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While this activity isn't for all ferrets, some enjoy taking their owners for a walk. Exploration is your ferrets number 1 priority so going for a walk isn't as simple as taking your pup down to the park.
Some ferrets will take naturally to being on a leash and walking with their owner, while others may find it awkward or downright scary. If your ferret fights you when you put on their harness, give them time to get used to it. Putting on a harness without a lead and allowing them to do their regular thing while indoors is a good idea. Just be careful they don't get caught up on anything.
The younger you get a ferret used to wearing a harness the easier it is. Allow them to play with just their harness on and reward them with a treat to get them comfortable with wearing it. Figure H harnesses are the best as they go around the front and the back of the front legs and are harder for the ferret to squirm out of. Don't go too tight but not loose enough that escape is easy as if you’re outdoors and your ferret gets scared and escapes it may be hard to chase and find.
When you feel your fuzzy is ready to approach the great outdoors, start off close to home. Let your ferret walk close to your door and let them sniff and explore. Once they are comfortable you can move them further a field. Stay close to home and allow them lots of time to sniff and explore so they get comfortable with you hanging on to their lead.
Once you get past the limits of your yard you can move on again further from home. Remember ferrets are small and even in perfect health shouldn’t be made walk for more than about 15 minutes.
NEVER pick a ferret up by the harness unless it is an emergency as this can cause injury.
Be sure to take some water with you so your fuzzy doesn't dehydrate. Offer them water frequently.
If is also a good idea to ensure your fuzzy is up to date with their vaccinations as there is a lot of nasties out there in the world.
Ferrets suffer from heat complications in warm weather so taking them outdoors should be saved up for cool days.
Lastly, keep your eye out for hazards to your ferret such as dogs, people and things they might pickup and swallow which could be dangerous.
Be cautious allowing people to pickup your ferret as they may be tired or scared and nip at a stranger.
Also, as a precaution take along a carry bag to let your fuzzy ride home in incase they can't make it by themselves.
What if my ferret escapes?
You should always have some form of identification attached to your ferrets harness. Microchipping for ferrets is available from most vets as well.
Be sure that your local council will allow you to take your ferret out in public. In most places this shouldn't be a problem but it is always worth being safe than sorry.
Ferrets are illegal in some areas such as Queensland and the Northern Territory. You can contact the Queensland Ferret Society for more information.
Also remember to give your fuzzy a treat when you get home and a drink of water. Remove their harness and check to make sure they haven’t been hurt while out. Common problems can be split nails, splinters or sore spots.
Good luck with your harness training. It's not always easy and its not for all ferrets.
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