Help needed with nervous piggies please!

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blondecat

Hi everyone. I'm Blondecat and I've just joined this morning. A piggie breeder recommended I join to get some advice and also so that I can chat to other piggy keepers! We have two females - Scruffy is around 5 months old and Sophie is about 4 months old. They both came from a pet shop and had not been handled - I got Scruffy at 12 weeks old and then got Sophie at the same age four weeks later. Scruffy is still a little timid but she comes to me now and is more than happy to stretch out on our laps for hours at a time watching tv. She's very affectionate and never bites or gets snappy. Sophie is my problem. I have made the effort since I got them to handle them every day - and each time I think Sophie is quite literally going to have a heart attack. She runs around if I try to pick her up, hides and squeals. When I do pick her up she is absolutely rigid with fear and if I don't hold her quite firmly she tries to jump away. I've never sat with her on my lap as I think she would just run. I don't want to stress her out this much but I do think that if I handle her she may become friendly. I feel guilty when we get Scruffy out and then I am unable to get Sophie as she's missing out on the attention. But I must admit, when she skits around she makes me nervous and I jump in case she bites me! (coward!) I'm completely new to guinea pigs - never had them before. Sorry for the long post but please help! :-\
 

Abnoba

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welcome to the forum!

I got a piggy like your Sophie aswell... and you have to be aware: Some piggies are just like that.
They will be too happy to eat out of your hand, they dont dash back in the house when you walk up - but picking them up? Eeek, NO WAY! Some just dont like being handled.

But anyway, things you could try. Have you had BOTH of them on your lap at the same time?
Often it helps when you have one piggie that is fairly confident, it will start munching the cucumber or whatever you give her while on your lap, and the other one, while really scared because of being on your lap, will want some of the food. they are greedy little things, and I have never seen a healthy piggy that was just watching when another one was eating ;)

Then after a while, she might start to connect laptime=food, and be a bit more calm.
 
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blondecat

Oh, I never thought of having them together on my lap. I'll try that because Sophie sticks to Scruffy like glue when she's frightened. I think I might have made a little progress because she will now come up to me in the morning when I go out whereas before she would run and hide. Thank you for your reply anyway, I'll let you know what happens!
 

kayjay

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Hi, I got my boar, Fudge, from a petshop and he was the same. He used to nip me (but it didn't hurt so don't worry, I think it takes quite a lot for a full blown bite) and hide all the time. I removed his house in the day to get him used to me and forcibly picked him up several times a day. He's 5 months now and for the past month or so he's improved. He doesn't nip anymore and doesn't hide, in fact he stands on top of his house to get a better look! He still doesn't like being held for too long though, a couple of mins and he's struggling to get back in his home. I think it's a matter of time and perserverance, it sounds like you're doing a good job and as Scruffy is happy, it's obviously not anything you're doing. I'd try Abnoba's advice of getting them out together as Sophie might just feel threatened by her friend not being there. Other than that, I'd say it's a case of keep going, it may be that Sophie always will be more timid. Good luck with them.

Kathryn x
 
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Jenni75

My first pig, Freddy, was very nervous when I first got him and hid in his tube all the time. I actually had to tip the tube into my hand to get hold of him and then drop the tube so I could keep a close grip on him while he wriggled and squealed the house down. We put him in an area of our house that we constantly walked past so he got used to us being there and every night he would have an orange choc drop but he would only get it if he came out of his tube and took it. Actually, he generally got it anyway as couldn't be that cruel to take it away! But the choc drops do work and they contain vitamin C so good for them in a way. Once he got the hang of that we made him take veg out of our hand and then we started trying the choc drops and veg while holding him. Lots of perserverance but it did work!

Got a second pig earlier this year, Flo, she's still very nervous but she will come to me if I've taken Freddy out of the run (she likes to hide behind him) but I'd agree with Abnoba in having them both with you at the same time - Freddy does his machine gun noise at Flo if she's squealing and it seems to calm her right down.

Good luck :)
 
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piglover

Yep as before you need to put them somewhere where there's lots going on and near a telly or radio if they have a background noise like that it makes them feel braver as if no-ones watching them when they do venture out. I also find with newbies that when you put veggies in the cage gradually move them further and further away from their hidey hole making them have to come out to get it! I've always had an old boy around to show them the ropes so even if they are timid they soon act brave when the old boys about! Parsley is totally irresistable to piggies to for coaxing them out of hidey holes and dark corners ( and airing cupbaords LOL!)
 
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GuineaPiggable

Oh, my brothers guinea pig is like that! Her name is Reesy. (like Reeses peanut butter cups ;D) Anyways she's getting a lot better. Do you have a house in their cage? Cause like Jenni said they like to hide in that stuff, but they have to get used to you. Id take the house out and just talk to the guinea pig a lot to get it totally calm around you, then the pig will be like "Hey...so...youre not gonna eat me?" and then he'll (or she) get better. :) My brothers guinea pig is a lot better, like now she talks when you walk by the cage and stuff. She wont let you pick her up though, but my brother forces her sometimes and he watched tv with her for about an hour or so, and she gets a little better each time. Bimbi wouldnt let me touch him when I first got him, so I just got him used to me first, like I read out loud from a book to him and gave him tons of food and sat by his cage just petting him for hours. Now I can pick him up whenever I want.
 
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Beaney

I have 2 girls - when I first got them, one was much more nervous than the other. In an effort to tame them, I became part of the furniture - I sit in their run with them and do not move. Eventually, their curiousity got the better of them (especially because one was braver) and they would come sniff me. Then we progressed to stroking, hand feeding etc. They have lap time every day but are 'caught' at least twice a day to go into their runs and back to their hutches. They happily let me stroke them and eat from my hand. When I initially go to pick them up, Tia, the nervous one does still go to run but then it is like she thinks ' hang on, I get food once this hand has got me' and she stops and lets me handle her.

It takes time and some piggies will never like being picked up regardless of how much you try! Just keep going - I am sure she will learn to trust you in the end!

Oh - and welcome to the forums!

Sabrina
xx
 
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Jenni75

I'd agree with what Piglover said about the tv as well - Freddy was on the other side of the wall from the tv and eventually it calmed him down. When he first heard it though :o the noise that came out of his little lungs! I half expected our neighbours to call the police on us or something!
 
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blondecat

Hi everyone! Well I read all your advice and I've been working hard! Yesterday I actually got Sophie on my knee for 5 minutes! She's so very very nervous. They're housed outside because my husband won't let me keep them inside but I do see them every day three or four times and usually have them in their indoor run for a couple of hours. We'll get there I'm sure but thank you all xx :-*
 
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