Having trouble bonding

WheeksandWhistles

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Hey all, sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Anyway, I have owned two sows for awhile now. One of them, 1 year this month, the other one for 4 months.

I have not been able to tame these sows at all.

They will take food from your hands, but immediately run back into their hide house. They won't even think about letting you touch them, and when I have to catch them once per week to change the bedding, they claw and growl the entire time I am holding them.

I have tried slowly introducing them to interaction, they want nothing to do with it.

Their cage is in my bedroom, and I have spent hours sitting on my bed, just talking to them. But as soon as I get up, they run into the hide house.

It's gotten really disheartening.

Do you have any tips to try to tame them?
 

Reginart

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I have own my guinea pigs for 6 weeks and they still go back to their hide houses when there is a sudden sound or sounds they are not familiar with, but they let me pet them when they are eating and they come to me and are really vocal now when they hear a bag opening. Every guinea pig is different and take different times to tame, I think moving slowly makes them think that you are not a predator because predator usually moves fast and when you catch them you just make them go to a corner and slowly try to pick them up trying not to make any sudden moves . You could try to pet them if they come to you for food, but just touch their head and leave them for a while then you could start to build up to a normal pet.
 

Piggies&buns

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The fact they are taking food out of your hand means they trust you. Running back to their hides is completely normal. But you do need to be aware that for some piggies this is as good as it gets. Most piggies don’t like being picked up, some will tolerate a little bit of a cuddle, but many don’t like it at all. This is just the nature of guinea pigs and prey animals.
When you need to pick them up, herd them into a carrier or snugglesack. This can help them feel more secure.

My two year old boys don’t like being touched, i can get then to tolerate their weekly health checks (nail clipping, weighing etc) but they don’t like having cuddles. I handle my two for necessity rather than anything else. They are quite happy for me to with them and chat to them and both take food from my hand.

Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
 

Piggies&buns

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They need to be caught daily for health checks and every week for weighing, so you will need to persevere.

Could you try getting them to associate the herding into a carrier with something positive. I know this is what worked for me. My two hate physical interaction but will happily walk into a pet carrier without any chasing because they know the carrier means lawn run time. It means I can get them in, quickly but safely carry out their daily checks, nail clipping, weighing etc and then they get let out for play time.

How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely

The fact is though that as prey animals, the default mode is fear. You say you’ve had them for a while - how long is a while?
 

WheeksandWhistles

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They need to be caught daily for health checks and every week for weighing, so you will need to persevere.

Could you try getting them to associate the herding into a carrier with something positive. I know this is what worked for me. My two hate physical interaction but will happily walk into a pet carrier without any chasing because they know the carrier means lawn run time. It means I can get them in, quickly but safely carry out their daily checks, nail clipping, weighing etc and then they get let out for play time.

How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely

The fact is though that as prey animals, the default mode is fear. You say you’ve had them for a while - how long is a while?
I have had one of them for almost a full year. It will be a full year on the 21st of this month.
The other one I have had for almost 5 months. So I can understand her still being shy.

The main reason I hate catching them is they because they claw, and the one that has been here longer bites to the point of drawing blood.
 

Piggies&buns

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The thing is running away and hiding and not wanting to be held or touched is normal piggy behaviour. They simply aren’t all cuddly - some may tolerate it once caught, but for others they just won’t

Herd them into a cat carrier and close the door - you won’t need to touch them for that and it means you won’t get clawed and they don’t have to be touched which they clearly don’t like. If you try to catch them with your hands, they won’t like it. However they will need to be picked up from the carrier for their health checks

Is your vet clipping their nails or are you doing it yourself?
Have you been weighing them?
 

Piggies&buns

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That’s good.
Otherwise, it all sounds really quite normal for guinea pigs - The fact they’ve taken food from your hand means they do trust you but that could be as far as they will ever get
 
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