppy was injured. I live in Faribult. Vet offices were closed in town. They actually called me while in route to see if I was ok. They were so good with the puppy. The cost was very reasonable. Called today to see how everything was going. I really was very impressed with this office. I recommend this place.

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    Show More - Wendy E
  • Awesome experience! My pets love the care they get from Dr. Lavallee and his staff! They are not just a number; they care for them like my babies are family! Would highly recommend them!

    - SGGM
  • Found a 6-wk old kitten on the side of the highway and brought it in at 7pm on emergency basis. I was blown away by the compassion of Dr. Johnson's team. What a great experience. True animal people!

    - Anna H
  • Moved to New Prague and found this place for our dog.. Such great service, friendly staff, amazing Dr. and very accommodating to all of our needs!! Highly recommended by my pet family!!!

    - Kerri N
  • We love New Prague Animal Care, they are always so kind and caring, from the phone calls to when you walk in. We take our Siberian Husky Bandit in and he gets so much attention, well loved. We've had to take him in twice for emergencies, the in house testing was great, Dr. Johnson was able to resolve the issue almost immediately. I wouldn't take him anywhere else.

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    Show More - Myra C

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Monday
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