Pepe is young (approx. 16 months as far as I know) smaller than average and very shy/skittish - she relies a lot on Coco for safety/security. The trouble I am having is with lap time and taming. When handling either pig, I typically place some sort of hidey or small bed in the cage for them to get into before being picked up. Pepe, I think, knows what I am planning to do and will not go in even if I sit back and wait several minutes. If I try to corral her in using my hands, she squeals at me like I am trying to kill her....she is so afraid of being taken out of the cage, and away from Coco.
Once I get her out and into a cozy or blanket on my lap, she'll sit still as long I have a bit of veggie for her to snack on. After a few minutes, however, she will start frantically trying to escape...scratching me up and also sometimes biting me in the process (once broke the skin pretty good). I am trying to be as patient and gentle as I can...and handling her nearly every day as recommended to me. Pepe has no problem being hand-fed her veggies twice a day (inside the cage, through open door, next to Coco)...but will not tolerate being petted/touched 99% of the time. Don't even mention trimming her toenails....it's like bloody murder. The last time we trimmed them (in early October) we only got the rear nails done before she started hyperventilating and trying to get away. Poor girl!!!
Obviously, I am willing to accept her the way she is - love her lots, actually - and would never give up on her; some pigs just are this way. But I want to know...how do I know if I should stop attempting to tame her? How long should I plan for this to be difficult for her? Am I doing more harm than good by scaring her?
- And got the T-shirt
You can use a box or a hidey to shoo her into when you're trying to catch her -- it's less traumatic for both of you than using your hands. Hold her firmly while you've got her out of the cage. If she wants to go back in the cage after she's had a treat, put her back in.
But just keep on, giving her a yummy treat every time you're near the cage. She may never be as friendly as Coco, but she'll eventually calm down.
Yesterday, my husband and I cut toe-nails. Coco did great and even like after-trimming snuggles. Pepe did amazing, for her, and nobody got bit!