One of the main problems of the new guinea pig owners is to accustom themselves to guinea pigs. We think this is a common situation because we often get questions about this topic via social networks, especially instagram. Some of the questions are as follows;
“My Guinea pig is always running away from me, What can I do?“, “he/she doesn’t eat at my side, she’s hiding all the time, is it normal?“, “My Guinea pig hasn’t been accustomed to me for 4 months, he doesn’t want to come to my hand, what can i do?“, “guinea pig is constantly hiding, too timid. Is it normal?” Etc. Similar questions are coming.
Such problems can be experienced by especially new guinea pig owners. In this article, we will give some advice to the new guinea pig owners. These recommendations will shorten the familiarization process and help you overcome the issues. Also, it will help guinea pig owners who have been suffering because of not making a bond with their guinea pigs although living with them for a long time.
The article is a bit long because lots of conditions effect the subject, but it will be very useful for you to implement. Experienced guinea pig owners who read our article can also use the comment section at the bottom to contribute.
Before starting to our recommendations, let’s refer to a few details about the cavies.
Many guinea pigs can take months or even years to get used to the sounds and smells of their human friends. There could be variations according to the individual character of the guinea pig, but it is a fact that they might be abused or not well cared. Not all guinea pigs are created equally. Therefore, some can be more friendly and some can be more shy.
- 1 Why so timid?
- 2 Tips for Making Your Guinea Pig Familiarize You
- 2.1 Give Time For Your Guinea Pig To Accommodate
- 2.2 The Path To The Heart Of A Guinea Pig Passes Through His/Her Stomach!
- 2.3 Get A Friend
- 2.4 Organize Out-Of-Cage Activity
- 2.5 Hands Out Of The Cage!
- 2.6 Get Scheduled
- 2.7 Keep Them Away From High Sound
- 2.8 Keep Them Close
- 2.9 Guinea Pig Should Understand That Being Handled Is A Good Thing
- 2.10 Express Your Purpose
- 2.11 Hear What They Say
- 3 Result
Why so timid?
For a guinea pig, running and hiding is a completely normal thing, and even a very well-bred guinea pig can easily fear. You know this animal is located at the bottom of the food pyramid and has a prey position. The only defense of these adorable friends is to escape and hide. The proof of how skillfully they are doing this is being able to continue their generation for 7,000 years. 🙂
You can think like; because of their weak and tiny bodies, their instincts make them feel like they are the perfect servings for hunters, so this instinct makes guinea pigs more cautious. With that knowledge, cavies can freze to protect themselves when they are afraid or feel a little uncomfortable or they can escape and hide.
Briefly; every guinea pig may not relate quickly with people like others. But the important thing is that you should be stable and not give up, so you can be friends with them sooner or later.
Tips for Making Your Guinea Pig Familiarize You
Give Time For Your Guinea Pig To Accommodate
The most important clue for new guinea pig owners is to give time the new members of your home to get used to the sounds and smells around. Avoid holding them immediately. Be gentle, speak to them in a calm tone and give time to adjust to surroundings like a week or two.
The Path To The Heart Of A Guinea Pig Passes Through His/Her Stomach!
Guinea pigs have 17.000 taste cells in their mouths , which is almost the highest in domestic and wild animals both. It is necessary to take a rich diet in taste and nutritional value. Weed, pellet and water are not enough. Add fresh vegetables with high nutritional value to your Guinea pigs’s diet. You can examine Guinea Pig Diet and Nutrition System for these vegetables .
Start with bringing foods in cage and leaving. Once they get used to it, don’t go too far away from the cage when you give them food. You can talk to them in a gentle tone but don’t stretch your hand. After a while, you should give vegetables such as parsley dill or pepper in your hand, but do not try to love them with your other hand. It is the last stage to feed with one hand and to love at the same time. Of course, these stages are for guinea pigs with a very timid character. You will skip these steps much faster with the friendly ones. You will understand in time if they are friendly or not.
ATTENTION! Avoid overfeeding.
Please do not overfeed, no matter how useful the food is to seduce them. Excessive nutrition can prepare many diseases. For example, giving too much fruit to your guinea pig can cause guinea pig diabetes.
Get A Friend
Guinea pigs are social animals and as many rodents they will be happy while having a friend. If you intend to own a second guinea pig with very little additional cost, there are many details to consider. For example, the size of the cage. For the ideal size and equipment, I would recommend you to review the Guinea Pig Cage and Materials.
A friend you will take next to him/her, will make your guinea pig much more mobile and happy. One of the instincts of Guinea pigs is the desire to live in colony. They live in colony in nature. They can even make population planning according to the situation of the resources. Being together is indispensable for them. A happy guinea pig will get used to you more quickly.
Organize Out-Of-Cage Activity
Spending time outside is part of the daily care of your guinea pig. Choose a specific time every day, create a safe playground with food and small obstacles for your guinea pigs and allow to fulfill their daily exercise needs. Areas such as anteroom with no extra items and no electric cables are more suitable.
These non-cage activities are not only one of the best ways to get used to their surroundings , but also a very useful time period for you to connect with them. While your Guinea pigs are running around and discovering new places, you can sit down next to them and learn about your little friends’ personality.
You can use the time outside the cage to get your guinea pigs accustomed to you. Talk with a soft voice, give their favorite food, make mazes or obstacles with boxes and cloths. Out-of-cage activity is one of the quickest ways to treat guinea pigs. With a little patience, you can go a long way.
Hands Out Of The Cage!
Don’t try to take them forcibly, avoid chasing, cornering and ‘come here, come immediately’ behavior. As long as your guinea pig isn’t in trouble or his/her life is not in danger, you should never force it out of hiding. Convince them move out from the hiding place with a pinch of parsley, let them climb to the cage, and they will let you to take them after crunchy voices. Also a soft towel over their heads can do wonders.
Guinea pigs are critters with habits. A guinea pig will be very happy with a schedule; daily and weekly activities such as a meal time, non-cage time, weight control time etc. The things that are always done at the same date and time, and the situations they are accustomed will keep them less uncomfortable.
Keep Them Away From High Sound
Make sure the sounds around your guinea pigs are low. Talk to them in the mood for a normal conversation or speak in a lower tone. Guinea pigs have a very sensitive ears and are very anxious animals. High and sudden sounds will frighten them and even make them unhappy for hours. Reduce the noise around and keep your naughty guests away from them.
Keep Them Close
The cuddling time can be anytime. But remember, you must act according to a consistent program. You can hold them for just 30 seconds at the first times, but you can extend it up to 5 minutes with the help of their favorite food and vegetables. It is a fact that you will make very slow progress, but when your guinea pigs think that it is a routine, they will expect to be treated, then you have succeeded. After that stage you will have a lot of fun together.
Guinea Pig Should Understand That Being Handled Is A Good Thing
It is a universal fact that the path to the heart of the Guinea pigs crosses the stomach! Divide your guinea pigs’ favorite vegetables into small pieces and give one piece every time you take them. When they understand that food will come when they are handled, they will always come to your hands.
Express Your Purpose
Do not enter the room suddenly and put your hands directly into the cage. Make your aim clear! Guinea pigs do not have a good sight, even though they have improved hearing and smelling ability . This means that your guinea pigs will continue to be tense if they don’t see you even if they are accustomed to your smell and voice.
The next time you enter the guinea pig room, talk to him/her gently. Bring your hand closer, so he/she can see and wait for it to come close to you. With this small step, your guinea pig will be able to see, recognize and feel safe because of your familiar smell. If everything goes well, your guinea pig will continue to sleep from where it left off, or if it’s eating a snack, it will continue to eat without care. 🙂
Hear What They Say
Guinea pigs can tell you a lot with the sounds they make. Knowing the meaning of the sounds will allow you to make a better decision if it’s a good idea to approach them or not. Check out the Guinea Pig Sounds and Meanings in our site.
As a result, it may take some time to familiarize yourself to your guinea pig. They have a pretty timid nature. In fact, one of the features that make them so cute is that behaviour. With time, patience and respect they will be your best friends. You can use the comment section on the bottom side for questions and ideas. Wishing you a pleasant time.