|There was a wonderful article written in the 2002 Annual Ferrets U.S.A. magazine by Patricia
Curtis called, "The Truth About Training". She addressed training deaf ferrets in part of that article. Her idea for "
calling" deaf ferrets with the flick of a light switch is ... well...illuminating.|
This training technique she described is very simple. The simplicity makes it easier for the ferret to learn.
This wonderful idea is to "call ferrets" to a particular spot (or spots), which is not only convenient but may be an invaluable
way to call ferrets (all ferrets) during an emergency.
First you must pick the room you want your ferret to train in. A good place to start is the room your ferret spends the
most time in. You must have a specific spot you want your ferret to come to. Of course the best place is by the light switch.
Pick out your ferrets favorite treat. Choose something irresistible to them (and healthy since you're going to be using it a lot). Make sure
you have time to devote to this, and are consistent for your ferret once you begin. I have not tried this particular training technique, but it stands
to reason that it would be easier than my other techniques and easier for your ferret to master. One drawl back, is that you can only call your
ferret to this one spot. This is only useful in evoking your ferret to come to you in one particular room (although some ferrets can be taught to do
this in more than one room in the house with lots of training).
Stand by the light switch, and flick the lights off and on a couple of times. If you're ferret happens to look at you or
walk towards you, show them the treat in your hand and sign to them to come to you. If the ferret does not come, or if the ferret doesn't
notice you or the flicking lights, then go get the ferret. Pick up the ferret, carry them over to the spot by the light switch, put them down in front of
you on the floor, then you may reward with the treat. Repeat. Repeat often, and always, always have that treat ready.
The goal is that when you walk into that room where the ferret is, to get them to run right to you with the flick of the light
switch. Hearing ferrets can also learn this. It's a great habit for them to stick to for emergencies when you have to round up ferrets, or find
them in a room. On a more serious note... think of how invaluable this would be during a fire.
To always stick with your training. Keep the ferret fine tuned and practiced even after he's matered what you teach
him. I learned the hard way that they do get out of practice and even forget. I moved once, and got so caught up in the convenience of
having a ferret room and less free roam of an entire home that I got lax in my deaf training. The result? Is that my deaf ferrets won't come
to my signs now. I have to begin all over again, and in a new atmosphere. I'm actually thinking of starting with this technique first, before
my other ones since its room specific, and going from there. I learned that if a ferret has a larger house to roam in, gets too busy with all the
distractions to come to me when I want him to. So that tells me I need to be more consistent, more frequent in practicing, and have great treats!