Picking up scared guinea pigs

Iggle piggles

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Hi, we've had our two female guinea pigs about 2 months. They're happy in their hutch in our conservatory and have a run etc. I talk to them when I feed them and clean them out but they don't like being picked up at all - it's very distressing for them.

How can I build a better relationship with them so they'll be happier with me handling them?

We wanted to bring them into the sitting room in the evenings in their playpen but I think it would be too distressing for them so we haven't done it.

Thanks x
 

Piggies&buns

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Guinea pigs generally do not like being picked up, it’s a normal prey animal response. The best thing is to herd them into a carrier such as a cat carrier, box or snugglesack. It’ll take some time but hopefully they will associate this with good things! My two hate being picked up (they’ve been with me just over two years) but they know their carrier gets them playtime, so all I have to do now is put the carrier down on the cage floor and they both just walk into it now.

The guides below will help with tips.

Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely
 

Iggle piggles

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Thank you, i never thought of a carrier. We have a small one from pets at home but it opens at the top and a bit small, I'll look at a bigger one.

Also the links, thank you, I'll have a read.

They get very excited when it's dinner time so I could try giving them that in the playpen after bringing them through in the carrier 🙂
 

Merab's Slave

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None of mine like being picked up at all.
I use a tunnel or a snuggle pouch to catch them and try to do so only when they need their weekly health check
 

string_pudding

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My two boys hate being picked up and seem to know when we need to so won't go into whatever it is we are trying to catch them in. We have now have a variety of methods that we rotate between to try and avoid them outsmarting us and have trained them to step onto the scales so they can weigh themselves...:blink:
 

Fantasimo

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Maybe I’m in the more harsh school here. But when my boys were new and little, I just picked them up anyway. They didn’t like that bit, but they liked lap time and the tasty treats that came with it. They’re 18 months old now and one of mine just trots into my hand if I put it down and the other one (who is more hands off anyway) is starting to do the same too.

But the above methods are great ideas too. Guinea pigs get scared quickly, but also recover pretty quickly too, so don’t be too worried 🙂
 

Scooter Pie

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Maybe I’m in the more harsh school here. But when my boys were new and little, I just picked them up anyway. They didn’t like that bit, but they liked lap time and the tasty treats that came with it. They’re 18 months old now and one of mine just trots into my hand if I put it down and the other one (who is more hands off anyway) is starting to do the same too.

But the above methods are great ideas too. Guinea pigs get scared quickly, but also recover pretty quickly too, so don’t be too worried 🙂
I go back and forth with doing things this way. Our pig rescue contact person recommends picking the pigs up several times a day so they get used to it, associate it with treats, and can be grabbed quickly in an emergency.

My most skittish piggie suffered a severe corneal ulceration from hay last month, and it forced me to pick her up 5x a day for treatment, for over 2 weeks (took long to heal but she did great!). Halfway through the treatment it got much easier to just scoop her up. But now it’s not as easy as I havent picked her up that many times a day regularly since she healed.

So it definitely seems to work...it just takes some time and commitment
 
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