Often times we find owners complaining that their guinea pig doesn’t like to be held. But why is it so? Some guinea pigs are much happy to be on the floor rather than to be in someone’s arm. This is because according to them, humans are their predators.
Some guinea pigs are cuddly and liked to be held. So, it can be disheartening if your guinea pigs don’t want to be held. Thus, today we shall discuss why don’t guinea pigs like to be held and what you can do about it. So, let’s get right into it.
Many guinea pigs find handling frightening. As they are prey animals, their survival instinct is strong. While being handled and cuddled, they feel that they cannot escape. Thus, you’ll need to train them and build a bond to overcome their fear and form a relationship of trust.
Once they become comfortable in your presence, you can hold them until and unless you build a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pig, it is not advisable to pick up your guinea pig.
First, you should develop a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pig; it cannot be done overnight.
It will take some time, but once you succeed in developing a relationship, then you can handle your guinea pig and groom them.
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Do guinea pigs like to be held?
You will have to develop a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pigs to handle them.
If you will try to handle them without any bond, they will consider you as a predator and will try to jump off from your hand, and by doing this, they can injure themselves.
Guinea pigs and humans are not equal in size; they will be scared of humans and think of them as predators.
It is not their fault until, unless we do not share a bond of love and trust with them, they will not be comfortable in our presence.
Guinea pigs do not like to be held until and unless they trust the person who is keeping them. Everything revolves around love and trust.
We will advise you not to handle them until and unless they are comfortable with you.
Till then, you can lower yourself to their level and groom them; you can also serve them treats to show them that you love them.
Do some guinea pigs like to be handled more than others?
You can handle every breed of guinea pig if you share a relationship between love and trust.
Guinea pigs are prey animals; they are most comfortable on the floor as they are initially scared of humans.
They consider them as their predator, but once they start feeling comfortable in your presence and start trusting you, then you can hold them.
Some breeds of guinea pig who are very friendly and are easy to handle are as follows:
- Teddy Guinea pig: Teddy Guinea pigs, also called Cavia porcellus, are very friendly to humans. They are very calm and can be handled very well. You can also mix them with another breed of guinea pigs with no worries.
- American Guinea pig: American guinea pigs are very active, friendly, and have a lovable personality. They are very easy to handle and are very strong. They are also known as the most loving breed of guinea pig.
- Rex Guinea pig: Rex guinea pigs are very much known for their calm and friendly nature. They love being handled and make a good bond with children who can be gentle to them.
Although the personality of guinea pig can differ from one another. So, there is a possibility that they might not be friendly as well. However, you can build a bond with them and get them used to you.
Why won’t my guinea pig let me pet him? (Guinea pig won’t let me touch him)
It is not like that, you can handle your guinea pig, but you need a strong bond of trust and love with your guinea pig.
If you did not develop it initially when you bought them, it would not be easy afterward for them to be comfortable in your presence. Building a bond with your guinea pigs during the first 6-8 weeks is crucial.
Only feeding them will not be able to develop trust, you will have to groom them often, serve them their favorite treats, and will have to play with them.
If they run away from you, then there is nothing to be upset as it takes time to develop a strong bond.
The first step would be to acclimate your guinea pig to being handled. This is possible by touching and petting them slowly. Once, they accept you and allow you to pet them you can move towards the next step of handling them.
However, if your guinea pigs run away when you try to pet them then you must leave them alone for a while. Don’t chase them around the cage. This shows them that you respect them and you can be trusted. Building a bond can be a slow process, but it is definitely rewarding at the end.
If you put effort into developing a strong relationship between you and your guinea pig, then slowly, they will also be comfortable in your presence, and you can hold them as they are all yours.
So we will advise you to be patient and never punish your guinea pig for rejecting handling. Try to make a strong bond with them instead so that they can freely enjoy being groomed in your laps.
Where do guinea pigs like to be touched?
Guinea pigs are prey animals initially scared by humans until they are comfortable in their presence. You can only cuddle them when they are healthy; otherwise, they can be angry or scared.
You can caress them at the top of their head and the cheeks. They mostly enjoy being touched there, as petting in those parts makes them feel relaxed.
They also like being petting on the part from where their fur grows.
Avoid touching their legs and backside as they are not comfortable being touched over there.
When you groom them if they are grunting at you, always observe their reaction, which means they are not comfortable in your laps. On such a case, immediately leave them to the floor.
On the other hand, if they are closing their eyes and relaxing in your laps, then it means that they trust you and are comfortable in your laps.
Always remember that you must need to develop a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pig so that they can be comfortable in your presence.
How do I get my guinea pig used to being handled?
You can handle your guinea pig when they are used to your presence. Do not try to control them initially as they are not used to humans, so they might get scared and stressed.
Once your guinea starts enjoying your presence, then you can handle them. But till then, try to groom them on the floor.
You cannot just serve food and develop a relationship with your guinea pig; you will have to spend time with them for making a bond of love.
Will you be comfortable in hugging someone you don’t know and are not satisfied with? Of course not, the same can be applied in the case of guinea pig. Until and unless they are not comfortable with you, they will not like to be in your laps.
We will also advise you not to try to handle your guinea pigs in the initial days. As in that period, they will consider you as their predator and will try to jump off from your hands. This can cause several injuries to them, including the risk of their life.
Tips to handle your guinea pigs
Always remember some basic points before handling your guinea pigs:
- It would be best if you always wash your hands with unscented soap before coming closer to your guinea pig.
- If you have any other pets like cats and your hands have a smell of cats, then your guinea pig will stay far from you. The Guinea pig has 25 times a better sense of smell than humans.
- Once your guinea pig becomes used to your smell, it will be much easier to gain their trust, and very soon, you will be able to handle them and groom them in your laps.
- As guinea pigs have poor depth perception, never try to sneak up on them; you will scare them.
- Guinea pigs have an excellent hearing sense, which is up to 10khz more than ours, so avoid loud, clattering noises. But let your piggie know that you are approaching them through the sound.
- If you try to pick your guinea pig without developing trust, then it may be possible that they get scared of you and come into stress, which can give terrible results. Always remember that faith and love are the two essential pillars of a relationship.
How to pick up a guinea pig?
When your guinea pig is comfortable in your presence, then you can pick them up.
But remember not to handle them if they are not satisfied with you.
They will try to jump off from your hands and can injure themselves heavily, which also includes the risk of life.
Try to avoid letting children below ten years to handle your guinea pig as the chances of mishappening are more.
There is a way you should handle your guinea pig as guinea pigs are delicate and have weak bones, mishandling them can lead to terrible results.
Never pick up your guinea pigs by their ears or legs as they are not toys, they are very soft and delicate, picking them up by through their ears can also make that part of their body separated from them.
If they show any sign of discomfort while you hold them immediately, leave them back to the ground and walk away.
The proper way to pick up a guinea pig is as follows:
- Instead of picking them up from your level, get down to their level.
- Let your guinea pig smell your hands so that they can feel your presence.
- Please do not pick them instantly, start with talking with them in a low tone of voice.
- Keep one hand under your guinea pigs’ torso and cover them from all sides and then pick up smoothly.
After picking them up, you must observe their reaction if you find them grunting leave them back to the floor immediately as they are not comfortable in your presence.
Do not worry as this is their normal behavior; you can try again after some time following the same process.
We will recommend you not to pick up your guinea pig until and unless you develop a relationship with them.
When is a good time to handle my guinea pig?
We understand that you like to handle your guinea pigs very often and groom them, but it is only possible if they enjoy it all the time.
The best time to process your guinea pigs is either when they are tired of playing or when they wake up after an afternoon nap.
Although once they get accustomed to you, they will allow you to handle them more frequently.
But never try to wake them up and then pick them as this may irritate them, resulting in biting and scratching.
When children get tired after playing or exercising, what they need is someone to pick them up and groom them.
If you try to pick up a human baby in the full energetic mode, they will get irritated and angry.
Likewise, in guinea pigs, if they are full of energy and try to pick them up, they will get annoyed and angry. So let them get tired, and then you can pick them up and groom them.
Do not try to handle your guinea pig if they are not used to your presence, as it may scare them. Try not letting any children below 10 years to control your guinea pig as chances of mishappenings increase.
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My Guinea Pigs Won’t Let Me Pick it Up Anymore
Whenever something happens, you will get the answer by analyzing the experience with your guinea pig. Instead of being angry at them for their behavior, try to find out the actual reason.
There may be two reasons your guinea pig is not letting you pick them up.
It is possible if, in the past, you have ever mishandled your guinea pig, or your guinea pigs have fallen from your hand and got injured.
If you have such experiences with your guinea pig, then they will not be comfortable while you try to hold them as they must be scared of you.
In such cases, even we do not advise you to pick up your guinea pig until and unless you gain their trust back. Once they start trusting you again, they will still be comfortable when you try to hold them.
The second case must be if your guinea pig is not well.
If your guinea pigs start turning antisocial, then it is a sign of worry.
As guinea enjoys company, if you find them staying in their cage for a long time and not enjoying anyone’s presence, you will have to immediately pay attention to your piggie as they might have some problems.
As prey animals, they know how to hide their pain, but you can’t let them be in such situations as you love them. If they are refusing food, there is something wrong going with them.
Immediately start physical examinations, redness or swelling on the skin, or discharge from eyes or nose must be investigated. As soon as you find anything wrong, take them to the vet for further treatment.
My guinea pig doesn’t like me
Guinea pigs are prey animals who love to be social with humans once they are comfortable in their presence.
So it might be possible that they are upset with you in some way. It might be possible that they are upset because you did not serve them their favorite treats or are not giving them attention.
Your piggie will never hate you; don’t worry, they can be upset from you, but they will never hate you.
You should pay attention to your guinea pig’s vocalization as your guinea pigs tell you a lot through their sound.
If you become familiar with their way of communication, you can determine the reason for their rude behavior with you.
Let us learn some communication techniques of guinea pigs:
- Snorting and Grunting: You will hear it from your guinea pig when they are not happy with you handling them, but they are still tolerating. In such a case, you should leave them back to the floor and try again.
- Grinding teeth: It is a sign of pain and discomfort. In such a case, you must check the way you are holding them. It may be possible that you are holding them in a wrong manner and hurting them. You should leave them back to the floor if they are grinding their teeth.
- Squeaking: When your guinea pig is afraid of your handling but is trying to be brave, they will make a sound like this. It is advisable to let them go and try again later after some time.
- Screaming: If your guinea pigs are screaming, they are in extreme pain and fear. In such cases, leave them immediately back to the floor and try to comfort them.
How to get my guinea pig to like me?
You will have to earn their love and trust to make them like you.
Your guinea pig cannot speak but can communicate by making different sounds. If you are successful in understanding their vocalization, you will develop a relationship of love and trust with the soon.
It would help if you showed them that you are a source of pleasure and not fear. To get your guinea pigs to trust you, you have to follow some steps.
- Understand their vocalizations and body language: If you can understand the body language and vocalization of your guinea pigs then in no time you will develop a relationship of love and trust with them.
- Spend time with them: If you only serve them food and expect a relationship of love and trust, it is not possible. To build trust, the most crucial factor is time if you give them your time and show them love you will get much more in return.
- Make them Comfortable: You can make them comfortable by fulfilling their basic needs, such as ensuring there cage is at a comfortable temperature and giving them plenty of toys so that they are not bored. Serve them their favorite treats and some good quality hay.
- Work to their Schedule: If you work according to their schedule, they will accept it as a sign of love from you. They are mostly active in the mornings, so wake up early and give them attention.
If you can follow these steps, your guinea pig will soon realize that you are a great parent and will be comfortable with you in no time.
Just remember one key point that you must not force them to do anything they are not satisfied with.
Body language of an affectionate guinea pig
As guinea pigs are prey animals talk and show their love to you.
They show their appreciation by licking and rubbing their nose. Let us learn the body language of affectionate guinea pig;
- Nudging: If your guinea pig nudges you with their nose, they want you to pet them. An affectionate guinea pig will only do these actions to show that they are comfortable in your presence.
- Licking: If your guinea pig is licking you, it means that they are showing love for you for something special you have done for them. Guinea pigs cannot kiss like humans to express their love, so they do they express it by licking. If they are licking you, that means you have gained their trust and love.
If your guinea pigs do all this with you, pat yourself on the back because you have done it.
You have created a lovely bond with your guinea pig, which is now unbreakable until you start showing carelessness.
But for now, your guinea pig is very much comfortable in your presence; they love you.
Lastly, we would like to say that trust and love are two crucial factors of a relationship.
Try to make a healthy relationship with your guinea so that they get a positive environment around them.
Source: Care of Guinea Pigs, RSPCA Guinea Pig Care Guide, Guinea Pig Handling, Nutrient Requirements of the Guinea Pig, The effects of diet on guinea pigs, Guinea Pig Diet, Patterns of feeding in the Guinea pig.