Teaching your Guinea Pig to do little tricks is fun and really pretty easy to do. Guinea Pigs do not train like a dog would but with patience and fair training it pays off.
Guinea pigs require lots of love and attention and love to be around their owners.
It may take longer to train your Guinea Pig to jump through a hoop then it would to train a dog the same trick, but have fun, take your time and bring treats. Be fair and just to your animals while training and have fun. Teach your Guinea Pig one trick at a time. After the Guinea Pig understands the first trick you can then begin to train a different trick.
Repetition is the key. Try to show the Guinea Pig the same way each time. Try to hold you hands and your face the same each time you teach the same trick. You may have to show your pet 3 times or 10 times or 20 times, but when the light bulb goes off in that little head, it will remember the task and repeat it each time you ask.
Don’t loose your patience, just relax and enjoy the fun time spent with your pet.
If your GP is not catching on right away to the trick you are teaching it, this does not mean your Guinea Pig is stupid. It can mean many things. Usually, it is either that the Guinea Pig is scared, or not secure, or it could be your training technics. If your GP will not take food from your hand, put it back in it’s cage and start there. Hold the food, like a short carrot stick, over the food bowl and wait for the GP to come and get the treat. Don’t follow the GP around the cage with the food. Wait for it to come to you. Build a relationship with your animals before starting to train them.
A guinea pig will stretch out to show that they are happy and relaxed.
Guinea pigs are the happiest when they are kept in pairs or small groups.
Before training your Guinea Pig tricks like using a ball or pushing things down, watch your GP in it’s cage. Does it use it’s teeth to move items and food bowls around in it’s cage, or dose it use it’s feet? If your GP uses it’s feet it might not be a good idea to use items it could get it’s feet caught in, such as a wire kitty ball that looks like a little round cage. If your GP uses it’s teeth a to pick things up and nose to move items, make sure the items you use for your trick props have little holes in them. These little holes, or slits give the GP something to grip unlike smooth balls it could not pick up.
If your GP comes to the cage door when you come to feed, start calling it’s or their name(s) each time you feed. Teach within the behaviours that your GP is already showing. Once you have taught it things that are easy for it to do, it has learned to learn and will learn tricks that will be harder for it to do easier.
This is easy to teach. You can teach your GP to come to you when called. Do this the same way you would teach a dog or cat. Say their name when you feed them, when you pick them up out of their cages, when you move them from person to person, etc. You will be very surprised how fast your GP will learn it’s name. Just remember, to them “Name = Fun or Pleasure or Treat”.
Be very sure you want to train this trick. Guinea Pigs are vocal, if you encourage this it may become the “go to trick” (see below). You may be creating a loud pet, one that will get louder and louder if not given a treat for what is now something you have asked for.
First you need a hoop that is the correct size. You will need a hoop about 6″ -10″ in diameter. Use a hoop according to the size of your pet. To teach “Jump Through the Hoop”, hold the hoop in front of the cavy, who is calm and is in a safe place. You are holding the hoop so that it touches the ground or bottom of the cage. Call the GP’s name while holding a treat in your other hand on the far side of the hoop to entice your pet to step forward to receive the treat. Here is where you might need three hands Wink. If the GP does not come forward, or if it moves away from the hoop, give the animal a cupped hand nudge, or easy push, through the hoop. Praise the GP for coming through the hoop. Treat the animal, this is where clicker trainers would click the clicker. Now, repeat this step over and over until your Guinea Pig comes through the hoop on it’s own and is happy doing it. Always give a verbal command to the Guinea Pig. I use “Through the Hoop”. This is great basic training for agility jumps.
After your GP is comfortable coming through the hoop on it’s own, lift the hoop up just a bit. Each time your GP has completed the task, treat, click or whatever you do to let the animal know it has done what it was asked to do and it has pleased you. Now, you can start raising the hoop off the ground just a little bit. Remember Guinea Pigs are only going to (or should) jump the hoop at about an inch, three at the most.
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