Guinea pigs are herd animals. They feel more confident and safe in groups of at least two. These cute little rodents were domesticated a long time ago, and the pet guinea pigs that we can find in pet stores do not have a lot of the instinct left that they would need to survive in the wild.
As a whole, bonding with a guinea pig involves primarily spending time with the pet. The enclosure of guinea pigs should be located in a place where a lot of action takes place, such as a hallway or living room. To gain a guinea pig’s trust, it’s essential to talk to them and make sure they feel safe.
Guinea pigs are prey animals. That means that they would rather flee and hide whenever they feel threatened or startled. Bonding can take some time and also depends on every guinea pig’s character, age, and what they might have experienced in their life.
In the following, you will find information on how to gain the trust of your guinea pig in order to form a strong and trustful bond.
How do You Get Your Guinea Pig to Trust You?
Guinea pigs from the pet store are often not used to being handled, while guinea pigs from a breeder might already be pretty tame when you get them, as they are usually handled from a very young age.
If a guinea pig is used to being handled, it is much easier, to bond with it.
As a thumb rule, it can be said that the more time you spend with your pets, the quicker they will get used to you, and the quicker you can create a bond.
Bringing Your Pet Guinea Pig Home
When you bring your guinea pigs home for the first time, it is normal that they are not only curious but also a little startled and maybe even scared.
They need some time to adjust to the new environment with all the sounds, smells, and people. All the other guinea pigs they knew are gone, and everything is different.
Do not try to interact with them right away. Give them some space and at least one day to get used to everything before trying to play with them.
The First Steps of Bonding With a Guinea Pig
The most important part of bonding is gaining the trust of your pet. The best way to start bonding with a guinea pig is to get them used to you.
In the beginning, you can simply stay close to the enclosure, let them see and recognize you, and talk to your pets.
Do not touch them right away, as this might startle them.
Gaining a Guinea Pigs Trust
The daily ritual of feeding your pets is a great way to start bonding. If you decide to feed your pets at a certain time of the day, every day, they will already be waiting for you.
The cute thing about guinea pigs is that they are very talkative and when you approach their enclosure, you will already hear them communicating with you.
Guinea pigs can be rather shy in the beginning, but you can still try to feed them off your hand.
Even though hay should be available at all times, you can offer them the “good stuff” from your hand. They need to be fed fresh vegetables such as cabbage, celery, carrots, cucumber, and raw broccoli.
They also like fruits such as apples, but not every fruit is good for them, and vegetables in general are the healthier option.
You can also offer your pets guinea pig treats off your hand. Try not to move while the guinea pigs are approaching you and do not lift your hand when a guinea pig is brave enough to step on it.
Your guinea pigs will become more and more comfortable with you around, and soon you will be able to gently pet them and also take them out of the cage to play and cuddle.
Don’t rush with the bonding process. Every guinea pig is different and might have gone through different experiences in its life.
Some guinea pigs might be more playful, cuddly, or shy than the others, and that’s ok. Don’t force them to be cuddly pets, if they are not.
What’s the Fastest Way to Tame a Guinea Pig?
The fastest way to tame a guinea pig is to spend lots of time with it. Letting the guinea pig get used to your presence, your voice, and your smell is the best and fastest way to gain its’ trust. Feeding vegetables, fruits, and treats from your hand are also very helpful to bond quickly.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂