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Bonding How to get a skittish pig to bond with me?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Feb 26, 2012
Yes, I know I should have used the search bar because there are millions of threads like this, but Snickers is different. He's so shy, he won't even eat veggies from me, he absolutely HATES the towel trick, and he runs whenever I'm within five feet of the cage. He's a very weird piggy. For example, whenever I try to pick him up he doesn't run, he just lets out one very loud, and very shrill squeal. Can anyone give me any suggestions on how I can get him to bond with, or at least tolerate me? Thanks in advance!
How long have you had him?

The best way to create a bond is to simply spend time with him and create a positive connection in his mind when it comes to you. Try not to chase him around the cage to pick him up. It usually only causes more stress for the pig. Try the piggy elevator to get him up and then have him on your lap on a blanket. Pet him, talk to him quietly, offer veggies, allow him to gradually associate spending time with you as a good thing.
Three weeks exactly. I obviously don't expect him to be completely bonded to me by now, I'd just like to see a little more progress.

Thank you! I've been using the elevator method with a cuddle cup the last few times, and that seems to help. I'm going to try to put something that smells like me in their cage so that they can get used to my scent, I just have to find something piggie appropriate.
My piggy Jasmine doesn't run either, and she does the squeal too. I think it's just a sound of protest because they know what's coming next... but when she's in my lap it's fine. Actually, Snickers sounds just like Jasmine when it comes to people. She'll run and hide whenever anyone's close to the cage, but once she's in a warm lap she's the most adorable and loving lap piggy.:love: (Of course, she'll always give me that look that says, "Ahem. I am waiting for my carrots.") As for suggestions, the best way to a piggy's heart is through food. Give some veggies during lap time, and he will learn to associate you with good things.:)
@BlueButterfly Instead of trying to find something you have that smells like you that is piggie appropriate, why don't you find something piggie appropriate (like a towel or piece of fleece) and make it smell like you by putting it on or next to your pillow while sleeping or drape it around your neck for a while or whatever.
@Crazy Cavies- He's so shy, he won't even take food from me. It's so unlike my girls, who will do anything for some veggies.

@Raine59- Ahh, yes, that's what I meant, I just didn't word it well. Unfortunately I don't have any extra pieces of fleece (and using their entire second change might be over doing it) and pretty much all my extra towels are either already being used for pig towels and kind of yucky. I'm thinking of using a brand new sock, and then filling it with shavings for a sock pillow.
I definitely wouldn't worry about the squeal. Amy does that when she's in a complaining mood. She lets me pick her up without running, but she has to let me know it's being done under protest, even tho' she's fine once she's in my lap.

It's all about patience and building up a foundation of trust. That takes some time with prey animals, but once piggies get used to you it's so rewarding.
Two words: veggie treats!
obiviously veggie treats aren't going to work here. Sry fi i came off a bit to anyone
Have you tried floor time with him? Put a hidy on the floor/just let him stay in there. Pet his nose. speak softly to him.
OR if you can, just sit in a chair/softly pet his nose/softly talk to him while he is in the cage in a hidy.
Sorry, I should have elaborated more. Even if he won't eat veggies from you yet, does he like eating veggies in general? If he does, you could try just sitting quietly next to his cage and putting some veggies slightly outside of his hidey hut. As he gains more courage to come out of his hidey spot to get to the veggies (even if it is just to snatch them in his mouth and run away again), you can try slowly moving the veggies closer and closer to you until he realizes that being near you isn't that bad. This might happen over a matter of days or even weeks. Once you have reached that step you can try moving on to hand feeding, giving veggies during lap time, etc. One of my piggies, Buttercup, was very skittish at first but LOVED veggies. She wouldn't take them from my hand at first either and darted into her hidey every time I came into the room, but this is what I did with her and it worked. She never became the most cuddly big, but was definitely no longer skittish and really came out of her shell!
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