Your guinea pig is a free spirit. He loves to run around and play all day.
But how to train a guinea pig? Can you teach him tricks?
You’ll find the best guinea pig training tips and tricks in this article.
Be patient while training your guinea pig, as it will need time to feel safe around you. Hand-feed it, speak to it calmly, and do not make sudden movements. Feed it a treat when it does something right. Keep your training sessions short but frequent.
Can guinea pigs be litter box trained? And how many tricks can they learn?
To start litter box training your guinea pig and teaching him a bunch of other tricks, follow the tips up next in this article.
Table of Contents
Litter Box Training
Guinea pig poop is not as messy as other pet animal waste, but that doesn’t mean you’re willing to have your living room floor littered with the stuff.
Can you toilet-train guinea pigs?
Yes, you can! To teach you how to potty train your guinea pig, we’ve laid out the best instructions and this handy list of tools.
Grab hold of everything listed below, and then meet us at step 1.
You will need the following:
- A litter box
- A few treats
- Extra bedding
- Guinea pig food
Step #1 Find Their Favorite Spot
Here’s our first step on how to train a guinea pig to use a litter box.
Guinea pigs usually urinate in the same place over and over again. So, the first thing to do is to locate their favorite spot to squat when mother nature calls.
Step #2 Put a Litter Box In That Spot
To teach your guinea pig to use the litter box, put it in their favorite squatting spot. The smell will already be there, so your guinea pig will be more inclined to continue using this area.
Step #3 Make the Spot Dark
Litter training your guinea pig will be easier if you make the spot where he likes to urinate feel safer. One way to do this is to make this area darker than the rest of their surroundings.
Darkness is important because guinea pigs instinctively hide from predators, and dark places are usually safe for them. They will feel more at ease doing their business when they are in a dark area where nothing will make them feel threatened.
Step #4 Put Their Food In the Spot
Your guinea pig will like to eat, poop, and urinate all in the same spot. (Not our idea of the perfect home, but each to their own).
So, to make your guinea pig feel more comfortable, put his food in that same spot.
Step #5 Put More Bedding In the Spot
Adding more bedding to the spot where your guinea pig likes to urinate is also a good way of encouraging him to continue using the spot. The darker and cozier the spot is, the more inclined he will be to use it.
Step #6 Give Small Treats
To litter train your guinea pig, you will be more successful if you use positive reinforcement. That means giving your guinea pig a treat after he uses the litter box.
If your guinea pig does not use the litter box, do not scold him, as he will not understand why you are upset with him. Rather, stay alert to signs that he is about to urinate and transport him to his litter box before he does.
The telltale signs that your guinea pig is about to urinate include scratching and backing up. If you see him doing any of those things, make a beeline for him to the litter box.
Tame Guinea Pig
Everyone wants a tame guinea pig. The type that stays in your arms and wants to be in your company.
Can you train a guinea pig to be more tame?
You definitely can!
Are guinea pigs easy to train?
To train your pet, you must be patient with him and feed him treats often. Teaching your guinea pig to feel relaxed around you will require persistence.
We’re going to go through some of the steps you must follow to tame your guinea pig. But before we get into the instructions, here are all the tools you’ll need for your training sessions.
Gather the goods, and let’s get taming!
You will need the following:
- Some of your guinea pig’s favorite treats
- Some of his favorite veggies
- A blanket
Step #1 Talk to Your Guinea Pig
To help your little pet get used to you, it is important you talk to him. That way, he’ll get to know the sound of your voice and will begin feeling more comfortable in your presence.
Each time you walk past your guinea pig’s cage, talk to him in a calm voice.
Step #2 Let Him Sniff You
To train your guinea pig to feel more comfortable around you, he will also need to get used to your smell.
So he can get used to your scent, stick your hand slowly into his cage. Allow your pet to sniff your hand.
He might feel a little shy and may not trust you to begin with, but do this every day, and he will soon become more inquisitive and approach you.
Step #3 Hand-Feed Him
There’s no quicker way to make friends with your pet and train your guinea pig to feel at ease in your presence than by hand-feeding him. Each day, approach your guinea pig’s cage calmly to give him some veggies to eat.
Hold the veggies in your hand and keep them a couple of inches from your guinea pig’s nose. The smell of his favorite treats will soon have him waddling over for a bite.
Step #4 Pick Him Up
Training guinea pigs to feel safe around their owners requires patience. Handling them frequently, not just at the weekends, is a good way for them to get used to you.
Handle your guinea pig every day. Take him out of his cage and cuddle him in your lap or as you hold him against your chest.
Talk to him in a low, calm voice while you hold him. Start with short cuddling sessions until he feels more comfortable.
After picking him up, give him a treat.
If your guinea pig pushes away from you when you try to pick him up, don’t feel discouraged. If you are consistent, he will get used to you.
Step #5 Sit At His Level
Training guinea pigs and taming them is easier when they spend a lot of time in your presence. The best way to do this is to allow them a little time outside of their cage.
Do the following:
Let your guinea pig out of his cage in the room you are in. Sit or lie on the floor while you are reading a book or doing some other activity.
Do not make any sudden movements, and talk to your guinea pig occasionally in a low voice. Most guinea pigs will become inquisitive and will want to know what you’re doing.
When your guinea pig starts moving closer toward you, hand-feed him a treat. Allow him to sniff the book you are reading.
If your guinea pig is reluctant to move out of one corner while he is outside his cage, scatter some small pieces of his favorite vegetables on the floor. Put some of the vegetables close to your guinea pig’s head.
Note: Always keep an eye on your pet while he is outside of his cage.
Step #6 Put Treats In His Cage
Positive reinforcement is a great way to teach guinea pigs to feel comfortable with their owners. Guinea pigs often get spooked and hide when their owners go to open their cage doors.
Here’s what you must do to stop this from happening:
Open the cage door of your guinea pig's enclosure only to give him a treat and then shut the door again. Do this several times a day.
This food lure helps guinea pigs learn that their owners can be trusted. They will soon trust that you open their cage door not to frighten them but rather to give them something good.
Step #7 Avoid Startling Behavior
Small pet owners must be aware of how their behavior affects their animals. Guinea pigs have poor eyesight and startle easily.
If you want your guinea pig to gradually increase his confidence in you, avoid the following behavior:
- Moving suddenly near your guinea pig
- Making loud noises
- Approaching him from above him
- Looming over him
- Chasing him
- Taking him to too many new environments
Step #8 Use a Blanket
Here is another food lure that will help you tame your guinea pig. This time, it involves a blanket.
Do the following:
Take your guinea pig out of his cage and lie on the floor with a blanket partially draped over you. Stay still and talk in a calm, low voice.
Put some small vegetable pieces under the blanket with you. As your guinea pig becomes more interested in what you’re doing, he’ll move closer to you.
The blanket will give your guinea pig a safe place to hide that is close to you and help him feel safe with you. The food is a great way of enticing him closer to you.
Step #9 Stick to a Schedule
Your little pet might be particularly skittish, but that doesn’t mean you have a non-trainable guinea pig. Teaching your guinea pig to feel relaxed near you will require many training sessions.
If you have tried many different training methods but haven’t had much success, do not become discouraged. Rather, stick to a schedule.
Feed and handle your guinea pig at the same time each day. This way, your guinea pig will know what to expect when you open his cage door.
When he makes progress, use positive reinforcement by giving him a treat.
Teach Your Guinea Pigs Tricks
Guinea pigs are active and inquisitive animals that love to play and explore. But they are also very intelligent and can learn to do many things.
Can you teach a guinea pig tricks?
Yes, you most certainly can! Listed below, you’ll find everything you need to teach your guinea pig tricks.
Grab hold of the tools, and let’s get training!
You will need the following:
- A small ball
- A small hoop
Trick #1 Come When You Call Its Name
There’s nothing you want more than to be able to call your guinea pig’s name, and he comes rushing towards you.
But is it possible for a guinea pig to come when you call it?
Your guinea pig can learn this easy trick with the help of some tasty treats. Here’s how to do it.
- Call your guinea pig by his name in front of him in a happy voice, and then feed him a treat immediately. Keep doing this several times a day for a week so he will begin to associate his name with treats.
- Call your guinea pig by his name when you are a couple of inches from him. Feed your guinea pig a treat as soon as he comes over.
- Increase the distance you are from the guinea pig each time he successfully comes towards you after you call him. Always give him a treat afterward. Within a few weeks, your guinea pig will get used to this verbal cue.
Trick #2 Follow You
Getting your guinea pig to follow you is another simple trick. Your guinea pig might startle a little at the sight of you standing next to him, so give him plenty of time to get used to that first.
Here’s what you must do for him to follow you.
- Stand with your guinea pig behind you.
- Put a treat on the floor behind you and wait for him to eat it.
- Take a baby step, and then put another treat on the floor behind you.
- Wait for him to eat it.
- Gradually increase the space between your steps and decrease the number of treats you give him.
If your guinea pig begins to lose interest while you teach him tricks, do not worry. Keep your training sessions short but frequent, and make sure your training environment is safe.
Trick #3 Spin In a Circle
Teaching your guinea pig to spin in a complete circle means more quality floor time with your pet. Let’s take a look at some of the steps that will help you teach this trick.
- Hold a treat in front of your pet’s nose and allow him to eat it.
- Hold another treat a little further from his nose, to the side, ready to start forming a circle.
- Every time your guinea pig moves and follows you, give him fewer treats.
- Every time your guinea pig completes the circle, give him a treat at the end.
Trick #4 Paw On Target
Another nice trick to teach is getting your guinea pig to rest its front paws on a target. This could be on a ball, on your hands, or on anything else.
Here’s how to teach this trick:
- Place a ball in front of your guinea pig. Use a vocal cue here. Your cue word could be “paw.”
- Each time his paw lands on it, feed him a treat.
- Keep doing this every day and see if your guinea pig will rest his front paws entirely on the ball with his back legs on the ground. Whenever he makes progress, give him another treat.
- At the sight of the ball and at the sound of the verbal cue, your guinea pig should soon rest his paws on the ball all on his own.
Trick #5 Beg For Food
Here’s a trick you’ll be able to teach your guinea pig inside or outside of his exercise pen. But to do so, you’ll need a treat or two at hand.
Here’s how to do it:
- Hand-feed your guinea pig a treat just above his head. Say a verbal cue at this time. The cue word “beg” is simple and short.
- Every time you say the cue word, hand-feed your guinea pig a treat and raise the treat slightly higher above his head. Look out for clues that he is raising his body up off of the ground, such as lifting up one paw. If you see him do this, give him extra treats.
- Soon, your guinea pig will lift himself up at the sound of the cue word. Always reward him with a treat when he does this.
Trick #6 Jump Through a Hoop
Perfecting this trick will give you the opportunity to spend even more floor time with your guinea pig. And seeing him jump through a hoop is really rewarding.
Thankfully too, this trick is simple to teach. Here’s how to do it:
- Keep a hoop inside your guinea pig’s enclosure for a few days so he can sniff it and get used to it.
- Hold the hoop in front of your guinea pig. Move it towards him slowly as he might spook when he first sees it.
- Hand-feed your guinea pig a treat on the other side of the hoop.
- When he gets used to having the hoop in front of him, lure him towards his treat. Hold it a little further away from him in front of the hoop and entice him to eat it. Reward the slightest movement towards the hoop with a treat.
- Gradually, your guinea pig will become used to moving towards the hoop. If he takes one foot through it, reward him.
- In time, your guinea pig will move through the hoop on his own when he sees it. You will then be able to experiment with holding the hoop at different heights and in different directions.
Training Your Guinea Pig FAQs
We all want our guinea pigs to feel comfortable when they are around us. Many owners also want to teach fun tricks to their small pets.
Do you have any questions about training your guinea pig?
Then take a look at some of the answers listed below.
Are Guinea Pigs Trainable?
Guinea pigs are trainable. They can learn simple and advanced tricks.
Guinea pigs become tamer when you handle them frequently.
Teaching tricks requires patience. Guinea pigs have poor eyesight and scare easily, so they may sometimes feel reluctant to spend time with you if they feel frightened.
Each training session must be short, and there must be few distractions around your pet in order for him to learn faster.
What Tricks Can You Teach Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs are intelligent animals and are very food motivated. You will be able to teach your guinea pig a number of tricks if you start training it while it is young.
Here are some tricks they can learn to do.
- Follow you
- Put its front paws on you or on an object
- Come when you call his name
- Stand up and beg on its back legs
- Spin in a complete circle
- Play soccer
- Jump through a hoop shape
Can Guinea Pigs Be House Trained?
Training your guinea pig to use a litter box is possible. Here’s how to do it.
- Put their litter box in the spot they usually use to urinate.
- Make that spot feel safer by increasing the bedding in that area, putting his food there, and making it darker.
- Keep a treat close to hand and give your guinea pig one every time he uses the litter box.
The Secret to Teaching Guinea Pigs Tricks
Guinea pigs make adorable, fluffy pets. But because they are so small and often timid, many pet owners wonder whether they are capable of learning simple tricks.
This article has helped us to see that with the help of some treats and patience, your guinea pig can learn many tricks. You must feed them treats to help them repeat positive behavior.
To teach tricks, you must also keep your training sessions short and frequent. Handling your guinea pig often and helping him feel more comfortable around you will make him react better and learn faster.
Did you find the information in this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles on small animals and how to teach them easy tricks. For more guides on how to set up an exercise pen, a cage, or what to give your small pet at meal times, check out our website.
Thanks for reading!