How To Make a Guinea Pig Run? (Training Ideas)
Guinea Pigs are not actual pigs but a species of rodents found in South America. They are also called cavies. They are usually small, furry and a very adorable pet to keep if properly trained. These little creatures are brilliant in terms of intelligence.
And therefore, with enough positive reinforcement and conditioning, they can easily be taught to follow basic instructions and commands.
To train them properly, they should be adequately taken care of. Although each guinea pig differs from each other, one thing they all have in common is the love for food.
So using food as an encouragement, they can easily be trained to follow any command. However, they tend to overeat. And overeating may lead to obesity. Of course, nobody would like their beloved pet to visit the vets regularly for obesity problems.
The best way to solve this problem is to teach your guinea pig to exercise. And undoubtedly, running around has been proven to be the best form of exercise and the easiest to teach a guinea pig.
By following the instructions provided in this article, your guinea pig will start running fast in no time.
Methods To Teach Your Guinea Pig To Run Fast And Exercise
Tired of your little furry friend being too lazy? I exactly now how that feels. Being active keeps anything that’s alive healthy and well, being lazy can cause a lot more harm than good.
The laziness of your furry friend might be cute to look at first, but you will quickly realize that its effecting the small one in an unpleasant way.
Approach 1: Teaching Your Pet to Run in a Circle
This is the simplest of all the methods that you could dig up now. It’s simple and easy to teach to your pet and it gets results, fast.
Firstly, you need to give your pet enough love and care for gaining its trust. Once it begins to trust you, you will have to teach it to eat out of your hand. To do that, take one of its favorite treats in your hand at specific times of the day and encourage it to come towards you to enjoy it.
Be careful not to give it too much of the food as that may lead to overeating. Start by giving it little by little and make sure that it has to run a small distance before it can enjoy its treat. The running doesn't necessarily have to be in a circle at the first step.
Once your pet becomes comfortable with the daily routine of following your hand for a treat, you can move on to the next step. In this step, you will teach your pet to run in a circular direction.
To do this, at first pick either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction and start moving your hand in that direction following a circular motion. After the guinea pig completes each circle, treat it with small portions of its favorite snack and continue to do so until it runs sufficiently.
Doing this will teach your pet that running in circles can earn him rewards. This is a prevalent method of conditioning using positive reinforcements.
In the next step, you have to teach your pet a vocal signal. Once it gets familiarized with this signal, it will know that every time it hears this signal, it needs to run in a circle.
You can choose any signal you want because your pet doesn't understand the meaning of the words you are saying. For example, you can say "run in a circle" every time you put your hand with a treat in front of the guinea pig.
See Also: How to Stop a Guinea Pig from Biting?
The pet will interpret this without actually understanding its meaning. So every time it will listen to this phrase, it will be conditioned to believe that if it starts doing circles now, it will be rewarded with a treat.
Once the pet gets accustomed to this command, don’t add additional phrases or words to it as it may confuse the pet and it might start to run every time it listens to your voice.
After the pet becomes used to running in circles to earn a treat, it will start running every time it sees the treat and hears your command. But you need to be patient to reach this stage.
For the conditioning to be appropriately installed into the pet's mind, the training needs to be given at least a week until it becomes thoroughly instilled into the pet in following the drill. Once the guinea pig learns that, you can stop putting your hand in the cage.
At this stage, all you need to do is say the command you taught it, and place the treat at the right or left side of the guinea pig after it finishes running a circle. Make sure only to give it a treat when it runs in the direction you initially taught it to.
Method 2: Teaching Your Pet To Run Inside The Cage By Placing Toys
Well, this will consume more of your time compared to the first method discussed earlier, but this is an effective method too. You will be able to kill two birds with one stone. You will be able to strengthen the bonding between you two and also get your pet up and running in no time.
Firstly, you need to choose a cage that is big enough to accommodate enough space for the guinea pig to run around and have some fun. The size can range from a minimum of 7.5 square feet to 8 square feet for a single guinea pig.
And if you don’t want your pet to get lonely and place a partner for it in the cage, the cage should be about 10.5 to 11 square feet to have enough play space for the pets.
In the next step, place some toys inside the cage and check if your pet likes them. For example, you can put wooden or rubber balls and rubber toys that they can chew into inside the cage.
If your pet loves playing with the toys, they will run to it every time you put them inside the cage. Make sure to establish a schedule for the guinea pig to follow.
Be careful to not get your guinea pig toys with artificial color, small parts that can choke them, or added sugars. These may prove to be harmful to their health.
See Also: How To Potty Train a Guinea Pig?
Don't place all the toys in the same place. Place some hurdles on the way to the toys to encourage your pet to do a good run.
For example, you can place tiny houses or hurdles through which your pet needs to crawl through before they can play with the toys. Putting toys on different corners will help it to run around in the cage and thus make it exercise more.
Always remember to have enough space inside the cage for your guinea pig to run around. Don't make it too crowded by placing too many toys, food bowls, and other hurdles that there isn't enough space for them to exercise and play.
Keep changing the positioning of the toys inside the cage every single day. If you can’t do so, you can change it during every cleaning session.
Doing this ensures that play time does not become boring and more of a routine for your pet instead of an adventurous fun time. So to keep them interested, you need to change the positioning inside the cage from time to time.
Method 3: Teaching Your Pet To Run Inside A Play Space In Your Home
Getting the pet loose in the hose can cause some issues which this is why is less popular among people but then again if you have a place which you can use, then this might just be the most effective method compared to the rest.
Look into your home and choose a safe space for your guinea pig to play. Make sure to cordon the area to prevent your guinea pig from running around the house and getting lost or harming itself.
Space should be free from all kinds of wires so that the pet does not get electrocuted. Make sure to keep away sharp objects from the play area.
Place an old rag, blanket or a towel to prevent your pet from doing their potty business on your expensive carpet or flooring. Place the cloth or towel inside the pet's playpen, and you are good to go.
Choose a specific time of the day to place your pet inside the playpen every day to make it grow accustomed to the routine. Position its favorite toys inside the playpen and scatter it around to encourage it to run.
You can place some hurdles in between to make the playtime more enjoyable for your pet.
Place small treats inside the playpen to give your pet something to chew on while it plays. As a result, your pet won't get tired and will be encouraged to play more every time it gets a treat.
Guinea Pigs love to eat vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and celery. So you can place these around the playpen every time it completes a run and plays around.
Method 4: Taking Your Pet Outdoors To Exercise
This is the least popular among people as they are very fragile and has a lot of natural predators. But if you do manage to find a safe place, then why not. It’s a great way to enjoy the outside and get the issues out of the way.
Guinea pigs love dry and sunny weather. So before you bring them outside to play, make sure it’s not raining. You should also check the day’s temperature to avoid dehydrating your pet when it’s too hot.
Place a playpen and a towel on the area you want your pet to play. Choose a site that has neither been treated with chemicals nor has any predators nearby that can harm your pet.
Put your guinea pig inside the playpen and put various toys inside it like before. Make sure that your pet can't escape from the playpen as it may run into danger or get lost.
Avoid taking your pet outside on days that are too hot or sunny. Although guinea pigs love sunshine, a day which is too humid might lead them to become dehydrated and sick. As an alternative, you can place an umbrella or a shade over the playpen to avoid the rough heat of the sun.
To have a healthy guinea pig, it is a must for an owner to teach it to exercise. And the best method of exercising for a guinea pig is running. So hopefully, after reading this article, and by following the instructions provided here, you can teach your pet to run and lead a healthy life.