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Still Not Comfortable

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Tiayra

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I am at a loss of what to do with my girls. I have had my two guinea pigs for a few months now. They still have not warmed up to me... I don't know what else to do. They will eat from my hand with no problems. But they still run away from me anytime I go near their cage, dread me picking them up, and never really relax when they are near me. I have seen so many people, who have had their guinea pigs for less time than I have, and their guinea pigs trust them entirely. I don't know what to do, or if it is just me. Does anyone have any advice for me...
Nanook is th bright orange, black, and white Pig in the photo. I have had her since May 1st, 2016. So about 7 months now. She doesn't run away from me as much as Nymeria does when I go to pick them up. She also never really makes any sounds. But she does always seem to be very protective/dominate over me when I hold the two of them together. She doesn't lik Nymeria trying to climb on me or anything. She has no problem eating from my hand. But she does hide every single time I enter the room. (Their cage is in our bedroom with us.)
Nymeria is the fluffy guinea pig with a dull orange, gray, and white coat. I have had her for a little less time than Nanook. I got her on July 7th, 2016. So about 5 months. She is the most vocal. She screeches every time I pick her up. And I mean it's not like I dive bomb my hands in their cage and just scare them. I slowly walk up to their cage, slowly put my hands in, and slowly try to pick them up. She also has no problem at all eating from my hands. She makes happy sounds sometimes when I pet her.
I really want my pigs to trust me... I have no idea what I am doing wrong to make them not like me or not trust me. I really hope that this won't be permanent. (It's not like I will give them away if it is.) I love my girls with every inch of my heart. Does anyone have any advice at all...

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Tiamolly123

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I don't think it's unique to you. My piggies, loved being stroked, except for one. Love lap & run time.
But getting them out of their cage in a nightmare, we just grab them when they are running away.
One of the things that helps is put a couple of snuggle sacks in their cage, wait till they climb in then lift the sack out with piggy inside.
Adelle makes them on this forum very reasonable price.
 

sport_billy

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@Tiayra

Sorry to hear you are feeling at a loss. To be honest, most of us have been feeling how you are at some point or another with our piggies.

First of all, it is excellent they eat from your hand - it shows there is a bond there and you have gained their trust.

Piggies are prey animals and hate being picked up, there are a few exceptions but most will run like the wind as soon as you go to pick them up (think of you as a big eagle coming from the sky to grab them, picking them up is against all their instincts of a prey animal) One of our first piggies used to run like crazy crashing into things, her heart would be pounding so fast I hated doing it, then I found the technique below in the video

Using food when you get round to lap times also is a good idea. Start lap time for a short amount of time at first and build up. We started off we laptimes for 1 minute with new piggies then pop them back, slowly increasing the time. They will soon associate you with food and good things but at first it takes a while to gain their trust

Your piggies are gorgeous by the way
 

piggieminder

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I've had my guinea pigs for two years and they still run away, don't like being picked up and one hates lap time and being handled at all. They both eat from my hand and come to me when I call their names. They now let me stroke them in the cage without running away as long as I move very slowly and talk very quietly. I move them from the cage in a hidey, they have a routine of touching base with the back corners of the cage, going up the ramp round the loft and back down the ramp, as long as I don't interfere with their routine they will then jump into the hidey. These small furries need a lot of patience, some a lot more than others! You are doing well to have them eat from your hand after a few months, you are not doing anything wrong.
 

Cittycat

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I'm a relatively new piggy owner, but I just want to say I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. I also want to say I know how disappointing it is when your guinea pigs bolt every time you approach them. I had this idyllic picture in my head when I got my first two guinea pigs of lots of cuddles at laptime, but reality has been rather different.

I’ve had my girls for 15 months now and I think they might just be starting to warm up to me. They come when I call them, take food from me/climb all over me to get food, and rarely run for cover when they’re in their cage (only if I accidently spook them).

I’d say since Christmas they’ve started accepting being touched a little bit more and I have tentative hopes they might actually be getting a bit more used to being handled. (I can scoop them up without them acting like I’m trying to kill them now anyway.)

So I know it doesn’t help right this second, but I do believe Nanook and Nymeria are already starting to trust you and that will only grow as time goes by. It definitely takes a lot of patience (I remember how discouraged I was when I thought mine hated me!), but when you see the little steps being made it’s so exciting and rewarding, it was for me anyway.

I think there’s a bit of a misconception when it comes to how easy guinea pigs are to tame to be honest – I was definitely suckered into it anyway! They’re one of the most challenging pets I’ve ever owned when it comes to gaining their trust, but I think that makes them one of the most rewarding too when they do warm up to you.

Good luck!
 

Red Star

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I too think it might be a little bit just their personality. The first guinea pigs I ever had were two girls that I got in high school way back when, and they would eat from my hand, but... They would always always run from me, no matter what, for their entire lives, actually. I don't think they ever warmed up to me as much as some piggies do! They dreaded being picked up, though once we picked them up they seemed calm enough and happy to eat while in our lap and stuff, but they were so easily spooked, for forever.

Then I adopted Agent Nibbles, expecting the same thing, but...he actually warmed up to me very quickly! Now granted, he was an adopted piggy, and not from a petstore like my first two--in addition, he'd been with a family previously, so he was much more used to being handled than my previous piggies. He has no qualms about being picked up, though I wouldn't exactly say that he loves it or anything. Just doesn't run when I do so.

I doubt it's anything you're doing wrong! It's all a matter of patience, and consistency with handling them, and all that sort of thing.

Good luck!
 
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