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Play Lap Time


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Dec 18, 2011
OK, the only last real newbie question that I have is in regards to Lap Time. I will start off by stating my questions:

How important is lap time? I am willing to give the Piggies as much as they need! I just want to know what importance it has. Will it really make them become tame faster?

My Guinea Pigs are both somewhat skittish-- I think they would try to run away for lap time. What should I do for this? I want to just sit them on my bed/couch with me and hold them close, maybe even set them down (provided I am right next to them.

How should I get them out of the cage? Would they be more scared if I just picked them up out of the cage (it is a lot more work that way) or can I set in their large travel carrier and pick them up once they go into that. That would be the best idea for me, in my opinion. I have tried picking them up in tubes, I have tried picking them up by hand, and NONE are easy EXCEPT for picking them up in their large travel carrier. This is because it is so big I won't have any trouble getting them out of the carrier once I have them in my lap. AND, if they are too scared, they can run back into the carrier on the bed to hide and I can just sit there with them.

What should I do for lap time? Soft, calming talk? Petting? Should I have some treats nearby?

What effects does lap time have on Guinea Pigs? This is the last question.


Thanks everyone! This is my last question about newbie stuff most likely. Thank you all!

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For me, lap time is important for many reasons: (1) Introducing a new food that is good for them, but not necessarily something they like, (2) Brushing their hair and keeping shedding to a minimum, (3) Developing a trusting bond, especially if they are skittish to begin with.

Any way you pick them up that you've discovered that stresses them out the least and isn't too much trouble is a good idea, IMHO. Just be aware that they are prey animals and it's natural for them to run away from you, freeze and or/wheek loudly upon being picked up. If you notice that they like to run into places that cover their heads or bodies, then I suggest trying to do lap time with a towel that can go over their heads to make them feel safe. Don't be discouraged if they want to burrow into your elbow; it's natural that upon being in an unfamiliar place would make them want to hide.

A quiet place (I sometimes play classical music) and soft talking works best for my piggies. And this is also a great opportunity to find out where they like being scratched (mine love the ears and the face - I think it's from all the grazing they do and how itchy it might get in a place they can't reach as well with their claws. It's also a good time to check out their eyes for any crustiness, their nails. I got mine so calm that he barely made a fuss when I trimmed his hind nails.

In the beginning, I couldn't be sure that the lap time was more for me than for them. But when I was away for a weekend and my husband tried to handle them, he couldn't get them to calm down in his lap. When I came back, (and it was hard not to handle them because I'm trying to get off antihistamines for an allergy skin test) they would wheek for me even if they'd just been fed. They are in my home office and their cage is right behind me and often, the older one will come up and bite the grid until I reach down and pet him. So to me, lap time is also for them!

That said, I never do lap time for more than ten minutes because my boys can't hold it in very long and they get very restless. They love it more when it's often but in small increments.
I love lap time! For me, it's usually after I come back from class. I keep my boy's cage in my bedroom in my apartment, where my TV is as well. I like to relax from class by watching my favorite show, How I Met Your Mother. It's usually two hour long program, so I'll hold each boy in my bed while I watch. I put a towel down in case of poopies, although I don't mind getting poopies on my bed since their poops aren't really that messy. I just don't want to find one at night while I'm sleeping :p
I agree with Cavalicious about having a towel or blanket for them to hide under. My boys aren't skittish anymore (although they do sprint upon trying to be picked up, but like was mentioned above, that's an instinctual behavior.) Even if they aren't scared when you're holding them, giving them the option to hide will let them trust you faster. If you can manage to get them into a specific corner to pick them up I bet it will get easier. Also, remember to reward often!! My guinea pigs have learned that being picked up usually means treats, so they're usually not too hard to grab.. although Harper isn't too sure about this theory yet, since I sometimes take him out to tend to his wounded ear. He'll come around eventually :)
The piggies will let you know when they want to go back down. Either by nibbling you, making little poopies, or just running towards their cage.. My bed is two feet off the ground so this can get dangerous! I always put them back when they make it clear that's what they want :)
Also, don't forget floor time! You can make a pen out of left over grids. I put them in the living room in their pen for about 30 minutes every other day if I can't do it for an hour every day.
Hope this helped!
Pigs don't like to be caught and picked up. You just have to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible, and immediately hold the pig against you in a secure position.

Hold them as long and as often as you want. Yes, the more you hold them the more comfortable they will get with you. Although there are some scaredy pigs who will always be nervous--it's just their personality.
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