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Discussion Starter #1
So, today we decided to buy our first ferret. But, of course we ended up coming home with two instead of one. :D

We have a 3 month old female we've named Leeloo, she's a silver and so far seems to be really sweet and laid back. She hasn't even offered to nip yet. However, I just had to pick out a problem child. We also came home with a 4 month old cinnamon male. I've named him Puck. He's a big boy and at first he was really sweet, giving lots of kisses, but now he's getting pretty nippy. I've read you're supposed to scruff them when they nip, but I've also read you're not.

How did you guys nip train your ferrets? I want to start off right with this boy, I think he may have been at the pet store awhile and needs to brush up on his social skills.

My camera's batteries are charging as I type, and I'll be sure to post tons of pictures when I can. So, stay tuned!
 

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Ah, okay, I see your thread now. :) Those are beautiful colors! I've always wanted a silver, I'm on my 4th ferret now and still haven't ever gotten a silver. I'll get one some day, lol. I like their names, especially Leeloo.

My first ferret, Misty, never bit. Second ferret, Keila, nipped just a little. For her I would just loudly and sharply say NO! while I tapped her on her nose.

My third ferret, Celleia, was as stubborn as can be! And she played Way to rough. I did the nose tap, scruffing, bitter apple, and nothing worked. So what I did with her: When she would bite me, I would take my finger and push into her mouth. NOT forcefully. But just enough that she couldn't close her mouth and couldn't get away. (If she pulled her head back I would follow her, making sure my finger remained in the back of her mouth.) OH and my finger, by the way, is in her mouth length wise - not pointing down her throat! Now I only did this for short amounts at a time. The whole purpose is at the end Celleia was like, "Petuwee! Bleh! *smack-smack* Well, that was no fun at all." She didn't like how it felt and not before long the habbit was broken. That worked better than anything else. ~And I assure you she was never harmed by this.

As for, Sontaeruh, the ferret I have now. She never bit either. Not me at least, lol, she would only bite/attack a few of my stuffed animals she played with. I thought it was cool how she automatically knew which to be rough with, lol.
 

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yay for baby ferts!!

i would NEVER hit a ferret, even if it is just tapping. hitting a ferret will make biting worse, never better.

a book that i read that i found helpful is "ferrets for dummies". a forum that i am on that i find extremely helpful is http://ferretocious.hyperboards.com
the people there are super helpful and very nice. you will get a lot of good information there.

when i first got fawkes he also nipped. i scruffed him when he bit and after about a week or 2 he stopped nipping. if scruffing him and picking him up like that for a few seconds doesn't work then you can try scruffing him and holding him by the scruff on the floor for a few seconds. if that still doesn't work you can try the scruff and drag where you drag the ferret across the floor about a foot while scruffing him on his back. fawkes really hated to be scruffed when we first got him. he was at the pet store for almost 4 months before we took him home. he learned really fast what he could and couldn't do. ferrets are very smart.

making sure that they get enough time out of the cage every day is also important because a bored ferret will bite out of frustration and boredom.

please get the book or borrow it from the library. also check out that site, it has a lot of good information!

enjoy your new babies!! i am so jealous!
 

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i would NEVER hit a ferret, even if it is just tapping. hitting a ferret will make biting worse, never better.
Oh I wasn't trying to say to hit the ferret and by "tapping" - I meant the slightest touch on the nose. More of an annoyance really. I never hurt my ferrets and they never negatively reacted to me. My ferrets who did nip would only nip too hard during play. The "tapping" and other means were really just a method I used to interrupt play, pausing for a moment. ...My finger method really just sounds worse than what it really was. Seriously, none of it hurt my ferrets.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to buy that book.

I can't figure out if Puck is trying to play or not, honestly. He keeps striking out, getting whatever skin he can reach and then backing up and pulling. Which hurts considerably. If I try scruffing him while he still has a hold on me, he just clamps down and pulls harder. But, if I don't get him off me he just keeps pulling.

I never know when he's going to do it, because one minute he could be licking me madly, and the next latch on to my finger. I haven't been putting him down or giving him what he wants when he bites. and I'm really hoping I can break him of this soon.
 

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He keeps striking out, getting whatever skin he can reach and then backing up and pulling. Which hurts considerably. If I try scruffing him while he still has a hold on me, he just clamps down and pulls harder. But, if I don't get him off me he just keeps pulling.
That's why I started Gently pushing my finger towards/further into the mouth/bite. It released pressure from the bite and seemed to confuse the ferret, which then they would let go. (Don't let the ferret back up, otherwise you're just giving in or creating a tug-of-war game with your skin.) Again, I'm talking seconds here, I wasn't gagging my ferret for hours. Plus, if you feel any pain, don't let the ferret know that. Remain calm on the outside, though you may be yelling OUCH on the inside. Calmly deal with the situation. By reacting to the pain outwardly, the ferret has won and will use the tactic again. --I hid the pain with Celleia and with my parakeet when he had his moments.

Now if this is full blown attack, down right mean, aggression - then it could be a different story.

Does he only strike out and attach when he's in his cage? Like, are you sticking your fingers through the wire of his cage? Will he act like this when he's out of his cage, running around and playing?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I gots a picture! They were asleep though, so I didn't want to bug them too much. This is the best I can do for now.



Puck is on the left, Leeloo on the right. You can't really tell here, but he's twice her size. I can't wait to weigh this boy on Monday when they go in for their shots!

Now if this is full blown attack, down right mean, aggression - then it could be a different story.

Does he only strike out and attach when he's in his cage? Like, are you sticking your fingers through the wire of his cage? Will he act like this when he's out of his cage, running around and playing?
I'll definitely keep that tactic in mind and try it next time. He bites pretty much any time my hands are near him whether he's in the cage or out of it. But, he doesn't do it constantly. Only periodically. And I can't tell what triggers it, which is why I don't think it's aggression so much as him just needing to learn some manners. He's actually brought blood twice today, but once was at the store when I went to put him in the pet carrier. He really didn't want go in, and that was a fear bite.
 

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it looks like there is a possibility that puck may be deaf. ferrets with white heads or white blazes have a strong chance of being deaf. it sounds to me that puck is still very unsure of his surroundings and you and is nervous. just take your time and go gentle with him. fawkes did the same sort of biting at first with me too. he would latch on and then bite harder if i scruffed him. he hated being scruffed for the first while. you can try like hyperferret said and push your finger gently into his mouth until he lets go, but only for a second or two. all i did with fawkes was the scruffing, but fawkes was hearing. if puck is deaf then he probably reacts with a bite all the time because he can`t hear what is going on and doesn't know what is coming next. he will need some time to realize that you love him and want to take care of him.

good luck with everything. they are super cute!! thank you for posting the picture :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have yet to try the finger in the mouth thing because he always seems to get the flesh of my fingers or palm and not my knuckles or fingertips.

I have read that blazes can be deaf, but is there any way I can check? Any sort of tests I can do. I mean niether one of them seem to pay much attention to noises etc.
 

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i know that my guys come running for a squeaky toy. you could try squeaking a toy and see if he has any reaction at all. if they do come running you should have a really good treat for them when they get there so they know that good things happen when they come, just like a doggy! some ferrotone or ferrevite or even a little olive oil, like a lick off your finger. oh! that is another thing i did for fawkes. i put things that he really liked on my fingers, like nutrical, and he licked it off, he came to realize that my fingers gave good things, not to be bitten!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We have the ferretone treats and the ferrevite liquid stuff, but you're only supposed to give them certain amounts a day, right?

And so far we've seen quite a bit of their personalities. Leeloo is really mellow and sweet when being held. She'll fall asleep on our shoulders and is content to be held for long periods of time. She likes to give kisses. But, when we put her down she starts doing her little war dance and playing. She had way too much fun with a pair of pants we had left on the floor.

Puck, when I first held him, went crazy giving me kisses all over my face. And then he bit my ear. He's squirmy, basically seems like he just wants to get down and investigate. While Leeloo went in the pet carrier without a problem, Puck sort of freaked and whipped around and gave me a bite that drew blood on my middle finger. In the cage, if we're in the room, all he does is try to figure out how to open his cage door and is all over our fingers when we go to open it. When I'm holding him, he will give me kisses and then randomly do the bite and pull thing. And when put down, all he does is investigate and sniff everything he can find. Leeloo tried playing with him, but he would ignore her and continue looking around.

Maybe he just needs more time to adjust? I love the little bugger already, I don't care how many wounds he's inflicted on me. Other people aren't going to understand though, I can tell my SO already does not like him very much at all. I know he was at the pet store for awhile. Leeloo had just gotten there yesterday before we came. Another thing, should I be playing with them in thier cage or should that be thier little retreat?
 

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i think that puck just needs some time to get adjusted and you just have to be consistent with him, same as when you are training a dog.

yes, you should only give ferrevite in small amounts a day, but a little lick off your finger won't make too much of a difference, imo.

i really like the name leeloo, btw. very cute! is it from the 5th element?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, of course it is. :D

We were going to name mine Korbin, but it just didn't really fit his personality. Puck is much more suitable.

I got a few more pictures. I've found that taking pictures of ferrets is a very difficult endeavor. They won't stop moving!



Here's Puck with his harness. He took to it surprisingly well. But, his collar was an entirely different story.


And here's little Leeloo passed out on my SO's shoulder.
 

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OMG, Ferret kits!!!! *chants slowly* You do not need another one, you do not need another one, you do not need another one. *takes deep breath*

:D (The chant did not work, by the way...)

Ah, so Puck is a little Dameon, eh? He was a demon kit, and still is a demon ferret. When I first brought him home he was food aggressive and in three days latched onto my finger three times. If that ever happens, by the way, either spray bitter apple spray into his mouth to get him to go "Patoohy!" and spit you out, or dunk him under a faucet of running water. Don't try to pull him off, or you'll cause more damage - when ferrets latch on, they latch on and will not let go.

I would be wary when he licks you, just like you have found out. When Dameon licks you, he is tasting you and will shortly follow with a bite. Now I just shoo him away whenever he licks me and avoid the bite all together.

Dameon has gotten loads better, but he never was really "cured". I think consistancy paid off the most with him. He will still attack people if he hears a loud pitched noise (squeeky toy, recorder, flute, squeel, whistle, etc.) and he sees bare skin. He isn't food aggressive anymore, however.

Also, make sure you never ever play with him with your hands. That is one thing that I always did with Dameon (I just couldn't help it!) and I am paying for it now. You can wrestle with him if you want, but have a stuffed animal do the dirty work.

Edit to add: And the Ferret's for Dummies book is amazing. Highly reccomend it.
 

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right, i keep forgetting that i was going to mention, a lot of ferrets really like to do that lick lick lick CHOMP! thing! heehee! they are making sure you are tasty enough i think :)

the new pictures are sooooooooo cute! i really want a kit but i can't do it...not yet anyway!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Have you guys ever heard of Petersen Ferrets? That's apparently what our guys are, but I can't find anything about them on the internet.

Also, they're going to the vet Monday for their shots and whatnot. Are they going to freak out about the shots? Should they be scruffed while they're getting them? I worry about Puck especially since he had such a violent reaction to the pet carrier. I'm not worried about being bitten so much as about him squirming loose and getting free in the clinic.

A lot of times he does the lick without the chomp. I think he just likes to keep me on my toes.
 

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Have you guys ever heard of Petersen Ferrets? That's apparently what our guys are, but I can't find anything about them on the internet.

Also, they're going to the vet Monday for their shots and whatnot. Are they going to freak out about the shots? Should they be scruffed while they're getting them? I worry about Puck especially since he had such a violent reaction to the pet carrier. I'm not worried about being bitten so much as about him squirming loose and getting free in the clinic.

A lot of times he does the lick without the chomp. I think he just likes to keep me on my toes.
Dunno about the Peterson Ferrets. My guess is they are another large breeder/broker/mill thing like Marshal Farms is. I did a quick google search to know they are registered by the USDA and are called Peterson Ferret Farm, or something like that.

Could you try Puck with his harness on and have someone hold him in the car? I know when I transported Casey and Dameon they couldn't be in the same carrier or Dameon would beat up on Casey. I just held Dameon in my lap with a harness and lead on him.

As for being scruffed for the shots, that would probably be the best. I've never taken my guys in for vaccinations. They got one distemper shot when they were kits, and that was it. I'll take my risk with rabies.

I think he just likes to keep me on my toes.
But of course! He is a ferret, after all! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Puck and Leeloo get along great. And once Puck was in the carrier, he was absolutely fine. But, I'll probably try him on the harness in the car anyway.

So, is there a reason why don't you get your ferrets vaccinated?
 

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Ferrets frequently have veryveryveryVERY bad reactions to vaccines. NEVER let the vet give both vaccines at once, always space them out by at least a couple months. Currently I have 2 ferrets---Bumper, a 6-year-old female whose brother died in January :( , and a young (9 months?) male named Digby who was given to me by a neighbor who couldn't keep him. I JUST got Digby his distemper shot, and I'm not sure if I'll do the rabies shot at all, but if I do (I think I want to take him outside this summer), I'll do it in 3 months. I only got Bumper her vaccines once since I had her. Both distemper and rabies; I did them about 6 months apart. I think she was about 2 when I did them.

My first 2 ferrets had horrible reactions to their vaccines. Nikky got bloody diarrhea and was having seizures. Casey went into total anaphylactic shock and had to be revived. It was really scary. I never vaccinated them again after that. I never had Yoshi vaccinated, since she was 5 when I got her. There is a high probability that vaccines given after 6 months of age confer immunity for life. I see no reason to repeat them. If you want to have the ferrets in public, for legal reasons you should keep them UTD on rabies shots.

As for the nipping, I consider it to be normal for most young ferrets. Sometimes you get lucky and get a passive little weasel, but most kits are psychotic. The only thing I ever found that worked is coating your hands in Bitter Apple before ferret playtime. That way they learn that you don't taste too good. And don't play rough games with your hands----always use a big stuffed animal for wrestling games.
 
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