Have you just adopted a new guinea pig, but don’t know how you will ever get close to them? Do they ever run away from you when all you want to do is befriend them? Guinea pigs are naturally very skittish and tend to hide because they are prey animals. They have an instinct that tells them that they are perfectly small to be prey to any predators around them. Here are 4 tips on how you can build a stronger relationship with your guinea pig.
1. Spend lots of time with them and be consistent
This is especially important if you own a guinea pig by itself. Since guinea pigs are herd animals, they are actually very social and require a lot of attention. Being consistent with interacting with them will build trust and they’ll be more likely to approach you and feel comfortable around you. Guinea pigs are programmed to go by a routine and anything that is different may make them feel uncomfortable. Whether it be a stranger walking in the house or a new loud sound that they have never heard of, be sure to try and keep things consistent with them.
2. Lay down some fleece liners and lay with them
Have some floor time sessions by laying or sitting down with your piggies to become closer to them. Get yourself a fleece liner or blanket and just let the guinea pigs explore around you and become familiar with your presence. They can be nervous, but in most cases, they will be curious about what you are doing and walk closer to you. If they trust you, they most likely will come up to sniff you or crawl onto you. It’s a great way to bond with your guinea pigs!
Our GuineaDad Liners are great for floor time sessions when you want to bond with your piggies! Whether it's for you to lay on the floor with them, or to use for veggie feeding sessions, the liners will be able to keep your floors dry and clean. Shop for them here: https://guineadad.com/collections/all/products/guineadad-liner
3. Hand-feed them veggies, threats, or hay
Hand-feeding your guinea pigs is another great way to build a sense of trust. Food to them is a positive reward so if you feed them food out of your hand, they will associate you with something positive. To keep them interested you can give your piggies different types of veggies like cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and many more. You can also feed them pellets, treats or hay and see if they’ll take it straight from your hand!
Tips on hand feeding guinea pigs:
- Be sure to not be too forceful and scare them away. Trust takes time and patience to grow.
- If they seem like they are curious but still too scared to take the treat straight from your hand, try lightly tossing over to them so that they know you want to give them the treat.
- Once they feel more comfortable, lay the treat on the palm of your hand and rest your hand on the floor. Sometimes piggies get scared by sudden movements so this way, the guinea pig is in control of walking closer.
- Try coaxing them towards you with a friendly voice.
4. Talk to them so that they recognize your voice
Speaking to your guinea pig frequently will allow them to become more familiar with your voice and your presence. You can talk to them whenever you feed them a treat, clean their cage, wash their bottle, etc. Remember that when you do speak with them, it’s in a friendly and calm tone as to not scare them away.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient and give them plenty of time to gain your trust. It may sometimes feel frustrating when you don't see any change or progress, but the reward is worth it.