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Puppy Introduction

Becca x

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
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#1
In a couple of weeks we’re getting a Labrador puppy and I was looking for some advice on how to introduce her to our two guinea pigs.

I’ve tried searching for a similar thread but just came up with 10 pages of puppy pad posts!

To be clear - she will never be ‘loose’ with them. It’s mainly that I would like them to tolerate each other from a distance.

The pigs live outdoors most of the year in a large secure wooden hutch. In the cold weather they live inside in a cage upstairs.

Friends’ dogs have visited the garden before (with the pigs in their hutch) and the pigs haven’t been bothered initially. But when they move fast it’s surprised the dogs, they jump and then the pigs dash into a pigloo. I’d like to minimise all that as much as possible - whilst the puppy is little and the least scary she’s ever going to be to them.

Especially as one pig doesn’t seem to have any concept of danger! I occasionally catch her nose to nose with neighbourhood cats through the hutch wire 🙈

Does anybody have any experience of the best way to handle it?
 

Fozzy44

Junior Guinea Pig
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Nov 29, 2018
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North West, UK
#2
I can’t really give you any advice to be honest. I’ve just moved back in with my mum, the pigs are in a large hutch outside. My mum has a lab puppy and he adores the pigs! If you open the back door he’ll be straight out to the pigs hutch, nose to nose with them through the bars. When they’re out in the run in the kitchen he’ll lie down next to the run wagging his tail. If they’re out on my lap he’ll sit nicely on the floor next to the chair with his head at the side of my leg so he can see them. He’s very good with them considering he’s so young, occasionally he gets a bit too excited and startles the pigs. I think he sees them as miniature friends haha! The pigs are really bothered by him. Loki comes to the bars whenever he hears the back door open in the hopes of a little meeting with the pup
 

cicmic

Junior Guinea Pig
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Sep 5, 2018
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Serbia, Belgrade
#5
I have a 14 year old dog (mixed breed, but looks exaclty like a hovawart - so a big dog) who has met my first guinea pig when she was a year old. When she just met first pig she had moments of jumping around him and running, which was very scary. She saw him as a puppy and wanted to play which is not suitable. There was an occasion where she stepped on him after jumping around, but lightly and didn't hurt him thankfully, but it was very scary to see. When she got older and calmer around pigs (otherwise she was crazy active dog) that's when she would lay next to them and just observe. They would be free in the garden and she would be calm and not touch them or come over them and sniff them, but walk very carefully around them and not to step on them. She has watched over my guinea pigs while they would graze on the grass in the garden for hours. To this day she adores the pigs, and is very gentle with them. However, I don't recommend having dog loose with your pigs ever, it just worked really well with that dog as she's naturally very sweet. 5 yeras ago I got other dog who I never trusted that much around pigs and that's when I stopped letting my pigs run free in the garden as well. It's just not worth the risk. My second dog is just too active and not gentle at all so I never tried bonding with pigs nor I will, though she has seen them through cages when she was young and was ok with them.

When I got a baby guinea pig, the baby chose my first dog (haven't had new one yet) over older pig. When outside she would run to the dog and lay between her paws, or even hide under her hind legs. They would sleep together like that, my dog licking the piggy until it was all wet and piggy loved it. That all changed from the guinea pig's side as the guinea pig was growing up. She didn't want anything to do with her anymore, did not mind her but never showed any interested in the dog - like any of my pigs ever did. They were never scared of her, as they got used to having her around them, not even when she sniffed them all over - they'd just continue eating or laying down as if nothing was happening.

The point is, my dog being as sweet as she is, as a pup was not to trust around piggies. After she turned 2, she was loose with pigs for hours. This continued for years and years, until I got a second dog. Never had I had one incident. But like I said it was just her nature and she learned to not run or jump around them. And my pigs were not fans of her but they weren't at all scared and didn't mind her. So though it did work for me, my dog and my pigs, I don't recommend it to try. It took me months of short sessions with the first pig till I got to that point of her not trying to treat it as another dog.

However, I don't recommend that you keep the puppy away from piggies until it grows up. It will be way easier to get the puppy used to piggies when she is a puppy. Much higher chance that she will never see them as a toy or something it may hunt. But I don't agree that she is the least scary that she is going to be as a puppy. Puppies are active, always playful and explore the world around them by biting. Those are not hard bites that hurt, but just the way they get to experience everything. As puppy grows it will learn that their teeth are not ok way of communication and it will soon stop. But it is dangerous for a pig especially if pup gets playful, as that's how dogs play, kinda fake biting. I suggest you meet them through bars/wire. It will be much easier for both your puppy and pigs to get used to each other while puppy is little. With my dog it was first contact with pig in closed cage, then slowly we progressed to her sniffing him while he's in my arms. She would try jumping on me at those times, which can be dangerous as she could scratch him with claws. After she learned not to jump while he's in my hands he could safely sit in my lap and later on ground, without her trying to jump on him or place paws on him. She was sniffing him only.

And the biggest advice, go with your gut :) As you learn your puppy's personality it will be easier to see how trusted she can be around pigs. Every puppy should be able to adapt to piggies, learn to tolerate them, and it will help to have a dog who is fine with them and also piggies who won't get scared to have one around. But especially Labs. They are very sweet and friendly.
 

cavylover2002

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
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#6
I have never let any pets around my guinea pigs-I have three dogs and a cat and I keep the pigs in their own room (which I sleep in) with the door shut so they have no contact whatsoever with the other animals of the house....
 

Becca x

Junior Guinea Pig
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Jun 27, 2016
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#7
Thanks 😊 the puppy will only ever have contact with the pigs through the hutch bars, it’s purely when the puppy is in the garden and sees the pigs in their hutch. I can’t avoid contact completely. I guess it’ll just be a case of letting her see them in their cage and seeing how she reacts, then go from there.
 

Fozzy44

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
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Location
North West, UK
#8
The dog is never left unattended with the pigs, they usually only meet through the bars of the hutch/run. He’s very gentle and just wants to be friends with them. It’s quite sweet really. My German Shepard I had growing up thought my rabbit was her baby or something, she’d stick her head in the hutch and wash him! The bun was quite happy to just chill out while the dog gave him a bath haha!
I think really you just have to see how the dog and pigs react to each other and watch them for any signs of being nervous/scared or over excited. Every animal, like every person, will react differently. Just gotta make an introduction as safe as possible and take it as it comes 😊
 
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