I Need Help With My Unhappy Guinea Pig

Walky

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Hello, I'm new to this website, I joined because I wanted to learn more about these animals. I have a few questions, because I've been doing things wrong for a while and only now i'm noticing the effects on my animal. But first, I'll have to tell the brief history of this guinea pig, so strap in.

Recently, I bought a Guinea Pig to my girlfriend from a local petshop, and a month later she went traveling and left the guinea pig with me for caring. Her name is Porca (the gp, not the gf), and I had little to no familiarity with her. I searched online the basics about how to take care of a GP, and learned that my girlfriend was doing things SUPER wrong. The cage she was using was too small, there was no bedding, the food was wrong, she didn't give enough attention, there was no toys or anything for the animal to chew, and she was raising the pig alone.
So I started to change a few things. I made a little house for her, just a space so she could move around in a towel, using the original cage as the "bed", where she would sleep. I took a few rocks from my garden, washed it well, and put it with her so she could bite and use up her teeth. I started giving her chopped carrots, brocoli, red cabbage and a little bit of rabbit food (which was what my girlfriend was feeding her), so she's eating super better. The only thing that'll have to wait is getting a roommate for her.

So, the problem is... her behavior. I'm super worried about how much of a shut-in Porca is. She ALWAYS runs back to her cage when I take her out, she is constantly crying when I pet her, and I have NEVER heard her purr in happiness, or squeal asking for food.
Part of that is definetly my fault. I had NO IDEA of how to take good care of a guinea pig on the start. I've always been a dog guy, so petting her slowly and lightly was not my forte. So I was petting her wrong, sometimes too hard and hurting her, I was scaring and yelling at her when she did something wrong (like getting on top of the food recipient and making a mess). I took a liking to hearing her scream, because that was the only sound she'd make, so sometimes I scared her on purpose just so I could hear her high pitch scream, thinking "omg this is so cute" and squeezing her even harder, maybe hurting her without knowledge. Sometimes I would even let my dog chase her a bit, which was not dangerous as you might be thinking. The dog is super obedient, caring, and took a super liking to the pig, which was not mutual, the only problem with this was giving the pig a heart attack.

Few days later I noticed how this was affecting Porca. I searched a lot of videos of happy guinea pigs, and all the sounds they make and things they do, and I got super sad and guilty when I saw all those happy guinea pigs, and Porca wasn't like them. I know I've been making a LOT of mistakes, and I really want to make amends with her, and become a good owner. My girlfriend said she doesn't want the pig anymore, so I will keep her, and I want to know how can I make Porca like me and be happy, just like those piggies in the videos.

First thing on my mind is how can I make her cry less. I'm 100% sure she hates me and is scared of me (with good reason, sadly) (tho she has never bitten me, even with plenty of reasons). She's almost always crying when I'm petting her, the only moment when she doesn't cry is when she's in the cage and I reach to pet her, she just stays still and silent. I have noticed that she craves for being inside her cage. Everytime I move the cage around, she runs straight to it. That shows that she feels safe when inside it, and I want to make her feel that way outside of the cage as well. How can I do that? How can I earn my piggy's trust back? Is it possible for her to like me after all the torture I've put her through? She's about 3 months old, 4 tops.
I've really taken a liking to her, and I want her to like me too. I'm considering getting another guinea pig to be her roommate, maybe that would make her happier, but I'm not sure if I should go for a second guinea pig until I learn how to take care of Porca properly.

So please, help me out. How can I make her happier, how can I gain her trust and make her see me as a good guy?
 

Swissgreys

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Welcome to the Forum.
:wel:

It is good that you are trying to learn about guinea pigs, and want to make amends for Porca's previous treatment.

Firstly you need to remember that you are now working with a very terrified creature who associates you with pain and fear.
It will take time and a lot of patience and gently handling for her to learn to trust you again.

Firsly you have already improved her diet, but she really needs to be eating a proper guinea pig pellet and unlimited amounts of hay.
It is the hay that will keep her teeth at teh corrct length and not stones.
Here is a good guide to an ideal guinea pig diet:

Diet Guides

Secondly you will need to start bonding with her slowly and right from the beginning again.
Do not handle her roughly, and never allow your dog to chase her.
Some guinea pigs are very vocal, and some rarely ever make a sound.
My male piggy Eddi is pretty quiet, and in the morning the three girls will wheek loudly for their breakfast while he just bounces around the cage.
A good guide for gaining trust is here, but above all remember it just takes time:

How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?

And in general you might find some of the information here helpful:

Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

Good luck with Porca.
I am sure that with some time and patience you will be rewarded with a wonderful pet.
 

sport_billy

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Hello, welcome to the forum. I notice from your IP you are from Brazil. The forum is predominately UK based so you may not get many replies when you post but dnt worry many members come online early UK time.

Right first off, what is done is in the past, you cant change the past, but with a willingness to learn you can give Porcha a good happy life. Your post has upset me a little as I am sure it will many members, but I want to help you and help Porcha if you are sorry which I think you are for the way she has been treated then we can help you both, it is very good of you to realise any faults and try to correct them, that is all we can do as humans.

1. Make sure she has a good size cage
2. Make sure she has access to hay at all times
3. Feed her Vegetables as you are doing
4. Try and get her some guinea pig pellets not rabbit but if rabbit pellets is all you can get in Brazil then continue
5. Remove the rocks - not a good idea - can damage teeth
6. Hold off on the roommate until we can help you de-traumatise your piggies
7. Please post a photo of her cage we can help with suggestions to make it better for her
8. As of now DO NOT let your dog near her ever again PLEASE.
9. Make sure she has a hidey house in her cage


My advice including the above would be this....

Let her be in her cage for the next 2/3 weeks, your only interaction with her should be feeding her in then, no picking up or petting her. Let her start feeling safe again in her cage without fear.

After a few weeks of letting her feel safe and secure , start off after a few days by trying to hand feed a few veggy treats in the cage by offering some nice veggies to Porcha when they are in their hidey, hopefully she will take it off you as you hold it in for them... after a while try offering it a little further from the hidey so she edges out and take it from you.
This may take a while because of all the trauma... so be patient please

After around 6 weeks use food when you get round to lap times also. Start lap time for a short amount of time at first and build up. We started off we laptimes for 1 minute with new piggies then pop them back, slowly increasing the time. They will soon associate you with food and good things but at first it takes a while to gain their trust.

You may get some strong response to this thread, which i am sure you can understand will be expected, People are passionate because they care and they will be worried about Porcha, i hope you follow our advice and help us help you help her. I sincerely hope you are looking to change your behaviour, I am also giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are not trolling the forum. Any evidence on the contrary you are not seeking to make Porcha life better then we will terminate your account here.

Lee
 
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Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

It is great that you care and that you want to improve Porca's life. In the longer term, the best thing you can do for her is to find her another sow or neutered boar companion, ideally of her own choice. Guinea pigs are prey animals that live in groups. the company of another of her kind will go a long way to make Porca feel less threatened. Two guinea pigs need the same 2x4 ft minimal ground space that you would like to give a single piggy.
PS: Please make sure of Porca's gender and the gender of any new piggy before any introductions. Mis-sexing is unfortunately rather common.

Please take the time to read our new owners' guide collection. Apart from care, behaviour and illness spotting information, it contains a whole section on settling and handling skittish piggies and how you can use a spot of guinea pig whispering/avoiding predator behaviours to slowly make friends with Porca. it is not going to be a quick process, but worth it!
New Owners' Problem Solver And Information Collection

Please also start saving up weekly for a vet fund, so you can seek vet care whenever necessary. Guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly and emergencies/major illness NEVER happens at a convenient time. Vet care can quickly run into the hundreds of pounds/dollars. This is an important aspect of responsible ownership that many new owners are not aware of. There aren't any cheap pets, unfortunately.
 

Walky

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Thank you all so much for your replies. Your hospitality makes me really happy.
I`m trying my very best to help Porca. I got rid of the rock and bought a toy for her to chew, also bought hay (alfafa) for her, and a new drinking thingy to put in her cage. The cage itself is rather small, it`s 30x20cm, but It is always open to the area i`ve prepared for her. I`m saving money for a bigger cage, which is more expensive than I tought it would be, so that`ll have to wait. Today I took a Pringle`s can and prepared a tunnel for her to play, I really hope she likes it.
I will take Sport_Billy`s advice and take it very slow, leaving her alone and in peace for some time until she calms down and gets used to the environment noises and smells. I`ve covered the cage with a towel so she gets more privacy and feels safer. I`ve put the food right outside the door for easy access, andthe hay is inside the cage, along with the chewing toy.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you all so much for your replies. Your hospitality makes me really happy.
I`m trying my very best to help Porca. I got rid of the rock and bought a toy for her to chew, also bought hay (alfafa) for her, and a new drinking thingy to put in her cage. The cage itself is rather small, it`s 30x20cm, but It is always open to the area i`ve prepared for her. I`m saving money for a bigger cage, which is more expensive than I tought it would be, so that`ll have to wait. Today I took a Pringle`s can and prepared a tunnel for her to play, I really hope she likes it.
I will take Sport_Billy`s advice and take it very slow, leaving her alone and in peace for some time until she calms down and gets used to the environment noises and smells. I`ve covered the cage with a towel so she gets more privacy and feels safer. I`ve put the food right outside the door for easy access, andthe hay is inside the cage, along with the chewing toy.
I am sure that you are working towards making Porca's life better. Have you considered looking for second-hand rabbit cages on your local free-ads? You may be able to connect two smaller cages to get 2x4 ft floor space that way or even find a properly sized cage!
Hot water and white vinegar and then a disinfect with some elbow grease will return most cages into a decent state!

Please take the time to read this guide here (with pictures): Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
 

Piggy mum

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Hi and welcome.
You have been cruel to porcha so she will be crying and struggle to interact with you, but it is good you have seen the error in your ways and are willing to change.

My pigs ran and hid from me for months after I got them. I found hand feeding them was the best way to get them to trust me as they associated me with getting fed!

I hope you can find a friend for porcha and can give her the time and patience she needs- she will reward you with being a loving and gentle pet in time.
 

Hoppity.K

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Hi and welcome to our friendly forum. I have read your thread with interest and thank you for sharing it with us. You will find that we are here to help and have Porca's best interests, health and happiness at the heart of what we recommend or suggest.
May I be bold enough to suggest that you could perhaps change your attitude too (and I mean this in the nicest possible way) It is not necessarily naughty for a guinea pig to get on top of food recepticle & make a mess. It's fun for them, so please don't yell. Also why would you scare her on purpose... did she scream? Mine would run away & hide although I do everything to prevent mine from being scared.
Guinea pigs tend to be soft and squashy to the touch they're not tough & are very delicate little animals to feel, so a light touch is needed. Could you not feel this when petting her and so adjust your touch accordingly? Instead of petting too hard & hurting/squeezing her? Finally I must end with this, you say you want Porca to like you but do you like her? I mean love her? I've loved all my guinea pigs past and present. They're wonderful little animals that appreciate love, gentleness and kind interaction. Xx
 

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Thank you all so much for your replies. Your hospitality makes me really happy.
I`m trying my very best to help Porca. I got rid of the rock and bought a toy for her to chew, also bought hay (alfafa) for her, and a new drinking thingy to put in her cage. The cage itself is rather small, it`s 30x20cm, but It is always open to the area i`ve prepared for her. I`m saving money for a bigger cage, which is more expensive than I tought it would be, so that`ll have to wait. Today I took a Pringle`s can and prepared a tunnel for her to play, I really hope she likes it.
I will take Sport_Billy`s advice and take it very slow, leaving her alone and in peace for some time until she calms down and gets used to the environment noises and smells. I`ve covered the cage with a towel so she gets more privacy and feels safer. I`ve put the food right outside the door for easy access, andthe hay is inside the cage, along with the chewing toy.
Thanks for your reply.

Well done on getting her some lovely hay, please before anything else find a new cage check second hand cages online etc.... A minimum for a single pig is 100cm. 30cm is so tiny. Please do not get a friend until you have a 120cm cage.
Can you take a photo of the cage you have and the area around it. It is away from your dog isn't it? And thank you for wanting to make Porcha life a happy one.
 

eileen

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It is probably difficult to find correct information in your home country.so you are learning as you go along.the guides you have been given are excellent ,take your time to read them as it will improve Porchas life immensaly.if you are unable to get guinea pig pellets,you just need to be aware guinea pigs must have vitamin c in there diet,veg like bell peppers,spring greens, brocoli florets corriander are just some of the vegetables with vit c content.congratulations on having the courage to ask/seek help.please ask any questions you need to ask ..
 

Wiebke

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It is probably difficult to find correct information in your home country.so you are learning as you go along.the guides you have been given are excellent ,take your time to read them as it will improve Porchas life immensaly.if you are unable to get guinea pig pellets,you just need to be aware guinea pigs must have vitamin c in there diet,veg like bell peppers,spring greens, brocoli florets corriander are just some of the vegetables with vit c content.congratulations on having the courage to ask/seek help.please ask any questions you need to ask ..
You can get by without pellets, as long Porcha has unlimited hay (should make 80% of the daily food intake) and daily veg high in vitamin C like pepper, fresh herbs like coriander/cilantro or parsley, together with a bit of cucumber, celery and a green bean. A little bit of greens (mild cabbage), broccoli or kale every 2-3 days can also help.
Here is a picture of our recommended daily diet, which contains pepper, fresh coriander/cilantro herb, celery, cucumber, romaine or gem lettuce and a slice of greens.


Please NEVER punish and be rough with an animal that will not understand why you are doing this for behaviour that is natural to her and will only learn to fear and hate you as a result. Love and trust can only grow with positive reinforcement, never with violence. Praise her lavishly for what she does well; handle her gently if you have to handle her and make her come to you for food first.
Learn to understand what makes her tick, so you can then put any problems into a frame that she instinctively understands (piggy whispering). Guinea pigs have a different society with different rules. She does not understand human rules and cannot make the connection between doing something that displeases and your punishment. It is as simple as that.
 
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Hi @Walky and welcome here,:nod:
I am sending this message to you making an exception: I hardly ever come here on this forum and I stopped leaving any comment, I do this now because I see your thread was read a hundred times but it still has too few replies. My gut suggests to me that you are not a stupid troll, but you are an honest guy who did not make mistakes for harming his pet, but only for a sort of ignorance which luckily lasted a very short time. I am sure your Porca has got no damage and her behaviour is like that because of her personality; maybe she would be shy even in a different situation.
I suggest you to go on reading on the net; before writing and sharing info with other owners, it would be better to read earlier the precious guides you will find here and in other very good websites, for example I find interesting and very useful the website Guinea Lynx; it is in english and your english is better than mine. You will learn a lot and then you will enjoy sharing your experience here.
I have three piggies, two females of them were adopted very young and they came from a quite bad situation; they lived into a tiny cage wrapped with plastic and at home there was a dog barking at them. They are still shy, but their behaviour has improved. Don't expect to have a little dog, though!
If you like, you can send me a private message and I can show you two different cheap and easy kinds of good "cages"; cheap because you can build it by yourself as I did it. You don't need many money for the cage, the bedding, the food and the hay; there are good ways for breeding a group of piggies in the BEST and healthiest way spending few money. You only need to spend your TIME with them, as you also do for walking your dog, even when it is raining and you would like being at home. Pets need part of your TIME and all your intelligence, brain and knowledge. Just like children who don't need a smartphone or a pet for living happy, but they need a careful parent.

It is necessary to save money now because sooner or later your Porca will need a specialist vet and then troubles will arrive if you have no saving. I did NOT feel upset reading your thread, I feel angry reading about stupid teenagers crying on forums because they have no money for calling a taxi and running to the vet with their poor piggie :bal:(but they have the Smartphone, expensive shoes, junk food at home, and so on...).
If you like you can write to me privately, otherwise I hope you will enjoy chatting here with good people and I hope you can find also some very good friend as it happened to me.
You will become the best piggie owner, no doubt!:tu:
(if you are a honest guy, I expect you will show us the picture of Porca and her absurd cage 20x30cm which can be useful in the future as a pet carrier, not for spending the day)
bye
Oriana
 

Walky

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I'm currently traveling, so as soon as i get home, i'll take pictures of her and her cage. No, she's not alone, my sister is taking care of her food and water. I'm constantly texting her so she doesnt forget to take care of Porca.
I've tried posting a 1minute video yesterday, but it said the file was too big and I gave up, so i'll be uploading an old photo i have on my phone of Porca and my dog Saphira. It's the only one I have right now, it's from one day after I got her. Its just so you guys actually believe Porca is real and stop calling me a troll lolIMG_20171208_205853474.jpg
 

Walky

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Thanks for your reply.

Well done on getting her some lovely hay, please before anything else find a new cage check second hand cages online etc.... A minimum for a single pig is 100cm. 30cm is so tiny. Please do not get a friend until you have a 120cm cage.
Can you take a photo of the cage you have and the area around it. It is away from your dog isn't it? And thank you for wanting to make Porcha life a happy one.
Yes, I'm aware the cage is small, but it's always open to an area I've prepared for her, with a towel as bedding and some sawdust on a corner for her "bathroom". The whole area is about 100x50cm, so she is free to roam it when she wants. The cage itself is covered with an towel, so it's acting kinda like a little house, a hideout for her. She is staying in my room, so she's away from the dog. I'll not be home this weekend, so she'll have peace and tranquility.
Which just sparkled a doubt in my head.. Do guinea pigs needs light sources? Like, should I tell my sister (who is taking care of Porca while i'm away) to open the windows and curtains of my room for light to enter? Or is it okay to let Porca on the dark for the weekend?
 
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would you leave your dog for the weekend into a dark room?
Porca is an alive animal just like your beautiful Saphira.
 

Walky

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I'm home, and i took some pictures of Porca's play area. ^^
The cage is her shelter, and the whole area is open for her to roam as she wants. The cage door is never closed.
I've noticed that Porca is way more 'at home' than before. I got home today and I'm already seeing her getting out of the cage on her on, and playing around with the Pringle's can, exploring the area, and I think, I THINK, I saw her popcorning. I dunno, might be, might not be, she was walking around randomly, and all of a sudden, she twicthes twice, like a little jump.
She's not running away from me when I approach the cage, she's actually getting closer to me. But, however, she still runs straight to the cage if I make a sudden move when she's out. But hey, progress \o/
I don't know if that means anything, but she was licking my fingers when I've put her on my lap. Is this a sign of affection? Or is she getting to know my smell and flavour?

IMG_20171220_011153120_HDR.jpg

IMG_20171220_011200341.jpg

IMG_20171220_011214908.jpg

IMG_20171220_011228169.jpg

Guys, I want to thank you all for your help and understanding of my situation! I'm really glad I took the courage to come here :D
 

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Hi. You seem to be trying hard to do right by Porca, so please take these comments as help and not as criticism.
In the picture it looks like the area is on top of a table or something. If this is the case then you really should have a barrier to stop her falling off. Guinea pigs have very small legs and their bones can break easily even with a small fall. The other thing is the Pringles can. She is very small, but still growing fast, and one day she could get stuck inside it, which would be very frightening and dangerous.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to update us.
It really sounds like Porca is feeling happier and starting to trust you.
She is clearly a guinea pig with a very big heart.

You might find that she will be more likely to use the green tray if you put a box over the top, and some hay inside.
My lot have a similar tray and if I fill it with hay and cover it a bit they will use it to go to the toilet a lot of the time which makes cleaning them easier.
I can see you are trying really hard to take good care of her, so well done for having the courage to change.
 

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Oh - I meant to say...what you described is very definitely a popcorn. Look forward to seeing more of them as she learns to trust you more.
 

Walky

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Thank you for taking the time to update us.
It really sounds like Porca is feeling happier and starting to trust you.
She is clearly a guinea pig with a very big heart.

You might find that she will be more likely to use the green tray if you put a box over the top, and some hay inside.
My lot have a similar tray and if I fill it with hay and cover it a bit they will use it to go to the toilet a lot of the time which makes cleaning them easier.
I can see you are trying really hard to take good care of her, so well done for having the courage to change.
Thanks, I haven`t thought of that. I actually never saw her going in the tray on her on. I`m gonna follow your advice ^^
 
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