Generally, guinea pigs are wonderful pets to have to their well-mannered, curious, and content behavior. However, training is needed to prepare them for handling, but can also be used as a way to teach them commands. Therefore, how exactly do you train a guinea pig?
To train your guinea pig, be sure you have a treat you know they love and be very forthcoming with patience. With time and practice, you can teach your guinea pig not to bite, to come when called, use a litter spot, stand up, go home, turn in a circle, and follow, among a few other training commands.
It is incredibly common to hear other pet owners discussing the ins and outs of training their dog, cat, bird, and even horse, but when it comes to training guinea pigs, the conversation may die a bit due to a simple lack of knowledge. If you are the new owner of a guinea pig or are simply looking to reshape the behavior of one of your long-time pets, take a look below to find out if guinea pigs are easy to train and the best training commands to teach them.
Are Guinea Pigs Easy to Train?
When it comes to training an animal like a dog or a horse, the steps to take are relatively explicit and lead to a certain type of behavior that is expected due to the steps taken during training. Although this journey may be tedious with some animals, it is certainly an effort that is appreciated once training begins to show a permanent behavioral change. For an animal such as a guinea pig, are they easy to train?
Guinea pigs, although seemingly simple-minded due to their small size, content demeanor, and adorable outward appearance, are actually incredibly intelligent animals. When it comes to the power of their brain, they are able to learn and adapt very quickly while also having the ability to retain this new information. For those of you who are wanting to train your guinea pig, this means that not only are they intelligent, but they are rather easy to train.
Before starting training, it is important to remember that, although a guinea pig is an intelligent animal, the learning process for every guinea pig is going to be different. One training aspect may be much easier for her than another, so always remember to allow your guinea pig time to absorb the new information before giving up. Practice plenty of patience and allow her to learn at a rate that is not pressured or pushy, making her more apt to cooperate.
Various Training Commands to Teach Your Guinea Pig
Knowing now that your guinea pig is completely capable of being trained, you can start to implement different training commands to get her brain working and enhancing your interaction together. You may not be able to teach your guinea pig to play dead or speak, but there is a slew of different commands which many owners have found possible and successful for their guinea pig. Take a look below to find a variety of different training commands to teach your guinea pig.
1. Train Your Guinea Pig Not to Bite
Just as many other animals, guinea pigs will bite when they feel threatened. Training your guinea pig not to bite is something that should take place when they are very young by first offering them your hand and allowing them to familiarize themselves with your scent. Once they are comfortable, gently pick them up and keep them steady in your hands with very little movement. Encourage this interaction by offering them a treat while holding them.
2. Train Your Guinea Pig to Come When Called By Name
It is important to name your guinea pig so that they not only bond with you, but are able to better follow you for other potential trained commands. To teach your guinea pig to come when it is called by its name, first, start by calling it by its name while you are feeding and holding it. After this, when you call their name and they run to you, be sure to reward them with a treat to encourage that particular behavior. This will encourage them to immediately respond later on.
3. Train Your Guinea Pig to Use a Litter Spot
Guinea pigs can be messy animals, especially when it comes to using the bathroom. To encourage your guinea pig to be a bit cleaner when using the restroom, try to litter train them by inserting a little box that matches the size of your pet with a treat held nearby. When they use this particular spot, be sure to reward them with a treat and praise them for their efforts. Every time you see them use this spot, give another treat to encourage the behavior.
4. Teach Your Guinea Pig the Stand-Up Command
You may not be able to teach your guinea pig to bark, you can certainly teach them to stand up. To teach your guinea pig the stand-up command, hold a treat above your guinea pig’s head so that they are forced to stand on their hind legs to reach it. Once they do, say the command “Stand Up” and give them the treat immediately. Once a day, repeat this same command so that over time, your guinea pig will stand up when told, without the prompting of a treat.
5. Train Your Guinea Pig to “Go Home”
This trick is simple, but it is one that is quite cute when it comes to trained commands. When your guinea pig is out of its cage, have a treat and toss the treat directly into its cage. Be sure that your guinea pig is watching and repeat the phrase “Go Home” as your guinea pig goes after the treat. Repeat this process daily, but be sure to always have a reward ready for your guinea pig to encourage their immediate obedience when hearing the command.
6. Train Your Guinea Pig to Turn in a Circle
Once you have them going home without issue, try teaching your guinea pig to turn in a circle. To do this, hold a treat in your hand as you let your guinea pig approach you. Once they have come to your hand, move the treat in a circle and say “Circle” as your guinea pig follows the motion of your hand. Continue to repeat this daily with a treat until your guinea pig begins to understand the command and will follow your hand without a treat.
7. Train Your Guinea Pig to Follow
Guinea pigs are sweet creatures who love their owners when treated well, making them very apt to learn how to follow. To teach your guinea pig to follow, with it out of the cage, make a line of treats that leads from the point you want your guinea pig to start to you. You will then call it by name and make sure it follows the trail. Once it reaches you, give it a special treat, gradually decreasing the number of treats used to lead over 7 days. On day 8, she should follow.
8. Train Your Guinea Pig to Push a Ball
If you would like to try your guinea pig’s abilities with a more advanced command, attempt to train your guinea pig to push a ball. To do this, place a carrot stick on the ground and place a small ball on top of the carrot. You will then encourage your pet to try and push the ball off the treat by saying “Push the ball!” Repeat these steps over time, but give your pet a bit more time to learn this trick. With enough practice, she should be able to push the ball on her own.
9. Train Your Guinea Pig to Jump Through a Hoop
To teach your guinea pig to jump through a hoop, start by holding a hoop that is about 6-10 inches in diameter upright, but touching the ground. Hold a treat on one side of the hoop and then call for your guinea pig as you follow with the command “Through the hoop.” Give her a gentle nudge if needed, but once comfortable, your guinea pig will be motivated to barely jump over the hoop to get to the treat.
10. Train Your Guinea Pig to Come to You When Called
You know that your guinea pig can learn to respond to its name when called, therefore, she can also be trained to come to you when called by that same name. To teach your guinea pig this trick, take your guinea pig from its cage and put some distance between the two of you. Call its name followed by the command “Come” and as soon as she comes to you immediately reward her with a treat. Repeat this over and over until the command works without a treat.