When you go to pick out your guinea pig you might notice that it’s running around, and don’t want to be touched. Despite what you might think, this is a good sign. Guinea pigs are skittish by nature, and if a guinea pig is just stetting still while it is picked up, and puts up no fuss, then it might be showing signs of an illness. Guinea pigs are rodents, and like all rodents it takes a lot of handling, and care to tame the down. But even a friendly, and tame guinea pig will still run about when it is being picked up, or it is startled. I have been raising, and breeding guinea pigs for sometime, and I’m always amazed at peoples reaction when they see a guinea pig at the pet store. At first they think there cute, but the moment they reach to touch it, the guinea pigs run away leaving people with the impression that they are wild.
Guinea pigs usually don’t bite, but they can, and some most certainly will. Because guinea pigs can’t see straight ahead very well, sometimes they will nibble or bite something in front of them just to see what it is. They will also bite as a sign of aggression, or defense. A guinea pig bite is painful, and will bleed. If you are bitten you should wash the wound, and area with an antibacterial soap, and apply a first aid cream that contains an antibiotic. Guinea pigs also have sharp claws that you will need to keep clipped. If your not careful you can be scratched up when holding your guinea pig if it’s nails are to long.
Now that you have been warned about the nails, and teeth, it’s time to train your guinea pig. The first thing you want to do is avoid placing treats in the cage. Carrots, apples, and even grass out of your yard make great healthy treats for your guinea pig. Who don’t love treats? Your guinea pig needs to learn that your they one in control of the treats. Start by offering a treat several times a day. Open the cage with treat in hand, and let him take the treat from you. If he don’t take the treat, then close the cage, taking the treat with you. It won’t take long before your guinea pig puts two and two together, in order to get the treat they must take it from your hand. The first several times your guinea pig takes his treats from you, he will dash off to eat it. This is normal, training takes time.
After a week or so of hand feeding him his treats, it’s time to make it more interesting. Now your going to remove him from the cage, and feed him his treats while your holding him. You might notice your guinea pig making all sorts of squeals, when you pet him. Guinea pigs are very vocal, and not all noise is bad. If you notice him making a clicking with his teeth, this is a bad noise. The clicking will sound like a pencil tapping on a desk. This clicking is to warn you that he is upset, and he will bite. When he starts this, tap him on the nose. Repeat tapping his nose until he stops, and if he starts again then you tap again. Do not put him back in the cage right away. If you do he will learn that all he has to do is threaten to bite, and you will put him down. If he does try biting wrap him like a burrito in a hand towel to hold him. This will not hurt him, but it will show him that he’s going to be held no matter what. Once he has settled down, then you can put him back into his cage. Also keep an eye out for yawning. Yawning is a sign they your guinea pig is angry. If he does it once, then it might be a yawn, but more then once is a warning. A guinea pig will yawn to show you just how big their teeth are. If your guinea pig does this, then put him in a burrito blanket.
It takes a while to tame a guinea pig. I hold each of mine several times a day for at least 10 minutes each. They more time you spend with your guinea pig, the tamer he will become. However, he will almost always startle easy, and will always be a little skittish. After all, this is traits they are known for, and we love them for it.