Guinea pigs are naturally very nervous and skittish animals.
Taming them can take a lot of time, so you have to be patient. They’re prey animals and, if you’ve ever noticed, become startled at sudden sounds and movements. Usually, when they get scared, they’ll scatter and run for safety. Over time, you’ll notice that they become more used to their surroundings and won’t react to every noise made in your home. Before you try to tame your guinea pigs, let them get used to their new home and humans. If you give them this time, I’m sure you’ll notice that they don’t hide around in their hidies most of the time and will come out more often. Something that you should do every time you approach their cage is talk to them. They’ll get used to you and your voice and may even come to you voluntarily. Do this when you clean their cage or give them food or water.
Hand-feeding them is a good start in trying to tame your piggies.
Hand-feeding will make them associate interacting with you as good because they get food in return. Anything that has to do with food is the key to your guinea pig’s heart. Every time you feed your piggies, try hand-feeding them first. If they don’t take to this, don’t be disappointed because it takes time to tame them. Just keep doing this because repetition is key. Move slowly, and don’t make any sudden sounds that may frighten them. Over time they will start to eat from your hand without feeling like anything around them is a threat. When trying to hand-feed them, offer their favorite veggies. A large piece of lettuce is perfect for this!
Interact with your piggies during floor time.
Another way to try to tame your guinea pigs is when they’re out of their cage for floor time. During floor time, sit in the area that you designate for this. Let them come up to you by themselves, and offer them a snack every time they voluntarily approach you. The more often they do this and get rewarded, the faster they’ll learn that you are a positive thing and that they get food when they come to you. Try talking to them in a cheery voice every time you approach them. They’ll also learn to recognize your voice, especially for feeding time.
The more you interact with your guinea pigs, the better.
Over time they won’t be so frightened by you and will connect that you’re a positive thing and that they get treats for going to you! Guinea pigs generally don’t like to be held, but this is something that I believe is also required to help aid with taming them. Never chase your guinea pigs when trying to get them out for lap time. I find that coercing them into a corner helps to pick them up easier. Another way to pick them up from their cage is to take a cardboard box cut up to have the top open and place it over them. It traps them, and you don’t have to cause unnecessary stress to both of you while trying to grab your piggy. During lap time, have a blanket or towel to hold them in. There’s the possibility of your piggy going to the bathroom on you. It’ll help your piggy feel more secure. Always have a snack for them handy. Be sure you know how to properly hold a guinea pig when you take them out of their cage because they may fight being picked up and held. Hold your piggy by having one hand support its bottom while your other hand supports its back. Always carry your guinea pigs with two hands.
As long as you’re consistent with these tips, your guinea pigs should start becoming tamer as time goes on. One of my guinea pigs was so tame that she would let me pick her up from the cage when she stood up! Taming your guinea pigs will build trust, and they’ll learn that you aren’t a threat to them and that they get snacks!
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