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Having trouble taming my pair of 3 month old female guinea pigs

ensign0208

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Messages
6
Any suggestions I have not read or heard so far would be most welcome!

Here's the story: I got them 6 weeks ago at a pet store (my only acquisition avenue) and have taken the best care of them possible: top of the line pellet food, generous daily timothy/alfalfa hay mix and vitamin C enriched vegetables every day and some suitable fruits 3 times a week. Floor time nearly every day. An 11 foot square C&C cage, with plenty of places to hide and feel comfortable but also a few well chosen toys and a couple sections of pvc pipe they love to chase each other through.

More to the point I have done the following: sat by their cage and talked softly for hours.....fed them by hand in the cage, fed them by hand in my lap...used the gentle tube capture method to transfer them to floor time or to my lap for grooming and petting. Held them close to me and talked soothingly.

And they seem pretty healthY; they sure eat a lot and void a lot. They make contented sounds as long as I mostly stay the heck away from the. :>) The trouble is they are no more open to me picking them up by hand, let alone petting them than on Day 1 unless i have involuntarily transferred them to my lap and they are captive. And if I make a sudden move going about my business as much as 4 feet from the cage, let alone come near it, they still scatter and hide like I was a predator. (Unless and only as long as I have food in my hand and they are hungry will they come near my hand in the cage.). Also I have tried hard to litter train them in the cage: two litter boxes with different bedding in those boxes to distinguish them from the rest of the cage bedding. Constant hand transferring of their poo pellets to the litter boxes to give them the idea...a little hay in the boxes as an incentive. They still poo and pee everywhere and anywhere, they often lie in it and ignore the litter boxes. When I am not at work I try to reward them if i see them use the litter boxes, but they hardly ever do.

They seem to love each other and popcorn and chase each other around a lot, so i know they are reasonably happy and healthy. But I did expect the time and money and effort i invested in them to result in some degree of bonding with them after 6 weeks, outside of approaching my hand only if, and only so long as, treats are there. I Understand patience is required and they are skittish prey animals, but i expected more evidence of taming as a result of my consistent efforts by now. Frankly, I am ready to put them on Craigs' List for someone who will have more luck. When i read other cavy owners talk about cuddling time that their piggies love, I can't imagine it with my cavies from what i have experienced so far. Anyone have any encouraging words to convince me to tough it out a little longer?? I'd sure be appreciative! :>) Allen
 
Don't worry, I've had my pigs for months, they're already 7 months old, they're okay with me touching them, but they still hate it when they're picked up. I think most pigs hate getting picked up since they're all afraid of heights. Just have patience, they sound very young, so it's natural for them to be shy.
 
Winifred used to be a horror when she was a baby. A bully to Willy, and skittish and nippy to any human who made the error in judgement to pick her up. If you didn't hold on tight enough, she would try to get away. In time she became more at ease with her environment and her human (my delightful self). She even began to be nicer to Willy.
Keep doing what you're doing. It sounds as though you're providing well for them. They should come around in time :)
 
A lot of people want guinea pigs pups until they realize how squirmy and nervous they are. We are predators to them and they are afraid of us until we prove to them that we won't hurt them. It's much more work and responsibility when you have babies because you are the one who has to socialize them. You just need to take more time and effort to hold them while feeding them, give them floor time with you, brush them, sit near them and then you'll begin to see changes in baby steps, nothing dramatic overnight. I wouldn't even consider rehoming them on Craigslist. You've made a commitment to these little ones and it would only make them less trusting of people if you abandon them and add to the number of guinea pigs looking for a home.
 
Be patient. You got babies, and they're extra skittish. Six weeks isn't nearly long enough to give them time to get used to you.

And don't bother trying to litter train them -- it's a waste of time and effort. They either train themselves, or they train you, or neither. If you put the litter boxes where they pee and poop the most (under the hay rack, and usually in the corners of the cage), you'll catch a good bit of it, and that's about all you can hope for. If you're lucky, they'll go mostly in the boxes. If not, invest in a good vacuum cleaner.

If you do decide to rehome them, please make sure they go to a good home. And next time, please do your research on your future pet before you get it -- it wouldn't have taken much reading on a guinea pig forum for you to discover how skittish they are and how slow they are to warm up to humans.
 
I have had Riblet for over a year, Ruby for about 4 months and my pups for 3 months. They all scatter when you do something they dislike, but its mostly the babies acting skittish that creeps out my old ladies.

When adopting any animal you must be a forever home or don't bother. I think of my pets as my children and I wouldn't dare to discard a child because of bad behavior.

They are babies as everyone has said which means you're starting from scratch. You also must realize where you got them from. Coming from a pet store is no lah-dee-dah kind of trip. They're handled like little objects and probably scared out of their minds for the first months of life, why are you any different than the kids tapping on the glass or the workers chasing you around trying to catch you?

If you're really serious about the pups, don't give up. It will probably be more toward a year before they'll wait for you to come home etc. Many people on here have adopted adults or babies from a litter that was handled properly at home and not at a mill... so keep that in mind as well.

Best of luck to you and your piggies. I personally hope you don't give up on them...
Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
 
[h=3]Please Be VERY Considerate![/h]Hello ensign0208,

You are seeing this message because you are a Cavy Slave member of this forum, that is, you've been online for a while and have been active. And you are seeing this message because you are in the INTRODUCTIONS forum, where usually Newbies post (new to the forum).

We want to ENCOURAGE new people to participate and stick around. Yet, frequently, a new person will post about wanting to breed, buy a pig from a pet store, show, etc., and they are immediately CAUTIONED that a) it's not a good thing to do and b) we frown upon it on this forum.

Yes, we do frown upon it, BUT, we need to give our new members a chance to explore the forum without being put into a defensive or offended frame of mind.

So, LET IT GO. Back off. Encourage them in positive way, but don't dig for dirt. Do NOT ask them where they got their guinea pig(s) so that we can start to get them to see the light right away! You certainly don't need to encourage practices we don't support either, but let them get comfortable on the forum, first.

Your support in making the forum a friendlier place to participate is GREATLY appreciated!

I have no idea what the above post is about. I didn't encourage anyone to do anything or "dig for dirt" or whatever that even means. I just explained a problem I was having and I do very much appreciate all the kind feedback. Perhaps i need to find another forum.

To bpatters, the moderator, thank you so much for saying what my experience so far has taught me and i quote you: "And don't bother trying to litter train them -- it's a waste of time and effort. They either train themselves, or they train you, or neither." which ties in with your later remark: "And next time, please do your research on your future pet before you get it -- it wouldn't have taken much reading on a guinea pig forum for you to discover how skittish they are and how slow they are to warm up to humans." I have to tell you I spent hours researching online before i bought these cavies--including this site, although admittedly less in forums and mostly the postings of "experts" and individual owners at various sites. Most claimed that "with a little effort" you can cage or house train a cavy. And all the things i am doing for them I learned from the prior research, which also generally claimed that they would be much less skittish and would be agreeable to being petted in their cage after a couple weeks or maybe a month. I am going to be patient and realize there is a much longer timeline for bonding with them than I was heretofore led to believe and thank all here for cluing me into that! :>) Allen
 
This was very encouraging; thanks pandaloki! :>)
 
Thanks, Lilpig. Your words here are realistic and encouraging and non-judgmental. Just what I needed! :>)
 
Thanks, grace&piggies, especially, for the following remark:"Keep doing what you're doing. It sounds as though you're providing well for them. They should come around in time :)" Others who replied to my posting agreed I should be patient with the process, but those that suggested i did no research before acquiring my pigs or told me I ought to do things i am already doing and stated i was doing, or who were condemning of the idea that I might reluctantly decide someone else might be better suited to give my pigs the best home were less That's just what I needed!than helpful. In the above remark, you: 1)credited me for my efforts so far, 2)encouraged me to continue and be patient, and 3)gave me hope that things will improve in time. That's just what I needed! :>)
 
[h=3]Please Be VERY Considerate![/h]Hello ensign0208,

You are seeing this message because you are a Cavy Slave member of this forum, that is, you've been online for a while and have been active. And you are seeing this message because you are in the INTRODUCTIONS forum, where usually Newbies post (new to the forum).

We want to ENCOURAGE new people to participate and stick around. Yet, frequently, a new person will post about wanting to breed, buy a pig from a pet store, show, etc., and they are immediately CAUTIONED that a) it's not a good thing to do and b) we frown upon it on this forum.

Yes, we do frown upon it, BUT, we need to give our new members a chance to explore the forum without being put into a defensive or offended frame of mind.

So, LET IT GO. Back off. Encourage them in positive way, but don't dig for dirt. Do NOT ask them where they got their guinea pig(s) so that we can start to get them to see the light right away! You certainly don't need to encourage practices we don't support either, but let them get comfortable on the forum, first.

Your support in making the forum a friendlier place to participate is GREATLY appreciated!

I have no idea what the above post is about. I didn't encourage anyone to do anything or "dig for dirt" or whatever that even means. I just explained a problem I was having and I do very much appreciate all the kind feedback. Perhaps i need to find another forum.

To bpatters, the moderator, thank you so much for saying what my experience so far has taught me and i quote you: "And don't bother trying to litter train them -- it's a waste of time and effort. They either train themselves, or they train you, or neither." which ties in with your later remark: "And next time, please do your research on your future pet before you get it -- it wouldn't have taken much reading on a guinea pig forum for you to discover how skittish they are and how slow they are to warm up to humans." I have to tell you I spent hours researching online before i bought these cavies--including this site, although admittedly less in forums and mostly the postings of "experts" and individual owners at various sites. Most claimed that "with a little effort" you can cage or house train a cavy. And all the things i am doing for them I learned from the prior research, which also generally claimed that they would be much less skittish and would be agreeable to being petted in their cage after a couple weeks or maybe a month. I am going to be patient and realize there is a much longer timeline for bonding with them than I was heretofore led to believe and thank all here for cluing me into that! :>) Allen

That message wasn't sent only to you. Everyone gets the same message with their name added in when they go into this forum so don't think it was sent to you personally. It's automatic.
 
Baby piggies take time to be accustomed to people. I do honestly believe that you are doing really quite well. Just be patient, they'll eventually become loving little furballs each in their own unique way. It may take months for them to eventually adjust, but it is most definitely worth it and completely rewarding. Good luck!
 
And all the things i am doing for them I learned from the prior research, which also generally claimed that they would be much less skittish and would be agreeable to being petted in their cage after a couple weeks or maybe a month. I am going to be patient and realize there is a much longer timeline for bonding with them than I was heretofore led to believe and thank all here for cluing me into that! :>) Allen

If I might add my experience. While some pigs can be petted in their cage after a couple of weeks, that (in my experience on the boards) is not generally the case. It may be that boars are easier to handle than sows. I have four sows, two I adopted as adults and two adopted as babies (three and a half yrs. old and one and a half yrs. old). All were from good homes with no abuse. None of my four can be picked up without a chase. This is very common. Only one seems to enjoy being held and only for a few minutes. The others not at all, although they do not bite me, they just don't like it. Bonding does not necessarily mean you can hold and snuggle the pig. I feel I have a strong bond with my ladies. They look forward to seeing me, especially with food in hand :) and are comfortable with me cleaning the cage and will come up to me on the floor to nibble my toes and they sleep soundly in my presence. I love and spoil them and they have all the best foods and comforts. They just are not snuggly pets and I accept that. If yours become used to daily handling and enjoy it, you will be very lucky !! I hope this does not discourage you from enjoying your pets, I am just trying to be honest.
 
I have had Riblet for over a year, Ruby for about 4 months and my pups for 3 months. They all scatter when you do something they dislike, but its mostly the babies acting skittish that creeps out my old ladies.

When adopting any animal you must be a forever home or don't bother. I think of my pets as my children and I wouldn't dare to discard a child because of bad behavior.

They are babies as everyone has said which means you're starting from scratch. You also must realize where you got them from. Coming from a pet store is no lah-dee-dah kind of trip. They're handled like little objects and probably scared out of their minds for the first months of life, why are you any different than the kids tapping on the glass or the workers chasing you around trying to catch you?

If you're really serious about the pups, don't give up. It will probably be more toward a year before they'll wait for you to come home etc. Many people on here have adopted adults or babies from a litter that was handled properly at home and not at a mill... so keep that in mind as well.

Best of luck to you and your piggies. I personally hope you don't give up on them...
Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
 
i'm glad to have read the above posts above "taming" gpigs. i love my boys, and each have their own personality. i think it's hard as a "pet" owner - we take these little lives into our hands, and their lives do depend on us, and we commit to doing right by them - best housing, best food, best health that we can. and sometimes what we think we want back from our pets just doesn't work out the way we thought. i would love it if either one of my boys would snuggle with me, and 'tribble" in my ear and be all cozy. but it's not what makes them happy (yet), and my responsibilty is towards their well-being and happiness first and foremost. besides, isn't it interesting to see the differences, and to gently, with patence and love see the changes?! my boys (after couple of months) now spend more time outside their hideys, and have started to let me scratch their chins. they "wheep" when they hear my key in the door. all of that is icing on the cake. i signed up to care for these cutey pies - that they sometimes love me back is extra.:eek: good luck!
 
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