There is a fine art involved in the ferret show process. This little animal is not well known for its patience and its tolerance levels are quite small. They are exhibited in cages due to their nature of sneaking off for adventures. There are some major risk factors involved in showing ferrets. The major risk is that ferrets are very susceptible to illness. If one ferret at a show has an illness, virus, it will expose every single ferret at the show. Those ferrets will, in turn, expose the ferrets back home causing a potential outbreak. Those involved in planning and executing a ferret show are very careful and will generally cancel a show instead of risk the outbreak.
The very first thing you need to do before taking your fuzzy to a show is to find out the vaccination requirements for the show. Distemper vaccinations are required and many shows also require a rabies vaccination. Also, be aware of what the standard is for the particular show you are going to. The standard, differs from show to show, is a basis of evaluating each ferret, one against the others of its class. The final consideration or thing to do before taking your fuzzy to the show is to keep a positive attitude. A ferret show is a fun event, not a cut throat competition like many dog shows are.
The single biggest piece of advice anyone can give you about showing ferrets is this; start your fuzzy young. Get your ferret used to being handled from day one. They need to be used to human interaction before they will be trainable. A ferret that is simply left in its cage all day with no attention will be too rambunctious once freed for a romp around. A ferret that is handled and worked with on a continual basis will be a well behaved show ferret. One thing that every ferret owner should know is how to screech a ferret in the way its mother did when she disciplined them. The skin on the back of the neck is loose and you grab it by the skin in the same fashion as you would a puppy. Hold the ferret carefully by this skin and it will yawn, rub at its face, and eventually it will fall asleep.
Train your show ferret to walk on a leash. Get it used to wearing a harness. Practice the command and reward system. Give your show ferret a command and if obeyed, offer a treat. Ferrets love Ferret Vite, available at many pet stores, and is seen by ferrets as a worth while reward. Groom your show ferret and get it used to bathing and brushing. The judges will inspect your show ferret up close and personal. They want to see that it is well groomed but some key areas that they inspect are the ears, the coat, the teeth, and the nails. They will also inspect the show ferret’s temperament which brings us back to working with your fuzzy and getting it used to being handled.
Other things to get your show ferret used to are wearing costumes if you are going to compete in that contest. Work on developing a cute yawn as many shows have a cute yawn competition for show ferrets. Many shows will have a tube crawl contest or other fun little competitions. The best advice I have is to contact the show ferret groups in your area and find out what contests they do and then prepare your fuzzy accordingly.