Most pets such as dogs, cats, etc. enjoy being held by their owners but this is slightly not the case for guinea pigs. Do guinea pigs like to be held? Yes, they also love to be held; however, you’ll need to train them and build a bond so they can overcome their fear before trying to hold them.
If you are a new guinea pig owner, you may notice that your pet does not feel comfortable when you try to hold it. Not because they don’t love you but mostly because they are scared. Guinea pigs are prey animals and for the most part, they see humans as predators.
So, if you have tried to hold and pet your guinea pig and received a negative response, it’s probably because you haven’t bonded with them and you still have some work to do.
Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held?
Before trying to hold your guinea pig, you should try to develop a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pigs first.
If you just try to handle them without creating any bond, they may see you as a predator and will try to escape from your grip which can cause them to injure themselves.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and will be threatened with anything bigger than them. This might make them see humans as predators and make them scared.
This isn’t their fault, it just natural instincts so until you are able to create a bond of love and trust with them, they might not be comfortable in your presence.
You have to get your guinea pigs to trust you before trying to hold them.
Till then, try to bring yourself to their level and groom them regularly; you can also offer them treats as a way to express your love for them, but this should be done sparingly.
Read Also: Do Guinea Pigs Like Mirrors?
How to Bond With Your Guinea Pigs
Every breed of guinea pig should be handled with care and a bond of love and trust should be the first thing you try to create after adopting a guinea pig.
Guinea pigs being prey animals; means that they are more comfortable on the floor as opposed to being in the hands of a human.
They may initially consider you as their predator, but once they start to feel comfortable in your presence and a bond of trust is created, you can go ahead and hold them.
If your guinea pig is going to be friendly, it will depend on their personality and how they are treated. But there are some particular breeds of guinea pigs that are known to be more friendly compared to other breeds.
Types of Guinea Pigs That a Friendly
1. Teddy Guinea Pig
Teddy guinea pigs, also known as Cavia porcellus, and are very friendly to humans. They have a very calm demeanor, which allows them to be handled very well. They can also be mixed with another guinea pig’s breed without any hassle.
2. American Guinea Pig
American guinea pigs are also very friendly and active. They have a lovable personality and are very easy to handle. This is one of the most loving breeds of guinea pigs.
3. Rex Guinea Pig
Rex guinea pigs are known for their calm and friendly nature. They are easy to handled and even enjoy being held. Rex guinea pigs make a great bond with children as long as they are gentle.
There are various personalities of guinea pigs which differs from one to another. So, you may have a guinea pig that isn’t very friendly.
But with patience and a constant show of love and care, you can build a bond with your guinea pig and make them used to you.
Why Your Guinea Pig Won’t Allow You To Hold Him
There are two common reasons why your guinea pig won’t allow you to hold him.
The first one is rough handling. If you have ever mishandled your guinea pig or probably dropped them mistakenly in the past which lead to injury. Your pet might become wary of you and therefore will not be comfortable whenever you try to hold them.
In such cases, you should avoid trying to pick them up but work on regaining their trust. Once you are able to get them to start trusting you again, you can resume holding and handling them.
Another reason why your guinea pig might be rejecting being handled is an illness. If your guinea pigs start to become antisocial, it could be an indicator that the guinea pig is sick.
Guinea pigs are social and sometimes attention-seeking animals so if you notice your guinea pig acting withdrawn and spending more time than usual in their cage and not enjoying the presence of anyone, you need to carry out a thorough inspection of your guinea pig and try to determine if it has any health issues.
As prey animals, guinea pigs know how to suppress systems of illness but as a dutiful owner, you should always be able to tell when your guinea pig is sick and suppressing their symptoms.
You can also tell if a guinea pig is sick by the presence of other symptoms like loss of appetite, redness or swelling on the skin, or discharge from the eyes or nose.
You should take your guinea pig Immediately for physical examination by a vet, once you notice that something is wrong with him.
You can always hold your guinea pig but you need to ensure your guinea pig is comfortable with it in the first place, that is why building a strong bond of trust and love with your guinea pig is needed.
This process should begin the moment you bring a guinea pig home, as it may not be easy to do so afterward. The first 6-8 weeks a guinea pig spends in your home is very crucial and you should endeavor to build a bond during this period.
Offering them food isn’t enough to build trust, try to groom them frequently, offer them their favorite treats, and make out some time to engage them in easy and stimulating games.
If during any of these activities, your guinea pig keeps hiding or running away from you, do not despair or give up on the process, building a bond with animals takes time so you have to be very patient.
You should carry out this process one step at a time, start by touching and petting them slowly. Once, you get a positive response you can go ahead and try to hold them.
However, if your guinea pigs retreat or run away whenever you try to pet them, you should leave them alone for a while. Avoid chasing them around the cage.
This will show your guinea pig that you respect them and that they can be trusted. This can be a very slow process, but in the end, you will definitely get to achieve your goal.
you need to put in the effort when trying to develop a strong relationship between you and your guinea pig, it should be done slowly, they should be allowed to become comfortable in your presence before you try to hold them.
If your guinea pig becomes distressed at any point and starts to reject handling, they should never be punished for it. Try to create a strong bond with your guinea pig so that they can enjoy being groomed by you.
Where To Touch A Guinea Pig
As stated earlier, Guinea pigs are prey animals who may seem humans as predators until they are made comfortable and a bond is built. Even after a guinea pig has become comfortable with You, there are certain guidelines you should follow when trying to pet or handle your guinea pig.
You should only cuddle them when they are in good health; cuddling a sick guinea pig can make them angry or scared.
You can also caress the top of your guinea pig’s head as well as its cheeks. A guinea pig enjoys being touched in these areas and getting a pet in those parts can make them feel relaxed You can also pet them on the part from where their fur grows.
You should Avoid touching their legs and backside as guinea pigs do not enjoy being touched over there.
If When you try to groom your guinea pig and they begin to grunt at you, it’s a possible indicator that they are not comfortable in your laps and you should be very observant of their reactions. You should immediately place your guinea pig on the floor when this happens.
On the other hand, if you notice that your guinea pig is closing their eyes and relaxing in your laps, this indicates that they trust you and are comfortable being in your laps.
Keep in mind that you need to develop a relationship of trust and love with your guinea pig to enable them to become comfortable in your presence.
How To Make Your Guinea Pig Comfortable With Being Handled By You
When your guinea pig becomes comfortable with your presence You can safely handle them. But do not try to control or handle them when they are yet to get used to you, this might get them scared and stressed.
Once your guinea starts enjoying your presence, then you can then go ahead and try to handle them. Till that happens, try to groom your guinea pig only on the floor.
Serving your guinea pig food isn’t enough to develop a relationship with them; so you need to make out time to spend time with them and create a bond with them.
If you have a guinea pig you just newly adopted, you should try to handle them immediately after bringing them home, because, during their initial stay in your home, they may still consider you as a predator and will try to jump off from your hands whenever you try to hold them. This can cause severe injuries to them, some of which might be fatal.
Expert Tips To Handling Your Guinea Pigs
Here are some basic points to keep in mind when trying to handle your guinea pigs:
First of all, make sure to properly wash your hands with unscented soap before trying to hold your guinea pig.
If you happen to have any other pets like cats or dogs, their lingering scent on you can pose a threat to your guinea pig and cause them to stay far from you. So wash your hands after handling your other pet before attempting to go near your guinea pig
Once your guinea pig becomes accustomed to your smell, it will easier for you to gain their trust. Guinea pigs have poor depth perception so you should never try to sneak up on them; as this may scare them.
Guinea pigs have a very sensitive hearing sense, which is estimated to be up to 10 kHz which is way more than ours, so you should avoid creating loud, clattering noises around your guinea pig.
When approaching your guinea pig you should do so gently so your guinea knows that you are approaching them.
If you try to handle your guinea pig without a developed bond of trust, it may get scared and distressed, which can give terrible results.
Keep in mind that faith and love are the two essential pillars you need to build in your relationship with a guinea pig before a happy and safe interaction can occur.
When is The Right Time To Handle My Guinea Pig?
Understanding how often your guinea pigs like to be handled and groomed will enable you to avoid upsetting your pet.
The best time to handle your guinea pigs is either when they are tired of playing or when they just woke up from an afternoon nap.
Once you get yourself accustomed to your guinea pig, they are likely to allow you to handle them more frequently. Avoid waking up your guinea pig just to pick them up, this might cause them to bite or scratch you,
So also you want to desist from trying to pick up your guinea pig when they are full of energy and trying to play.
This might get them annoyed and angry. So ensure to allow your guinea pig play and become exhausted before trying to pick them up and groom them.
If your guinea pig isn’t fully used to your presence, you should avoid trying to handle them as it may scare them. Children below 10 years should also not be allowed to handle your guinea pig as they are likely to mishandle them.
Read Also: Do Guinea Pigs Like Stuffed Animals?
As a pet owner, nothing is more disheartening than trying to hold or pet your guinea pig and getting scratched or bitten.
If you have had this experience before or you are just curious to know whether guinea pigs like to be held; the answer is yes but many other factors come into play, such as the ones we discussed above.