Q - Howdy, I was hoping to pick your brain on one of my kids who is developing a behavior problem. Tigger is about 4 years old, he is one of the 2 boys we got from Petco that had lived in that tiny glass bubble for over a year with all of the babies coming and going around him. He is a little bit of a skittish fellow -- will run, dash, and hide if you startle him, only to stroll out confidently 30 seconds later like nothing happened. Never learned to like any treats, took over a year to even accept soup regularly (and will still skip meals sometimes). He never learned the rules of play -- would grab the other ferrets roughly and then look shocked when they screamed. He still launches and tackles, and never completely gets the concept that no one wants to play with him unless he plays nicely. He lives in a group of 4 -- his brother, an older female, and a younger female. They get along quite well, and will either avoid or match his rough play when he is in "a mood".
Recently, he has started a game he obviously sees as fun -- war dancing around, jumping up, and biting our calves. Sometimes he will just stroll up, bite, and then war dance away. It is all clearly in fun, he is smiling as he does it and always has playful body language, not an ounce of aggression there, but it really hurts. Now, though, it is getting more frequent and more intense. He doesn't like Ferretone, so I don't think the treat trick will work for him. Do you have any other ideas?
A - Yes that is his way of saying "tag you're it, now chase me and play!"
We have one that came in doing pretty much the same thing only she wants ankles; Daisy. Daisy did not like ferretone either, so what I started doing is telling her no when she headed to my ankles. If I had to tell her no more than twice I removed her from the room I was in so she did not have my attention, wait 5 min then let her back in. I immediately sat down on the floor with some one on one time. If she reverted to my ankles I got up and removed her again.
She has come to learn that she will get my one on one if she leaves my ankles alone. I realize you do not have the amount of time at home I have but maybe trying this with him will help. He gets no time with anyone including ferrets for 5 min. then you give him one on one immediately after that 5 min has past. Repeat the process as needed. Daisy has been here since December you could not be near her for the first few months without her going after your ankles. She has come around, she will forget at times but now knows ankles will get her no attention, coming up to me will get her the loving she is looking for. I hope this helps.
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