View Full Version : I don't think my guinea pigs like me very much...

12-20-13, 10:27 pm
Hello all
I've had my two guinea pigs, Lucy and Ethel, since September of this year. I made them a C&C cage and then I got them from Petsmart. They were young (I'm not sure how young) but they weren't full sized.
Right from the bat they would run and hide. Even if I put peppers/cucumbers/any thing else in their cage. I've read to just hold a treat and wait, and I've tried, but after 20 minutes, and they don't move, I give up.
I've held them. I have to kind of "chase" them around to grab them. Ethel will sit on my chest/neck and chitter quietly, but she seems still very scared. Lucy, you can't even really hold, she claws and squeals and wiggles around trying to get out of your hands.
I'm really not sure what I did wrong, or what I should be doing.

12-20-13, 10:35 pm
i swaddle my pigs in a towel. sit them in my lap in a folded towel and fold 3 corners over their back like you would wrap up a baby.
when i do this they dont squirm and can cuddle up in it to relax

12-20-13, 10:38 pm
I can do that. Would it make them like me at all? Or would it just traumatize them since they don't like me already?

12-20-13, 10:46 pm
how often do you handle them and attempt interactions such as treats and petting

12-20-13, 11:02 pm
I try to pet them at least once a day

12-20-13, 11:34 pm
Cuddle sacks are great for lap time, since they are prey animals they need something to hide in to feel secure. Try and handle them at least once a day, stick your hands in the cage and talk to them softly (let them come to you) touch their stuff with your hands instead of them, eventually they should gather enough curiosity to come sniff you. After they do that a few times and seem to be comfortable with your presence and your touch (during cuddle time, pet them A LOT) then try and pet them in their cage. Some pigs take longer than others. Just try to interact with them more, they'll warm up. Sometimes it can even take up to a year to tame guinea pigs. Good luck! :)

12-21-13, 12:22 am
Most guinea pigs will run from you when you try to pick them up- they're prey animals and see you as a predator trying to catch them.

In regards to the one that claws and squeals while you're holding her; she could have mites. http://www.guinealynx.info/mites.html
Have you noticed any excessive scratching?

12-21-13, 04:22 am
Agreeing with Aleks on that one, a pig that's squealing over being touched could have a parasite infection.

Other than that, I can assure you it's not that they dislike you. If they where under 5-6 months when you got them, that doubles how skittish and jumpy they are. Young pigs are even more afraid of contact than the older ones. It can take 6 months and longer in some cases to get a pig to be comfortable with you, and full fledged bonds can take years. Patience is key when working with your piggies.

Speak to them while you're going about your daily activities in a calm, soft voice. Doesn't have to be anything in particular, just, say if the cage is on the way to the kitchen let them know 'it's me, i'm going to the kitchen to get -insert item here-. You get the point. Eliminate loud noises, sudden movements etc.
Feed their vegetables around the same time every day, to create a routine. For example, my girls know when I physically get out of my bed, I'm gonna go down to get their breakfast. They also have a ball with a bell in, and when I jingle it, they know that means breakfast veggies as well. So they wheek a lot. They know when I come home after going out, it's veggie dinner, so again, wheeking. I feel that routine helps to create a bond because they'll start to vocalise their wants with you.

When feeding veggie dinner, I not only put some veg around the cage, but I hold one at a time and hand feed some. Doesn't have to be from the hand, even getting a shy pig to eat while being held is a big step. It took me a while to get my shy pig, Daisy, to unfreeze when I was holding her and actually eat. I'd just place some lettuce in front of her nose while holding her, and let her take her time, and eventually, she'd eat it. She now eats from my hand no problem at all.

I hope some of this helped :)

12-21-13, 04:37 am
I'd hold them in your lap and feed them their snacks while you hold them instead of offering treats in the cage. They'll start to associate you with treats and will look forward to being held. I have one guinea pig in each cage that runs away. The other four run to me when I come around. Some guinea pigs are more skittish than others.

12-21-13, 05:43 am
Younger guinea pigs like yours tend to be more skittish than adult pigs - this is normal and they should calm down as they get older. Also, I would check the guinea pig who squirms when you hold her for mites. Symptoms of mites usually are: -the guinea pig not wanting to be touched
-irritable behaviour
-clawing/scratching on their fur
I hope this helps! Carry on feeding the treats and taking them out for lap time, it will take a while for some piggies but it's worth it. :-)

12-21-13, 08:35 pm
Hey don't give up! I feel like my pigs do not like me all that much either but they are improving. My pigs were about 4 months and the older one may be an adult not really sure how old he is but they were all VERY WILD! The two younger pigs were bred free range in someones backyard and never handled. They are still really hard to catch but now will sit happily while being held and Frodo even loves cuddles now! he will roll onto his back for a tummy rub and falls asleep he even grooms me back licking and nibbling my hands he is so sweet. When I first got them they just would try to launch themselves off of my lap and run away but not anymore.

Then there is Tinsel he is a crazy pig! When I first got him he was really really wild and crazy. The minute you would pick him up he would scratch and squirm like you wouldn't believe and worst of all he opens his mouth wide and throws his head from side to side trying to bite! He still bites but he is getting better now. I can actually sit him on my lap for about half and hour and he seems to sit quite happily without squirming or scratching anymore, I just have to keep scratching him which seems to help reassure him. He still tries to bite but I am getting to know the signs of when he is thinking about it so I can usually avoid getting bitten.

I think the key to taming them is lots of handling, be gentle and quiet but persistent hold your pigs at least once or twice a day. Sit down with them on your lap and quietly scratch their fur (abbys seem to really like this while american short hairs like you to stroke their hair in the direction that it grows). My pigs still are difficult to catch but once you have them they seem to quite enjoy their cuddles except maybe Tinsel but at least he is learning to put up with it and eventually hopefully will enjoy it. Always move slowly and quietly around your pigs and let them know you are there by talking softly to them. It will take time.......I am still learning that but all the patience is beginning to pay off so don't give up!

12-21-13, 09:24 pm
My husband is chuckling at me right now as I cuddle with my daughter's 2 m/o pig. I have some goofy heart issues and over-did things yesterday, so I'm just vegging on the couch with my dogs on either side and the pig on my chest. He's like, "aren't you the woman who hates guinea pigs?" "Yeah, but mine are to cute to hate, lol". My girls are hard to catch, too, so I'm trying to make a point of holding them as much as possible. . They're pretty young. I want them o be cuddlers. They're sssssllllooowwwly getting the idea, lol.