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Behavior Talking buttons with pigs

Mousewife

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
83
I haven’t been online here in absolute ages.
I came back because I am really curious to know if anyone else uses or has tried using talk buttons with their guinea pigs and what your experience is.

Our two boys are almost 2. We’ve had them since they were weaned.
We just started talk buttons in January after I saw a video with someone with a rabbit using buttons.

My standard uses them. My Lunkarya does NOT, lol. But my standard will use the buttons to get stuff for both of them.

So far, we have
Treat (the most favouritest button EVER)
Want
Puzzle (second most popular button, lol)
All Done
Food
Water
Clean
Love

Gaffer frequently combines his buttons to Want Treat
Want Puzzle
Clean Water (he’s sooooo picky about leftover water, and has started complaining now that he can, lol)
All done food (he’s not a fan of the new brand of pellets)
Want food (he uses this to ask for hay, specifically)
All done love (go!away! 😂)

So…. I really want to know if anyone else has any experience.

We just have the 8 buttons.
Only Gaffer uses them.
8-but will very rarely press “treat”. Rarely.
 
Nice to see you back, @Mousewife !

I am fascinated if this actually works. If it does, I may try this with my next pair of boys if I get babies. Leo will be 5 in June, and Simon will be 4 next month. I can't believe they are that old already!

If you could get your pig using them on video I'd love to see it!
 
i have quite a few videos that I have taken.
I will post a few. It will depend a LOT on the temperament of the piggy.

Gaffer is ridiculous and super smart. 8 bit waddles around without a care in the world and has zero interest in the buttons. Neither use them on the floor. (Tbh, neither care much for the floor)

We got Gaffer a puzzle toy for Christmas. He had gone through all the small animal puzzles we had and they were no challenge. He seems to need an endless amount of stimulation and entertainment. His current favourite is a dog puzzle with little balls he has to move to get to treats.

I can’t attach the videos directly, so here are 2 from my Tiktok account


Yes, I’m really really aware that Gaffer needs his nails trimmed in the one video, lol. I hadn’t realized how long they’d gotten and did it immediately after watching the playback.

The setup has changed now for our 8 buttons.
Having the buttons up on a little ledge eliminates accidental walkover presses and makes sure he is pressing them on purpose.
 
I've seen videos of people teaching their pigs tricks that I never thought pigs could learn, so I bet the buttons are a great idea. I'll have to look into some puzzles for my guys.
 
So… in tonight’s episode of “Guinea Pig: Comprehension or Coincidence”…
My daughter came into the kitchen to tell me she had finished the quest in her game.

Gaffer pops over to his button panel and presses “All Done. All Done. Puzzle. All done.”

His puzzle wasn’t in his cage and he hadn’t asked for it all day. Sooooo…..

Was it a coincidence or was he participating in the conversation?? 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤣🤣

(She spends a LOT of time talking to them in button-speak and regular conversation)
 
Thanks for the idea, I didn't even know about their existence.
 
Thanks for the idea, I didn't even know about their existence.
It’s been SO FUN to figure out their language and the associations they make.

We had a new one today.

They have a button for “clean”.
The intent of the button is to ask for fresh food or water, especially water, or to tell me when they are fed up with their bedding and want it changed.

However, we press the button whenever we CLEAN the cage, which involves taking them out for *floor* time to remove the old bedding and replace it.

The last 2 days, Gaffer has been pressing “want” “Clean” and “All done”, just over and over again.
I haven’t been able to figure out what he wants.
He has clean food. His cage was just scrubbed down to the paper base and sprayed/neutralized on the weekend. His water bottle was scrubbed out. Everything is clean.
So was he just telling me everything was clean and he was happy?

It finally clicked today when he pressed “want” “clean” and came and waited…..

He gets floor time when we clean his cage.
We press “clean” when we take them out to clean the cage.
🤦‍♀️

He was asking for floor time.

😂🙌

I can’t believe it took me so long to make that connection

He always returns to the same corner of his blanket when he’s ready to go back to his cage, so I put his “all done” button there to see if he presses it when he’s finished.
 
Absolutely amazing. Looking forward to hearing more about their progression with this.
 
You should get a video of them working their buttons!
 
I have some videos. I posted 2.
Getting good videos requires setting up the camera and letting it run and run and run… then pick a fun clip.

And other people in the house have THE MOST ANNOYING habit of talking during the best clips, lol. 🤣
 
Here… it’s a 2 minute clip.
When he presses food/water, it’s literally just to get my attention, bc that always gets my attention.
Their bowls are completely full of food and water.

He’s just super insistent…. I’m in the kitchen and he KNOWS I bought parsley this week. Therefore, Treat!

 
I have seen cats and dogs using talk buttons, but guineas pigs!?! Oh wow, that is adorable! I may try that! How did you start teaching them? Any tips?
 
Start with the treat button.
Press it every time you give them a treat.
Then move to holding the treat such that the guinea pig has to step on it to get the treat.
Reward immediately.

Every time you introduce a new button, model its use as often as possible.

It’s taken us a bit of time to figure out which buttons get used and which ones don’t.
What I do when a button/word doesn’t get used is replace it with a different word I think might get used.

We have the GeniPaws buttons. They are a little more expensive, but they are nice and small and easy for the guinea pigs to press.
 
This is fascinating! It makes sense guinea pigs would understand the buttons quickly because they're overall very vocal as a species. My Robin Hood instantly reacts to his name (and nicknames) and recognizes favorite treat words, why not buttons? :)
 
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