How to Bond with Your Guinea Pigs

Remember about a month ago, I introduced you to Krystal the Guinea Pig, our newest member of the family? Well, while I was at PetSmart picking her out, Mike (the spectacular small animals expert who helped us) highly encouraged us to get Krystal a companion within a month. Two weeks later, we returned to the same PetSmart, waited for Mike to get back from his lunch break, and had him help us pick out a second guinea pig, Charlotte. Check her out with Krystal! She’s the brown and white piggie.

Now, I’ve only been a guinea pig mom for about a month, so I’m no expert. But I did learn from an expert, then followed my own parenting instincts (I managed to keep a kid alive and well for 7 years, I figure parenting a guinea pig can’t be too much harder!). I’m happy to say that we’ve all bonded with Krystal, and while Charlie is still a little skitzy, she’s starting to come around too!

Tips for Getting Your Guinea Pig to Adore You

1. Leave them alone for the first few days. Some sources say that you should start handling your pig right away, but Mike told me to let Krystal be for the first week, so that’s what I did. We didn’t take her out of her house until exactly one week after she came home.  We didn’t follow this advice as well with Charlie because we didn’t want to leave her all alone in the habitat when Krystal came out. Krystal seems more mellow than Charlie. Maybe it’s her personality, but it seems like she’s more eager to spend time with us than her new sister.

2. Bribe them with hay. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of Timothy Hay, so make sure it’s always in their house. Krystal likes certain pieces more than others, and we hand-feed those to her to get her more interested in us.

3. Bribe them with toys! Guinea pigs are like kids in this respect. Give them a new toy and they think you’re the bee’s knees (do bees have knees?) for at least a few minutes. They always come out of their hiding spot when they get new toys.

4. Let them think it’s their idea. When you do start taking your guinea pigs out for playtime (in a safe place!), let them run around without constantly trying to snuggle them. Let them come to you. I also suggest wearing red, as Krystal was fascinated with Jake when he was wearing red jammies. That could just be her, though.

5. Be interesting! I’m not talking about your personality. If you’re a loyal Pretty Opinionated reader, I already know you’re interesting. I’m talking about the variety of goodies you give them. Mike told me to vary their treats constantly, never giving them the same thing twice in a row. We also vary their veggies. They get their daily orange, as recommended, but they also get a rotating variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are good for them.

Most of all, just be patient. Guinea pigs can be a bit skitzy and unsure of you at first. Think about it from their point of view- you’re like 200 times their size! Once they do come around, though, it’s easy to start bonding with your guinea pig. They’re definitely cool little creatures!

About Nicole Etolen

13 Responses to “How to Bond with Your Guinea Pigs”

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  1. These are great tips and it sort of makes me more inclined to get one for my seven year old. What a great way to teach responsibility.

    • Nicole Etolen says:

      Thank you! They are really good small pets to help teach kids responsibility. They are a bit easier to bond with than, say, a hamster. Plus, they get a little bigger, so they’re easier to snuggle with! Of course, you still have to be gentle with them, but I’ve had hamsters, and I feel a lot more comfortable letting my son hold our guinea pigs than I would a smaller animal.

  2. Aww, adorable! I had gerbils growing up. I suppose when my kids get a little older I’ll need a cute pet like this :)

  3. Monica says:

    They are adorable! We have never had guinea pigs and until reading your post never realized what a great addition they would be and that they had their own little personalities. This is a great post and I loved learning about guinea pigs from you.

  4. Jenn says:

    Ive never owned a rodent so I have not a clue what to expect! Thanks for the tips! I didn’t realize how close to ‘kids’ they actually are!

  5. Great tips, my daughter has been asking for one – bookmarked your post in case we cave and allow her to get one!

  6. mary says:

    They are too cute! I currently have no pets (unless you count dust bunnies) but I will share these tips with friends.

  7. manda says:

    i had a guinea pig when i was little and he was my bestest friend on the planet! i love that animal. i’d even take him swimming with me and hold him on my chest in the kiddie pool. i really wanted to get my son one but he is allergic to everything. :( kind of sad i can’t share that with him.

  8. As the mother of 10 – you can’t begin to imagine the number of guinea pigs, hamsters, and mice that had over the last 38 years. And OMGoodnes…can they every multiply!
    My favorite of our guinea pigs was Gwedolyn. She was such a fantastic mommy. We kept her in a big wading pool in the living room, and she never ventured out. We had a double fish tank and the lover one was right at her eye level. She would spend hours just watching those fish.

  9. Sherrie C. says:

    Very cute Guinea Pigs you got there. My granddaughter has been wanting me to get one but it’s been many years since I had a guinea pig. Seeing these pics makes me miss having one around.

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  12. heather says:

    I just got a piggy and she is still afraid of me, she nibbled my finger once but wont do any thing else

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