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Hello! I have a 5 month old male ferret. I am trying to litterbox train him but i was told that the only way to train him is with treats, but he doesnt like treats so how can i train him then? Also in a book i read it said that ferrets need a cage with a lot of floor space (length and width) as oppose to a tall and narrow cage for climbing. The book says that ferrets are not climbers. Is this true? What do you suggest for a cage?

Answer
Hi Jaime:

I noticed you marked that you felt my reply was not clear in some way.  I would be happy to answer more completely or answer any question you have about litter box training.  Just let me know what it is you need more information on that I did not give.  It has been a long time since I had to litter box train a ferret from zero...so if I didn't make it clear, please let me know how I can be of more help?  Hopefully I can help. :-)  i know it's not fun, but doesn't take long and is SO worthwhile to train them.   I think the older they are, the harder it is also be ause by then they have their own way of doing things.  

Thanks!

Sincerely,
Jacquie Rodgers

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Hi Jaime:

NEVER TREATS FOR TRAINING!  Sit in a small room with litterbox & toys.  Play till you see him start to back up, then gently place rear end into high sided rectangle litter box.  They don't usually like the triangle ones.  Use clay, non-clumping litter to prevent intestinal blockages.  Put a few cups in, then every time they start to back up, just gently place in box, rear end towards rear corner.   Everywhere around litterbox should be flannel baby blankets or soft tee shirts for bedding. They will not mess on bedding.  May need a box for each floor of cage at first.  Use as many clean soft blankies as necessary to keep them pottying in the boxes.

If you start in a small room and onebox (bathroom), play till you see him back up, then gently place rearward in back of high backed rectangle box.  May need one box for each level at first. LOTS of safe toys and soft blankies will ensure it will work, AND it will help you get to know how to play with him too!  Play with paper bags, pull him along while dragging a towel or blanket or sheet on floor behind you.  

BEWARE:  anything not made of chicken....no treats except FERRET CHEW TREATS, WHICH ARE BASICALLY GELATINIZED CHICKEN BROTH...no bones of any kind, no rawhide, no pig ears.  Use high protein food like TOTALLY FERRET.  Check food chart at :(http://) mdferretpaws food treat chart and try to use only "10's" in the chart.  NEVER ANY SWEETSN NEVER ANY FRUIT or sweets of any kind, never anything unless it comes from a chicken.

Keep blankies in cage anyplace you don't want him to go potty.  He will train himself in cage.  Outside, start with small room, then larger one with more boxes, just watch him for backing up....that means he needs a ride to the nearest litterbox.  Be gentle, NEVER punish or get angry...it is not nevessary.  Tell them good boy when potties in box.  Use ONLY clay, NON CLUMPING litter, scoop daily, not just the poops, but all wet litter too....it is just below the top layer of litter, as it sinks down....so use a big serving spoon just for this and scoop out ALL wet or poopy litter.

BEST CAGE:  Midwest....best price:  Walmart for $119.  Keep doors closed  well or they get out.  Ferrets are very smart.  They are Avery social and need 2-3 hours of play with you daily.  NO KIDS UNDER ABOUT 12...just too delicate, they will hurt/kill them & probably get bit.  Ferrets are NOT cage pet, hamsters are.  Mine lives in my ferret proofed bedroom (everything that hurts him has been removed and room is designed as a big cage.  He sleeps with me.

You need to READ READ READ.  So many things deadly to ferrets.  Different than any other pet.  You MUST study them or you will kill him one way or another.  NO rubberbands, NO SHOES (insoles are deadly bevause they love to eat them and it causes obstruction.

Read everything at:  http://www.ferretcentral.org  AND buy FERRETS FOR DUMMIES vol I and Vol II for all kinds of info and dangers to watch out for.

FOODS....they are obligate carnivores.....MEAT ONLY.  NEVER sweets of any kind, NEVER raisins, causes kidney fauilure.  Chicken o ly, no bones....read food labels, or just use TOTALLY FERRET...many ferret foods are JUNK.    Sorry, I wrote a long reply earlier, accidentally deleted, now can't remember what I told you and what I did not.

Greatest danger is intestinal blockages from unsafe toys, rubberbands, shoe insoles, pencil erasers, etc, etc, etc.....you MUST READ everything you can get your hands on.  FERRET CENTRAL is a good place to start.

Join our Facebook Group at Thundering Ferret Paws.  Check the "Files" for more information and ask ANY question....people are great about helping.  Ferrets just are NOT cage pets, so you need to know how to keep him contained and safe, when in cage and out ...what toys are safe, etc.   SO MUCH TO LEARN.

Hope to see you on Thundering Ferret Paws!   Hope this at least gets you started!

Sincerely,
Jacquie Rodgers

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Jacquie Rodgers

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PLEASE READ ALL BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS... WHAT I CAN DO: Being a ferret owner for 20 years, I can answer questions re: general care, cage ideas & requirements, healthy foods and snacks, safety issues, ferretproofing play areas, common causes of intestinal blockages, appropriate housing, litterbox training, making bathtime fun, toys, games galore, outdoor trips, "Do`s and Don'ts, traveling w/ferrets by car or RV, safe environmental temperatures & keeping your ferret cool in summer (NOT A FAN!!), setting up a hospital cage, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), helicobacter (ulcers), adrenal disease symptoms & care,intestinal blockages, helping your ferret recover quickly/safely from surgery; common problems of ferret ownership, illnesses; care of sick or injured ferrets, hospice/palliative care, facing & coping with your ferret's death, choices that must be made when a ferret dies, memorializing your pet online and in your daily life. #1 TIP: FIND AN EXOTICS VET BEFORE YOU GET A VET...IF YOU WAIT, YOU MAY FIND YOU HAVE TO DRIVE UP TO 6-HRS TO GET TO A PROPER VET!..if you did not find one first, be WILLING to drive as far as possible for proper care. AND.... #2 TIP: FERRETS ARE EXPENSIVE TO FEED, HOUSE, VET & CARE FOR PROPERLY...IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD ONE/OR NOT READY TO SACRIFICE, PLEASE DON'T GET ONE!! A FERRET IS NOT LIKE HAVING A CAT OR DOG!! THEY REQUIRE MORE TIME, ENERGY, CARE AND MONEY to properly care for them. Prepare to spend up to $8,000-$10,000 OVER A FERRETS LIFETIME (6 to 8 years usually) FOR NECESSITIES & VET CARE. WHAT I CAN`T DO: I can`t take the place of your ferret vet; if your ferret appears sick,PLEASE have your ferret examined by a ferret vet .TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE FOR A SICK FERRET - PLEASE, IF IN DOUBT, GET THEM TO A VET! 24- hours of a ferret not eating/drinking may kill your ferret! NEVER FORCE FEED A SICK..he may choke. Sub-Q or IV fluids from your vet who is not eating WILL help save his life IF he gets it in time.

Experience

I have nursed ferrets through many illnesses, an injury, and a variety of diseases over the years.Ferrets are so very delicate, yet incredibly strong-willed; a well-loved ferret will fight courageously to live if given proper medical care, close monitoring, and especially lots of TLC.& LOVE. A ferret can entertain for hours on end when they know they are the center of attention; and they can make even the grumpiest person laugh. They do require a LOT of time, love and daily care, but the love you give a ferret always comes back to you tenfold OR MORE!! I dedicate the time I spend helping others here to my precious little ones who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They taught me how to laugh, to love unconditionally....and how to live each & every day to its fullest, and for that I am forever grateful.

Organizations
Yuma County Humane Society THUNDERING FERRET PAWS Facebook Ferret Group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ PLEASE JOIN US AND GET ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCED FERRET OWNERS!

Publications
Yuma Daily Sun (local newspaper) recognition for being an outstanding ferret mom and having incredibly well-trained ferrets. I am currently working on book of ferret care to share my experience. JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ for faster answers to your questions and input from other experienced ferret owners. Lots of past questions answered on AllExperts.com that you can still reference by category. If you don't find your answer there, please submit it and I will be happy to help you :-)

Education/Credentials
I read everything I can get my hands on regarding ferrets, I learn from my great Exotics Vet, and my own experience and interactions with other ferret owners. I am writing a book on ferret care (Great Need for a CORRECT one!) never rely on a ferret book OR a website when your ferret is sick. I can help with suggestions to use IN CONJUNCTION with proper care by your exotics specialist vet (ASK when you call for an appointment whether or NOT your vet has EXPERIENCE in working with EXOTICS..if not, move on and continue to seek one. The wrong vet can KILL your ferret. I learned this early when my ferret hurt his front paw jumping off the couch...a vet, NOT EXOTICS SPECIALIST couln't handle ferret properly because he was afraid of the ferret...and ended up xraying THE WRONGBARM, telling me it was not hurt. I took xray & ferret to EXOTICS SPECIALIST VET 3-hrs away & found out the arm WAS BROKEN & wrong arm had been xrayed. THAT is how important it is to have a PROPERLY TRAINED VET FOR YOUR FERRET!

Awards and Honors
WANT TO BE A FERRET EXPERT? I serve as the resident "guru" for this category. IF YOU WISH TO VOLUNTEER IN THE FERRET CATEGORY, please email me at thunder.paw.ranch@gmail.com and request an application. All volunteers must complete a general ferret information questionaire to be a volunteer in this category. Thanks for your cooperation :-)

Past/Present Clients
I try to educate anyone who is interested in ferrets, as I take my ferrets with me in public a lot. There is a lot of MISinformation out there about ferrets that needs to be dispelled with fact, and ferret owners who need to be keep abreast of the latest and best information. FACEBOOK FERRET GROUP (OPEN): THUNDERING FERRET PAWS - Join us as we all share our pictures, stories & experience!! :-)

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