First time guinea pigs owner and very frustrated

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Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:48 am

Hii i recently adopted 2 female guinea pigs and they are 1.5 month old. At the beginning it was going fine but as time is going by they r becoming more nervous when i try to pick them up they are very very skittish. I hand feed them.. they take food from me. I talk to them everyday to make them get use to me. They hate it when i touch them or worst when i pick them up. Today i had to give them a bath as they rolled in their poop and it was traumatising for them and myself. I get the impression that they are afraid of me and its not getting any better at all. I wonder if i am doing it all wrong. I am seriously thinking i am a very bad guinea pig owner and am starting to question if i made the right decision. Its becoming sooo frustrating as i want them to feel comfortable and at home.

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Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:54 am

Mites, that's what came to mind instantly.


Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:05 am

Already been treated ..last week they had their last injection and they nt scratching anymore.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:17 am

What you should be thinking is that you need to learn more about guinea pigs, not that you're a bad owner. Guinea pigs are just skittish, and it takes a lot of time a patience to tame them. Picking them up every day and feeding them yummy treats while they're in your lap will go a long way towards that. The way to a guinea pig's heart is straight through its stomach.


Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:25 pm

Mine are very skittish, and they take a LONG time to get used to their surroundings. I have had mine for almost 3 months, and they're still terrified balls of fur! To help get them used to you, definitely give them treats. Apple is a favorite of a lot of guinea pigs, so if they get a piece when you pick them up, it'll make them less scared of you. Also, after picking them up, sit down and let them be on your lap, rather than holding them in the air. One of mine is fine with taking a nap on my lap, but the second you stand up, she is terrified! Also, spend time where they are while paying them NO attention (don't even look at them!). It helped mine to not see me as a person who's only coming in to pick them up.

Most importantly, just be patient. They WILL get used to you, but it'll happen at their pace, not yours.

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Post   » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:50 pm

If they are very young, that may be the bulk of the issue. Little pigs (like children) don't always want to sit still. Try putting them down for floor time in an enclosed area with you sitting in the middle with food. They may learn to associate you with fun and food and over time they are likely to warm up to you and calm down more. When you hold them, try giving them a towel to burrow in so they feel safe. I had pigs that always made me chase them to pick them up, but once they were out, it was OK. Remember to support their full bodies and hold them close so they feel secure. For what it is worth, I'm still working on one of our cats, who was a stray. He likes to choose his interactions with you. Some pigs are the same way. Good luck.


Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:33 am

Guinea Pigs are prey animals and they will probably never get over being nervous about being picked up. That doesn't mean they can't come to trust you, though. Mine are all either 3 years old or 2.5 years old. I've had the 3 year olds since they were about 8 weeks old and the others since birth (we thought we had 3 females but one wasn't, oops! He's neutered now and lives happily with all the ladies.)

Mine still run from The Hand coming down to pick them up, but we also have hay lofts and when they know I'm wanting to pick them up and they are OK with that idea, they will run up to the loft and wait for me to scoop them up from underneath. Most of the time. Sometimes I still have to chase them because they get cold feet even if they've run up to the loft. It's not you they are fearing so much as it is their prey instinct kicking in. That instinct is strong and not easily overridden, even when they "know better."

Once I have them they are fine. They associate me with treats and snuggles and good things, and they trust me.

I like to hold them when I watch TV and if I put them on my lap they will often run up to just under my neck. Sometimes they'll climb onto my arms. They make happy noises and purr. If I sit on the floor they'll use my legs as a jungle gym and climb up and over and around. They definitely don't fear me at all. Yet, they still will run if they are in their cage and I try to pick them up.

As others have said, make yourself the Giver of Treats and talk soothingly to them, and do pick them up each day. They'll come to trust you even if they can't override their prey instinct to run when The Hand comes toward them.

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Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:09 am

Trust is a gift to treasure. It can take a while to earn.


Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:27 am

Running from a "threat" (like the hands) and trying to avoid capture is built into a guinea pig's DNA. They are a prey animal. If something is touching them, it might be eating them next! If they are snotty baby pigs, they are like that even more so.

As they mature, they will calm down some. They will get more used to being handled. They will always run from your hands however. It's not the pig's that need to change, it is your expectations of how you think they should act. They may never be cuddly or snuggly with you like a puppy. Some never learn to enjoy being "petted" or held. A lot depends on their personalities and previous handling in their first few weeks of life.


Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:25 am

Congrats on the adoption!

How long have you had them? It can take awhile for guinea pigs to adjust to a new home. My oldest pig (3.5) came from a shelter a year ago. It took him a good 3 months before he trusted anyone but me. (we had an instant connection at the shelter. he had been adopted out and brought back a few times so it kinda surprised the staff. when i came back to get him the next day he was in a box ready to go and once he heard my voice he gave a little wheek). This is just a thought but many they are traumatized from their experience at a shelter? Also, many shelters are full and staff don't often have time to do things like handle guinea pigs regularly. Now my piggy comes to me and wants to be held. He loves just sitting/sleeping on my lap while I'm on the computer or watching TV.

I also have a younger guinea pig, close to a year old, and he runs away whenever i try to pick him up. Once he's out of the cage he's a good little boy. He likes to just sit on my lap (or my boyfriend's-they are very close). But since he is still young, sometimes he can't control himself and just needs some floor time to get worn out before holding on the lap. I should mention that he only started letting me hold him about 6 months ago even tho I've had him his whole life.

I think everyone has covered most of the important parts: hand-feed, give treats while in lap, use floor time to bond, hold in a towel or a cuddle sack. The last one I think is key because as prey animals, they love to have somewhere to hide.

Most importantly BE PATIENT! Guinea pigs are shy animals and will do things at their own pace. My oldest pig only made that one little wheek at the pound and then nothing for a long time. Now he makes every sound imaginable! My youngest piggy didn't take quite as long to come out of his shell, but it is frustrating.


Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:21 pm

Hi thanks everyone ur comments helped me a lot.. i've had them for one month so think i've a long way to go lol.. but there r some good news they now let me touch them while am giving them treats and when i put my hand in the cage they dont run like mad now they come to smell my hand.What i love is when i return from work and they hear my voice the wheeks start 😊😊 soooo slowly slowly things are improving ,as u mentioned ,at their own pace not mine.

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Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:39 pm

That is excellent progress! I'm sure they will slowly become even more comfortable with you.


Post   » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:12 pm

That's great!!!

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