Shy Guinea Pig

Macy&Penelope

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I’ve had Macy for coming on about three years. She is quite outgoing. Like most Guinea pigs, shell run if I try to pick her up but she’ll be fine immediately after. I can pet her through the cage and could basically scream (not that I do or would) and she’d be fine if not a small freeze. When I got her, I picked her up daily and she’d just sit on my desk eating veggies while I went on my computer, or would fall asleep on the makeshift hammock my blanket would make when pinned under my thighs.
She was alone for a bit before I got Penelope (about a year ago). Penelope was TERRIFIED. Only moving from the corner of the cage if Macy was with her. Because she was always so scared, I didn’t pick her up much. Now, I can’t even pet her through the bars of the cage (2x3.5 C&C). She gets scared if I stand up, sometimes even getting startled if she sees I was looking at her while drinking from her water bottle from my bed. I know that all guinea pigs are different but Penelope’s sharp little baby nails are beginning to truly grow, meaning they’ll need to be clipped soon. Due to Macy being feisty and not trusting myself, I take her to get her nails clipped. Penelope will have to be taken soon as well. She stresses when held and leaps into my hair or even starts walking to her cage (it’s RIGHT next to my bed. If I take her into the living room, she’ll hid in a corner of the couch unless Macy is near. I don’t hold her cause o hate scaring her so much. Should I go through the guilt of scaring her to hope sje gets used to me and more outgoing and hope she gets better in the long run. Or do I just minimize holding her to avoid causing stress?

Macy will run if I try to pick her up but Penelope SPRINTS. She runs if I try to touch her head from above and jumps if I try to pet her through the bars
 

Swissgreys

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No matter how long you have had your guinea pigs I find this thread is a great place to start for ones that seems really nervous:
How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?

I was also skeptical at first about piggy whispering, but I have truly seen it work wonders on various piggies at different points, and now highly recommend it:
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips

I would also say that sometimes as tough as it is, routine is the key.

Our Eddi has always been quite a happy boy at lap time, but difficult to catch.
However for the past 6 weeks we have been catching him daily at the same time (due to health issues) and I am astonished at how he simply accepts this now and doesn't run away any longer.
Of course this isn't always realistic so might not work, but doing the exact same thing at the exact same time every day (with a LOT of positive rewards) can work wonders.
 

Merab's Slave

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Can’t add to the advice @Swissgreys has given
My Phoebe was so shy and skittish at first that the only way I could catch her and hold her was in a snuggle pouch.
It took about 6 months before she stopped running away every time I came near but she has now turned into a very confident young piggy.

You could take her to the vet in a snuggle pouch if that helps her feel safe
 

Betsy

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I was also skeptical at first about piggy whispering, but I have truly seen it work wonders on various piggies at different points, and now highly recommend it:
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
I can recommend the piggy whispering techniques. The one about making a noise when approaching as predators are silent is the best tip I found. I also talk to my piggies about anything. What I bought in Sainsburys to what I had for dinner last night. They don't care as long as they get used to your voice and know you're not going to harm them. You can read them a book if you want!
 

Swissgreys

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I find they are also very tolerant when you need to rant about dull things like tax returns and paying bills.
The beauty of the guinea pigs is that they never repeat the bad words that may occasionally slip into my vocabulary...
 

Wiebke

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Create a special sing song for every regular ritual, from coming with food, picking up, poo patrol, cage clean, going home; praise and disappointment.

I know that piggy whispering sounds daft, but if you speak in their their body language and in ways that they automatically understand, then you are making instant sense to them. Waiting until they learn to make sense of you in human language takes a lot longer...

Tell them in piggy whispering that you want to be their friend; invite them to join your group and be a valued member. That will ease their worst fears. They won't become tame instantly, but they will no longer be in fear of death. And that is a huge step forward!
The less you act as a hunter, the more they trust you. The more they can make sense of their new life and anticipate what is coming, the more they will relax.
You may also find this link here illuminating: Arrival in a home from the perspective of pet shop guinea pigs
 

PiggyPoo

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How is Penelope with taking food out of your hands? I found the way to their heart was through food. I used to put mine under a blanket on my knee for a few minutes and gradually progressed from there. It took a while for them to eat on my lap but with gentle perseverance they are now very confident. It did take months for them to trust me. Xx
 
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