Nipping problem

Hello! I’m brand new to the forums because we just adopted a little girl ferret who we’ve called Skeeter! We’re enjoying every minute of her silly personality, but she does have a nipping problem which is my reason for posting. We’ve only had her for a week, and I’ve heard it takes a minute for ferrets to adjust, but I’m worried she may be too set in her ways to change.

We’ve been using the “time out” box, scruffing, and hissing methods but there hasn’t been much improvement. Usually it’s only play biting, but she chomps hard and sometimes will hang on. Our process is bite, hiss, scruff, move, repeat twice more, then she goes to the naughty box until she looks like she’s calmed down.

Some more info that may be useful to know - we have 3 dachshunds who she has not met yet (but we hope to introduce them in a safe environment eventually). She and the dogs are completely separated (they live downstairs in the gated off living room, and she lives upstairs). Could the dogs possibly be putting some stress on her? We play with her every day for a couple hours until she gets bored and puts herself to bed. She is spayed, and we think she’s an adult. She was abandoned in the woods when she was turned in to the shelter where we adopted her, so we don’t have a lot of information on her.

Thank you for any advice you can give us! No matter what she’s a sweet girl, tons of fun, and we’re keeping her around for good.

Welcome to the forum :grinning:
Firstly and in my experience! Time and giving time is a major factor.
Your obviously not aware of her previous treatment or lack of and some of that could well be a factor in her behaviour.
I’m not a fan of scruffing and see it as a hindrance rather than help,far better with sharp voice raised NO’s than scruff.
Handling will also improve her behaviour and temperament and you might be against it? But a friend would be my choice for when your not around.
Best wishes for you and your fuzz butt and please give her time to settle in her new surroundings and family.
There’s also a great section on here about nip training by Norma! Check it out.

Cheers Craig

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Thank you for the reply! I am 100% FOR handling her as long as I don’t lose a finger for it! :sweat_smile: Today I ditched the scruffing and just went straight for the naughty box, it seemed to sink in that biting equals loss of freedom because she stopped biting after the third or fourth time. During play time she continued to nip which I decided to ignore (not sure if that’s good or not), I also played with a handheld cat toy which seemed to distract from my hand. I’ll attempt to firmly tell her “no” and find out if she understands the concept.

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Forgot to mention, we have considered buying another ferret, but as we’re so new to ferrets, we’re not sure we can handle two when we’re still learning about one. Also forgot to mention we introduced Skeeter to our dachshund, Danny! The interaction only lasted a couple minutes, but it went very well. We figured it’s better to end on a positive note than risk Danny’s energy becoming too much for her.

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Why r u even trying to punish her? Ferrets dont respond to punishment and ur ferret might become scared of u. Try giving her a treat when she isnt nipping. Reward her for good behaviors, but dont punish her for bad behaviors. And be patient.