Whether you just brought your guinea pig home or you have had him for a few months, you will want to know how to tame your guinea pig so that he feels comfortable being handled.
In today’s article, we outline 7 guinea pig taming tips (step by step):
- Leave your guinea pig in his cage for the first few days.
- Provide places for your guinea pig to hide.
- Talk softly to your guinea pig.
- Hand-feed your guinea pig a treat.
- Pet your guinea pig.
- Pick up your guinea pig.
- Don’t give up.
Guinea pigs are just like their humans: each one has a unique personality and some like to be handled more than others. Taming your guinea pig can take time, but with some patience and persistence it can be done and is well worth it in the end. Once you have tamed your guinea pig, he will enjoy being handled, come when called and you may even be able to teach him some new tricks.
Leave your guinea pig in his cage for the first few days.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and are afraid that they are going to be snatched up out of their cage from above.
It is normal for your guinea pig to be scared when you first introduce him to his new environment.
This is why it is important for you to give your guinea pig some time to become accustomed to his new home before you handle him.
Provide places for your guinea pig to hide.
Most predators come from above so be sure to provide a roof or a hideout that your guinea pig can escape to.
Hideouts can be as simple as placing recycled cardboard cutouts in the cage or as fancy as purchasing a hay tunnel that doubles as a chew toy.
Our guinea pigs love this one. Click here to check the price on Amazon.
If you have more than one guinea pig it is a good idea to have one hideout per pig so that there is plenty of space for them to hide without becoming stressed.
Providing places for your guinea pig to hide will help him feel safe and secure in his new home right from the beginning.
Talk softly to your guinea pig.
Start by sitting next to your guinea pig in his cage and talking to him so that he gets used to your voice.
You can also talk to your guinea pig when you are feeding him, cleaning his cage or filling up his water bottle.
Don’t try to touch or handle your guinea pig just yet.
Over time, your guinea pig will learn that you are not a threat and will soon recognize you when you come into the room.
Hand-feed your guinea pig a treat.
One way to get your guinea pig used to you is to feed him by hand.
Once your guinea pig is comfortable with you sitting next to the cage, offer him a treat.
You will know that he is not feeling threatened if he comes out of his hideout and walks around or if he peeks his head out to look around.
Hold a treat in your hand. Talk quietly to your guinea pig and offer him the treat.
Bell peppers cut into strips make great treats in the beginning because they are long enough that your guinea pig doesn’t have to come too close to your hand just yet.
Try not to make sudden movements or loud sounds that will scare your guinea pig.
If he nibbles on your treat, you are making great progress!
If he refuses and runs away or hides, then remove the treat, walk away and try again in 15 minutes.
Don’t leave the treat in the cage; your guinea pig will learn to wait until you leave to have his snack.
Another trick is to try hand-feeding your guinea pig before you place his food dish in his cage.
He will learn to associate your hand with feeding time.
Guinea pigs are very smart and will quickly learn what sounds you make when it is time for a treat.
You can also train your guinea pig to respond to certain words. Use the same word or phrase when it’s treat time and soon your guinea pigs will come running.
Pet your guinea pig.
Once your guinea pig is happy to eat treats from your hand, you can gently pet him.
Before you pet your guinea pig, make sure he is not acting nervous or afraid.
Slowly take one finger and pet him on the side.
Remember not to place your hand over the top of him because he will think that you are a predator trying to snatch him up.
If he gets scared or runs away, let him be. Do not chase your guinea pig.
This will stress him out and make him more afraid of you.
Wait 15 minutes and try again.
Pick up your guinea pig.
Once you have established trust with your guinea pig, it’s time to pick him up.
Gently scoop up your guinea pig and place him in your lap.
It is natural for your guinea pig to want to run away or try and hide.
You can make him feel more comfortable by offering him a treat, gently stroking his side or gently wrapping him with a fleece blanket.
Repeat this process of handling your guinea pig a few times per day until he becomes used to you picking him up.
One trick that will help you pick up your guinea pig is to place a fleece tunnel or rolled up hand towel in his cage. Your guinea pig will naturally want to crawl inside. When he does, you can safely pick up the tunnel with him inside.
This is especially helpful if either you or the guinea pig are scared.
Always be careful when handling your guinea pig to make sure he feels safe and secure at all times.
How long does it take to tame a guinea pig?
The amount of time that it takes to tame your guinea pig will depend upon your guinea pig.
His personality and past experiences will shape how receptive he is to you and how long it will take before he trusts you to pet and handle him.
Take your time and be aware of how your guinea pig is responding. If he is acting stressed or scared, take a break and try again.
Don’t give up.
Most importantly, don’t give up. Some guinea pigs will be easier to tame than others, but with some patience and persistence you will learn how to tame your guinea pig too.
And it is totally worth it for a happy guinea pig.
How did it go?
We hope you found these 7 tips to tame your guinea pig helpful and we would love to hear how it went.
Do you have any other tips or tricks that worked for you? Leave us a comment below and let us know!
Theo and Remmy