Guinea pigs are smart little creatures. More and more people are adopting these little furry friends and developing strong emotional bonds with them. Guinea pigs make great companions. But still, there are many skeptics out there that question the ability of guinea pigs to make an emotional connection with their owners or caretakers. Not only that but many of these skeptics even question the ability of our guinea pigs to recognize their owners.
Well, if you have been planning on getting a pet guinea pig but have been confounded by such questions, continue reading. In this article, we are going to discuss all about guinea pigs’ cognitive and emotional capabilities.
Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?
Yes, guinea pigs recognize their owners. They might have poor eyesight, but they have a great sense of smell and strong cognitive abilities. So, when you enter the room, your guinea pigs would not only recognize your face but also your smell and voice.
Guinea pigs are smart and highly social creatures. They love to interact not only with other guinea pigs but also with their owners. In fact, they thrive on social interactions and it is recommended that they are kept in pairs.
How Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?
Guinea pigs use their strong sense of smell, and cognitive abilities to recognize their owners. They can recognize you not only by your face but also by your smell and voice.
1. Your Smell
Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell. Guinea pigs’ olfactory system is far superior to that of humans. Their strong sense of smell helps guinea pigs communicate, seek food, and recognize their guinea pig friends as well as their owners. With their sense of smell, guinea pigs also recognize which food is safe for them and which is not.
If you are going to adopt a new guinea pig, we advise you not to wear any perfume or cologne, or any other smell. You want the guinea pig to smell your actual smell. So that he starts associating that certain smell with you.
2. Your Voice
Guinea pigs have far better cognitive abilities than most of us think. While your guinea pig won’t be understanding what you are saying. They cannot understand what you are saying. What you are saying, does not really matter but it is the tone of your voice. Keep the tone friendly, soothing, and light.
So, whenever you have free time, talk to your piglets. They will start recognizing you by your voice.
3. Your face
Guinea Pigs might have poor depth perception, but they have a very good memory. So after taking a good look at their owners, guinea pigs tend to memorize their pictures. Guinea pigs can recognize their owners not only from their faces but also from the backside of their heads with around 80% accuracy. But with your smell and voice, the guinea pig would be able to recognize you with 100% accuracy.
How to Get Your Guinea Pigs to Recognize You?
You can get your guinea pig to recognize you by not wearing any kind of perfume or cologne when handling or feeding your guinea pig. Talking in a light tone with your guinea pig would also help him recognize your voice. Positive reinforcements would help you accelerate the process of wooing your guinea pigs. Here is what you can do to get your guinea pigs to recognize you fast:
a) Developing Positive Association
You need to start by building a positive association between you and your guinea pigs. You can do this by taking good care of your guinea pigs. Feeding them, and offering them treats is how you start building that positive association. With time, the guinea pig would start associating you with food and happiness. They will start recognizing you as a benefactor and not an enemy.
b) Simplify the Guinea Pig Environment
If you have been keeping your guinea pigs cage in a busy room, they would never be able to fully focus on you. They will always be distracted. So, you should put your guinea pig in a quiet room, with little to no distractions, where you could have one on one interaction with them in peace.
c) Talk to Your Guinea Pigs
Yes, guinea pigs won’t be understanding what you are saying. But as long as you are saying it in a light, soothing, and friendly tone, your guinea pigs would listen to you. They will start recognizing your voice as well as your smell. You may also want to say words like it’s food time when feeding your guinea pigs or calling their names.
d) Focus on the Routine
Guinea pigs are highly intelligent. They are creatures of habit and love to socialize. With passing time, they learn your routine and start to build their routine around that. They will know when it is time for you to go to work, and when you will be coming back. They will know when to expect a meal and when to expect delicious treats. That said, every time you go into the kitchen or close to the cabinet where their food is kept, they may start purring and expecting food. Guinea pigs love food.
As you take good care of your guinea pigs, they will learn that you are not a predator but their provider (guardian) and they will not recognize you as their guardian and would shower you with hugs and kisses.
How Long Does It Take For a Guinea Pig to Get Used to You?
There is no absolute answer to this question.
Where most guinea pigs get used to their owners within three days to a week, shy and skittish guinea pigs may take up to three weeks. That said, some guinea pigs may take forever to get used to their owners. You can accelerate the process by offering delicious treats (from hand, if GPs accept) to your guinea pigs.
It is the guinea pigs with a history of abuse that tend to take the most time to get used to their new owners. So, be super patient if a guinea pig is taking more time than most guinea pigs. He might have some baggage. If you shout at him or punish him, it will only push him away and sever your nascent relationship with the guinea pig.
We know, that after bringing home a pair of guinea pigs, you will be dying to pet little fellas. But you should restrain yourself and wait for your guinea pigs to come to you first. You don’t want to have an awful beginning to your relationship with your guinea pigs by stepping off on the wrong foot. So, just be patient, take good care of the guinea pigs, and observe them from a distance. Your hard work and patience will pay off and soon your guinea pig would be showering you with hugs and kisses.
Signs That Your Guinea Pig Recognizes You
If you have been petting guinea pigs for some time, you will know that guinea pigs do not only recognize us but also love us to bits. If it is hard for you to believe that guinea pigs can recognize us, below we have discussed some signs that guinea pigs recognize their owners:
1. They Run Towards You When They See You
As soon your guinea pigs hear your steps entering the room, they start running towards you. While they might be expecting a meal or delicious treats from you, it means that they recognize you. Do they go running to everybody that enters their room? No! So, if they are coming to you, it means that they recognize you as a friendly pal, who feeds them and loves them.
2. They Wheek When They See You
Before they come running to you, you will hear guinea pig noises. Equipped with a strong sense of smell and hearing abilities, guinea pigs know you are coming before you enter the room. This is the reason that when you enter the room, they welcome you with wheeks, purrs, and chirps. Guinea pigs make sounds as you come home indicating that they recognize you and are happy that you have come back from work or school.
3. They Listen to You
When you talk to your guinea pigs they listen to you. If you have developed a habit of talking to your guinea pigs while playing with them, feeding them, or offering them treats, they will come to associate certain words with certain actions. So, if you have a habit of asking your guinea pigs “are you guys hungry?” “do you want treats?” before serving them a meal or offering a handful of treats; they will understand that you are talking about food. They will show their excitement by making noises. Guinea pigs are not overly noisy pets, but when it’s meal time, they become huge chatterboxes.
4. They Come Running When You Call Their Names
Yes, guinea pigs can recognize their names. It only happens when they are called by one name. It may take some time, but once they learn their names and trust you, they will come running to you as you call their names, even from a different room. This means that guinea pigs not only recognize you but also your voice.
5. They Are Not Friendly With Everyone
Guinea pigs are social creatures. But they don’t mingle with everyone. They never come running to strangers in the house. Instead, they will run towards their hide-boxes, when they spot a stranger lurking around their cages. Some guinea pigs are only frank with one or two members of the family. They only let those specific persons handle them, and won’t even expect treats from the hands of other members of the same household.
· Do Guinea Pigs Like To be Held? Tips to Develop a Strong Bond With Your Guinea Pig!
· 5 Signs Your Guinea Pig Hates You And What Can You Do?
· How to Get Your Guinea Pig to Like You?
Do Guinea Pigs Know Their Names?
Guinea pigs are one of the smartest rodents. They can most definitely learn their names and even respond to you whenever you call them. If you keep calling your guinea pigs by different names, they might not respond. But if you call your guinea pig by one name, they will most certainly respond, when you call their name. Sometimes they will come running to you when you call out their names, and other times, they will turn their neck but then keep doing what they were doing.
But you should keep in mind that you will have to be patient, and consistent. You should call your guinea pig by one name. Ideal names for guinea pigs consist of two syllables.
|If you are having trouble finding a befitting name for your guinea pigs, check out our following posts. |
· Guinea Pig Names: Tips to Name your Guinea Pig With Scores of Name Ideas
· Girl Guinea Pig Names: 100 Female Guinea Pig Names For Your Cute Girl
· Boy Guinea Pig Names: Best Male Guinea Pig Names
· Cute Guinea Pig Names: 450+ Names for Guinea Pigs for You to Choose From