Guinea pigs are such fascinating animals. A new piggy can be hard to tame, but once you understand their nature and give them space they become much more relaxed and you can start to build your bond.
Guinea pigs are social animals and require a lot of attention. You can help them feel more comfortable by interacting with them frequently. Consistency with interacting will help build trust, and guinea pigs are more likely to approach you. Guinea pigs like routine, so anything that’s different may make them uncomfortable, whether it be the sound of someone coming to your house or an unfamiliar noise outside; just try not change things too much when you have just got them so that bonding can occur between you.
In this article, I will take you through the 5 steps to help you bond with your guinea pig, ensuring a happy home for both of you!
Spend time with your guinea pig every day to get used to each other
A bond with your piggies can only be formed by playing and interacting regularly.
When you first get them home, don’t try and pick your guinea pig up straight away. For about a week or two, simply be present and speak softly. Let your cavies calm down and destress during this period of change. This will help them feel less anxious by allowing them a chance to settle in the peace and quiet of their new surroundings.
Give your guinea pig the chance to explore outside of their cage by creating a play area. Guinea pigs love to explore and having a run will give them the chance they need to get familiar with their new environment.
Never put your hands in the cage. Instead entice your guinea pig out of their cage with a treat.
Use guinea pig floor time to get to know each other
One of the best ways to bond with your guinea pigs is through floor time sessions. A floor time session is where your guinea pigs are free to explore around you while you lay down in order for them to satisfy their curiosity about you in a non-threatening way.
Floor time is a great way for building a bond that doesn’t require any effort – all you need is a fluffy fleece liner or blanket to lay on, and some patience. Just let your guinea pig explore around you and get familiar with your smell and presence. PIggies can be nervous but eventually, they will come up to sniff you. Remember, let your guinea pig come to you.
When they are happy with you in their run, you can play with them for at least half an hour per day. This will help build trust between both parties so that your guinea pig is not scared when they’re picked up or handled.
Bonding games to play with your guinea pig:
- Hide and seek
- Tunnel Race
- Roll a Ball ( a treat ball works great for this)
- Have a “guinea pig dance party” where you and the guinea pigs can all popcorn around together – guinea pigs love music!
Talk to your guinea pig all the time so that they recognise your voice
Keep your voice low when talking or playing so that it doesn’t startle your pigg. This is especially important if your guinea pig is shy and hiding. Never shout at your guinea pig. This will just scare them.
Pet your guinea pig gently and talk to it in a soothing voice. Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals so be gentle with them; they don’t like surprises or loud noises.
Talking to your beloved pet guinea pig is an important part of the bonding process. If you talk to them often, it will help build a closer connection and they’ll become more familiar with your voice.
You can chat to your guinea pig whenever you feed them or give them fresh water, even if you think they are not listening, they are. Guinea pigs are incredibly social animals who enjoy having their cages cleaned out and spending time with you. Familiarity means that you’ll be greeted with excited squeaks when your piggy hears your voice.
Hand-feeding your guinea pig some vegetables and treats will help build a bond
Hand-feeding is a great way to bond with your guinea pig. Guinea pigs love the taste of fresh vegetables, treats and hay, so it’s an easy win for you. Hand feeding will help your piggy associate you as a positive influence in their life. Try changing up the vegetables every time to tasty ones like bell peppers and carrots to keep their interest up.
Tips on hand feeding guinea pigs:
- Guineas pigs are like any other pet; they take time to warm up and trust you so be patient.
- If your guinea pig still seems hesitant, try tossing the treat to them.
- When they are comfortable with your presence you can put your hand flat on the floor, palm up, and put the treat on top.
- Use a soft, gentle voice to encourage your guinea pig to come to you.
Handle your Guinea Pig Gently and Build Trust
Keep the handling of your guinea pig to a minimum for the first week. This will help them adjust and get used to their new routine.
Give plenty of warning when picking up or moving around in general – piggies very sensitive animals who don’t like surprises.
Rather than approaching my guinea pig’s enclosure head-on like any hungry fox would do, I recommend approaching carefully from the side so your piggy can see you clearly. Speak softly and tell your piggy about what you’re doing.
Let your piggy get to know what you’re intentions by slowly placing your hands near their cage in their line of sight. Pause and then slowly move closer until you can get your hands right next to them and their face. Don’t touch them yet.
Repeat this exercise daily and after several weeks have passed, you’ll be spending more time with them and eventually be able to pet them.
How to pick up your guinea pig
Trust is hard to build, especially if you’ve rehomed a guinea pig who may have been neglected in a previous home. But it can be done!
The best way to start building trust with your new pet by picking them up more often and giving treats during the process. Start by setting time for short pickups (about 30 seconds) throughout the day instead of doing one long session. This will allow your new piggy get used to being picked up without feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated from too much attention at once.
Your piggy will soon get used to these routine pickups and look forward to spending time with you.
Gradually extend the time you pick them up and start placing them on your lap. Feed them a few treats whilst they are on your lap.
When you need to pick your guinea pig up, avoid grabbing from above – this can be scary for the little piggies who may bite you. Carry guinea pigs with both hands, or use a towel to pick up your pet from below. Place one hand underneath their bottom and the other round their belly.
Does my guinea pig know I love them?
Yes! Guinea pigs are intelligent animals and they’re very aware of who you are and what you do for them. They know when you come into the room, what your voice sounds like, who feeds them treats or gives then fresh vegetables to eat. These cute and lovable creatures are able to identify different people by sound, sight or smell.
Building a Strong Bond with your Guinea Pig Requires Consistency and Patience
Guinea pigs are fascinating creatures! They’re so cute and furry, but bonding requires a lot of patience. After all the work you put into getting them used to your presence it can be frustrating when there’s no change or progress on their end.
But don’t give up hope because these little guys have such an interesting personality that will make caring for them worthwhile and worth the wait. The key is patience.
Trust and bonding are two of the most vital factors in pet ownership. All pets have their own quirks, but cavies can be particularly high-strung or skittish. If you want to form a bond with your cavy as quickly as possible, then understanding how they think is key.
They need patience from their owner because it takes time for them to trust someone new. Provide treats and snuggles when you’ve earned some trust so that they know there’s nothing bad going to happen. You’re sure to be rewarded with an amazing bond if you take the time and effort.