Your Guinea Pig (scroll
down for tricks)
pigs are incredibly intelligent animals, and can
be taught to perform many tricks. They can be taught
to stand up, ring in a bell, respond to the call
of the name, push a ball, turn in a circle, and
other tricks. Actually, they can be taught any trick
or action that they are physically able to perform.
(So don't try to teach them to jump and do a salto
in the air.)
pigs should be rewarded every time they do something
right, or even if they only did a bit of it. The
reward should not be just praise or a pet, but a
piece of food that this certain individual likes. You
might also try to vary the size of the treat depending
on how good the action was. It is like paying money
for tea to waiters at the restaurant, more money
for better service.
animal just recently came to your house, give it
a few days to get used to the surroundings. Avoid
making any loud or sudden noises or movements. Then
start handling your guinea pig, petting it, speaking
soothingly in a calm voice. When you are certain
the animal has full trust in you, you can start
let it run and sniff around before starting training
when you move it out of the cage to the place where
you train it. Sounds of things happening in the
house, sounds from outside, can all startle the
pet and ruin the training, if the animal keeps listening
for danger instead of paying attention to you. Give
it time to understand that these are just harmless
sounds. And be patient.
the guinea pig to stand up is easy. The different
matter is to teach it to do it on command. Let the
guinea pig see the treat in your hand, and saying
the command, (like "stand") hold the treat
above the guinea pig, visible but out of reach.
If the guinea pig picks its front paws off the ground,
you can give the treat then. Repeat the exercise,
making the guinea pig stand up higher and straighter
every time in order to receive the treat. In time,
the pet will learn a basic formula: voice - stand
- treat. Or, you can teach the animal to respond
to other commands rather than a word. For example,
a whistle, a fingerclick, or even a gesture.
the basic tricks is the call over - getting the
guinea pig to respond to the call of the name, or,
a command, such as "come here".
a piece of the pet's favourite food so it can see
and smell it, and call the guinea pig's name
(or any other command). The guinea pig will take
a few steps closer to you (it's better to start
with a small distance between you and the guinea
pig). Give it the treat. Repeat this, lengthening
the distance a few centimeters every time, and soon
the animal will learn that if it runs in the direction
of the voice, it will receive food, no matter if
it will receive food a the end or not. However,
as with all of the tricks, it is best not to leave your pet
unrewarded too many times in a row, as then the
conditioned reflexes will weaken, and the animal
will be highly disappointed.
in a Bell
the guinea pig to ring in a bell is more complicated.
It's good to attach a bell between the two back
legs of a chair. Attach a ring, nail, or anything
else that can work as a pulley, in the middle of
the back of the chair, where the back meets the
seat. Tie a small, light bell with light, gentle
ringing to a thick piece of string. Put the string
through the ring or over the nail so that the other
end of the string
hangs straight down and nearly reaches the floor.
Tie another, shorter piece of string to the bell
and attach it to one of the back legs of the chair.
You can stick it with tape. This way, the bell will
ring if the long string is pulled, but will not
pull the string down with its weight. It also helps
to tie a knot at the end of the long string, to
give the guinea pig something thicker to grab onto.
the training. First gently ring the bell. The animal
will probably nearly jump out of its skin.
Handle the pet gently, stroking it, and keep ringing
the bell for a few seconds now and then. It can
take about half an hour for the guinea pig to get
used to the bell. Then the training starts. It helps
to first tie a piece of food to the string. When
the animal pulls the piece of food, trying to eat
it, it will probably drop the rope in the shock
of the ringing. Reward it with a treat, so that
it learns that it did something right. After a few
times put the piece of food on the string away,
but press the end of the string into a piece
of food (cucumber is best), soaking it in its juice.
The animal, attracted by the smell, will still pull
the string. After a while the smell will wear off,
but the animal will still ring the bell. If that
happens, reward it, it has learned the trick!
teach your guinea pig to push a ball around with
its head. Get a ball. As long as the ball is not
too heavy (and not too light either), it doesn't
matter what size it is. The animal has to be able
to head it around easily, without the ball rolling
away from it too far. This also depends on how smooth
the surface you're training on is.
piece of vegetable or fruit. Cucumber is good. With
a knife, cut a thin, flat piece (so that the ball
won't roll off it) and show it to the guinea pig.
Before it grabs it, put the food on the ground and
put the ball on top. The animal will sniff the ball,
trying to identify where the smell is coming from.
Finally, it will try to push the ball away, and
discover the treat. After a few times, do this without
the food. Reward the animal if it pushes the ball
again and again, not discovering the treat. If it
only pushes it once or twice, keep working on the
simple food-under-ball trick. It should
believe that it will find the treat if it pushes
in a Circle
trick which can be taught is turning in a circle.
Place the animal in front of yourself. When
it turns its head in the right direction even a
tiny bit, reward it. Repeat this, each time making
it harder to earn the treat. For example, make it
turn 20 degrees, then 25, 30, and so on, until the
guinea pig learns to turn in a circle.
teach the animal to "kiss" you when you
hold it up. However, this is not a very hygienic
trick, and I have not personally tried it, I've
just read about it. Put a piece of guinea pig food between your
lips. Hold the guinea pig up so that it sees the
food, and eats it. After a few times of eating the food, try
that without the food. If it has learned right it
will try to "kiss" you every time you
hold it up.
up on a Ball
teach the animal to stand up with its front paws
on a ball. Get a heavy ball (but nothing like a
bowling ball) which is small enough for the guinea
pig to put its front paws on it. This trick better
works if you teach it in the cage. When you feed
the guinea pig, put the ball in front of it, and
lure the animal forward by holding the food on the
other side of the ball. When the guinea pig comes
close enough, hold the food above it. If the guinea
pig stands up, with its front paws on the ball,
give it the food.