Guinea pig hates cuddles

Elaine Prince

New Born Pup
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
3
Points
35
Location
Retford, Nottinghamshire
I made the mistake with my first 2 guinea pigs, not giving then enough cuddle time when I first got them, so they don't really like being touched or cuddled, although at floor time they both come and put their paws on my leg to get treats, and one let's me stroke her nose when she feels like it, and i can stroke both while eating grass, they are both now 8 months old. I now have a 10 week old cavy, and was told to pick her up, lots of times ( once settled) so she would like cuddles, but she hates it. She will do anything to get out of my arms, or even out of a snuggles. What can I try please? She won't take a treat from me while holding, just wants out. Would like one cavy who might like a cuddle. Must be getting something wrong.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,278
Reaction score
49,220
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
I made the mistake with my first 2 guinea pigs, not giving then enough cuddle time when I first got them, so they don't really like being touched or cuddled, although at floor time they both come and put their paws on my leg to get treats, and one let's me stroke her nose when she feels like it, and i can stroke both while eating grass, they are both now 8 months old. I now have a 10 week old cavy, and was told to pick her up, lots of times ( once settled) so she would like cuddles, but she hates it. She will do anything to get out of my arms, or even out of a snuggles. What can I try please? She won't take a treat from me while holding, just wants out. Would like one cavy who might like a cuddle. Must be getting something wrong.
Hi!

Please accept that the majority of piggies don't actually like being cuddled and will never come to more than tolerate it for a short time. Cuddling is an entirely human concept and a very human centric expectation that sadly reduces a fascinating species to the level of an animated cuddly toy. Please be aware that all those videos on social media are entirely driven by human view and by human demand of what is considered 'cute' or 'funny'. The picture they convey is extremely skewed and not representational at all. It has sadly led to many especially younger owners to develop some completely unrealistic expectations and views . Ask yourself: Who wants to watch a video of a piggy that doesn't like being held or cuddled?

If your piggies trust you and interact with you freely on their own volition, then that is so much more precious because it is not a foreign demand imposed on them. It also shows that you are a good owner and have been doing everything right with your first pair.

Most guinea pigs these days come from a commercial mass breeding background (whether that is a commercial supply breeder for a chain pet shop or a for sale breeder) with no friendly human interaction. How skittish your piggies are also depends on how much they feel out of their depth and to a good degree how stressed their mothers were during a pregnancy and the nursing period and to which degree the embryos/babies have internalised this stress as their default setting.

You may want to read these guides here, which you should find very interesting in learning where your piggies come from and how their prey animal instincts work. But it also shows you how you can use social interactive guinea pig behaviours to communicate with them and to crucially remove yourself from the 'predator' category ('piggy whispering'). The enrichment guide is there to give you more ideas of how you can build up a happy and rewarding relationship that gives both sides equally the right to be themselves, to express themselves in their own species ways and to find the common ground to meet and share in a satisfactory way. Guinea pigs are sooo much more than cuddly toys. The more you give your piggies the choice to give what they feel comfortable with, the more you build up trust.
If you impose your own demands on them, all you will get is submission and fear, but not love and trust.
Arrival in a home from the perspective of pet shop guinea pigs
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely
Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs

All these guides (and more) can be found in our very helpful New Owners information collection, which makes a very useful resource and it is worth bookmarking, browsing through, reading and re-reading at need: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides



PS: Is that little piggy a single? If yes, the best thing ever you can do is to double-check the gender and find her a same sex or neutered/spayed opposite gender companion. If you have access to a rescue that allows you to date at a rescue so your piggy can have a say who they want to be with, then you are very much onto a winner!
Rescue Locator
 

Rivervixen

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
2,210
Reaction score
3,957
Points
1,175
Location
Barnsley, South Yorkshire
My two boys aren’t a fan either, one will take off running and one will sit on your lap for a few minutes before biting your clothes/fingers to be let go :)
 

Swissgreys

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
7,590
Reaction score
16,435
Points
1,965
Location
Zürich, Switzerland
Of our five most recent piggies 2 have been cuddlers (Lucy and Eddi), one will only tolerate handling by one specific person(Ruby), and two never liked being touched, cuddled or handled at all.
I think guinea pigs are often incorrectly viewed as cuddly pets when the actual reality is very different.
All of our piggies have been gently handled from the start and come from a good background (so no hidden issues).
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,767
Reaction score
11,769
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
:agr: Piggies generally aren’t cuddly.
My two don’t like it. They tolerate handling for health checks but that is their limit. They will both take food from me and are happy to potter about or come to sniff me if I sit in their shed with them but they don’t want to be touched
 

DonDon121405

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
108
Reaction score
255
Points
265
Location
Halifax
So far our pigggies don’t come anywhere near for cuddles and and the only way we can get them to is to get them to walk into their tube and then gently lift them on to our knee on a cuddle cushion.
Even then they just sit still and then try make a run for it. We have kind of given up now and so we just chat to them instead and they come for a sniff when we put their food in.
They do however come super close to us when we get in their play area with them to clean the poop out.
There is a tricky area I have to kneel down to get to (obviously check I’m not stepping on the boys), as soon as I am in and knelt down they come out of the hutch and run round me and even over me 😂. I did manage to give one a tickle behind the ears but currently no chance they will sit and let us stroke them x
 

VickiA

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
24,309
Reaction score
32,859
Points
2,465
Location
Cheshire, England
Only 2 of my 6 enjoy a cuddle. Two will tolerate being handled for health checks, meds etc. One I struggle to even catch. One is just wild. It’s a myth that they enjoy being cuddled. Some do, but I think they are probably in the minority.
 

Eddie & Elvis

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
1,359
Reaction score
2,239
Points
845
Location
England
Neither if my two enjoy cuddles at all. Eddie will tolerate it but only if food is involved and as soon as the food is gone he's off 🤣. He will do anything he can't to jump out my arms! Elvis makes his opinion know with lots of pulling at my clothes and sometimes ignores a food bribe until I put him down.
I only hold them when it's necessary (to clip nails for example). Eddie enjoys being stroked (still always on his terms) but Elvis doesn't like being touched at all except very occasionally when he's really enjoying a pile of grass I'm allowed a short stroke of his head.

They are both completely happy to run over to me, out their paws on me and take food off me so I respect their opinions and stick to what makes them happy. If they are happy and enjoying interacting with me then I am happy 🙂
 
Top