First of all, you need to know that some ferrets like leash walking while others don’t. Some will resist at first, but over time they learn to like it. The best way to find out if your ferret enjoys walking on a leash is to try it. If your ferret doesn’t want it, that’s okay; do not force it.
I suggest you ask a neighbor or a friend to lend you the leash if you are not sure. If you see your ferret jumping and spinning off as you walk, you should forget about its leash walking for a while.
If you get the same result after several tries, stop the training. Your furry friend won´t do it. Accept it. Leash walking is not for every ferret!
If it begins walking on a leash, get a harness instead of a collar. Collars aren’t safe for ferrets because they slide out quickly, so it’s best to secure them in a harness.
Ideally, purchase a harness that has a proven track record by other ferret owners, so you know it’s the right one for you.
In pet stores, you can find lots of adjustable harnesses especially made for ferrets. If the store won’t let you test the products, buy a couple and try them at home.
The correct harness fit is crucial to the safety and comfort of your ferret while training.
How Do You Train Your Ferret to Use a Leash?
You should start by getting your ferret to wear the harness at home, then take them outside for a walk.
Some ferrets will need time before they can accept the harness, so don’t expect to succeed the first time.
However, some ferrets will refuse to wear the harness at home…
If they refuse to wear the harness at home, you might have to “bribe ” them into it.
Initially, reward it when it wears the harness. After a while, it will come to expect your treats every time it sees the harness.
As soon as your ferret feels comfortable wearing the harness, reward it again for wearing the harness.
This second stage is more difficult because many ferrets struggle with you immediately when they see the leash. The reason is that ferrets want their freedom and feel that tying them up will rob them of that freedom.
Pairing the sight and sound of the leash clipping to the harness with a tasty treat will make it easier for the ferret to accept the harness.
The final step is to get the ferret to actually walk on a leash. Similarly, as in the previous stage, it would learn to enjoy moving forward on the leash once it realizes that a treat follows the movement.
The secret of ferret leash–training is to give a treat after each stage.
The aim is to ensure that the ferret works hard for the treat and stays motivated. Provide food in tiny bits so that your ferret doesn’t get full too fast.
Precautions to Take When Walking Your Ferret On a Leash
Leash walking can only be done with some level of precaution. Before taking your ferret for walks outside, make sure they are familiar with walking inside the house.
Also, make sure they are familiar with the sights and sounds they will see during walks outside.
Some ferrets become scared more than others and need more practice in their owner’s arms to feel confident with leash-walking outside.
We all love to see ferrets obey simple commands such as “sit” and “run” as they move along with their owners. However, it may not be so easy the first few times you take your ferret outside.
When you take your ferrets outside, pay close attention. You should keep a close eye on their leash, and they might eat something unsafe or approach a small child who might find them annoying.
Finally, you should vaccinate your ferret before letting them outside. There are lots of unvaccinated dogs and wild animals like foxes, rabbits, raccoons.
When walking your ferret outside, be careful to keep a safe distance from animals with diseases or viruses, especially if they are hostile.
If in doubt, pick up your ferret and move away quickly from dogs or wild animals.
It is best to contact a veterinarian before taking your ferret outside. This is a way to prevent them from catching anything you don´t want them to.
Where Should You Walk Your Ferret
The best place to walk ferrets is in an open area, away from bushes and other animals.
You can start by finding an open, grassy field with minimal dog presence. Be careful not to let the ferret pause on the hot pavement because it can burn its footpads.
Do not take your ferret outside at midday or when it is very hot (ferrets can overheat). Also, you should avoid frigid weather so they do not freeze.
Some ferrets enjoy walking on a leash, while others dislike it. When handled properly, several ferrets will enjoy short walks with a leash.
For the first few times, do short walks. And: for older ferrets, shorter walks are always better.
Be patient. These tips will eventuallly help you get your cute friend to enjoy leash walking in a short time.