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Thread: How important is floor time?

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    How important is floor time?

    So I know you are suppose to give at least an hour of floor time a day but mine doesn't really seem to like it. I make hideys for her out of boxes but she only walks around a little and mostly just sits. I put a sheet over and everything and I'll put veggies around but it doesn't make her any more active. She likes to run laps in her cage though. How important is it for her to have floor time if she doesn't really do anything? She really enjoys lap time though.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    When I first got my pigs, I set up a big play area (about 26 grids in an oval shape) for them to run around. I put hideys and hay and food in there, but they didn't run around AT ALL, and would frequently bit at the grids and even jump over them! I was really confused...part of it was because they were in a new environment and still afraid of me and their new surroundings. Are your pigs new, or have you had them a while?
    Another part of it was the timing. Guinea pigs run on a different clock than we do; you'll notice that they'll be super active in their cages for about an hour and then they'll sleep for quite some time, then active again...and so on. I've noticed that my guinea pigs are at their most active around the time the sun rises, and around the time the sun sets. So I try to coordinate floor time with the times they're active/feeding times, so they're excited about it and they'll get the most use out of the time.
    The last part -- the size of the area. My pig, Butters, would frequently jump over the grids. She just did not seem to like them (she's never tried to jump out of her cage). So we pig-proofed our living room. We put newspaper down on spots where they really seem to like going, and they tend to only 'go' there, but when there are accidents they are easy to clean up. We noticed a HUGE difference. I had never seen them run before, but when we put them down the first time in the living room they were running all over the place; let me tell you, they are FAST, so just make sure everything is REALLY pig-proofed.

    Also, have you considered getting her a friend? I know my pigs don't seem to get along in their cage sometimes, but during floor time their FAVORITE activity is playing follow the leader. Butters is almost always the leader, she always gets into everything first and then Piggins follows. Honestly, I think if it weren't for Butters, Piggins would just sit there like a stump during floor time, waiting for us to put her back in her cage. So maybe she just needs another piggy to show her what to do!

    Hope I helped Your pig is adorable!

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    Cavy Slave pandaloki's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    How old is she and how long have you had her? She might be old or just shy, or lonely if she doesn't have a cage mate yet. Floor time for me would be the piggy equivalent of dog walking or when a person goes out of the house, the purpose of it is exercise and to stimulate the brain when they go exploring, plus it can get boring sitting in the same old cage no matter how big it is. Have you tried feeding her during floor time? It might encourage her to think that floor time is good. Which it is.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Any piggy that is living alone and doesnt have a friend, will be more anxious and not themselves. They need to be in pairs. If you get her a friend, you will see such a change in her behaviour Two piggies will enjoy exploring the new area, during floor time. they will feel more comfortable having each other around.

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Well the thing is that she used to enjoy floor time but slowly she stopped seeming to enjoy it. I keep putting new cardboard things for her and my boyfriend even made a bunch of tunnels with cardboard for her to climb though. I usually let her out at night because she is active in the morning and at night but I don't know. I've had her for about 3 months and she's about 5 months old I think. She seems pretty comfortable though with me and even my pet sitter (who has worked with guinea pigs before) commented on how calm she was with people. She seems to really enjoy lap time, she lays out and naps while I stroke her and will even close her eyes. I'd love to get her a friend but my boyfriend won't let me nor do I have the room for a larger cage. We live in an apartment so space is limited. He told me when we get a house we probably could but that is still a few years down the road.

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    Cavy Slave Kieri's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    from personal experience, my pigs either take advantage of floor time by running, popcorning, and exploring, or they just lounge around and wait until they're back in their cage to run laps.

    either way i think it's healthy for them, whether they run around or not, since they're getting out of their cage.

    sometimes piggies would rather sit in your lap and get attention, which is good for her and you! be thankful you have a piggy that loves attention, some pigs are very skittish and prefer not to be held.

    also, as beepstwice mentioned, sometimes single piggies aren't as active. when i got my new guinea pig, i let her have some floor time by herself, but she didn't move AT ALL.

    when i introduced my pigs to each other, my new pig was entirely different and they ran and popcorned and followed each other around as soon as they met.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    http://www.guinealynx.info/companionship.html
    You should really read that link, even the first paragraph. I cant stress how important it is for piggies to have company. Im in the same position, i have a tiny flat, and at the moment having an awful time housing 5 pigs (my female had babies, she was supposedly a he!) but when it comes down to having two pigs, you just need to make the cage a bit bigger, not twice the size.
    This would be easy if you can make a c&c cage... otherwise, you could open your cage into an extended area.
    Please consider this, its really not fair to have any animal without company of its own kind. Guinea pigs are herd animals, and their instinctive prey behaviour makes them a lot more comfortable when they have another around. When you got your pig, you should have researched this. I dont think your boyfriend 'allowing' you to get another pig is enough of an excuse to waiver your responsibility of providing a good, complete life for your pet.

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    I know how important it is to have more than one piggy but I don't have a spot for a bigger cage and it can't go on the floor because we have dogs. He really won't let me get a 2nd pig and he almost made me get rid of her. I did a lot of research before but he didn't and didn't realize how much work she would be. Ive watched her closely for signs of depression but hasn't shown any, she is jut a bit quitter than if she had a friend. She is very active in her cage just not during floor time any more. She use to be pretty active so I was wondering why now.

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    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Who almost made you get rid of her? Your boyfriend? Is it his place? Do you pay any of the rent? I'm confused as to why he's "the boss" and gets to say what goes.

    She's probably bored or lonely. And floor time is pretty important for those pigs who live in a small cage, like it sounds she does. If you had an appropriate sized cage you could most likely get away from having floor time, but with your cage she definitely needs exercise. Her health, and quality of life, will deteriorate if she doesn't get the exercise she needs. Just running laps around a small cage just isn't enough.

    You'll need to think up ways to enrich her life, and floor time experience. Have you tried putting trails of greens around for her to follow?

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    Cavy Slave Kimberly713's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    I was wondering this too. I have two guinea pigs and one of them likes to explore and the other just lays around.... They only get floor time once a week in the kitchen I put grids on things I don't want them under or behind and let them go. I let them explore my bed several times per week. Calypso loves this! She starts off sucking up the lap time attention then "sneaks off" and explores the bed. She trots around and explores under things. Cinnamon does nothing, tries to hide. She always acts afraid, she's 20 months old and I got her at 6 weeks. She likes lap time with me though. When I come home from college after a week or so and hold her she always runs laps and popcorns when I put her back.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Kirsty, as foggycreekcavy said, why is your boyfriend the boss??? If he knew it your pigs means a lot to you surely he should be a bit more understanding. I have my pigs in my bedroom, could you not make a cage in your bedroom that would be bigger and away from the dogs?
    They have such short lives compared to us, but imagine them being alone for their whole life.... Humans arent the same for them. The contact with us just isnt as fulfilling and also, she is alone in her cage most of the time.

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    I pay half of everything but that doesn't mean I can do whatever I want either. His happiness is important too. We have even less room in the bedroom and the dogs go in there too. Trust me I've though of how to make her cage bigger but there really isn't any room to do so. I let her out for floor time but she doesn't do much. I've tried putting veggies and fruits and different tunnels but she doesn't really do much. She mostly just sits there or walks around a bit.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Maybe you get make the floor space an extension onto the cage? what do you use, a pen? you could open the cage, put a ramp out for her and put the pen surrounding one side of the cage so she can just run out. she might be more comfortable near her cage and run around more.my guys dont like when i take them into another room,maybe its that?

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    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Then he's not really telling you no, it's a decision you've agreed on together, right?

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    I have no room to make an extension =(

    Well not completely. We never said how many we would get, I had been wanting one so he said ok and I figured that after a little while we could get another but he doesn't want another.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    Well I assume you have two dogs from the sound of it. So if its important enough for a dog to have company, why not a guinea pig?
    If it was my boyfriend i would let him know that he doesnt get the last say and its important in a relationship to compromise. I would ask him if he knew that it was important to me and that he also has a reponsibility as a pet owner to provide the best he can. You both do. You shouldnt have gotten a pig if you werent prepared to try and give it a happy life. But now you have her, you have to deal with it.
    I wasnt talking about making an extension to the cage. Rather, making floor time beside her cage so she might be more comfortable there.As in, you could attach the pen to the cage.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    If you did get another pig and couldnt get another cage, you could open the entrance to the cage and attach another area with a ramp between them.

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    Cavy Slave kirsty91's Avatar
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    Re: How important is floor time?

    The only reason we have 2 dogs is because my boyfriend had a dog and I have a dog and they both came with us. Otherwise we would only have 1 dog. I can't make an extension from the cage because it is a very very long way down for her for a ramp. He did compromise though by letting me keep her, after awhile he didn't want her anymore. He's isn't as big of a animal lover as many of us are so it's hard for him to understand. I have tried to explain it to him but he doesn't understand.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    He should have no control what so ever over your ownership of another creatures entire life & health. He has no right to even demand you to ever get rid of your animals, just like with children. "Letting" you keep your animals as a compromise doesn't seem like an equal relationship at all, and the one suffering here is again the animal. I strongly urge you to put your responsibility of your animals first. This doesn't sound healthy at all.

    "His happiness is important too". yes, but he can take care of himself, your animal cannot & will always need you to make decisions for their happiness. If you can't do this because of your partner, or simply don't want to, please give up the pig to someone who can. And don't get any more animals while still in this situation.

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    Re: How important is floor time?

    I also find it quite terrifying & selfish on his part to demand that you get rid of another innocent, just as social & highly feeling living creature because *he* doesn't want her anymore for whatever reason. Animals are not disposable items. His reluctance to "allow" you to get her a much needed partner & proper cage to enrich her life must have more behind it than lack of space. You need to discuss this further with your partner.

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