My Fred has been pretty much a "free range" ferret all his life. He
is let out of his cage first thing in the morning and is out all day
except for when he behaves badly or I leave the house for some reason.
(By "behaves badly" I mean doing something he knows he's not supposed
to do. I don't punish him for accidents or "just being a ferret".)
Potty training for a "free range" ferret has been something of a
challenge, but it has largely been a success. I keep healthy treats
around and reward him regularly when he does things properly.
And as I mentioned here before, it also means putting runners down
under some of the doorways. but all in all, it works out great.
There are other things to consider too. It takes a bit more
ferret-proofing. Fred can pretty much open all the drawers and lower
cabinets in the house, so any holes for pipes or whatever have to be
blocked, or latches put on the doors. And the bottoms of the couches
are now covered with tough fabric.
One other thing has helped this work well: each major area of the house
has a place for him to sleep that is warm, soft, and dark. He has space
under the couch, two different boxes with blankets in them, and "his"
drawer in my office. To be healthy, ferrets should have places to sleep
that are not just comfy, but also DARK. For example, one of his boxes
is an Office Depot file box with a lid. The handles were cut out and
some window screen glued over them for air. Some soft towels inside,
and a hole cut in the end for him to go in and out. The lid is kept on
it, so it's nice and dark inside, especially under a towel or two. But
it is easy to take off the lid if I want to get him out.
I found him in the fridge again the other day. But he's only gotten in
the refrigerator like 3 times in 5 years (it takes a lot of effort for
him to open it), so I don't consider that a real problem.
[Posted in FML 8060]