From their behavior to their sharp hearing ability, every trait that a guinea pig has is developed in the reaction to their predators. So it is normal for your guinea pig to hide in their enclosure, ignore you, and avoid being petted or handled. But what can you do about it? How can you get a guinea pig’s attention?
Getting the attention of your guinea pig involves letting them know your presence. As guinea pigs are prey animals, they will quickly get scared, and if you surprise them, they get stressed out. Using some visual and verbal clues, you can alert them to your presence and grab their attention in the first place.
Your guinea pig can intentionally or unintentionally start ignoring you. So the guinea pig who is losing sight and a sense of hearing cannot notice you.
On the other hand, maybe your guinea pig starts ignoring you intentionally.
That means that your guinea pig is irritated with you for some reason, they think that they are a dominant member of the family, or maybe they believe that you are a predator.
There is a lot more to learn about this. So, keep reading until the end to understand every aspect of the same.
Getting your guinea pig’s attention
It can be challenging to get your guinea pig’s attention, especially for that young or new guinea pig that is not happy or comfortable in your house yet.
That means that guinea pig response to your behavior is very different from how your dog or cat in childhood can have responded when being called.
Your guinea pig is willing to intentionally ignore your calls until they feel comfortable in the home.
Guinea pigs have a perfect vision. The eyesight of guinea pigs is prepared for movement detection, and the optical range of guinea pigs is nearly 360 degrees.
The visual clues of guinea pigs can be useful for alerting a guinea pig with your presence and teaching them non-verbal commands.
Visual evidence used in conjunction with verbal commands can be good for grabbing the attention of a guinea pig.
Optical clues don’t have to be like a command as it is used for the tricks. It can be a general way to communicate.
Generally, there can be many ways that the owners can communicate with their guinea pigs. Both domestic and non-domestic guinea pigs use their body language to communicate with each other. The owner can use this as an advantage.
Be relaxed and calm whenever you want to approach your guinea pig. Try to use foreseeable, easy movements in front of them.
That will tell your guinea pig that you are not a predator or threat. On the other side, jerky or sharp movements can indicate that you are a threat. Your guinea pig can clarify this as:
- You are the predator and are preparing to attack
- You have detected the threat which is nearby.
Choose the three different optical commands and be regular with them to grab your guinea pig’s attention.
Ensure that your guinea pig can see you when you are attempting to get their attention. That catches their eyes and brings them to focus on you properly.
Giving a command
The verbal commands are essential for the owners of every pet including guinea pigs. You can use it in almost all instances except for the particular situation where your guinea pig is hearing impaired.
Not only verbal commands catch the guinea pig’s attention, but they are a great way of communication.
Your guinea pig will be able to learn their name. Also, they will learn to identify your tone when you call their name.
The tone of ‘you are in trouble,’ the tone of ‘dinner is ready,’ and the tone of ‘come here’ have their inflection of the voices, and your guinea pig can understand them.
Some specific tones can grab more attention of your guinea pig as compared to others.
Try to test your guinea pig on what tones they respond to you the most and make the adjustments accordingly.
It would be best if you looked upon yourself when you are very irritable, very loud, very high pitched, or very soft.
While the higher-pitched command can initially grab the attention of your guinea pig, they can also stress them out, and it can be the cause of poor bonding in the future.
Foods and treats
If your guinea pig hears the packet of a treat’s crackling sound, they will immediately run towards you, and the attention of your guinea pig will be on any treats that you have in your hands.
Giving treats is the best way to grab the attention of your guinea pig. However, don’t try to provide regular treats to your guinea pig.
Excess feeding of treats can cause obesity and an imbalanced diet. Also, there is a chance that your guinea pig’s interaction with you will be limited to the treats.
You can use the treats to grab the guinea pig’s attention, which is used as a reward for friendly behavior and training. With the use of treats, you can have a bond with your new or young guinea pig.
However, make sure that you use the treats in self-control, and replace it with vegetables or standard pellets as a treat to prevent the risk of weight gain in your guinea pigs.
My guinea pig is ignoring me
Sometimes your guinea pig can ignore you, which can be accidental or intentional. Here are some instances which can help you understand their behavior better.
Your guinea pig see you as a threat
Maybe your guinea pig is ignoring you because they have not yet determined your status. They still have a doubt that you are a predator.
Guinea pigs instinctively will avoid grabbing any unwanted attention towards themselves, which means that they are pretending to ignore you when they are aware of your existence.
With patience from your end, they will understand you as a friend and not an enemy over a while.
Your guinea pigs don’t have a good bond with you
Your guinea pig can also ignore you because they want to avoid you intentionally. Improper handling can be the cause of this.
Guinea pigs can look cuddly and cute, but this doesn’t mean that they are enjoying being carried around or holding up. That resembles how predators attack wild guinea pigs.
Generally, your guinea pig can be distressed when you hold or pick them up, especially when you have not bonded with your guinea pig.
Allow your guinea pig to come near you for petting and cuddling on their own time, and make sure that this happens from their side and you are not pushing yourself towards them.
Once you have won the trust of your guinea pig, they will be more comfortable to settle and take a nap in your thighs.
A guinea pig that completely trusts you can be comfortable being carried; however, this is not a case for most guinea pigs.
Your guinea pig is ill
If your guinea pig is losing vision or hearing, then they may unintentionally ignore you.
Does your guinea pig have an infection of ears or eyes which lead to permanent damage?
Or is your guinea pig a senior one and showing their signs of aging? You need to check your guinea pig carefully for any health problems.
My guinea pig won’t come near me
You can be frustrated and confused when your guinea pig doesn’t want to come near you, especially when they responded earlier with enthusiasm.
Your new guinea pig can be shy for the first time, which is common, but after a few days, your guinea will feel safe enough to come near you.
It will take some weeks for your guinea pig to learn their name and come when being called.
On the other hand of these scenarios, it is essential to find out why your guinea pig doesn’t want to come to you.
Guinea pig suddenly stopped coming near me
Guinea pigs are very social animals, and most domestic guinea pigs can be very friendly with their owners. Thus, any sudden changes in the behavior of your guinea pig should be paid immediate attention.
Has something happened to your guinea pig recently? Have they been frightened or they had hurt themselves? Have you raised your voice very loud at them or near them?
Maybe your guinea pig is not coming near you because of all these things. If they are scared of you, then they can’t even approach you, or start intentionally ignoring you.
You need to look carefully at how your family members and you interact with your guinea pig.
There is a possibility that your guinea pig thinks they are the head of the family.
Generally, it is not a big problem when your guinea pig considers themselves as a dominant one. But this means that they will not come when you call them.
Usually, only in this case, your guinea pig can also bite and nips you.
It is unnecessary to raise your voice to make your guinea pig understand that they are not the boss.
It would help if you made a discouraging, gentle noise when they bite you. You can also push the head of your guinea pig to the floor for a few seconds that can help as an assertion of dominance.
New guinea pig not coming towards me
Guinea pigs are social animal but they can take a long period to heat up to you. It will take some time in the process of your guinea pig to learn their name.
You need to make sure that your voice and tone is gentle whenever you call their name. After some time, your guinea pig will learn to recognize their name.
A new guinea pig may not be able to feel comfortable in their environment, or nearby you.
Naturally, it will take some time for a guinea pig to become habituated to their new house.
A guinea pig can also refuse to come near you because they are unwilling to leave their enclosure.
My guinea pig won’t come out of his house
Your guinea pig won’t come out of their enclosure because they can be afraid of you or are not comfortable in their environment, or else they can be in pain.
To determine the mood of your guinea pig, you need to learn the guinea pigs’ language, thus reducing the reasons for their hiding.
Getting adjusted to new environment
A shy or new guinea pig will naturally don’t want to leave their enclosure.
Allow your new guinea pig to inspect everything on their own time, and they will generally grow comfortable in their environment and get used to it.
Make this process smooth by relaxing in the exact room:
- It would be best if you sat on the ground, but not too close to the enclosure.
- Also, you can give them treats to persuade them to come out.
- Allow your guinea pig to become familiarized with your presence.
- Offer some hideouts throughout the home, for example, cardboard boxes and pet igloos.
Containing your guinea pig in the same room can be the best idea for introducing a guinea pig to a new environment.
Once it has adjusted, you can gradually allow your guinea pig to explore the entire house.
This procedure can be used for those guinea pigs who are newly adopted, and after moving, you can introduce the home to your new guinea pig.
Pain and illness
A guinea pig will try to hide their intuitions when they are in pain or unwell.
Without discomforting your guinea pig, observe them closely. Do they attempt to move because they are shy with your touch?
Are they bent with their ears, which are placed flat to their back? Do they show any signs like:
- Grinding their teeth
- Swelling around eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Enlarged pupils
If they do, you must take them to a vet immediately.
Scared and stressed
The environment can also be the reason for your guinea pig for not leaving their enclosure. Many factors can seriously affect the comfort level of a scared guinea pig. These factors are:
- The smell, which is uncommon, for example, essential oil diffusers or air fresheners, can make the guinea pig uncomfortable.
- Guinea pig stressed by another animal
- Loud noises or music
All of these can make your guinea pig uncomfortable and stressful.
How do you get a guinea pig to come to you?
There are two ways from which you can get the attention of a guinea pig so that they can come to you.
These mainly involve making sure that you and your guinea pig have a good bond and using the correct training commands.
Building a strong bond
The owner needs to take the essential step, building a bond with their guinea pig.
Apart from creating the trust of a guinea pig, building a strong relationship can enable your guinea pig to respond when you call them.
Hence, there are many ways to make a bond with your guinea pig, which includes:
- Training them
- Feeding them
- Grooming them
- Playing with them
One of the best ways to build a bond with your guinea pig is grooming.
You need to make sure that you hold regular grooming sessions and petting to develop and enforce the bonds.
Providing a lot of toys and floortime and exercising with them regularly can do the same.
Delivering the treats and food to your guinea pig will always encourage them to approach you.
The owner needs to make sure that they will not provide excess treats to their guinea pig.
Training your guinea pigs
The training commands of guinea pigs is the same as the training commands of dogs, including from ‘sit’, ‘come’, ‘stay’ to all types of tricks.
Apart from the significant enrichment, these training sessions are vital for controlling the attention of a guinea pig.
These small creatures are brilliant. Along with their name, a guinea pig can also learn to recognize many commands.
Using verbal commands and saying their name can be the best way to get the guinea pig’s attention.
That will not only alert a guinea pig to your presence, but also it will catch their attention. A guinea pig that is comfortable and bonded with you can easily recognize its owner.
Source: The effect of human interaction on guinea pig behavior.