Rucus Replies : training tips

Harness Training
Toilet Training

Harness Training

Dear Rucus,

Hi! My name is Wesley and I have a problem I need some help with. I really love the outdoors and would very much like to attend the Ferret Picnics and Races but I can't stand to wear my harness or my collar. When my Mum puts it on me, I dance around and flop on my tummy to try and get it off. I look like a snake as I slide along on my belly. Although I must admit I am pretty clever because I manage to get it off every time and then proceed to hide it somewhere so my Mum can't put it back on me. What can my Mum and I do to get over this little problem? I really want to play in the park with the other ferrets but I can't go outside until I can learn to keep my harness on.

Thank you
Wesley Godfrey.
(I had a little help from my Mum with this letter).

Dear Wesley,

Some ferrets do take a bit of time and effort to get used to a harness and lead. My Mum uses figure-of-8 harnesses on us so we don't get all stressed while buckle or clips get fastened. She doesn't put our harness on until we are in AN EXCITINGLY NEW ENVIRONMENT, then we are so busy checking out all the new smells and stuff that we forget about the harness! Your Mum might like to try this for short periods until you associate the harness with good times. Your Mum also needs to remember that ferrets should never be left tethered or unattended wearing a harness and lead as we are very good at squirming out of them when nobody is looking.
Love, Dooks & Walkies! From Rucus.

Note: To get your ferret used to other types of body harnesses, try leaving it on them during the day whilst they play and they will soon get used to the whole idea and not mind wearing it when needed.  

Toilet Training

Dear Rucus,

Our ferrets constantly "wee" and "poo" beside their litter trays. Do you have any solutions?
From Tracey.

Dear Tracey,

Toilet training happens when ferrets show their human companions just where they want to go and their doting companions comply with the necessary requirements. It's a bit like enterprise bargaining really, and you may have to compromise just a little.

When I have just woken up and need to go to the toilet, it is FAR too much trouble to step into the litter tray. After all, I am not really awake and I much prefer to go next to it. Also, if I am really having a good play, I can't waste time stepping into the toilet tray either and want to go next to it. My Mum puts newspapet on the floor around the tray and I use that instead. Sometimes it's a good idea to leave a bit of soiled litter in the clean litter tray to remind a sleepy or distracted ferret just where the right place to "go" is, and after a bit of practice, most ferrets will do their poo and wee in the right place.

I know too, that if I'm a bit upset or excited, like if a new ferret comes, or Mum has visitors, I make mistakes. Mum never growls at me though, but just gives a big sigh and cleans it up because sometimes that is what having a ferret as a friend is all about.  

(What do you mean, not in the middle of the carpet?).
Dooks from Rucus.