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Biting Just got bit.....again

pennypig11

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
13
So I had Penelope on the den floor in her little pen while I cleaned out her cage and she was fine. After I put fresh fleece, food, water and all of her belongings back in her space, I thought I would put my hand in her corral for her to smell me or I could possibly pet her. She smelled me a few times and even tried to climb up my arm. I was completely surprised when she nibbled the back of my hand twice, then chomped down so hard that she left indentions of her teeth in my skin. It took every ounce of strength to not pull away while she tore into me. I'm fresh out of ideas on what I'm doing wrong. Is there a GP whisperer I can call?!
 
Maybe your hand smelled like food?
 
I have a girl (10 months old) and she was a biter, especially if I got my hand between her and her food. She has been way better later, but I am still afraid to put my hand in front of her mouth. It took awhile but I think I know all the things that tick her off now. She loves to be brushed, scratched behind her ears and patted. She is really very friendly and will climb up on my knee on her own. Maybe try different ways of patting her, brushing her, picking her up, etc. and see what works for her and what doesn't. Unfortunately they can't tell us with words what they want, but they can tell us through their body language, sounds and unfortunately with their teeth. Good luck, those little teeth are sharp.
 
I try to be really careful about washing my hands before I put them in the cage, but you might be right.
 
I had an experience with a biting pig before. She had a nervous demeanor and would bite because of that. You have to spend a lot of time with her one on one, learning her personality, quirks, and most of all why she is biting. It's good that you don't pull away as soon as she bites, but it sounds like she'll be a handful for you ;)

Handwashing with a mild soap and warm water would be a great plan as well. My piggies nip a bit if I have any sort of food scent on my fingers, and they aren't biters.
 
I'm not sure about this but I don't think piggies need to sniff your hand like a dog does. Since she is a biter just avoid putting your hand in front of her mouth? My Huey, who is just the sweetest piggy, bit me down to the bone on the bottom half of my pointer finger and was actually stuck for a few seconds. He has a nerve on his back that makes him gnaw down on what ever happens to be near him. It almost looks like he's having a seizure. My other 3 boys purr when scrached there:crazy:!
 
Why would you not pull away when she bites? I wouldn't yank my hand away and yell at her, but I would move it fairly quickly and say '"ow."

I don't let mine nibble my hands, or anyone else's. And if I'm going to handle them after I've fed them, I wash my hands so they don't smell like food.
 
Our Aby is inclined to bite, though she's become less bite-y as she's grown up a bit (almost 10 months old now). The other 3 don't really bite. Jumble now gives us a warning lick/snuffle, and if we put her down or stop petting her she won't bite. If we hold her past the lick/snuffle, she'll start biting. She does the stretchy-reach up our arm too when we put our hand into her pen. Usually her nose is snuffling like crazy and I think even if she isn't smelling something on my hand, she's hoping she'll find some kind of food stashed somewhere. She's definitely possessive of her food and if given the opportunity is possessive of everyone else's food, too.

She also has a very different way of playing than the others. She doesn't like other pigs except from her own pen, but she loves playing during floor time as long as we aren't touching her. She likes to bat at dangled newspaper shreds or stalk paper or hay that we drag on the floor, and pounce on it. More like a cat. The funny thing is that she is more of a people pig, but we had to learn her patterns, which hasn't been easy or quick.

And on the scent -- my daughter started using a different olive-oil and herb-based hair moisturizer, and all of the pigs go nuts when she is around just after she puts it on (happy nuts, like food time). And for some reason, Jumble loves the smell of sweet pickles. If we eat one, she'll climb off our laps like crazy to get to our mouth just to sniff.

The other thing she and the other pigs are learning is two different approaches to our scritching them while they are in their pen. One is a very slow approach with one hand, which we dangle close to their shoulder area and then do a gentle scritch on their head and shoulders and make no attempt to pick them up. The other is a slow two-handed one, which is to pick them up. None of them like that of course, but they will actually stay still for the one-hand, scritch-only, even Jumble. But we never vary it.
 
If you feed her from hand maybe that should stop. She could be in a sense begging for treats like a dog or horse would since she didn't seem angry. If mine nibles on me I give her a slight tap on her nose, just to surprise her never hurt her and I tell her no haha.
 
Thanks for all the support and encouraging stories. I have only had Penelope since Thanksgiving but I've been diligently working with her so that she gains my trust. I desperately want to be her friend!!! Her previous owner said she didn't bite and loved to be cuddled. My pig has yet to show me this. The reason I let her smell me and the reason I didn't pull away is because this is all previous advice that I've read on this forum, I've been starting from square one with her. When I put my hand in her pen, there wasnt any food or anything else in there with her. I had already put everything back in her c&c cage. I know that I am not going to "discipline" her because she won't understand. I did say "ouch" out loud but did not pull away because I did not want her to think I was afraid of her plus I didn't want to lose a chunk of skin from my hand. I am going to keep working with her and I am going to try every technique that I read or am advised of. I WILL be Penelopes friend!
 
Lots of animals will bite your hand/ finger if it's put in from of their faces. It's one way animals react to the world around them. It's nothing personal, and it doesn't mean she's a biter. It just means to keep your hand from in front of her mouth.

As far as being cuddly, most guinea pigs aren't until you are holding them in your lap.
 
It's the food smell both my piggies did that too in beginning but mine slowly stopped.
 
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