When you bring home a ferret, you need to spend extra time working on forming a bond with him. However, it can be hard to know where to start when trying to bond with your new critter. It can also feel really defeating if you are trying to bond with him and cannot seem to figure it out.
In this article, we will give you 13 tips to bond with your ferret which you can start implementing today. You will see that with time, patience, and good habits, the bonding process will be a pleasant experience both for you and your furry friend.
Is It Possible To Bond With A Ferret?
An important consideration when picking out a new pet to adopt is whether or not the pet can form a bond with humans and whether or not you want an animal that has lots of social needs. When it comes to ferrets, they can form bonds with other animals and humans. In fact, they actually really need regular social interaction in order to be happy in their environment.
Why Is Bonding With A Ferret So Important?
There are lots of reasons why it is important to take the time and commitment to build a bond with your ferret. The primary reason is that it is a key part of meeting your ferret’s emotional and social needs. To help you understand the importance, let’s compare ferrets to other common pets like dogs or cats.
When you have a dog or cat, you spend a lot of time with them playing, cuddling, going on walks, grooming, etc., to help create a bond. Ferrets are no different than these other animals. Building a relationship with your ferret is an important part of ensuring a well-adjusted and happy ferret.
13 Best Ferret Bonding Tips You Can Try Today
1. Give Your Ferret Items With Your Smell On It
For ferrets, the scent is really important. If your ferret does not know or is not used to your scent, he is not going to be able to bond with you. At the end of your day, try giving your ferret the shirt that you were wearing to sleep in. This way, while he is sleeping, he is adjusting to your scent. You can also try giving your ferret something else that you use, like a blanket or towel.
2. Play With Your Ferret Regularly
Once your ferret is used to you and does not hide when you approach him, you want to start to spend regular time playing with your ferret. There are several different things that you can do when playing with your ferret. You can play with toys, play a game of chase, or play hide and seek with their favorite toy or a treat.
You want to provide your ferret with a variety of different toys to play with. Two really great types of toys for ferrets to play with are dangly cat toys and stuffed animals. The dangly toys are really great whenever you want to play with your ferret, and the stuffed animals give you something to pounce on and hide.
3. Spend Casual Time With Your Ferret
Whenever you can, go into your ferret’s space and just spend casual time with him. You can bring your laptop to do some work, a book to read, or simply sit and watch your ferret explore the room or play with his toys. The more you can share space with your ferret, the more comfortable he will get with having you nearby, and a bond will start to form.
During all these activities get on your ferret’s level whenever possible. Let him sniff and explore you without making any sudden movements or trying to force him to be near you. It is also a great idea to reward him for being interested in you with treats or a gentle stroke if your ferret is comfortable enough with you.
4. Groom Your Ferret Often
Grooming your ferret is not only an important part of taking care of your ferret, but it is also another really great way to spend extra time with your ferret. Whenever you can, take some time to brush your ferret or clip his nails, this is a really great way to spend some extra time with your ferret.
5. Talk To Your Ferret
In addition to getting your ferret used to your scent, you want to get your ferret used to your voice; therefore, you should talk to your ferret as often as you can. You do not have to talk to your ferret about anything particular; you can even just narrate your day. Additionally, talking to your ferret can help them better learn how to understand you and your tone.
6. Hold Your Ferret Around The House Frequently
Whenever you are just spending time around your house, hold your ferret, especially if your ferret is sleeping. Of course, you do not want to force this if your ferret seems to really want to get away from you, but you can use oil on your arm or hand to help your ferret associate being held with positive things. You can also try walking around, so your ferret stays entertained with interesting sights.
7. Nap With Your Ferret
A really great way to bond with your ferret that not many people think of is to take a nap with your ferret. It is best to go into your ferret’s space rather than bring your ferret into your bed because it is safer. Lie down on the floor with a blanket and pillow (take everything cozy but what you have out of the room) and take a nap. Before long, your ferret will likely crawl under the blanket and cuddle with you. Remember, for your ferret’s safety, it is best to do this on the floor.
8. Rub Your Ferret Down to Mimic Their Mum
Lots of people try rubbing their ferret down to mimic their mother when trying to bond with their ferret. You want to take a warm, damp washcloth and gently rub it all over your ferret, including his belly and butt. This will take your ferret back to the first weeks of his life and help him feel more comfortable with you.
9. Take Your Ferret Out For A Walk
Oftentimes ferrets can struggle to bond if they are bored or are spending too much time in their cage; taking your ferret out on a walk is a really good way to avoid this happening. When you take your ferret out on a walk, make sure that you buy a secure harness. Ferrets are really good at getting out of things they are wearing, and you do not want your ferret to get lost.
10. Use Treats To Reward Good Behavior
Just like you want to show your ferret that he can get yummy food from you, you want to teach him that you also provide him with yummy treats. It is also a really good way to reward the things you want your ferret to do (spending time with you, playing, not biting, etc.).
11. Teach Your Ferret Some Tricks
Ferrets are really smart. Teaching your ferret fun tricks is not only fun, but the training sessions are actually a really great way to spend a ton of quality time with your ferrets. Additionally, training sessions can benefit your ferret by giving them a way to stay engaged both mentally and physically.
12. Take Things Slow
The most important thing to remember when trying to bond with your ferret is that it takes time. Ferrets have to warm up to their environment and to you before they can even begin to form a strong bond. Do not force it or move too fast, or else you might set things back.
13. Stick To A Consistent Schedule
Sticking to a consistent schedule will accomplish two things. First, it will help reduce stress, which can prevent your ferret from bonding with you. Second, it will help your ferret know what to look forward to each day (time to cuddle, time to play, training sessions, etc.).
How do you Know If a Ferret has Bonded With You?
If you are new to owning ferrets, it may feel hard to tell whether or not your ferret has bonded with you or not. The good news is, there are several signs that you can be on the lookout for to help your figure it out.
First of all, when a ferret has bonded with someone, they tend to follow them around. Once your ferret has formed a bond with you, you likely will never get another moment alone. Other signs include your ferret wanting to play with you and cuddle with you regularly.
Ferrets also tend to do a little dance when they are around someone they really like. He will hop all around and even run in circles when you enter a room, and he is excited to see you. On the other hand, ferrets that are bonded to you will not shrink away or hide. They also will not hiss or bite you out of fear or anger.
Do’s and Don’ts of Bonding With Your Ferret
- spend lots of time with your ferret
- remember to be patient with your ferret
- take proper care of your ferret
- make sudden movements
- allow small children to poke and prod him
- corner him
- give up
Do Ferrets Bond To One Person Only?
No, ferrets do not bond to only one person. In fact, ferrets can actually form bonds with a number of different people, but they do often form a particularly strong bond with one person above all the other people. This bond is usually with the person that they spend the most time with or that provides them with the food.
How Long Does It Take To Bond With A Ferret?
The average time to fully form a bond with your ferret is usually about a month if you spend time with him every day. Remember to be patient during this time. Rushing it will not help you form the bond.
Of course, the time varies from ferret to ferret. It depends on a number of different factors, such as how old your ferret is and what their life was like before you brought them home.
What Can I Do If My Ferret Is Not Bonding With Me?
If your ferret is not bonding with you, you want to consider the reason before trying to figure out what you can do to solve the problem. There are four main reasons that your ferret might be struggling to bond with you.
First, it may be because he is feeling uncomfortable in his environment. This could be because of a stressful home life or too much time in his cage. To solve this, make sure that your ferret has a secure and quiet environment to explore and plenty of time outside of his cage.
Another potential reason is that your body language is causing your ferret to feel on edge or scared. Do not make any quick movements or try to grab at your ferret because this could cause your ferret to view you as a predator, which will reduce the chances of your ferret wanting to bond with you
The last two reasons have the same solution: patience and time. It could be that your ferret has trust issues from a previous home or the pet store or that your ferret is not getting enough one-on-one time with you.
- Ferret Wellness Management and Environmental Enrichment, Laurel M. Harris, DVM
- Ferret Behavior, Peter B. Fisher
- A One Health Perspective on the Human–Companion Animal Relationship with Emphasis on Zoonotic Aspects, Paul A.M. Overgaauw, Claudia M. Vinke, Marjan A.E. van Hagen, and Len J.A. Lipman