How Can I Bond My Sheltie With My Absynnian?

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MelyH

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Hi all, I'm new to this forum and have a question about bonding my two guinea pigs. We bought Reptar in December of last year (he's only 4 months old). He's what we think is an Abyssinian. He has a lot of energy, popcorns a lot, eats a lot and he's very used to being handled by us. We love his high energy personality and we are happy to have him. This past weekend we decided we wanted to get him a buddy and found another piggy at a pet store that we loved. We weighed the worst case scenarios after a pet store employee warned us pairing two males from different litters would not be easy and decided to take home our sheltie Maximus. Maximus is only a month older than Reptar and slightly bigger. After we brought him home it became clear Reptar is a lot more dominant. We have them in separate cages and only brought them together a couple times. One time we took them outside to play in the grass and Reptar only asserted his dominance by rumble strutting and mounting but he didn't attack. Inside though, Reptar chatters his teeth and attacks Max. I've separated them before anybody could get injured. I didn't realize when we bought Max that Abyssinians and Shelties have opposite personalites. We can already tell Max is very quiet and tame. Will we ever be able to bond them? What can we do to bond them if we can?




Above is Reptar



Above is Max
 

Freela

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I know there is a sticky above with info regarding bonding boars. I only have sows, which can be easier to bond, so hopefully someone with more boar experience will come along. Introductions should be done in neutral territory (somewhere neither pig feels is 'theirs.') We actually did out 'meet and greet' sessions in the bathtub (I put towels down first.) Basically, a contained, reasonably-sized space with no corners to get backed into where neither pig had ever been before. When trying to move in new roommates, a big help is to scrub down the cage and make it look and smell new so the previous tenant does not feel that the newbie is invading their territory. Especially if one pig is especially dominant, it helps if they don't feel they are defending their space against an intruder. I've always broken down and completely scrubbed the cage or pen before putting new pigs in together. The one time I didn't do that, it didn't go so well for the newbie, even though she had been accepted on neutral ground previous to that.

The breed/species of pig will not make any difference as to whether they get along or not. I've read some general broad descriptions of temperament based on breed (i.e. abyssinians are hyper, shelties are laid back, etc.) but honestly do believe they are essentially stereotypes. Yes, there are pigs that fit the stereotype, but there are others that don't, and really they all have unique personalities. Realistically, pigs have been selectively bred for coat type and color, not personality traits (it's not as if they are dogs bred for certain jobs, like retrieving or herding or hunting, where personality traits were selected for and against in the breeding process.) So the fact that they are different breeds really will not matter as much as individual personality traits in terms of who likes who. My initial pair was an abyssinian and a sheltie cross, and they got along fine- provided the abyssinian did everything the sheltie told her to! LOL!
 

Wiebke

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Hi! Your two boys are gorgeous!

Boars can be bonded as long as you are aware of these facts:
- Boars of all ages can be bonded, but it takes about 1-3 dates on average to find "Mr Right". The key to any stable boar bond is character compatibility and not whether they are related (that is an unfortunately very persistent breeder myth). A large age difference can actually be an advantage for a stable bond, as the boys won't hit the big hormones at the same time.
- Boars go through a hormonal teenage phase between 4-14 months old, but it can be triggered earlier if you introduce new mates. At this time they are the most difficult to bond.
- Please respect the bonding protocol. When bonding, you cannot just stop and go, you have to sit it out unless there are bloody fights or impending bloody fights. You also cannot just dump boar into each other cages; guinea pigs can be pretty territorial when it comes to intruders!
- Breed is irrelevant when it comes to guinea pigs.

Here are our tips. Please read them carefully before you do anything. Whether your two boys will ultimately gel, very much depends on whether they are character compatible or not. That is something that no trick in the world can change - it's the same with a human marriage. ;)
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/introducing-and-re-introducing-guinea-pigs.38562/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-a-guide-to-successful-companionship.76162/

Best of luck!

As we have members from all over the world, we find it very helpful if you please added your country, state or (for the UK) your county or city, so we can always adapt and advice or recommendations to what is actually available and possible for you. PLease click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!
 

MelyH

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Thanks for the tips! After almost a week they are getting along much better. We slowly started housing them together for an hour at a time. Yesterday they stayed together for a few hours and last night was the first night they slept in the same cage together. The only thing the occasionally happens is some chasing (and I wonder if that's them playing) but no teeth chattering or fighting. They each have a food bowl and an igloo. They alternate igloos when they want to be alone. Sometimes they both want to be in the same igloo and we hear them squealing inside it talking to each other. This morning when I woke up they were both in the same igloo, I think they slept together.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for the tips! After almost a week they are getting along much better. We slowly started housing them together for an hour at a time. Yesterday they stayed together for a few hours and last night was the first night they slept in the same cage together. The only thing the occasionally happens is some chasing (and I wonder if that's them playing) but no teeth chattering or fighting. They each have a food bowl and an igloo. They alternate igloos when they want to be alone. Sometimes they both want to be in the same igloo and we hear them squealing inside it talking to each other. This morning when I woke up they were both in the same igloo, I think they slept together.
Please DO NOT separate when bonding - guinea pigs can only bond properly if you let them get on with it and work through all the small print! You have had a very smooth ride anyway; I am sure that you are please about that!
 

MelyH

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Please DO NOT separate when bonding - guinea pigs can only bond properly if you let them get on with it and work through all the small print! You have had a very smooth ride anyway; I am sure that you are please about that!
Oops, we don't plan to separate them anymore. Now that they seem to have worked it all out they will stay in the same cage. They only have to be separated for a few hours today when I take Reptar to the vet for a check-up. Last night we gave Max a bath and once we dried him and put him back with Reptar, Reptar was a little annoyed because he smelled different. He had to sniff him quite a bit before he settled. It's funny how they had already gotten used to each others scents! I love seeing them laying next to each other in the same igloo, I thought it would take much longer to see this progress.
 

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Oops, we don't plan to separate them anymore. Now that they seem to have worked it all out they will stay in the same cage. They only have to be separated for a few hours today when I take Reptar to the vet for a check-up. Last night we gave Max a bath and once we dried him and put him back with Reptar, Reptar was a little annoyed because he smelled different. He had to sniff him quite a bit before he settled. It's funny how they had already gotten used to each others scents! I love seeing them laying next to each other in the same igloo, I thought it would take much longer to see this progress.
Good!

PS: I would strongly recommend to take bonded piggies together to the vets; it is much less stressful and upsetting for them, and you won't see a lot less dominance behaviour afterwards. I call the companions my "paw holder piggies". ;)
 

MelyH

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Good!

PS: I would strongly recommend to take bonded piggies together to the vets; it is much less stressful and upsetting for them, and you won't see a lot less dominance behaviour afterwards. I call the companions my "paw holder piggies". ;)
I will have to do that considering I probably don't want to separate them for a few hours after they've made so much progress. Thank you!
 

Freela

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They're very cute! It does help when one is clearly the boss. Two alphas will fight. Not every pig want to be an alpha. Sundae is currently second in line to a baby right now because she absolutely does not want to be the boss! We picked her because she seemed timid (knowing that the pig we were wanting to pair her with was extremely dominant.) That pairing worked well, and even though Sundae is 4 years older than her new cagemate, she is still happy to be second in command!
 

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How sweet! Definitely a lucky success there, my boar took 5 dates before he was eventually just given a naughty baby pig to be daddy to :D Well done!
 
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