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Was my guinea pig abused by her last owner? She is always scared of me.

randomusername0

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Hello everyone! I already have a thread going about a different problem I have, but I figured since I was already here I could bring up something that's been troubling me for a while.
If you haven't read my last thread, I have 5 guinea pigs. The oldest is about 3 years old, and the youngest we got in October.
This is about my youngest. Her name is Molly, and I believe she is an Abyssinian. Her sisters* are all normal short-hair American guinea pigs, except the second youngest (Moriarty) who is a teddy bear guinea pig.

I'm making this thread because I am very worried about her. We got her at the Petco (maybe it's PetSmart? I dont remember..) for free. Sometimes the store has unwanted guinea pigs or other rodents that people drop off there, and they're kept on a small table near the other rodents in the normal cages. We went there intending to get another water bottle, but I saw her and the employee working at the time told us that a woman walked in, dropped her on the counter, and left without a word. My heart broke, because how could someone be so cruel? They let me hold her, and when I picked her up I noticed she reeked of cigarette smoke. When the employee tried to get her out at first, it took a minute or two because she kept scrambling away from him. We decided to adopt her, and we brought her home. We, obviously, did the the proper treatment for a new guinea pig (separating them, making sure theyre not sick, slowly letting her meet the others) and it all went well.

Ever since we got her, she is extremely antsy when I (or anyone) hold her. I am as gentle as possible with her, softly petting her and sometimes even giving her blankets and talking as quiet as possible so she doesn't get spooked. But she is NOT having it. She will wiggle out of my grip, or push my arms out of the way, and immediately head towards her cage. Sometimes even going as far as to jump off furniture just to get there. Since the cage is in the corner of the room, most of the furniture is far away from it. But that doesn't stop her. She has jumped out of my lap and off the couch before just to run to her cage. She then continues to bite on the door until I open it and let her in. It makes me upset because I don't know if I'm doing something wrong and it makes me feel like I am hurting her :(
Molly is a very gentle soul, and has never been aggressive towards me or any of her sisters. She has never bit me and has never fought with them, either. No teeth chattering, growling, nothing. She just always try to escape all the time. And when I reach into the cage to try and pick her up, she runs and runs as much as possible away from my hand.

If anyone has any advice on what I could do to make her feel safe, please tell me! Is this something she will grow out of? Or will she act like this her whole life? I do think she may have been abused or mishandled by her previous owner(s), and that might be why she acts like this.

*sisters = not her actual blood sisters, but just the other guineas she lives with
 

Wheekallweek

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It may take her time to get used to having a loving owner and a nice home! Take it slowly with her and I’m sure she’ll blossom in your care :)
 

randomusername0

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It may take her time to get used to having a loving owner and a nice home! Take it slowly with her and I’m sure she’ll blossom in your care :)
Yes! I don't take her out of her cage very often, as I think she feels safer in it than out of it for now. I'm trying to take it as slow as I can, but thank you for the reply!<3
 

randomusername0

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How long have you had Molly for? It does take them a while to settle in a new place. If she has been traumatised at her old place it'll take longer. Have a look at these threads they are very good. The piggy whispering thread is particularly good.

Settling In And Making Friends With Guinea Pigs - A Guide
I've had her since late September/middle of October I believe, and thank you for the links! I'll be sure to read them!
 

squeaksandcarrots

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Penny came from a hoarder and I cannot imagine what horrible things she went through. She too was like Molly and was sooooo scared of me! But time went by, I was patient with her, and she came around. My advice is to give Molly some more time, don't rush anything :) Some piggies need more time than others to settle in. I believe she will come around, especially since you give her lots of love :luv:
 

Wiebke

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Hello everyone! I already have a thread going about a different problem I have, but I figured since I was already here I could bring up something that's been troubling me for a while.
If you haven't read my last thread, I have 5 guinea pigs. The oldest is about 3 years old, and the youngest we got in October.
This is about my youngest. Her name is Molly, and I believe she is an Abyssinian. Her sisters* are all normal short-hair American guinea pigs, except the second youngest (Moriarty) who is a teddy bear guinea pig.

I'm making this thread because I am very worried about her. We got her at the Petco (maybe it's PetSmart? I dont remember..) for free. Sometimes the store has unwanted guinea pigs or other rodents that people drop off there, and they're kept on a small table near the other rodents in the normal cages. We went there intending to get another water bottle, but I saw her and the employee working at the time told us that a woman walked in, dropped her on the counter, and left without a word. My heart broke, because how could someone be so cruel? They let me hold her, and when I picked her up I noticed she reeked of cigarette smoke. When the employee tried to get her out at first, it took a minute or two because she kept scrambling away from him. We decided to adopt her, and we brought her home. We, obviously, did the the proper treatment for a new guinea pig (separating them, making sure theyre not sick, slowly letting her meet the others) and it all went well.

Ever since we got her, she is extremely antsy when I (or anyone) hold her. I am as gentle as possible with her, softly petting her and sometimes even giving her blankets and talking as quiet as possible so she doesn't get spooked. But she is NOT having it. She will wiggle out of my grip, or push my arms out of the way, and immediately head towards her cage. Sometimes even going as far as to jump off furniture just to get there. Since the cage is in the corner of the room, most of the furniture is far away from it. But that doesn't stop her. She has jumped out of my lap and off the couch before just to run to her cage. She then continues to bite on the door until I open it and let her in. It makes me upset because I don't know if I'm doing something wrong and it makes me feel like I am hurting her :(
Molly is a very gentle soul, and has never been aggressive towards me or any of her sisters. She has never bit me and has never fought with them, either. No teeth chattering, growling, nothing. She just always try to escape all the time. And when I reach into the cage to try and pick her up, she runs and runs as much as possible away from my hand.

If anyone has any advice on what I could do to make her feel safe, please tell me! Is this something she will grow out of? Or will she act like this her whole life? I do think she may have been abused or mishandled by her previous owner(s), and that might be why she acts like this.

*sisters = not her actual blood sisters, but just the other guineas she lives with
Hi!

Please take the time to read these guides here. It is going to take some time, so be patient, but persistent. Most piggies come round eventually. Trust is a tender plant that needs to make deep roots first before it can grow and flourish.

I have adopted a number of piggies from horrible backgrounds, so I know that the tips in these guides work, if not quickly. Avoiding to coming across as a predator is key to a piggy whose prey animals are on high alert and which needs a lot of time to feel safe and secure before these instincts settle down. But it is doable.

Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig
How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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Ive always got my guinea pigs to be tame by leaving them be for the first 2 days. Making sure at night i make it pitch black in the room they are in and that they have a hidey house. Then i had them out for lap time and fed little veg treats. Has worked for all of them, they would shiver in fear at first but it worked for mine. Just have to be careful they dont make a sudden bolt for it under the nearest unit or sofa
 

Freela

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You know she didn't come from a loving home, it's likely that she hasn't been handled much and has never had a chance to develop trust with humans. The above posts on settling guinea pigs are likely to help. It will take some time, they are cautious animals naturally and she clearly has never had a reason not to be scared!
 

Piggies&buns

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Definitely read the guides. As the others have said though, it does take time. I’ve had my two boys for six months. It took a couple of months before my dominant pig gained confidence but he is now fine - he doesn’t like being picked up but that is quite normal for piggies. but it has only been in the last few weeks that my submissive pig has started to gain a bit more confidence around me
 

Merab's Slave

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Patience and gentleness really are the key, especially with a piggy who has not been cared for and possibly neglected.
She has landed on her paws with you and will come round.
When my newest 2 arrived they didn't come from a bad home, just someone who didn't really know how to care for them properly.
Little Phoebe was so skittish that the only way I could hold her was in a snuggle pouch and then only for about a minute.
It's taken 4 months for her to become a confident young lady who hates being caught and hates lap time but is quite happy for me to stroke her in the cage.
 

Bill & Ted

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Use a snuggle pouch to pick her up or move her. Whenever you are in contact with her offer hand fed treats, you could start by doing this now while she is in the cage. Be very still, make quiet small talk and slow movements. I’m sure she will come round eventually, she has probably had some rough treatment from her previous owners, poor girl x
 
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