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Bonding Looking For Advice. Should I bond with him? Should I leave him alone?

tvchan

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I recently purchased a Guinea pig from Petsmart (Are guinea pigs from them usually very fearful?). He is a very shy piggy and seems to hide in his igloo all day until I leave or am in another room. (Which is usually never because I leave in a one bedroom apartment.) I feel like I may have tried to interact with him WAY too early in the process and he seems to be way more scared of me now then he was when I first got him.

Some of the things I tried to do to bond:
  • Putting him in my arms and just standing still and holding him. I had to do this the first day for a little while because he was very nervous from the transport from the pet store to my home. He managed to calm down and even started sniffing at me and crawling on my shoulder.
  • Putting him on the couch with treats and veggies. This started around the second day I had him (I bought him March 6th). He seemed to warm up very well and would even eat from my hands. (He also did this thing where he would put his head under my finger while he ate, but I don't know why?)
  • Letting him explore my apartment. I used to have a cat, so I know how to pet proof an apartment. He froze at first, but calmed and started walking around and such.
  • The Towel Trick. This is probably the only time I have actually had him be extremely calm with me. He would either just stare at me the entire time or burrow into the towel and maybe take a nap or relax or something.

These tricks had been working, until I had to put him back in his cage. I don't think he liked being taken out of the towel because he started squeaking and wiggling about. After that, he wouldn't even let me near him. I can get him to do the towel trick, but I just feel so bad for taking him out of his cage that I put him back. I can't even walk through the living room without him freaking out and running into his igloo or some other covered area.

I just don't know what to do anymore other that just leave him alone for a week or so and see if he improves. I am starting to feel like I may have thought this whole process wrong and rushed things to early, but I am still confident that I can form a strong bond with him if I be patient and just... leave him alone. I will continue to give him a routine, but for now, I think I should leave him in his cage for a couple of days so he can get comfortable.

Any advice help a lot for me being a new parent. :eek:
 

bpatters

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Welcome to the forum! If you're new to guinea pigs, you've got a lot to learn.

Read these two guides: http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html and http://www.guinealynx.info/emergency.html. Read the stickies at the top of the important forums (Diet and Nutrition, Medical Care, etc). See https://www.guineapigcages.com/foru...vy-Nutrition-Charts-amp-Poisonous-Plants-List for what you can feed and how often.

If you bought a pet store cage, it's too small. See the Main tab at the top of this page for recommended cage sizes.

Guinea pigs need a guinea pig friend. They're herd animals, not loners, and they're much happier with others of their kind. If you do decide to get another, please go to a rescue or shelter and don't buy. Guinea pigs in pet stores are bred and raised in horrible conditions, and it's better not to support that with your money.

He needs hay ALL the time, and by far the most expensive way to buy it is in those little bags from the pet store. Cheapest is a local farmer if you can find one with the right kind of hay (long strand grass hay, such as timothy, meadow, blue, orchard, or brome). He needs a PLAIN alfalfa pellet if he's under six months -- no nuts, seeds or colored bits. He needs green veggies every day, particularly red or green leaf lettuce and bell peppers.

Be patient with him. He's a prey animal, and he's totally convinced that you're going to throw him in the stew pot. Keep talking to him, do catch him and handle him gently (feeding him yummy treats while you're doing that helps a LOT), and eventually he'll come around.
 

tvchan

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Guinea pigs need a guinea pig friend. They're herd animals, not loners, and they're much happier with others of their kind. If you do decide to get another, please go to a rescue or shelter and don't buy. Guinea pigs in pet stores are bred and raised in horrible conditions, and it's better not to support that with your money.
[MENTION=13820]bpatters[/MENTION] I do plan to get another. The Petsmart representative told be that since Cinnabun might be 4-6 months or so (This was the first warning that I should have never gone to Petsmart to buy him) that is was too late to get him a companion. Is that true? I have a C & C cage that I am going to expand to a 2 x 4 so that they have room, but if he won't be able to have a buddy, is it worth still trying?
 

bpatters

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No, it's not too late. Just totally disregard everything Petsmart told you, and you'll likely be just fine.
 

pepperbelle

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Welcome!!! :) I would say definitely keep handling him. I think the more you hold him, talk to him, hand feed him veggies, etc. the less skittish he will become. :) My girls came home in early Feb and they are still skittish when I try to take them out, but once they are out, they seem happy.

I bet he would love a friend. Be sure he is definitely a male and look into getting him a male buddy. :) (As long as the cage is big enough)
 

pepperbelle

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No, it's not too late. Just totally disregard everything Petsmart told you, and you'll likely be just fine.

LOL I love bpatters. :love:
 

foggycreekcavy

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The more you handle him (appropriately, of course) the more he'll get used to you. He'll likely always run when you come into the room, but start bringing a treat (lettuce leaf, carrot slice, etc) with you each time. Pretty soon he'll be wheeking when you come in, because of the food. Guinea pigs are highly food motivated.

They like to feel secure. Catch them quickly but firmly. Immediately put them against your chest or on something where all four feet are on the ground.
 

jaymem04

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Yeah you should get him a friend. But I would also take him to the vet to make sure he is healthy. He might be sick and you might not know it. As far as bonding to him, I like to sit by the cage and talk to a nervous pig. The more you do that, the more he will get used to you.
 

foggycreekcavy

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Yeah you should get him a friend. But I would also take him to the vet to make sure he is healthy. He might be sick and you might not know it. As far as bonding to him, I like to sit by the cage and talk to a nervous pig. The more you do that, the more he will get used to you.

He doesn't sound sick to me. Sounds like normal guinea pig behavior.
 

elinak9

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Hi, I brought home my baby girl 2 weeks ago. The first day was the hardest for her- new environment, new people, sounds etc. I did not take her out of her cage that day, just sat beside the cage and talked to her so that she'd start to remember my voice and from time to time I put my hand into the cage so that she'd get used to it (I didn't try to take her out). At the end of the second day I started to take her out daily. She was freaked out, but when I took her out and put her on a couch with some corners to hide, she got used to me and being outside of her cage. Today she is still scared to be taken out, but already comes to sniff and lick my hand when I place it in her cage and also eats veggies from my hand and easily lets me pet her. I think that giving her floor time when sitting there yourself is also a good method- this way it is possible for the piggy to come to you when he wants + don't forget the veggies.
If you can not take him out just like that, maybe waiting until he is in his towel or something (my piggy goes into her tunnel and then I take her out) will be more pleasant for him and he won't be scared of your hands.
It is really normal for the piggy to be scared but I have managed to get my pig to trust me in 2 weeks just by letting her get used to my voice, hand (smell) and occasional petting and knowing that this hand feeds veggies and doesn't harm her. Try not to give up, some pigs just take more time to get used to people. :)

Hope this helps!
 

failur3byh3art

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Hi and welcome to the forum! Like Bpatters said, and I would like to add that most, if not all pet store associates are misinformed and or tend to not know anything about guinea pigs. If you take the time to read what bpatters linked you and a few searches on the forum you'll find all kinds of proper information regarding our cavy(Guinea pig) friends! About bonding... like some have said guinea pigs are prey animals and are convinced you're going to eat them so they will naturally run away and hide from you. I'd take things slow. They all have different personalities so some may open up to you more than others. What I've done to get my girls to trust me is when I give them lap time and or floor time, I'll have treats available(Lettuce, bell pepper slices, red seedless grape*Just 1 every few days*). It takes time and a bit of patience but it's worth it. My girls give me the biggest smile and I love them to death!
 

Cavy_King_180

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I know where you are coming from. Yes it is normal for pigs from pet stores to be skittish and not used to human handling because pet stores don't handle them very often.
I would reccomend letting him come to you. Put him out to run around and once he has gotten bored he will most likely come to investigate you. Have some treats or veggies with you and once he feels safe he will come to you. Hope this helped :)
 

tvchan

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Thank you all for your responses! It really helps out my situation! Some Updates:

I managed to get him eating veggies from my hand more and he has managed to start exploring his cage. Laying some fresh veggies out for him seems to do the trick! I managed to get him some lap time with just sitting him on the couch with a towel and laying out some treats for him. He would usually just find the nearest corner and stuff himself into it. :p

I do plan on introducing him to a new friend in the next couple of weeks (I don't have the money in my budget to purchase more items for guinea pig right now (bills). Adoption fees are around $40 to $50 dollars. :eek:)

Some improvements that I have made is that I have started to sit by his cage a bit more (or as much as my butt can handle). He does come up to my fingers and sniffs at them and there is the occasional test bite he gives me. I don't know if I smell like food to him or he is just curious like that. He still startles easily, like if I am sitting on the couch and I adjust my position, he bolts around his cage and straight back to his original spot.
20150309 204845 (Update: I extended his cage to a 2 x 4 for not only giving him extra space, but to prepare for another piggy when the time arrives.)

He is getting more confident with coming out of his cage, but he still needs a bunch of work. I hope that maybe getting him a buddy will help him become at least a bit more comfortable with his surroundings. Poor baby. :(
 

AnnikasMommy

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I too am new so seeing everyone's posts and suggestions are very helpful. I have been reading the links bpatters post and there is TONS of helpful information in there, things no one tells you when you set out on this new adventure. :) We have only had our babies since Thur and they love to be held but yes they still run when we go to pick them up. Guess like with anything, just takes time. Look at it this way, can you imagine this GIANT coming at you. LOL
 

jrv4babies

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I got my first guinea pig at 5 weeks old. That was a little over 3 months ago. She was smaller then yours, I always wrapped her up (mostly to keep her safe so my kids could participate) and we hand fed her veggies at least once a day (we give her veggies twice a day but I didn't always have time to hand feed before work.)
I figured the way to a piggies heart is via it's food.

Even though she was young and she always been a quite calm piggie, I would still say it took a long time of this before we suddenly saw a major breakthrough. Now she will run right over to me and let me pick her up even without a veggie bribe...but that was after 3 months of careful patience.

We just added a friend for her, who is still quite skitterish when I first approach the cage, and my first has seemed to copy that and doesn't run right up to me until I coax her now...but she does still come.

They are just SO neat. You will love to watch how she grows and changes and you will see payoffs for all your investment of love and patience!
 
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