Taming Pepe

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Coco-Pepe Mom

Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:13 pm

Hi all - I have been on here asking advice in the past for my two rescued piggies. I appreciate the advice, but still having some trouble with one of my girls. Coco & Pepe came to me with no background info other than they were somewhat skittish (assumed to have been mishandled in the past...preferring home with no other pets or children) on June 23rd (so I have had them about 4.5 months).

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

Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:18 pm

That all sounds perfectly normal to me. And she's not going to die from a nail trimming -- it needs to be done, or her feet will be in terrible shape. It's easier to do with two people -- one to hold the pig and apply the carrot to its mouth, the other one to trim the nails.

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.

Coco-Pepe Mom

Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:27 pm

Thanks bpatters....I'll keep on working with her for sure. She is such a cute little sweetie and it would be great if she could be a little more calm. I'll keep working with different hideouts/beds to find which she is most comfortable being in for picking up. I think we'll probably attempt to trim her nails again this weekend - maybe we'll burrito her in a blanket to see if it helps.


Coco-Pepe Mom

Post   » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:29 pm

And it is so interesting how different they can be - Coco is more lazy and laid back...she'll stretch out on my lap or up near my collarbone to watch TV and hang out with me. She also likes to lick my chin and snuggle!

Coco-Pepe Mom

Post   » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:46 pm

Good news - Over the past several days, I've been getting Pepe out of the cage for lap time nearly every day...even if only for a few minutes. She still struggles a little and doesn't have a long span before she wants to go back to the cage, but I have already noticed a change in her attitude (small, but still an improvement!). Rather than just immediately running away when I approach to pet her in the cage, she will be curious and let me pat her nose and head a little before running for her hidey. She has taken to nibbling fingers if they are stuck into the cage, but no hard biting....and if she nibbles but we say no-no, not food, she'll leave our fingers alone.

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!


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Post   » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:53 pm


I think you are beginning to build trust!

Nuoc Mam

Post   » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:40 am

Coco great to hear the good news. I have my two boars for ~4 months and man, it takes a lot of patients.

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