Yes you can short ETFs just like shorting a stock. You'd have to check with a broker for availability with them like anything else I guess. I don't think you can short or buy put options within a self directed tax exempt retirement account. Can't in Canada in any case. BUTTTTTTTTT there are plenty of inverse ETFs that you can BUY so all is well there. But I don't think there are a lot of commodity bear ETFS. There is the double bear Gold ETF:DZZ and double bear Silver ETF:ZSL and double Crude bear ETF:DUG and and bull DIG, etc along with Nat Gas ETFs etc. And a few others too but not a lot of them I don't think. I'm not aware of a bear Grains ETF but there will be if there is a demand for them. New ones are coming out all the time to cover this field. Some of the double ETFs were designed for short term trading and not to hold long term as they errode with the way they calculate the double effect daily. Much like holding a futures contract and watching the premium fall as it becomes the front month.