If the question on your mind is whether ferrets can naturally understand human language, then the obvious answer is No. However, ferrets are very smart and easy to train, and they can learn the meaning of words. In that sense, yes, ferrets can understand what humans want them to do, if they’re properly trained for it.
The same can be said about pretty much any pet though. Most of our pets need to be trainable, at least to some extent. They need to know when they’re called, when food is coming, when to go to their cage, and so on.
From using the litter, to walking alongside you on a leash when you’re out of the house, training and making them understand how they should behave is an important part of ferret ownership.
Do Ferrets Understand Humans?
Provided that they are trained to follow commands, yes, ferrets can understand humans when they talk to them. They will not understand whole sentences, but they can hear a word and know what you want them to do. They will also be able to tell when you’re sad or happy, based on body language and the voice tone.
Not only is it possible for ferrets to understand humans, but it’s also recommended that you try to teach them how to behave. Having a pet comes with certain responsabilities, and it’s the ferret that needs to adjust to your way of life, not the other way around.
A ferret can be trained to know his own name, to come when it’s called, to walk on a leash, and many others. Perhaps most importantly of all, a ferret should know to use the litter. Doing tricks is also possible, on your command, if they’re trained to do it.
Training Ferrets – What Does It Take?
Ferret training is a real possibility, for any owner. You shouldn’t expect a ferret to be able to learn and do the same array of impressive tricks that you might get a dog to do. Nonetheless, you can get him to learn how to behave in the house, so it’s a pleasure to have him arround, rather than a problem.
One of the first things that you should teach a ferret to do, is to stop nipping at you. It’s a natural behavior for them, but humans don’t enjoy it as much as ferrets do.
Training techniques for ferrets don’t require any punishment, but you do need to discipline them in other ways, so they know when not to do something. Positive reinforcement is also a big part of it, same as with training any other pet.
Punishments could take the form of high pitched sounds that you make when they bite you, or it could be taking them by the scruff of their neck, and telling them NO in a firm voice. Do these things whenever it’s behaving in a way that’s not acceptable, and it will soon learn what’s OK to do or not.
When they do something good, make sure to reward them for it. Positive reinforcement is a huge part of training, and this could take the form of tasty treats, cuddling, or simple praise.
Do all these, as appropriate, and the ferret will understand human commands and the way to behave in a household.