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Bonding "Towel Trick"+timing questions!

ProudPiggyMama

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
18
Hey there fellow cavy lovers! I'm currently on day 5 of my first-ever guinea pig mommyhood adventure, and I've got some questions about bonding and getting your guinea pig to trust you.

I have a near-adult piggie, and his last home was less then great. From what I can see, he wasn't really taken care of too well, and he never got out of his very small cage.

Upon bringing him home, I gave him a hidebox, and he promptly...well, hid it it. I've been bringing him food/water/veggies without much interaction; i.e I leave the dish, maybe extend a finger, and he hasn't done much more than tentatively, ALMOST sniff my fingers when I put the food out. He is very shy, and rarely comes out of his box, unless to eat, or run to the hayrack for a few quick nibbles. The day before yesterday, (Day 3), I practiced the "Towel Trick" for the first time so I could look at his ears/eyes/nose/fur. Everything seemed okay, and so I put him back. Other than that, I've occasionally petted his chin and behind his ears, but he's always frozen up, leading me to back away quickly. I try to sit quietly in the room his cage is located and read/use the laptop, so he gets used to me just being there.

About once a day, I've removed the hidebox momentarily, usually when I have veggies in the cage, to dump any poop out of his cuddlecup, and spot clean, as he hasn't been anywhere else in the cage other than the hidebox. He usually runs around in blind terror while I dump the cuddlecup outside, and then scurries back into his cage. Yesterday, I was checking over his skin and trimmed his nails, again in the towel, and I think he may have purred while I brushed him.

My main question is~ Am I moving too fast? Should I slow things down with my attempts to bond? I held him for about an hour yesterday while grooming him. He is still skittish and nervous. Do you guys have any tips for bonding?
 
I handle them as much as possible to socialize them. They love being held, brushed and given treats in my lap. They start to fidget when they've had enough and want to go back in their cage.
 
it's hard for me to believe but i was sooooo worried about my piggies in the beginning - i swore they'd never come out of their hideys. i'd pick them up almost every day, to get them socialized and to check their health, but now, three months later - it's AMAZING the difference. they come out all the time, running and popcorning, and teasing me when i sweep their cage. they are just too cute. it's hard to be patient, but i'm soo amazed at the changes that have happened over time. it's hard to be patient, but so worth it. hang in there - and let us know how things progress. ❤️ it sounds like you're doing everything right for now - you just can't rush he trust
 
Teeny little update- I gave him some floor time, but that was just a lot of freezing and shaking on his part and a lot of offered parsley and soothing tones on mine. He started freaking out when I picked him up to go back in the cage.

Patience is a virtue, I suppose :)
 
I am also a new cavy mama (well, grandmama....we bought them for our girls but I do the caring and they help with cleaning and feeding and cuddles so they an learn to be good pet mamas). Anyhow, our two little ones also run and hide. I come in the room and they take off. We give them 4 or 5 hours of floor time everyday and they spend a lot of time hiding but we sit there with them and then when we walk away they start squeaking real loud like "hey, where did you go?" Now a little over a week in, they are getting better. The little boy no longer runs and when you hold him he squeaks and squeaks. We also have been saving their veggies for floor time and hand feel them peppers while we hold them so they associates us with good things. I can't wait until they no longer run when we walk by the cage or when they start playing more. Good to know in a couple months time they will be use to us and be more social. I would take him out and give him lap time and floor time (we have a large baby pool and we put towels down on the floor and we put timothy hay in there and food and fresh veggies. They also have a cat tunnel that they love and then my girls can get in and out and they sit in there with them. Now the piggies come over to smell us or come into our laps. I would just keep handling him and giving him run around time outside of his cage so that he can learn what a loving touch is. Congrats on your little guy!
 
He's acting totally normally. Most pigs don't like to be touched or petted in their cages. Take him out and handle him often, bribing him with greens when you hold him and pet him. You can also give him a lettuce leaf each time you go into the room where he lives.

I don't know what the "towel trick" is.

The sooner you get a companion for him, the better! Guinea pigs need companionship of their own species.
 
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