It´s very simple. First, you have to make sure you are dealing with a reasonably intelligent Pig. The Animal´s intelligence is very noticeable as the intelligent ones are normally more inquisitive and lose their fear of humans quicker. To train the animal, all you have to do is treat for positive actions of the animal and punish for negative action (putting it back in the cage with no treats is a good punishment which an intelligent Pig will learn well, they squeak like hell when you put them back in early with no treats, but do not give in). If they have been good during the training session [sessions might last an hour or less], be certain to treat them when you put them back in the cage, if not, you will confuse the animal and results will take much longer to achieve. Training them to follow you is not easy, some Pigs will do it, some wont. I find that Pigs raised by hand feeding without a mother are much more liable to follow their owner around, but tend to be anti-social to other Pigs. Litter training is fairly easy. Here is what must be done:
ONE: FEMALES ARE THE EASIEST TO TRAIN. You must keep this in mind when training. Boars mark territory with the Grease Gland, Urine and Feces. If you are trying to Litter Train a Boar, the training area MUST be free of the scent of Sows. If it is not, you will not train them, they will Urinate and defecate all over the place and apply the grease gland to everything, including you even.
TWO: Let the Piggies Roam free in a room and locate their favorite Fecal release areas (they almost always use one or two areas). No punishment yet!
THREE: Place a Litter Box/Litter Box´s in those Fecal Release areas you noted. Make sure the Litter Boxes contain Bedding. Some of the Pigs will catch on fast, others will not. When you see a Piggy using the Litter Box, treat it [Brion uses carrots and other fresh vegetables]. Keep a good eye on them. If you catch one trying to Release Beans anywhere but a Litter Box, you will need to stop it in it´s progress and place it in the Litter Box to finish. Usually, you will catch the same Pig as before dropping Beans in a No No area. Stop it and place it in the Litter Box. If it performs the same mistake again, place it back in the cage with no treats while the others stay out longer.
FOUR: Keep the training going for all of those that have not learned using the steps mentioned above. Give only chance for two deviations per session and punish by placing back in the cage with no treats. Most will catch on in two weeks. Some of them could take up to a month. If they have not learned within a month, give up, for there is no way to Litter Train that Pig (7 out of 10 will turn out like this).
* Litter Train Early, younger Pigs are easier to shape and train!
* Train only in small groups!
* When training multiple animals, make certain they are familiar with each other and live together. If they do not live together, your training will take the back seat, as dominance must be established and dominance establishment = Dropping Fecal Pellets everywhere, Urine and Grease Gland Scenting, including you if you happen to be in a spot a particular boar wants to lay claim to.
* Do not expect a high success rates. It´s only about 30% even if you do everything right.
* Abbies ARE the easiest to train, they are generally more intelligent than most other breeds. The Labs even support this and believe it as they run test of Cavy Intelligence at times.
* Patience is A MUST when training!
* Have fun and get to know your Piggies even better.
My litter boxes have kiln dried shavings in the bottom and meadow grass hay on top (changed daily). While I have not "trained" them (and they aren´t as reliable as Brion´s guinea pigs) I find that the hay, since they enjoy nibbling on it, is a good lure and many, if not most, of the fecal pellets end up there.
Hmm... Punishment has always been a little bit cruel, but this is a way, no punishing that is almost full-proof.
You have to be able to snap your fingers well. Claps might be to loud and frighten the Cavy.
Wait for a while in the room where your guinea pig lives. Wait till the guinea pig goes into a corner and relieves itself.
When it does, snap your finger and quickly give your gp a treat. Wait again. Your guinea pig will relieve itself in the same corner most likely. Snap and treat.
Keep doing this till your gp is comfortable with relieving itself in that corner. Now place a litter box. Voila.
Have you tried this technique? I must say, I wouldn´t have the energy for it. My girls generally use the bathrooms or the towels in their rest areas (much less frequently, but sometimes). I kind of just let what happens, happen.
I just put boxes in the corners where they chose to poo - like yours Lynx, it works 90% of the time.
I do use the clapping business if they are chewing something they shouldn´t be. Or just a single sharp word just does as well. They all know what "oy" means and stop whatever it is they are doing immediately and try to look innocent.
Strangely, mine have never gotten out of line and chewed on the furniture. I took that screwing looking wooden contraption and introduced it into their environment -- might get a couple hits, we´ll have to see. Since there is so much hay, it seems that, the cardboard boxes and making a bit of noise chewing unsuccessfully on the plastic stools seems to be all they´re interested in. I do make absolutely sure there are no electric wires exposed -- just in case somebody would get ideas.
I didn´t know guinea pigs were hard to litter train. A few days after we got our Cocoa (she was 4 weeks old) I saw the litter pans on someones website and thought that was a great idea so bought one filled it with bedding and put on the floor of her play yard and she has used ever since. She also will let you know she has to use it when you are holding her.
Until my sister bought a guinea pig a couple of weeks later and she (the gp) will go everywhere but the litter pan. We were pigsitting for my sister last week and had to cover the whole floor with newspapers. Poor Cocoa was pretty annoyed by her untidy cousin.
I´ve expanded Spot´s living area because I felt his cage was too small. So now he has the cage, and a 3 foot square area where he can roam. But since I´ve done this, he won´t go potty in his cage. He pees and poops wherever he´s laying. And he keeps laying in it... all day long! He goes in the cage to eat and drink, but then goes back in his wet pee spot to relax.
What is up with this??? Any suggestions?
It secretes a black, greasy or tarry substance that they use to mark objects with their scent. Sometimes it becomes over active and the black secretions build up around the gland, particularly messy on long-haired pigs. It can be removed with mechanics´ hand cleanser, followed by a bath.