If you want a small pet that’s both playful and adorable, get a guinea pig. Cuddly and cute, guinea pigs are trainable just like cats and dogs. Here are some suggestions on training your guinea pig.
- Set a schedule. Several short training sessions per day are all you need to get your guinea pig’s act together. Initially start with 5 minute sessions working up to 10 – 15 minutes sessions. Training sessions should be part of a well-oiled routine for your guinea pig, which includes feeding time, grooming time, potty time, bonding time, and sleeping time.
- Potty train your guinea pig. Place a litter box in one corner of her cage. Put some guinea pig waste in the box to encourage her to use it for potty. Each time your guinea pig uses the litter box for its intended purpose, give her a small treat. When you think she is ready, place the litter box in an area of the house where your guinea pig is allowed to roam. Make sure to give your guinea pig a treat each time she uses the litter box properly. If she misses her mark, ignore her action. Do not reprimand or physically punish her.
- Curb your guinea pig’s enthusiasm for chewing. It is natural for guinea pigs to gnaw and chew on things. Redirect her chewing and gnawing passion. Give her a favorite chew toy when you see her about to sink her teeth on the leg of the table. Make sure her cage has a chew toy or two to satisfy her need to gnaw and chew.
- Show your guinea pig how to beg. Teaching your guinea pig to beg is easy; simply hold her favorite treat above her head. Your guinea pig will try her best to reach it by first sitting up then standing on her hind legs. You will notice that as she progresses in her attempts to get her favorite treat, she will stand on her hind legs for longer periods of time. As she tries to reach for her treat, say “beg.”
- Teach your guinea pig to play dead. A neat trick is playing dead. While your guinea pig is seated, gently push her head backwards until she is lying on her back. Say “play dead.” Give your guinea pig a treat. Repeat this training several times per session. Your guinea pig will eventually be able to lie on its back and stay there until you signal her to come up.
- Instruct her to climb stairs. If you allow your guinea pig to roam all floors of your house, then you should teach her how to use the stairs. Start by placing the guinea pig at the foot of the stairs. Gently push her bottom upwards. Make sure her head looks straight up and not to the side. Give her a treat when she successfully moves one step up. Go for the next step. Again push her bottom up and reward her if she reaches the next step. Continue until she reaches the top of the stairs. As you continue training, you should start limiting the number of treats that you give. Eventually you should give her a treat only when she reaches the top of the stairs.
Guinea pigs should be given training just like any other pet. They can learn to use the litter box, chew only their toys and perform a trick or two. You need loads of patience when training your guinea pig. Be consistent, firm and patient towards her so she can be a pet you and your family can enjoy and love.