Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The "no bite" hold

Now that you all know how to scruff, here is a slightly more complicated ferret grip. This method of holding ferrets - the "no bite" hold is useful when handling kits or biting ferrets. If done properly, ferrets in this grip will have a very hard time biting you. Though it is not an ideal every day handling technique, this hold is extremely useful when teaching new ferrets that you will not hurt them while preventing the ferret from hurting you. Remember, when using this hold on a new ferret - whether it's a kit, fear biter or a ferret that hasn't been taught manners - it is important to treat the animal, pet it and speak to it gently to reinforce the idea that you are not a source of fear and discomfort.

Step 1:
Get a ferret. Cola was strangely unavailable when it was time to photograph this hold, so we had to make do with Casper. Say his to Casper.

Step 2: Star by scruffing this ferret - this will enable you to position your hands properly while attempting the grip. The more experience you have, the more rapidly you will be able to put a ferret in the "no bite" grip. To learn how to scruff a ferret, click here. This is what a scruffed ferret looks like. Again, scruffing the ferret does not cause the animal any discomfort.

Step 3: Wrap you fingers around the ferrets neck and torso. This part is a bit tough to explain. What you need to do is have a paw trapped between your thumb and first finger to protect your wrist - the ferret will not bite you through his or her own paw!
The rest of your fingers should be wrapped around the ferret's neck.

Step 4: Once you are confident that you have a good grasp on the ferret, release the scruff and use your free hand to begin petting and giving treats to the ferret. Use this time to establish some trust. As you can see, when done properly this grip does not cause the ferret any discomfort.
One final tip: Be sure to keep each handling experience short and sweet!