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You’ll be watching Netflix together on the couch in no time
It’s you vs her. The tiny tortoiseshell guinea pig stares up at you with eyes full of terror. She has no idea what’s going on in your giant brain, but what’s going on in hers is super scary! She’s wild, she’s free, and she has no idea that you really just want to offer her some cilantro.
Welcome to guinea pig taming. It’s a rough and wild time for everyone involved, but it’s worth the effort. When your guinea pig can relax around you, stretch out, and take a nap–you’ll realize it’s the best thing in the world. How soon can you get there? In my experience, about two weeks. So let’s explore how to tame a guinea pig in two weeks.
Week one: Start slow… break out the treats and hidey spots
Your initial contact should be placing the guinea pig in a room with you. Don’t loom, don’t lean, don’t even look at the guinea pig.
If this is your first guinea pig, check out this article.
Enter the room. Do what you normally do and let the guinea pig get used to your routine.
While we once believed that guinea pigs were nocturnal, that’s been proven false (they’re diurnal). The little guys catch naps throughout the day and night.
It’s still possible to startle one, so try not to do it. Walk slowly and calmly through the room. Speak softly. But do speak! Your guinea pig should get used to the sound of your voice.
Provide your guinea pigs with places to hide. A hidey spot with a roof provides them a safe space to retreat to.
While the guinea pig is getting your schedule down, leave a little extra yummy treat in their bowl. For more relaxed guinea pigs, you can offer it from your hand.
When they start to eat as you’re holding the treat, you should be ready for the next step.
And it should be the next week.
Week 2: Time to bond… and back off on the treats
As week one fades into week two, you’ll notice your little buddy getting more and
Indeed, most of them really love it when you show up.
Sit next to their cage and continue to speak to them softly. They’re getting to know your scent and voice.
They know you’ve got something good hidden away. You’ll hear wheeking throughout the house as you head back to their room.
And you’ll see the heartbreak in their little faces when it’s just half a carrot instead of a giant pile of parsley.
Oh my gosh. How could you?
In truth, it’s best to make sure you don’t overfeed your guinea pigs. At this point, start to cut treats back bit by bit. As they eat, pet them. If they’re up for it, you can pick them up.
Be careful not to chase them around their cage. This will make them nervous and may restart the bonding process. Once they’re comfortable and you’re offering food, they’ll come to you.
With small prey animals, time is your best friend. Two weeks isn’t a lot, but it’s long enough to let your guinea pigs settle in to its new home and get comfortable with you.
They’ll be tame enough that you can start to work on things like tricks and other fun bonding exercises.
The grand finale
As the two weeks pass, you’ll see a significant change in your adorable little friend.
Soon, couch and Netflix. That’s right, guinea pigs like TV as much as you do! Though loud and very scary scenes might be too much for them, a cartoon or a quieter movie is usually very enjoyed. I once showed Thelma and Louise, you guessed it, Thelma and Louise.
But remember, guinea pigs can only nibble a little bit of popcorn. Keep a dish of greens nearby for them, too.
They’ll appreciate those snacks much more!
And you might want to bring a square of felt along, too. Guinea pigs are notoriously messy eaters and cleanup is a snap with a guinea pig napkin on your lap.
Setbacks happen… and that’s okay!
If your guinea pig seems to regress, never fear.
There are many ways to combat this and work toward a better relationship with your pal.
Most likely, you accidentally sneaked up on the little guy and frightened him. Perhaps the two of you experienced a fall and now he’s a little frightened of your hands.
Just take a step back and try to see it from his angle. Whatever has frightened him will pass as you work on those same ground rules again.
Remember, trust is something that isn’t constant. You have to work to keep your bond with your guinea pig.
When you’re that small, you do tend to forget who was on the other end of the kale the other week.
If you need to, start all over again. Two weeks isn’t too long of a wait to have a best buddy all over again.
And your guinea pig will thank you for it!
Taming your guinea pig may try your patience at times. Follow the steps here and remain consistent.
You can do this and so can your guinea pig pal. No matter how old or young they are, you can tame almost any guinea pig and be on your way to a wonderfully rewarding relationship.
Guinea Lynx – Guinea Pig Care Guide
University of Nebraska – 4-H 276 Guinea Pig : Part of the Nebraska 4-H Small Animal and Pet Series
Pet MD – The complete guide to guinea pigs
Little Adventures – How to tame your guinea pig | 7 tips