Bonding with your guinea pig – So sweet :)
When you bring home new guinea pigs, give them at least 24 hours to settle in, before handling. Do not try to pick them up or stroke them, so they can adjust to their new surroundings. Patience is needed as they will be jumpy a lot of the time as you try to handle them, so keep at it. Bonding is vital to build that everlasting relationship with your new pets. Over time, they will trust you more and be tamer. A great way of handling is picking them up, but not all guinea pigs will like being picked up. So the best way, is to use a fleece cosy to transport them around. You can place them on your lap or chest and stroke and speak to them.
Hand feed some vegetables to your little ones and they will start to appreciate the little gesture and trust you just a little more. As you begin to handle and be in their company every day, they will get used to your scent and voice. Keeping to a daily routine will make them feel secure, they love that. Do not change anything too much, like the diet, as it may cause upset, make tiny steps. Grooming also plays a part in the bonding process, so keep to brushing them once a week.
It is said that when your guinea pig starts cleaning in front of you, they trust and feel safe being around you and in general will display their natural behaviour when they feel comfortable with you being there. Spend time every day, even for just 30 minutes handling and just being with your furry ones. Please don’t shout, as they will not understand why you are behaving like that. Speak with a quiet voice and be calm, if they are doing something you do not want them to do, then all I do is call their name or make a tutting sound, like you do with a cat and this usually makes them stop.
Making sudden movements near them can be a stressful experience, as they will think it is a predator. If you do this too much, they may well be more wary. Move your hands slowly and in front of them, when you are going to pick them up. Keep to safe places, where you can spend time with your guinea pigs and where they will get used to. I always find when you have other people come into the room where they are in, like an inside playpen, they will build confidence up, with hearing other peoples voices and gradually get used to different social situations. My guinea pigs are located in a different room to the TV in my house, but they can still hear it. I think this gets them used to hearing many varied voices and sounds.
Guinea pigs are intelligent and will be very curious when you start talking to them. They will eventually associate with their name with the certain tone in your voice. Wherever they may be, it might be up stairs in a double tier hutch, just face them and speak softly, not too close to scare. They will realise you are facing them as they can feel your breath. It is a great way of bonding, but do it after a period of time, when they start getting a bit more used to you, otherwise each time, you will really frighten them.
If you are a parent and are supervising your children, whilst they sit with their new friends, just tell them to be delicate with handling. If they are dropped, it could result from serious injuries or handled roughly, where children sometimes can be inadvertently. They will learn to be really careful with them. It is a great experience for anybody to bond with their guinea pigs, but especially children, as they build that relationship with maybe their first ever pet.
Steps to letting guinea pigs settle into their new home
So just a reminder really of what to do when you first bring your guinea pigs home and how to start a bonding experience within the first 24 hours.
- Place them straight into their new home
- Do not attempt to pick them up or try to stroke them
- After a few hours, speak to them softly as they explore the new surroundings
- Slowly place the food in their habitat
- Avoid making fast movements around them
So follow these few steps and you will allow them to have a more comfortable time and after 24 hours, try to hand feed them once.
When will they to start to trust me?
By following all the points you have come across in this article, over time you will start to build a wonderful relationship. Remember take things slow, at their own pace. Keep working on building trust up every day.
Thank you for reading and if you have a question for me, then please leave a comment below.