Cagey in the cage advice

Hereguinea

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Hi, I have 2 male guinea pigs aged about 9 months. I got them from a private seller as a Xmas gift from Santa. They were the sellers first litter, she had sold them to a friend but they were returned, so I bought them. Anyway, they live in my living room so that they are not spooked by our habits. They are spoilt rotten, paper wool bedding, back to nature substrate, daily veg, hay, hiding house, tube, hanging treats, the lot. I have two young daughters, who want to be involved and handle them. Anyway, the problem is skittish behaviour. They have a built in hidey house where they sleep, when we want to interact with them, this is taken out, otherwise I find they won't come out. In the cage they are very nervous. They sometimes let us stroke them but sometimes run like mad. One seems to be getting worse rather than better and has recently started to try and burrow, when we try and pick him up. They also seem to kick me and spin round as if they're going to bite, which I don't fancy so pull away quickly. I've had them since Christmas so just over a month. We hand feed them veg, which they take when their bed is removed, otherwise they just hide in it. When I do get them out, they are getting much better at just chilling, but it's just catching the little monsters, and putting them back they seem to panic. I don't want to take a step back, but equally don't want to traumatize them. So I have a few questions. Firstly, should I stop trying to handle them and go back to basics of trust building? Shall I keep their bed in? Will they ever come out of it while we're present? Should I persevere and hope that one day they stop running, or as is currently the case, completely freaking out? Do they have trauma memory? As in, could something have happened that has set them back? Will they actually aggressively bite me? I don't know if I should just carry on regardless, or whether to do it progressively. I don't want to sit there for weeks, thinking we're building a bond, then to find out I've wasted my time when they scarper as usual when I try to pick them up after weeks of patience. They have learned when food is coming, they squeal like crazy when they hear the fridge door open or a rustle of cellophane. Sorry it's a long one, just wanted to give as much info as possible. Any ideas?
 

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Hi, I have 2 male guinea pigs aged about 9 months. I got them from a private seller as a Xmas gift from Santa. They were the sellers first litter, she had sold them to a friend but they were returned, so I bought them. Anyway, they live in my living room so that they are not spooked by our habits. They are spoilt rotten, paper wool bedding, back to nature substrate, daily veg, hay, hiding house, tube, hanging treats, the lot. I have two young daughters, who want to be involved and handle them. Anyway, the problem is skittish behaviour. They have a built in hidey house where they sleep, when we want to interact with them, this is taken out, otherwise I find they won't come out. In the cage they are very nervous. They sometimes let us stroke them but sometimes run like mad. One seems to be getting worse rather than better and has recently started to try and burrow, when we try and pick him up. They also seem to kick me and spin round as if they're going to bite, which I don't fancy so pull away quickly. I've had them since Christmas so just over a month. We hand feed them veg, which they take when their bed is removed, otherwise they just hide in it. When I do get them out, they are getting much better at just chilling, but it's just catching the little monsters, and putting them back they seem to panic. I don't want to take a step back, but equally don't want to traumatize them. So I have a few questions. Firstly, should I stop trying to handle them and go back to basics of trust building? Shall I keep their bed in? Will they ever come out of it while we're present? Should I persevere and hope that one day they stop running, or as is currently the case, completely freaking out? Do they have trauma memory? As in, could something have happened that has set them back? Will they actually aggressively bite me? I don't know if I should just carry on regardless, or whether to do it progressively. I don't want to sit there for weeks, thinking we're building a bond, then to find out I've wasted my time when they scarper as usual when I try to pick them up after weeks of patience. They have learned when food is coming, they squeal like crazy when they hear the fridge door open or a rustle of cellophane. Sorry it's a long one, just wanted to give as much info as possible. Any ideas?
Hi and welcome

Please take the time to read these guides here; you will find them very helpful as they will tell you how to avoid predatory behaviours and make friends with them in their own body language and in ways that they understand instinctively. Respect their prey animal instinct and try to work as much around them as possible. When they spook, give them time to regroups and start right at the beginning again. You will find that they come round more quickly each time. It is not a quick process, but you'll get there!
Cover their cage with a sheet or blanket to give them an added sense of protection and to entice them to move around more. Always make sure that you keep up a steady stream of gentle chat as soon as you come into the room; a noisy predator is not out hunting! Invent little individual melodies and catch words for every regular activities (piggies listen more to the melody than the word), so they learn to make sense and anticipate what is going to happen.

More tips and information in these guides here:
How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig

These guides are part of our new owners collection that you may find very helpful as we specifically address all the areas we get the most questions and concerns about. You can access our much wider range of information via the guides shortcut on the top bar.
Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 
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