Ferrets/Litter training trouble...
I'm sure you get many question on difficulties with litter training, but my baby is quite persistent about NOT going in his litter box and he's been regressing which is quite frustrating. I've done my research and tried every trick and technique suggested that I can find.(putting his stool in the litter box, placing him in it after he goes elseware, treats when he uses it, and extra litter boxes) LOTS of positive reinforcement when he using his box and I've been trying to avoid punishment; When he goes in the house I put him in his box 3 or so times in a row, then place him in his cage for a 10-15 minute time out.
We've only had him for 10 days and I understand it doesn't happen over night; he was only born October 14 so he is still a baby and I'm aware that with kits, litter training can be quite difficult.
The main thing that concerns me with my ferret (Pedro) is after I've put bedding, food, toys in all the corners of his cage to prevent accidents else ware (he did use his litter box for the whole day after), but it wasn't long before he started pooping in his food dish. This has now happen at least 5 times and he is not using his litter box at all anymore, unless my spouse or I put him in there when we see he is looking for a place to go while out playing.
As far as I'm aware he's not 'mad' at us (I've heard they let you know when they are upset with you, one way by not using the litter box). He gets plenty of play time outside of his cage (from 2-3 hours spaced through-out the day, never more than an hour at a time), and has his own room to venture when we don't have time to watch him through-out the house and needs some out of the cage time. He's very spoiled, plenty of toys and very much loved.
I can't think of any reason for him to be regressing the way he is and I haven't found any solutions online which seem to work.
We've tried mixing it in with a new litter I found suggested by many ferret owners, but I'm not sure if that made the situation worse.
How else can I encourage him to use his litter box more, and how can I prevent him from going in his food dish? I'm concerned about him getting sick with this new nasty habit he's accumulated. As soon as I notice the poop there, I take care of the situation: I dump the food and scrub out the dish.
Please, if you have any extra tips or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.
I know, I know. Litter training can drive you nutz! Sometimes it seems like an impossible war and the ferret is winning. It sounds like you've tried just about everything. The only thing left, is persistence.
Most often these little guys will scoot their litter box out of the corner to deposit their bon bons in the corner behind. You can try to secure it by using twist ties to keep it in place. The best litter is a pellet type - There's one called Yesterdays News.
Lots of luck, kiddo. Keeep trying.