What Else Can I Do? Human Needs Support As Is Being Neglected By Her Pigs.

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paulalovespiggies

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Hi everyone.

I really need some help with my 2 guinea pigs - 2 boars, they are healthy and as far as I can tell, happy. These are the first piggies I've ever kept. I've had them for 18 months and I got them from a pet shop together at the same time, no previous owners. I guess they are about 20 months old.

Here's why I need help.

I have tried so hard to get them accustomed to me but even now, they have no interest in being petted or interacting and unless I have food there's no point because they won't come near me. It really makes me feel sad because I do love them and hate that they dislike any interaction, it makes me not want to do anything with them because I don't see the point when they hate it so much. I've tried talking to them, singing to them, just sitting with them quietly while they have floor time, rewarding brave behaviour with treats, having them on my knee together or separately and petting them, having them on my knee not petting them, lifting them, not lifting them and letting them climb into a tunnel to be picked up, picking them up covered by a towel, holding them covered by a towel. I started off being super gentle with them and coaxing them all the time, now I am much more direct because I don't always have 30 minutes to wait on them coming out of their hidey to get floor time etc.

I know healthwise they are fine, both engaged and popcorn every night when I put them back in their cage (!). There's nothing in their environment that would scare them, we have a quiet household with no other pets. I just feel like a poop cleaner at the minute and I've got to the point where I get no enjoyment from looking after them. I would never rehome them because I know I look after them well and I just wouldn't trust anyone else to take care of them. But what do I do? I don't want to just go in, put them out for floor time, clean their cage and then put them back in the cage... That's pretty much what I do at the moment because it's just not worth chasing them to hold them for a moment before they freak out, wriggle away or start nipping to be put down. I read other people's posts and I'm so jealous! Piggies that like being petted, that wheek when you're coming into the room! And mine hate me, LOL! (I know they don't really but you get why I feel that way). I have the patience of a saint and I'm willing to try anything... But I'm out of ideas. The list before is not exhaustive but it's everything I've tried off the top of my head. Any takers?
 

Coco&Luna

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I had a good laugh at this. You sound exactly like me years ago when I first got piggies. It's just their personalities. They don't hate you I promise. Some piggies are just much more timid than others. I have had pigs that scream the place down because they get so excited to see me, but currently, one of my girls who I've had for 6 years still freezes or bolts when I go anywhere near her and acts as if I'm carrying a deadly disease if she sees my hand coming towards her. Haha. But I love her to death, once you accept their personalities for what they are you'll feel better. They are prey animals after all, and they are just following instinct. :)
 

A&T

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Are they okay once you've picked them up and got them out?

Amber HATES being picked up, and runs around her cage to try and escape capture, but after she's been out for a few minuets she's fine. I agree with coco&Luna though some guinea pigs are more timid than others really.
 

AuntyC

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They sound happy, but just the sort that are not contact-friendly. Piggies do vary in personality as you have seen on the forum. Some actively welcome snuggling up with their owners and some seem to avoid it at all costs. They might mellow as they get older, but can't promise that they will! Enjoy watching them playing and interacting, you are caring for them and giving them your love and time and that will make them content. Hope you persevere and can make some progress with them xx
 

The Furry Godmother

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It's just their personality, evidently not cuddle pigs. My Frank has never been one for cuddles, he used to just accept it or eventually sleep. That said Frank allows himself to be picked up. The other two don't!

Pax, ha, well... Yeah he's not a 'cuddle' me pig... He's a let me sit/lay on you kinda pig, but stroking doesn't amuse him.

Bert is however a cuddle pig, he likes a fuss, he likes a cuddle, he'll just casually flop out and sleep on you, & he loves a chin rub.

So yeah I agree with the others it's probably just their personality, they just aren't cuddle pigs. However maybe if you just leave them sit on you without the fuss they'll probably be okay and get more use to you and enjoy that more with the occasionally stroke. :)
 

helen105281

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I have a mixture too, Millie tries to take your arm off if you dare to pick her up but will come and climb half onto my lap when I sit on the floor to get her vitamin and will follow us around at medication time until she gets her heart meds. Katie doesn't do cuddles either but will literally sit on my foot and gaze up at me until she gets her vitamin and then sit there and eat it so I can't move for the next few minutes. Maybe try tempting them with things you know they like and just get them to come to you, is it possible to sit in their cage?
 

paulalovespiggies

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Coco&luna - I'm glad it's not just me! I know they are still quite young and could come round in the future.

A&T - see they don't like getting lifted but they tolerate it. I think it's because I lift them out for floor time so they know there's a chance they won't have to interact. But once I have them sitting on me etc they'll start wriggling, nipping, pulling etc and make it clear they are unhappy.

AuntyC- I can accept they aren't contact friendly... It might make me happier LOL instead of constantly thinking about how I can be more tactile with them. I am an affectionate person so it's hard for me, I just want to cuddle them cuz they are so cute!

The furry godmother - (great name) yea I think the non fuss route might be worth a go. I would love a cuddly wee piggie though! It doesn't make me love them any less, I love to see them enjoying floor time etc :)

Helen105281 - I wouldn't fit in their cage. When they have floor time I'll often sit on the floor with them or lie on the floor, sometimes they'll run past me or use me as a hiding place (one time Pig ate a bit chunk of my hair too - gross!). They come right over for food but once it's gone, straight back into their hidey (haha my phone auto corrected hidey to bidet! I'm glad I proof read!).

Everyone - thank you for your comments, it does help to know I'm not alone. It just seems all the threads I read are about cuddly pigs climbing on people, falling asleep on people etc. So I was wondering what the heck I'm doing wrong cuz I'm usually really good with animals.

I think I'm gonna try just having them on my knee and leaving them alone, not petting etc. Do you think having them on my knee at the same time or separately would make a difference?

Also, they don't particularly seem to love each other. But I dunno if they are like 2 human brothers who constantly annoy each other but that's how they show affection... Percy always humps Pig & Pig always nips at Percy, never anything serious or proper fights but just constant teasing. I get the whole domination thing, but any opinions on getting another piggie into the mix? Could it make any difference? Maybe the dynamic between the 2 isn't good for them... I dunno, I'm just thinking of anything that might work.
 

The Furry Godmother

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I would say seperately, always nice to have a bit of one on one time :)
Plus when I have the two out together, I become Berts property - well and truly marked D:! haha
 

AbiS

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Toby squealed like I was trying to chop his head off when I went to pick him up yesterday - such a big girl! But he will then settle for cuddles...briefly.

Barney does not tolerate the cuddles unless he has food - if he does not have food he will bite my hand - if I don't pay attention he will remove my hand ..... from my wrist!

We reached a happy, happy compromise and they free range in the lounge. That way they come over to say hi when they want and it really has made them more friendly. They come and try to climb up our legs and stop beside the sofa for a stroke. Saying that - we are really missing them at the moment as they are confined to their hutch/run (still in the lounge) as they have mites. They have to stay that way until the mites have been eradicated from both piggies and carpets. So we have minimal interaction at the moment. Like you, all we can do is sit by the hutch and have a chat and the odd stroke with them. Barney will sit for strokes, when Toby sees a hand approaching he thinks we are about to pull his whiskers out - squeal and run!
 

ayemee

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I've had a variety of personalities! Most pigs I've had tend to not like cuddles, except Jackson who would sit on me for ages!

When Brillo got old he would lay on my lap like a little pancake but never liked his fur being touched.

I'm still getting my new girls used to being petted and lifted. They're still not a fan.. :P
 

Goth Mummy

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Oh poor you. I have a mixture of pigs too. I have 3 pairs - Pumpkin and Boo hate to be picked up too, but they are very bold and quite demanding when freeranging or asking for food.
Hector hates interaction, acts terrified of me, and will not take food from me, never wheeks. His cage mate, Jack, is the best cuddle pig ever.
D'Hoffryn hates everyone LOL and bites! Lorne - his cage mate - is so absolutely adorable that he might as well be an Animagic or Fur-Real soft toy!
 

paulalovespiggies

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Toby squealed like I was trying to chop his head off when I went to pick him up yesterday - such a big girl! But he will then settle for cuddles...briefly.

Barney does not tolerate the cuddles unless he has food - if he does not have food he will bite my hand - if I don't pay attention he will remove my hand ..... from my wrist!

We reached a happy, happy compromise and they free range in the lounge. That way they come over to say hi when they want and it really has made them more friendly. They come and try to climb up our legs and stop beside the sofa for a stroke. Saying that - we are really missing them at the moment as they are confined to their hutch/run (still in the lounge) as they have mites. They have to stay that way until the mites have been eradicated from both piggies and carpets. So we have minimal interaction at the moment. Like you, all we can do is sit by the hutch and have a chat and the odd stroke with them. Barney will sit for strokes, when Toby sees a hand approaching he thinks we are about to pull his whiskers out - squeal and run!
Aww your poor piggies, are they ok?

See my lounge has been tried and tested and doesn't work.
1. My pigs poop and pee anywhere/everywhere so the room requires a full scale clean afterwards and I don't have the time to be cleaning out behind my sofa etc. Also there's a lot of wires etc they could get at.
2. They sit in the corners of the room and don't run about.

So I have a spare bedroom and they like to run about in there :) they are normally quite active during floor time so I know they like it :).
 

paulalovespiggies

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I've had a variety of personalities! Most pigs I've had tend to not like cuddles, except Jackson who would sit on me for ages!

When Brillo got old he would lay on my lap like a little pancake but never liked his fur being touched.

I'm still getting my new girls used to being petted and lifted. They're still not a fan.. :P
Sitting like a pancake would be awesome! Mine might mellow out in old age :) fingers crossed!
 

paulalovespiggies

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Oh poor you. I have a mixture of pigs too. I have 3 pairs - Pumpkin and Boo hate to be picked up too, but they are very bold and quite demanding when freeranging or asking for food.
Hector hates interaction, acts terrified of me, and will not take food from me, never wheeks. His cage mate, Jack, is the best cuddle pig ever.
D'Hoffryn hates everyone LOL and bites! Lorne - his cage mate - is so absolutely adorable that he might as well be an Animagic or Fur-Real soft toy!
Can I borrow Lorne for a week?! Hahaha :)
 

AbiS

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Up until recently I thought they always pee'd in places that had puppy pads. I recently found out that they do not. I have to clean the carpets this weekend and then when they are released again I will have more puppy pads than carpets on display.

As for them being ok - they have become experts in the 'stinkeye' - the looks they give us are just delightful. They were always big but they are now super-fat due to lack of zooming space! hopefully it will only be for another week or 2!
 

Coco&Luna

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You'll be fine. It's funny, I was really like you, and even though my pigs were wee wimps that would scream and run when I came anywhere near them I still somehow ended up a crazy guinea pig lady and can't imagine not having them now. They're clearly wee charmers even if they are a total wuss. Haha ;)
 

paulalovespiggies

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Up until recently I thought they always pee'd in places that had puppy pads. I recently found out that they do not. I have to clean the carpets this weekend and then when they are released again I will have more puppy pads than carpets on display.

As for them being ok - they have become experts in the 'stinkeye' - the looks they give us are just delightful. They were always big but they are now super-fat due to lack of zooming space! hopefully it will only be for another week or 2!
Hahaha I thought it was just my pigs who did that, they always give me the stinkeye, but in Ireland we call it giving a dirty look... I prefer stinkeye, that expression makes me laugh! it's usually when I come by their cage without food... Lol.
 

paulalovespiggies

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You'll be fine. It's funny, I was really like you, and even though my pigs were wee wimps that would scream and run when I came anywhere near them I still somehow ended up a crazy guinea pig lady and can't imagine not having them now. They're clearly wee charmers even if they are a total wuss. Haha ;)
Yea I do love them completely, it's probably a good thing they aren't affectionate as I might start bringing them about in my handbag hahaha!
 

Goth Mummy

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Can I borrow Lorne for a week?! Hahaha :)
ha ha! He really is the perfect pig. He is very unusual though, not many are a chilled and human-focused as him.
Its taken Jack nearly 2 years to become bold enough for nose-rubs in the cage and to positively seek me out during floor time. He would just run away before, even though I had him from 18 months old. I do think they mellow with age though.
 
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