I need help :(

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I need help :(

Post Number:#1  Unread postby DaytonHillRabbits » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:04 am

So, as some of you may remember, I ended up buying a guinea pig for my son for Easter. I went with the guinea pig because in my experience, they tend to be more laid back animals and my son wanted something he could have out of the cage that would let him pet it and snuggle it. When I was a child I had many guinea pigs, male and female and they ALL had that personality. Not downright cuddly but they'd bond with a child and liked food enough they would tolerate companionship instead of avoiding it.

Now.. this guinea pig I bought.. is the DEVIL. He doesn't bite but he's absolutely terrified of everything and anything. We've had him over a month now, he still runs laps in his cage if ANYONE enters my sons room, you can't touch it, it runs, you can't give it FOOD, it runs.. when I'm cleaning or refilling feed or hay or water? RUNS.

What on earth? My son is afraid to handle it because it just isn't friendly, it wants to run away from everything and everyone the second you enter the room. I admit I could be handling it more but... what is wrong with this pig? Even treats won't tempt him. He runs and runs until we leave him alone and then eventually he will eat the treats.. but you can't give them to him by hand because he won't sit still enough to realize you're trying to treat him..

I am so disappointed! Any tips or tricks that may help him relax a bit?

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Re: I need help :(

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:44 am

it may not be a guinea pig. lately i've been reading of several pet stores, especially in california, stocking giant cuy - a guinea pig relative that is raised for food in south america - and people have been having the exact same experience as you. the animal never really "tames," gets huge, aggressive, and ends up surrendered to a shelter or euthanized because it can't be handled. i'm not really sure why they've infiltrated the pet stores, but it's been causing a bit of a riot apparently.

if your piggies are red/white and maybe have extra probably have a cuy instead :(
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Re: I need help :(

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:26 pm

Bad news, there is no easy fix. It'll probably take a lot of work, effort, scratches, frustration; and even then there isn't a guarantee it'll work.

Every animal is different and are product of both nature and nurture. You may have just ended up with one that is inherently skittish or one that was never really exposed to human contact except kids banging on the glass at the pet store. Just because you had good experiences with guinea pigs in the past doesn't mean they are all cute and cuddly. (For example I've had nothing but good luck with my rabbits being easy to handle; but I know one day I'll run across one that's a nightmare.)

To a prey animal you are a big scary thing that could potentially eat it, and until we learn to speak guinea pig you can't really tell it otherwise. So you're going to have to show that you aren't a threat (and even then there's a possibility it won't pick up on that fact). It helps to be around the pig as much as possible. Start off small and work your way up. If there's a particular food your pig views as a treat, then use that to feed and train it at the same time. It might even be a project for your kid; his job/responsibility to train the pig (with your help too!).

For example get him used to a human being around the cage. Feed him carrots, greens, or whatever while he's calm. Then work up to someone being in the cage; a hand putting stuff in the food bowl. Next week try getting him used to being touched. etc. etc. etc.

Like I said you have a tough road ahead. It'll be an effort to try and condition your pet. It won't pay off right away. But if you keep at it you might succeed in making him comfortable around you.

__________ Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:26 pm __________

PS have you thought about getting a second guinea pig. I've heard they actually are social animals that can use a companion (none of that "it needs a friend... but what I really mean is I want to guilt you into taking a second one off my hands").

This is just a theory/idea that popped into my head. Perhaps if you find another male who is used to being handled (maybe through a breeder or a shelter with a large enough selection that you can get one that is socialized to humans) it could wise-up your current nightmare. If he sees humans aren't a threat to the other pig, perhaps he will associate that humans aren't a threat to him. No clue if it would actually work. But at the very least you'd have at least one pig that was used to being handled.

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Re: I need help :(

Post Number:#4  Unread postby GBov » Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:06 pm

We had over 100 at one point, all living together as a herd. They were fun, noisy and while some would run tward you knowing food was on the way, most would run and hide in their shelters.

The problem you will have if you get a few companions is that male Gpigs fight for herd dominance, girls do the same and boy girl companions make more Gpigs. :lol:

Unlike rabbits though their fighting all seemed to end with the looser running away, a few chewed up ears and bloody scratches across the sides but no real harm. The few times I have had rabbits fight the little devils tried to disembowel/castrate each other. :shock:

My best advice is to eat it and start again but then again, most people dont see pets that way so feel free to not take it. ;) :lol:

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Re: I need help :(

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Preitler » Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:09 am

Don't have much experience with piggies, only had one litter of three while tending my neighbours piggies when she was in hospital, but with rabbits spending A LOT OF TIME with them, carrying them around half of the day helps somewhat, but imho you can't change their nature.
One of my breeding does is quite relaxed and confident, comes for treats when called, but I must not touch her, well, the very few occasions when she allows me to pet her are quite rewarding.

That's not exactly what pet buyers are looking for, wouldn't sell any of her kits as pets.

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Re: I need help :(

Post Number:#6  Unread postby DaytonHillRabbits » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:31 pm

I ended up rehoming him and getting another one. Went with a female from a pet store this time. She is also skittish but NOT like he was. She is fine once you have her and will take treats from you. She does hide in her little tree trunk hidey but I expect that same as bunnies will. I hope she ends up being more friendly. She can definitely be coaxed with fresh veggies and doesn't freak at ALL once you have her in your hands. She hangs out on my son's bed with him and they get along well, she's not "snuggly" but she's friendly.

The boy ended up going to a young lady who claims she's had pigs like this before and felt confident she could bring him around. I said good luck to her! LOL.

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