Taming To Handle Or Not?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Matt McCherry

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
22
Reaction score
6
Points
75
Location
Manchester, UK
Myself and my girlfriend have recently adopted two 23 week old cute girlies, Donut & Muffin. We started handling them from day one, it was rather difficult to pick them up at the start but would not take more than 30 seconds to get them into our hands. But now Donut has an extreme aversion to being touched and handled, it has become greatly difficult to handle her at all.

We've read online from various sources that handling them so soon is bad, but also quite the opposite. Any thoughts on our problems? Also, bear in mind we've only had the Guineas a week so far!
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
76,049
Reaction score
52,474
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Myself and my girlfriend have recently adopted two 23 week old cute girlies, Donut & Muffin. We started handling them from day one, it was rather difficult to pick them up at the start but would not take more than 30 seconds to get them into our hands. But now Donut has an extreme aversion to being touched and handled, it has become greatly difficult to handle her at all.

We've read online from various sources that handling them so soon is bad, but also quite the opposite. Any thoughts on our problems? Also, bear in mind we've only had the Guineas a week so far!
Generally, it is better to let your guinea pigs get their bearings first and wait until they are out and about and ideally trust you enough to pick food from your fingers. The approach depends on whether you prefer to give your pets their own say in your more interactive relationship or whether you want to dominate it from the human perspective right from the start.

You may find this guide here helpful to understand what is going on and how you can work past it. Your experience is common for new owners who are finding the hard way that they are dealing with a prey animal and not a ready-made pet. Ironically, your girls telling you that they do not like being handled is a sign that they have started to gain enough trust to tell you how they feel about it. ;) How To Understand Guinea Pig Instincts And Speak Piggy Body Language

We have got lots more useful information for new owners via this link here (including more tips on settling in and picking up new and nervous guinea pigs). It combines guides for the most frequently asked questions by new owners and some need-to-know aspects and useful links: " Starter Kit" Of Information Threads For New Owners

Since we have members from all over the world, we find it most helpful if you please added your country, state/province or UK county, so we can always tailor any advice and recommendation to what is really available and doable where you are. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
 

sport_billy

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Messages
52,430
Reaction score
36,110
Points
3,350
Location
Wolverhampton
Hello

Welcoem to the forum. Very early days yet.

Always good to interact with piggies in their cage at first. They feel secure in there and that will put them more at their ease. A good way is offering food from your hand and getting them to take it, even if they are in their hidey houses they can take the food and eat it feeling safe. They will associate you with food and good things.

You have done no harm by picking them up from the off, however piggies are prey animals and most hate being picked up even the tamest of guinea pig. As piggies get more confident with you they will stop playing dead (another prey reflex) and run for it which is probably what Donut is doing, so you are actually some way to gaining her trust already in her displaying this behaviour.. It can pay to use techniques like the one in the video below to take the stress out of collecting them for lap time, when on lap make sure you can feed them something nice veggie wise so they see lap time as a good thing

 

Matt McCherry

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
22
Reaction score
6
Points
75
Location
Manchester, UK
Thanks for the swift replies,

Yeah definitely early days, just wondered because of the differing information about handling in the beginning! Great thanks, I was just looking through all of those posts stickied, that technique will be great tomorrow. Got a vets visit, increasing amounts of itching coming from the both of them, so getting that checked out.

So as a preference you guys/gals would of recommended probably not picking them up straight away? Or does it not really matter all that much.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
76,049
Reaction score
52,474
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Thanks for the swift replies,

Yeah definitely early days, just wondered because of the differing information about handling in the beginning! Great thanks, I was just looking through all of those posts stickied, that technique will be great tomorrow. Got a vets visit, increasing amounts of itching coming from the both of them, so getting that checked out.

So as a preference you guys/gals would of recommended probably not picking them up straight away? Or does it not really matter all that much.
As you have already started picking up, I would continue with the help of the pick-up conveyance, but include the "anti-predator", lots-of-praise, "I want to be friends with you and have you as part of my herd" tricks and let your piggies have a say in how they feel about it. You will get a lot more communication from them if they feel that you are listening to them and are taking their concerns on board.

Increased itchiness is likely a sign of mange mites, but it can also turn out to be fungal. Please let us know; both are not uncommon in new shop or breeder bought guinea pigs.
In the case of mange mites, you will need to conduct a full three rounds course at the specified interval with a good quality ivermectin product, not some cheap but low-dosed shop stuff. Fungal requires different treatment.

If problems have shown up within 2-3 weeks of you buying your guinea pigs, you can try to reclaim vet and treatment cost from the pet shop by presenting the vet bill together with the sales receipt.
 

Matt McCherry

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
22
Reaction score
6
Points
75
Location
Manchester, UK
Yeah, got our two from pets at home from their adoption centre (they were in there after a bout of ringworm but apparently prior to going into it they had a full vet check, maybe not!).

We rang pets at home and they said they will cover it like you say, thanks for the good info! :) Hopefully it will lead to some happy piggies!
 

VickiA

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
25,717
Reaction score
36,089
Points
2,465
Location
Cheshire, England
Just wanted to say welcome. I can see you've already had fab advice from Wiebke and Sport-Billy. Good luck sorting out the itching.
 

Matt McCherry

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
22
Reaction score
6
Points
75
Location
Manchester, UK
Vets went fine, got to take them back though for 3 weeks for mite treatment! They weren't really sure if they had it but still treating them.

Just got a bit of a problem now Donut is really, really averse to being picked up. Tried cleaning out the cage today, generally been taking them out of the cage for cuddles with my girlfriend whilst she cleaned but today when I tried to pick Donut up she was squeaking and jumped out of my hand every time. So I ended up cleaning the cage in to halves whilst she cowered in the corner! We felt terrible.

We did try the techniques shown but she jumped out of the tube & house we have as soon as they started to move, not sure what we are going to do when its time for the vets again for more mite treatment...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top