Friday, March 15, 2013

Harness Training Pt 2

After choosing harness you want to use on your ferret. adjust the neck first if using a harness with adjustable buckles. Once adjusted to the right width you can leave the neck loop closed so you can slip it over your ferret’s head then adjust the chest strap.

Remember you don’t want it too tight or too loose. You should be able to slip your smallest finger under the harness if you have large hands then use the eraser end of a pencil to check.

Put the harness on your ferret in a room you have ferret proofed and let the ferret get used to having the harness on.

Many will attempt to get out of the harness and if it isn’t adjusted correctly, they will do so in a matter of minutes.

Continue to adjust until your ferret can’t easily get out of the harness and reward them with some Ferretone so they see that wearing the harness is a good thing.

I also use a belled collar as to know where my ferrets are. With Manny being the only hearing ferret in the business he gets excited when I shake his collar as he knows that means he will be going outside.


Once your ferret has gotten used to the harness on for more than a few minutes the next step is to clip the leash to the harness and play your ferret in the room.

This allows the ferret a chance to explore the leash while seeing that it is a good thing. It also allows you to interact with your ferret while they are getting use to the leash in a safe environment.

If you have more than one ferret like I do then you should put a harness on those ferrets you plan on taking for walks or other outings.

Manny and Marcuz are very use to the harnesses they have but when I had to get a walking jacket for Marylin because of her small size the boys had to investigate the new type of harness and actually tried to take it off of Marylin. Not that Marylin minded. As she wanted the harness off as well.

Letting the boys play with the harness before I put it on Marylin did two things it let the boys get use to the different harness and let them rub their sent on the entire thing.

It also made Marylin feel more comfortable by having the boys scent surround her.

Once the ferret is use to having the leash trailing behind them and are eager to have the harness put on. You are ready for your first outing.

I would only make it a few minutes in the yard. Let the ferret explore the area while watching for signs of stress in the ferret.

These include but not limited to:

Trying to climb up your pant leg.

Cowering between your legs.

Finding a corner and backing into it as far as they can go. However, don’t pick the ferret up to quickly encase they are using the bathroom.

If the ferret climbs your pant leg cradle them in your arms and let them get use to all the new smells and sounds from the safety of your arms or in the case of Marcuz the top of your head. ferret life 003

Remember this is all new to them so let them get use to the new world you just opened for them. First outing shouldn’t be more than ten minute.

A word of caution when walking your ferret outside keep an eye out for the neighbor’s dog or cat as many will rush the strange creature and many ferrets don’t see this as a reason to run away. Also look up now and then to make sure there are no birds that might swoop down and take your little darling.

The tandem lead is a great way to walk a pair of ferrets as it keeps you from being pulled in two different directions.

The biggest thing to remember is that you will never get your ferret to walk in a straight line, as they have to check out everything. Nevertheless, it is well worth the work to have people stop and ask about your unusual pet.

By harness and leash training my fur kids I’ve opened up a whole new world for them and I as we travel to different places such as Blog Paws and other events along with letting them play in the snow and chase the fall leaves.

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With a little work you can provide your ferret with enrichment that will allow them to explore the new wonders that all curious ferrets are looking for.

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Have a Chittering Good Day,


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