Do Guinea Pigs Like To be Held? Tips to Develop a Strong Bond With Your Guinea Pig!

Boy holding guinea pig in hand and looking at it smilingly

Guinea pigs are cute little creatures. Their owners love them and are always looking for ways to bond and interact with their piglets and pet them. But given that guinea pigs don’t speak English or any other human language, we do not really know if they are enjoying their petting sessions or not. However, there are some guinea pig sounds that help us understand if they are happy or annoyed.

But do guinea pigs like to be held? If yes, how to hold a guinea pig properly? And where do guinea pigs like to be petted?

Holding Guinea Pig

close up of a young boy properly holding guinea pig in hand

Guinea pigs are fragile little creatures. Therefore, it is crucial that we are very careful while petting them so that we do not unknowingly hurt our fluffy friends.

If you are a novice guinea pig owner and are really excited to hold and cuddle with your guinea pig and pet him all day long, but you do not know where to start—how to hold a guinea pig properly or where do they like to be petted—you are in the right place. We are going to discuss all about properly handling guinea pigs.

Before we get to how to hold a guinea pig properly, it is pertinent to understand do guinea pigs even like to be held. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held?

holding baby guinea pig in hand

Where most guinea pigs are looking forward to the moment their owner would pick them up and pet them, many guinea pigs are too timid to allow that. That being said, you should keep in mind that guinea pigs will only let you pick them if they trust you. With guinea pigs, there is no love at first sight. So, don’t expect your piglet to throw himself into your arms at the first interaction.

For your guinea pig to get friendly, you have to first give him some space and time. Let your piglet get accustomed to you, and then gradually, you can slide your hand into the cage and eventually pick him up. This is a game of patience, but we can help you expedite the process of successfully wooing your piglet.

But before we get to the tips, you need to understand why some guinea pigs are so reluctant to be held or even touched. Why is your guinea pig scared of you?

Why Is My Guinea Pig Scared of Me?

Your guinea pig might look timid or scared of you simply because he is shy. Besides that, there could be several other reasons for making your guinea pig look afraid of you. Perhaps he is not accustomed to you, or there is a predator lurking nearby.

Why is My Guinea Pig Afraid of Me?
· Guinea pig is not accustomed to you
· Guinea pig has had a bad experience with the previous owner
· Guinea pig is in pain
· There is some predator lurking nearby
· Guinea pig does not have a cagemate and is lonely and depressed
· There are no guinea pig hides in the cage

Having understood why your guinea pig might be appearing afraid of you, continue reading to learn how to get your guinea pig accustomed to you—your voice and touch.

Tips to Develop a Strong Bond With Your Guinea Pig

Every pet lover wants to develop a strong bond with their loving pet. But it often proves to be a challenging task, especially for novice owners. However, this becomes a seamless process with useful tips from experienced cavy owners. Continue reading if you want to avoid the most common guinea pig care mistakes and develop a strong bond with your piglet.

1. Be Patient—There is No Love At First Sight in Guinea’s World

Moving to a new place is an overwhelming experience not only for us humans but also for our piglets. The new smells, unfamiliar voices and faces, and completely new environment make relocation a daunting experience for our guinea pigs. In this situation, when you rush to pick up your guinea pigs and pet and cuddle them, you are further aggravating the situation. We know all you want to do is to make your new friend feel at home, but in an effort to do so, you end up starting your relationship on the wrong foot.

If you don’t want your guinea pig to be afraid of you, you should not push for interaction in the first few days. Instead, you should just let your guinea be. You should throw a cloth on the guinea pig cage so that your guinea pig can feel safe.

2. Introduce Yourself to Your Guinea Pig

Girl laying on the floor watching her black Abyssinian guinea pig eating grass as if she is introducing herslf

After a few days, when your guinea pig seems to be settling in just fine, you can stop by and say hello. You don’t necessarily have to take your guinea out of its cage at this time. Instead, you should just try to interact with him from across the bar. When your guinea seems to be acquainted with your voice, try to offer him treats from your hand. If your Guinea pigs start feeding from your hand, you are doing well.

Later, you can start putting your hand in your guinea pig’s cage. If your guinea pig seems even a wee bit uncomfortable with your hand or finger entering the enclosure, you should abort. You can try taking your hand inside the cage with your cavy’s favorite fruit in hand. If your guinea likes strawberries, you can hold a strawberry in your hand as you put it inside the cage. If your guinea is still uncomfortable, you should abort and come another day.

However, if your little friend seems not to mind your hand in his cage, you can go on to pet him.

holding guinea pig

3. Know the Guinea Pig Petting Spots

You may end up ruining the mood if you end up hitting a spot, where your guinea pigs don’t like to be touched. So, if you want your guinea pig to enjoy your touch, know where they like to be petted.

  • Never sneak up on your guinea pig. Always tell your guinea pig that you are going to pet him.
  • Gently pet or stroke your guinea pig with a finger or two.
  • Guinea pig loves to be petted on their and under the chin.
  • They also don’t mind being petted on
  • Never pet your guinea pig on its rump.
  • Guinea pig feet and the underside of the belly should also be avoided.
infographic showing where do guinea pigs like to be petted

4. Keep it Short—Know When to Stop

The most crucial thing about parenting guinea pigs is respecting their desires and boundaries. If a guinea pig doesn’t want to be petted, you should stop. You should never pet your guinea pig against its wishes, or else there will be consequences—the guinea pig might bite you or kick you and try to run away.

  • Observe guinea pig sounds and body language, and if anything seems off, you should take your cue and stop.
  • If your guinea is walking away from you, the session must end immediately.
  • Keep the petting session short. Instead of using a timer, let your guinea pig decide how long it wants to be petted.

5. Know How to Hold a Guinea Pig Properly

A special part of keeping a pet guinea pig is getting to hold them. Every guinea pig owner is always looking forward to the guinea pig holding and interactive session in their guinea pig schedule. But if you don’t know how to properly hold a guinea pig, you may end up hurting your guinea pig and hurting your relationship with your guinea pig. Here are a few tips on how to properly pick up and hold your guinea pig.

  • Put your hand in the cage and let your guinea pig sniff it and play with it. Don’t just go and grab your piggy.
  • If your piglet is fine with your hand, try to gently slide it under the belly from the front.
  • Put one hand under their chest while supporting their bottom with the other hand.
  • Holding them with both your hands, keep them close to your chest to make them feel safe and prevent them from jumping.
  • You should have a solid grip on your piggy but make sure that your squeeze is not hurting your piggy friend.
  • You should be seated while picking up your piggy friend in the early days. When your piglet is fully comfortable, and you are confident you can start moving around while holding your guinea pig.
  • You should always provide delicious guinea pig treats to your little friend during interactive sessions so that they associate it with happy times.
  • Make sure that you are firmly holding your guinea pig while putting them back in its cage. Many Guinea pigs get excited and may jump.

When You Should Not Hold a Guinea Pig?

In addition to knowing how to properly hold a guinea pig, one must also know when not to hold a guinea pig. Below we have discussed some of the situations in which you should never pick up a guinea pig unless it is absolutely necessary.

Guinea pig in girl's lap
Newborn Guinea Pigs

You should never pick up newborn piggies. Guinea pig babies are extremely fragile. Their delicate bones are prone to fracture therefore, you should avoid the temptation of picking them up in the first couple of weeks. We know you want to take care of the baby piggies but believe us mama guinea pig will provide the best possible care so you don’t have to worry.

Guinea Pig that has just given birth

The mama guinea pig who just gave birth to a litter of pups would not only be overly stressed but would also be sore all over. So, your touch would be hurtful and stressful to them. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you don’t pick up a mama guinea pig as it would cause them unnecessary pain.

A Sick Guinea Pig

When you are hurt, you don’t want to be coddled but left alone. The same is the case with our guinea pigs, if they are sick, they don’t want to be held and picked up. Ok, you can take them to a vet in their cage but that’s it. After the vet visit, they want you to leave them be. If you want to observe them for signs of sickness, ok do that from a distance—without touching them.

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