How long does it take to get a guinea pig used to you and the family? We have had him for 2 weeks and he still runs and hides when I go to his cage to get him out. Once he is out, he is happy and OK. Then bites me when I go to put him back in his cage. He comes to me when he is out. I have tried giving him carrots, his favorite, to coax him, but that doesn't seem to be working. Help! I want him to not be so scared. Please help. Thanks.
jmz2005 from IL
The first thing you need to realize is that our pets aren't always how we pictured they would be. When you get anxious because you want your pig to behave in a certain way; they sense your anxiety and it scares them.
You've already won half the battle. The pig comes to you and enjoys being outside the cage with you. You need to look at what else you can do to extend that good behaviour so you're both happy.
Make certain the cage is impeccably clean at all times. It should also be in a dry, warm, and quiet location in the home. If you have other pets make sure you wash you hands and maybe even change your shirt before handling the pig because other scents can scare them.
Guinea pigs don't often bite so make sure you're handling them properly. You need to be comfortable when picking them up because if you aren't deep down confident, you will scare them. Gently but firmly grasp the pig just behind the shoulders with one hand; then scoop up their bottom with the other. Do this when he's outside and happy, reward with treats and put him right back outside where he's happy. Repeat this a lot so he doesn't associate being picked up with going into his cage.
Don't overfeed him either. Make him work for his food. That means less food in the cage and making him come to the door of the cage for his treat. Fish tanks are "not" good cages for them because there is no air circulation for both comfort and health.
If you just ate a bag of candy, you wouldn't want a piece of cake and neither would your guinea pig.
Guineas also like a den sort of area when they can retreat in their cage. A little wooden divider box inside the cage might be a good idea.
Be aware of how you approach the cage. If he feels cornered, he will never get comfortable with everyone's approach. Keep the available food low and make him earn those treats by coming out to you. Again don't just grab at him when he moves because he'll learn that when you offer treats you just want to grab him. Let him earn the treats by coming to you and allowing him to retreat on his own numerous times. Wait until he is relaxed before you try to pick him up.
You have to be patient and work on training him. Be consistent no matter how frustrating it may be for you. They can be trained to a good extent if you don't give up or get frustrated and anxious around them. You can even build up to making some fun obstacle courses for them to run for treats and other things, but it takes time and very consistent training.
Good luck. (10/24/2008)
By Shelter Worker
Fish tanks are good, but you have to get the wide expensive ones. In cages they might feel trapped that's why I don't like cages. So I get the huge fish tanks that are wide! (11/10/2008)
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