Is it wrong to not handle a piggy?

Guineaboarpig

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I haven’t really handled my piggies. Outside of checking them over for health. I have them in the cage where they enjoy eating sleeping popcorning and all the usual piggy stuff.

When I approach cage they typically run over to me, and climb the bars a little, they know either food is coming or they want a treat. I don’t always oblige or they’d be chunky pigs. So I am regularly interacting and talking to them. One in particular is always coming over and I feel we have quite a close bond even though I’m just the giver of food and veg

But I know how handling and being picked up is stressful so just haven’t got into that routine. I see pictures of people with their pigs laid on them and whatnot. Am I missing out? Am I doing the best thing for my pigs in just letting them enjoy their own habitat without me interfering except when necessary. I see videos of piggies whining when out and looking obviously scared too
 

Piggies&buns

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Mine don’t like being handled, I therefore don’t handle them unless is absolutely have to (Health checks). Like yours, mine come running to me (it’s taken years for one of them to get to this point!), I can sit in their pen and they will wander around me etc but if I pick them up they just don’t like it. They are happy with each other, they are confident to be around me so to me, that is all I need so I don’t see why I should force them to be held when they just don’t like it!
 

Guineapigfeet

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I don’t really handle mine. I give them a quick cuddle when moving them between cage/carrier etc but I do not do ‘lap time’ or often handle them other than nail clips, grooming, weighing etc. Occasionally I’ll pick them up whilst I’m zooming friends or family who enjoy them, but it’s only a quick ‘here’s a piggy!’ as I know they are not interested in being held
 

Siikibam

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They obviously enjoy the interaction that you have with them, so I would go with that. They’re happy and you’re happy 🙂 In the first year I had my boars, I did used to lap time - though not that regularly. We used to have the occasional cuddle when they were being weighed and checked. I don’t do lap time any more, at least not ‘proper’ lap time. I have a quick cuddle when I weigh them but no more than 3 minutes. 3/4 of them enjoy a cuddle. The one preferred to sit next to us on the sofa but quite likes a short cuddle as well.

In conclusion, you are guided by your piggies and that’s the way it should be. Enjoy watching them and their antics 😆
 

Eddie & Elvis

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It sounds like you're doing the right thing to me. If they're confident and happy to interact with you but not happy to be picked up then I'd leave them be and enjoy interacting in a way they are comfortable with, just as you are doing. My boys are the same- happy to come over, put their paws on me and Elvis even hops up onto my lap sometimes but they hate being picked up and aren't afraid to tell me about it! 🤣
 

Guineapigfeet

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They obviously enjoy the interaction that you have with them, so I would go with that. They’re happy and you’re happy 🙂 In the first year I had my boars, I did used to lap time - though not that regularly. We used to have the occasional cuddle when they were being weighed and checked. I don’t do lap time any more, at least not ‘proper’ lap time. I have a quick cuddle when I weigh them but no more than 3 minutes. 3/4 of them enjoy a cuddle. The one preferred to sit next to us on the sofa but quite likes a short cuddle as well.

In conclusion, you are guided by your piggies and that’s the way it should be. Enjoy watching them and their antics 😆
3 minutes! I’m lucky if I get 10 seconds without being nipped and told to put them jolly-well down!
 

Siikibam

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3 minutes! I’m lucky if I get 10 seconds without being nipped and told to put them jolly-well down!
I count myself lucky that they don’t mind a cuddle. But I never made them into lap pigs. In fact lap time was cut after a while. One of my boys is really quite demanding when it comes to being stroked! 😆
 

AMMAH

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I think with a lot of piggies, being picked up and cuddled is more for the human than for the piggy! One of mine is very easy to catch, he just sits there but he doesn't really seem as though he's loving being held. The other one hates being picked up and runs off if it even looks slightly like I might be trying to catch her!
I mostly let them get on with their happy guinea pigs lives :D
 

Guineaboarpig

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Thank you all for your replies. It is nice when they run over even when I’m quiet and they see me rather than run away. I always wanted from the start to be guided by the wishes of my pigs. I know they are there I talk to them and enjoy watching their behaviors for sure!

One is always rumbling but living in peace with cagemate I think he just likes pretending to be a motorbike. Taking food from my hand is very natural now for a couple so I do feel they are enjoying their home life.
 

piggieminder

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I agree with all the others mine don't like being fussed and cuddled. They are okay with being handled for health checks but that's about it. Up until now none of mine have ever liked lap time. Recently a pair of my boars fell out big time and I had to handle them daily to check on and bathe their wounds. Red has decided he likes to snuggle on my lap sometimes in the evening, he snuggles down on me and goes to sleep. As soon as he fidgets I take it he wants to go back to his cage though. Last Saturday he stayed on me asleep for almost 2 hours!
 

AndreaFryer

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One of my pigs loves to lay on my lap.
He will stretch out. He loves being combed.
He will tug at my clothes when he’s had enough.
The other is not so keen so I leave him alone x
 

hrsrdr

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Sounds like you're doing the right thing! Both of mine enjoy a nice cuddle, but one of them gets very stressed out from the process of being picked up, so I cuddle her when I have to take her out while cleaning the cage.
 

alpacasqueak

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My RB Jess has been the only piggy out of 8 that absolutely loved a cuddle, grooming me and falling asleep on me (and other humans!)! Her hubby Rupert ‘came round’ to me after a couple of years, watching Jess I think, and loved a cuddle as well as strokes in the cage.
Jess in full-face groom mode there! :)) Liked cleaning in mouths, ears and noses! 🤢:D
1611240832702.jpegMy new lad Jasper quite likes humans too, but it’s a few strokes in the cage and a minute on my knee before he goes to do his own thing! Got my first licky hand groom the other day and felt mega-special!:luv:
Everyone else has hated strokes and knee time, Luigi liked when he first arrived but when he got with piggies I was dumped! :)) Him and his wife Aliona take food happily from me, clamber on me etc but despise being picked up or stroked and it was the same with my boar pair really!
I definitely go by the piggle and what they enjoy! :)
 

Merab's Slave

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Mine don’t like being handled but are quite happy to let me stroke them in the cage.
I handle them for health checks and weighing but thay about it.
The health check is a reason for a short lap time but that’s the limit for them.
Having said that they are all very good when sat on my lap
 

Kellykels

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Womble will tolerate petting in the cage in exchange for food but will soon head butt you when he's had enough. Pinto will let you pet her nose as well. Truffle is a bit skittish, when I picked her up to weigh her once she let out the most dramatic scream. It was between a 'wheek ' and a 'let me the bleep go'.
I don't tend to get them out too much. Only for the odd cuddle but mostly for weigh ins and medicine. Mine aren't cuddley pigs either.
If we get Womble out he tends to start to "vibrate" when he's had enough.
 

Little Ones

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Handling your piggies isn’t necessary as long as they trust you, which yours clearly do.
We got a piggy called BB a couple of months ago and he was absolutely terrified to even exist. After a couple of days of owning him I called up Sue from Cavy Corner and asked what we should do. He was petrified, the rescue we had got him from said they’d never even seen him eat as he only did it at night time when he was alone. They also never saw him in the day as he was hiding. Sue told us it was imperative to get him to understand he wasn’t going to be harmed as he was likely at risk of a heart attack due to his fear. She didn’t think he should have been adopted out in his state but she said some people don’t believe you can tame piggies who are so terrified. Anyway, she told us we had to get him out 10-15 times a day, even if it was only for a minute or two. She also told us not to stop as he’d regress. I thought it was a bit excessive and got him out about 8 times a day for about 5 days before I only got him out 2 or 3 times for a couple more days. I didn’t feel the need to get him out after that, he didn’t enjoy cuddles but it got him to a point where he trusts us and isn’t afraid of humans anymore. I don’t think he’s at risk of any fear related health issues now.
Since he doesn’t like being got out to sit on us, we don’t do it. He doesn’t need it anymore, he needed it at first to get over his intense fear of being alive. But once I could tell he didn’t need it anymore, and it was clear he didn’t like it, I stopped. He also learned to ask to go back in the cage after a few days and I was very respectful of that. He didn’t regress either once we stopped the handling. In fact, slowly but surely he’s continued to flourish. Once he trusted us, he was only scared of movement like us walking passed the cage. As of about a week or two ago, he’s being very brave. He’s still wary but he doesn’t run away when we walk passed which is a big step for him. This is the only thing that holds him back so it’s good to see him improving.

The only piggy I’ve ever had that loved cuddles was Little, he was like that from the first day we got him as a baby/early teen. I could get the occasional cuddle from Peanut but it wasn’t often. The rest just didn’t enjoy it. None of my piggies have ever minded sitting on me, but you can tell when they are actually enjoying themselves. I don’t think handling is necessary at all if your piggies trust you and are happy.
 

artcasper

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Mine come running... if I have food they stay.. no food they leg it lol

I weigh them each week and give them a check over.. they are not that bothered about cuddles so I leave them be.... brownie has a cuddle with the other half when she has her drugs...
 

Free Ranger

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I've never bothered with handling till George was left alone but now he has fallen for his snuggle sack (see my post in the recent 'How do you do lap time?' thread) and when the two girls arrived I was prepared just to let them go back to piggin' around together. Then of course we realised Zara wouldn't live with him so he still had little physical contact and I kept up his lap time but not so much... maybe once or twice a week. I think it's helped George not to be so frightened of me and bear in mind he'd already lived here for a couple of years without getting eaten or anything!

Saying that even before the regular handling I used to sit with the piggies in their bit or in the garden and give them a 'snack' while I had mine. All the pigs I've had have been happy to come over and take veg from the hand - once they've seen the others do it. If I'm sitting on the floor crunching something their interested straight away! So I suppose that it's just whatever suits you and your pigs.

One final thing. My first pet was a cat we took in and had for years. She never wanted to be picked up and never sat on a lap but she chose to sit near us and loved a stroke. The dear old fishy cat that lived next door would come over and get on your lap instead. Everybody's different!
 

Betsy

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Meg hates being picked up but is fine after that for a few minutes. Patsy is slowly beginning to trust me (only adopted her in September) and will now happily take food from my hand and is starting to be more confident around me. Betsy is a moody old cow and sometimes loves a cuddle and sometimes hates a cuddle. If she starts to buck the only way to calm her down is a cheek rub on the left cheek only NEVER the right or she gets nippy with her teeth! It still takes a good five minutes of cheeky and chinny rubs to calm her. Betsy has long hair so I have to groom her and give her a haircut every so often. Mine get laptime maybe once or twice a week if I feel that they are in need of a cuddle. Once a week is for health checks, weighing and any thing over and above that is seen as a bonus. Be guided by your piggies. If they want a cuddle they will let you know.
 
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