Last updated on January 16th, 2024 at 11:30 am
Guinea pigs are so gentle and pleasant, that make us want to hold them for hours in our hands.
But do they like it as much as we do?
Do guinea pigs like to be held? Yes, some guinea pigs like to stick with those people who raise them and those they trust. Some guinea pigs like to be held by their owners, while there are those who don’t like it so much.
In today’s article, we will find out why most guinea pigs do not want to be held and how to convince them that it is not so bad for them.
Why do some guinea pigs not want to be held?
Guinea pigs do not like to be held because they are not used to this kind of thing.
When they live in the wild, they are usually the prey of predators, and therefore they naturally do not need to be held on so much.
But that’s just the beginning when you bring a guinea pig into your home, behavior can happen, but it takes time.
It takes time for the guinea pig to feel safe, and relaxed and trust you enough to allow you to hold them.
How to teach a guinea pig to like being held?
To be able to teach your guinea pig to want to be held takes time and trust, and then everything is easier.
So here are some steps you need to take to gain their trust and allow you to keep it.
You need to be patient
In the beginning, when you bring home a guinea pig, do not rush to immediately take it in your hands and held it, that way you will only complicate the situation.
You can imagine how it is for your pet who came to an unknown environment and how scared he is of everyone around him.
It is best to leave him for 1-2 days so that he can adjust to the new environment, get to know you better, and start to feel safe.
In a few days, the guinea pig will start to see you as a friend, you will not be a threat like at the beginning when you brought him home, so it takes time to adjust.
It may happen that a guinea pig will immediately allow you to be held, but this is still not so common, most of them will be reserved for friendship.
In the beginning, the first days you can take a simple step so that your pet can get used to your presence:
- Sit close to him – while talking, so the guinea pig can smell you and get used to you.
- Speak quietly and calmly – this will help your guinea pig feel more secure when you are with him, never speak loudly and nervously.
- Give them some food – food is always an important part of helping you bond with your guinea pig, it’s quite normal that when you give food to someone they will love you more.
With a few signs, we will know that the guinea pig has relaxed and is no longer afraid of its owners:
- it tries to eat right out of your hands
- it no longer hides when you come toward it
- he sees you and is not afraid to touch him
You need to understand the behavior of guinea pigs
In order to know how to deal with your pet, you need to know how to read its signs, the better you know the guinea pig, the easier it will be to take the right step in getting closer to it.
Here are some signs of guinea pigs and their meaning:
- if the nose is facing up – a defensive position
- eyes open – safety, comfort, and confidence
- sifting – calm and safety in the environment
- folding – aggressiveness, and anxiety
- freezing and wide eyes – danger and anxiety
- jumping – happiness, and pleasure
All these signs will help you know how the guinea pig is feeling, whether it wants to play and be held or if it is in a bad mood and will eventually bite you.
Pay attention to the schedule
Guinea pigs thrive better when things around them happen daily and have the same meaning.
For example, feeding, playing, and sleeping time.
They adapt to you more easily if you always do the same things, they get used to it, and then everything is easier.
Guinea pigs with a proper schedule will learn faster when it’s time to eat and will expect it, so be careful that you, as the owner, do not neglect the manners towards your pet.
This way you will gain trust with the guinea pig and eventually, he will certainly allow you to hold him.
Provide a pleasant environment
Guinea pigs do not like loud noise, unclean cages, and temperature changes in their environment.
That’s why you should provide him with a clean cage and a quiet place to live, which will have a positive effect on his mental and physical health.
Here are some tips on how to provide a pleasant and healthy environment for your pet:
Cleaning the cage two to three times a week and deep cleaning once.
The cage should be away from TV, loud music, and other devices that will only bother your pet with their loudness.
The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is between 65-75F so they can be pleasant and comfortable, otherwise, he might just get sick, and then he certainly won’t want to play with you and be held.
You should not have other pets near the guinea pig, as it will feel threatened and afraid for its life.
Food brings everyone together
Food is one of the most important things that can get you closer to the guinea pig faster and allow you to hold it.
It is especially important in the beginning when you gain trust with your pet to give him food gifts, be sure that this will help you to bond much faster.
Just be patient and gradually offer small food treats and make your guinea pig feel happy and fed.
Choose the right moment for held the guinea pig
You yourself will notice when it is the right time to get closer to your pet when it is the moment for being held.
Here are some tips to help you avoid making a mistake and get back to gaining confidence:
- Use a towel – as some guinea pigs are afraid of heights and will feel unsafe in your hands. Using a towel will increase its safety and security, and allow you to hold it in your hands.
- Give him some food – the food will help the guinea pig overcome its fear and allow you to be held. Food always helps to make it easier to make friends with guinea pigs, as well as with other pets.
- Pick him up gently and calmly – so as not to frighten the guinea pig and speak to him in a low and gentle tone. When you pick him up, do it slowly so he doesn’t get scared.
- Never chase it – that is the worst way to succeed in holding a guinea pig. If the guinea pig is running away from you, then maybe it is not yet time for the last step to get closer to your pet.
- Be careful with your hands – when you put your hands in his cage, do it very slowly so as not to scare your pet. Your hand is big and therefore slowly approaches the guinea pig with it, when it starts towards you then you can pick it up and hold it, otherwise if it starts to hide and run away don’t continue.
All these steps will help you manage to keep your guinea pig much easier and in the right way, especially these steps are important for beginners who have never kept guinea pigs.
How long will it take for a guinea pig to gain the trust of its owners?
The time required for the guinea pig to gain trust in you and allow you to be held is individual, from a week to several months.
It all depends on your responsibility and using all the tips and steps that we have indicated for you to gain trust with your guinea pig more easily and quickly.
The adjustment process can take several weeks, so we have prepared a schedule for you for a month, as well as what to do to acclimate the guinea pigs.
Allow your guinea pig to get used to the new environment – give him space to freely get used to the new environment, don’t hold him or pet him, give him food and talk gently to him.
Allow the guinea pig to slowly get used to your smell, your voice, and your appearance as the owner – give him treats, talk to him gently, and spend some time near his cage.
Try slowly reaching out to the guinea pig and petting it – again give him something to eat and try to succeed in attracting your pet to eat from your hand.
Get your pet used to slowly starting to eat from your hand while talking to him – hold some food in your hand like a strawberry or blueberry and wait to see if the guinea pig finally makes the desired move to come over and eat from your hand while holding it gently.
As we said, each guinea pig has its own story, some relax faster, and some are more reserved for their owners, but that’s completely normal.
The most important thing is to be persistent and be sure that you will succeed in keeping your pet.
Finally, it took me a month and a half to get my guinea pig to trust me and let me to held him, hopefully, it will take you less time.