Post by ferretmamaintraining on Jul 15, 2017 0:15:44 GMT -5
Our newest girl, Porter, who is about 12 weeks was really testing us today. She is honestly more of a hellion than our first boy ever was, and even though we have had her for a month, she's still spontaneously nippy. We've had a really smooth few days, then yesterday she got a time out once and today she got FIVE time outs (three for nipping, two for dismantling the cats water fountain and dragging away the filter) and the last time I put her in, I must have gotten distracted by one of the other pets and I forgot her in the carrier/time out zone for almost two hours!! I feel horrible. I tried to give her lots of extra loves and we let her explore the bedroom, which is normally not a room she gets to be in, but she still seems anxious. My husband said I'm more upset than I need to be, but I just am. I feel bad for that and also because I think disciplining her is scaring her, but she is fast as lightning so if she does something wrong you have to grab her really fast and sometimes it's rough getting her and she will definitely struggle to get away. She also doesn't just do one bite then run away. If you don't stop her, she'll nip to varying degrees of pressure until you stop her - she doesn't lose interest. And she nips me mote than my husband. Somehow I don't think what we are doing is working right. We were taught to scruff as punishment on the way to the time out zone, and it worked great with our first boy, but maybe not her. I know she's still young and has a different personality, but she doesn't seem nearly as comfortable as our boy did as a baby. I feel like I'm not connecting with her right and it's frustrating.
No, you shouldn't scruff her. You should NEVER scruff for discipline, scruffing should be a good, happy thing for them, because it is often required for medical reasons, like visiting the vet, checking them over, etc. If you make them associate scruffing with something bad, you're setting yourself up for a fall. They should be taught scruffing is nice and gets rewarded with treats, that way they tolerate it well, especially in the times it is actually needed.
Also, wee girlies, especially dominant ones, do NOT take kindly to scruffing and will turn into little she-demons over it, often becoming fear biters. And those take a long time and a lot of work to fix again, not to mention band-aids... Scruffing her for discipline right now, may actually be making you lose her trust in you. My Athena, our little diva alpha, HATED scruffing, and like a fool back then, I did scruff her a few times before I learned better and stopped, using only sin bin time-outs... and she has honestly become a sweet wee darling that loves to kiss and cuddle... and then run off to be naughty like a real ferret again.
So, just pick her up, and take her to the sin bin normally. Don't do anything funny, don't try to scruff, don't shake, don't try to crush or hold very tight, nothing like that. Simply pick up your fuzzy and deposit her into the sin bin for her time-out.
And try not to forget her in there... that's not doing your teaching any favors at all. Like eternal toddlers, a ferret should get only 3 minutes in there. Use a kitchen timer or something to help you. Longer than that and they forget why they are in there in the first place. Everyone has to use the same method to discipline, you need to be consistent in how it's being done or they quickly learn how to circumvent it with certain people.
Just keep on trying.. seriously, only 5 time-outs in one day, and only 3 of those for biting.. you guys still have it pretty good. There are those of us who've had a ferret practically spend their entire day, in and out and in and out and in and out of the bin. Sometimes there are days where it will feel like they are in there more than they are out, but it ends up helping that message stick after a bit.
As for the water fountain.. many on here will tell you that is just not a good match with ferrets, and plenty refuse to own them because they know the ferrets will dismantle it or burn out the motor. I do have a water fountain myself though, but I feel that I'm one of the lucky ones whose ferrets do not care much for trying to "kill and stash" it, but instead use it as intended, other than the occasional snorkeling in it. So you might need to compromise that if it continues to remain a consistent problem after some time.
PS. Don't beat yourself up over this mistake, we've all buggered up something with our fuzzies. She'll forgive you, or make you pay the penalty for forgiveness and then forgive you, lol. Live and learn after all.