Make My Guinea Pigs Trust Me?

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CavyIris

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Hello!
I'm just wondering if its normal that my guinea pigs still dont trust me after about three weeks?
They dont come up to me or accept their favourite foods from my hand. And they never come out when I'm by their cage.

And i would also LOVE some tips on how to bond with them more, (two females, about 9 weeks old)

Thank you :3
 

flowerfairy

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Hello. This may be useful;

How To Understand Guinea Pig Instincts And Speak Piggy Body Language

They are such sensitive little creatures. Its great that you have two (I also have two) as they love companionship. Mine are six months old and I have also had them about three weeks.

I will tell you what I do and why. I am not an expert. I have kept animals all my life from the age of four (obviously my parents helped then) until now (I am in my 50s) so I am experienced.

I gave them a cage with a lot of hiding places including a large 32l underbed storage box FULL of hay.
I left them alone for three days before getting them out for lap time. They froze. I gave them three lap times (one a day) before deciding that they needed a place to hide. It is now sitting on the sofa in a hiding place next to me time.

Jingle is all brave and Mistletoe is hiding!



I always talk softly to them as I enter their room. I tell them how lovely they are and ask if they would like yummies. I have always opened their cage door and offered food to them. I put it by them and withdraw my hand leaving the door open and talking softly.

Jingle will now take food from my hand (whizzing with it into her hiding place). Mistletoe prefers to wait for my hand to go then takes the food. Both will eat with the door open and me still standing talking to them.

I want them to associate me with yummies and I want to try to take it at their pace so that they become relaxed with me.
 
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Critter

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Hiya, echoing Flowerfairy :)

Three weeks is normal for them to still be nervous, it can take less but usually it takes some time, more weeks and may even take a few months. I had one that wouldn't trust me for the best part of a year and then all at once she decided she liked me and that was that! But that's perhaps unusual. Three weeks is nothing to be concerned about.

They need to associate you with nice things, so doing what you are doing with trying to tempt them with food is the way to carry on.
They will begin that association even if it takes them a while to come right up to your hand. Teaching them to recognise a few words or voice tones can help too. When I give them food I always include one word "treat". I say it a bit how they 'wheek' (I don't know if you've come across that term).
It doesn't have to be that way of course, some people shake the food container, some say 'nom-noms'... but the trick is teach them a simple language - association of sounds for meanings, but only for a few.
For the benefit of my easily spooked piggies I say the words "only me, only me", in a soft tone, one that sounds different to my normal tone of speech, and I say this when I am about to move near them. They don't have keen eyesight so it helps them to know that it's the 'big friendly thing' entering their field of view, and not some big predator instead. They know when I use that phrase that is really is 'only me' and so can relax.

When they become brave and start to be out in the open more, and/or don't back off when you approach I find it can help to reward them by doing..... nothing. It may not sound like a reward but it's good for them to learn that they can be out in the open and nothing will happen to them.

No-one can tell you how long it will take. Some have stronger prey instincts than others, but they'll get there, and when they do it will be rewarding :)
 

Wiebke

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Give it time! Trust is a tender plant that is slow to grow. Be patient and persistent and try to work with their instincts and body language as much as possible. Avoid to act like a predator as much as possible and create a firm schedule with daily rituals so your piggies can learn to anticipate. Be lavish with praise.
It is generally a bit one step forward and two steps back at this early stage, but if you just ak off the pressure when you have pushed a bit too far and then start at the beginning again, you will realise that they come round quicker after each time. At some point there comes the realisation that your piggies really trust you. It is a very special moment that it makes all worth!

@flowerfairy has already given you the link with our piggy whispering tricks
Here are more tips: How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?
 

piggieminder

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You've had lots of really good advice which I can't really add to, the tips in the threads really do help. 3 weeks isn't very long and every piggie is different. Please don't be too disappointed if one or both stay shy. I've got one boar who is very very timid with humans, I've had him and his cage mate for over two years and this is just his nature. I'll never give up hoping and trying to make him happier with being handled and having people around his cage but have to accept his nervous behaviour is his character. I had a break through though tonight, I walked past the cage and he was lying out in the open and he didn't run and hide. Some guineas take lots of patience and you are doing really well after only 3 weeks. Good luck I would love to hear up dates as to how you are getting on.
 

Lorcan

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I can't add much more than than anyone else except that I've had two boars for about 4 months now. One trusts me, the other doesn't. I've done nothing with him that I haven't with the first, it's just how he is. And that's okay, it's just gonna take some more time. I have finally got him to accept blueberries by hand when he's in his run, which he'd never do before. I was so excited that day, lol.

I know it might be frustrating that things seem to take so long, but every breakthrough, even the little tiny ones, will make it all worthwhile.
 

helloitsbecca

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Hello! Like others have said, it's completely normal. I have had two boys since the end of August - one trusts me, the other doesn't, but has recently let me pet him in the cage so we are getting there. Neither like being picked up. They are all different :)
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Great advice already here, I don't think anyone has mentioned this but here goes:

My biggest break through with all my girls was to be near their cage, completely ignore them and just fiddle about with things in/around their cage. Rustling their hay or picking at a piece of newspaper. They are so naturally curious they would come over to see what I was doing.

Especially at poo pick time, they were fascinated as to why the human was collecting their poo, and what it was going to do with it.

Never make eye contact, act like you don't care if they exist and eventually they will seek you out, perhaps nibble you to see if you're friend, foe or food and more importantly they will want to be part of what you're doing :)

I don't think that's on any of the guides here, just something I've found to be useful personally. I still do it even though my piggies trust me, it's fun to see the bemusement on their faces as they watch that funny human do human things.
 
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