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How to Teach your Smart Guinea Pig Amazing Tricks

Updated on December 3, 2014

L'amour the Smart Guinea

She's very smart, cute and lovable.
She's very smart, cute and lovable. | Source

Training your Guinea Pig

Have you ever wanted to teach your guinea pig tricks, like you can with a pet dog? Well here's your chance. With these simple step-by-step guides, you'll amaze your friends in no time by teaching your furry friend to go around in circles, beg on two legs like a human, jump up the stairs, come when called, toilet trained in a tray (no more mess on the couch) and give you a cute mini paw shake.

You should be warned that teaching any pet with classical conditioning takes time. Your pet needs to be exposed over and over for their brain to process and associate the link between your voice and the reward (grass or lettuce in small quantities). It could take weeks or months depending on how much time you have spare. Do not leave a large gap between teaching periods.

Try not to get frustrated with your furry little friend. Remember that their brains are not as complicated as ours.

Please Note: There are some traumatized guinea pigs that may never be able to be taught these tricks, as they are too afraid of their owners. With these pets it's best to give them love and care for quite a long time, and wait for them to become accustomed to you and your voice.

Before you Start

There are some necessary materials you will need to teach your guinea pig these tricks. They are mostly free if you already have these simple materials.

You will need:

1. Food reward (grass and lettuce is preferable as they do not get full from one strand of grass and you can continue to teach them for a while. Make sure it is fresh grass, not mowed grass as this can make your pet sick or poisoned grass [weed killers] as this can kill your pet)

2. Stairs (if you don't have any stairs then you can create some with shoe boxes, or skip this trick)

3. A kitty litter tray (or a cut up cardboard box which enables your guinea pig to hop in and out) The size and dimensions should be similar to the litter tray in the video shown below.

4. Newspaper (to line the box or litter tray)

5. An old towel

6. A couch or an area where the guinea pig is at eye level with you. It is best if they sit on a towel on a couch and you sit on the floor. This minimizes stress for the guinea pig as it is instinctive for them to be afraid of bigger creatures above them.

7. Small container to put the grass in

Toilet Training

Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 2-4 weeks

Consistency: Whenever you are playing with your guinea pig

You will need: A tray where they can hop in and out of, grass, couch, towel

Steps:

1. When playing with your guinea pig and you can tell they need to go to the toilet (if they back up or seem distressed), pick them up and place them in the tray then give them some grass and say "Good girl/boy" in a happy tone.

2. Continue doing this but if they hop into the tray on their own, give them some grass even if they don't do anything.

3. After a while they will go into the tray and when they do their business in there make sure you're there to reward them.


Teaching your pet to "Go Around"

This is one the favorite tricks to teach your pet. It's quite simple to achieve, but may take time.

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 2-4 Weeks

Consistency: 10-20 minutes a day

You will need: grass, a tray (toilet training if needed), a couch or an area where the guinea pig is at 'eye level' with you. It is best if they sit on a towel on a couch and you sit on the floor. This minimizes stress for the guinea pig as it is instinctive for them to be afraid of bigger creatures above them.

Okay, let's get started. All you have to do is repeat the instructions below as much as possible in the 2-4 weeks. (It is probably best to toilet train your guinea pig in a tray first)

Steps:

1. Put your guinea pig on the towel on the couch and sit on the floor, with the tray on the couch and reachable by the guinea.

2. Grab a strand of grass and feed your guinea pig to get him/her excited to know food is around.

3. Hold another strand of grass to the right of the guinea pig and wait for him/her to notice it is there. Then slowly circle the grass around the guinea pig and wait for him/her to follow the piece slowly in the anti clockwise direction (or clockwise if you decide to start on the left. Left handers may find this easier)

4. While the guinea pig is is going around repeat "Go Around" or "Circle". Over time they will associate "Go Around" with going around and obtaining food.

5. Repeat the process

Teaching your pet to "Beg"

Difficulty: Easy

Warning: Don't teach them this trick while you're teaching them "Go around" as this can confuse them

Duration: 2-3 weeks

Consistency: 10-20 minutes a day

You will need: A couch with a towel and a tray

1. Place your guinea pig on the towel with the tray on the edge.

2. Grab a strand of grass and feed your guinea pig to get him/her excited to know food is around.

3. Hold a piece of grass above their head and make sure they notice it.

4. When they try to reach it, say "beg"

5. Slowly over time make the grass strand higher and higher until they have to stand on two legs to reach it. (Make sure the guinea pig is not near the edge of the couch and is near the middle as they could fall off.)

You may want to start by allowing them to rest their two front paws on the edge of the tray or your free hand.

Teaching your pet to go "Up the stairs"

Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 2-3 weeks

Consistency: 10-20 mins a day

You will need: stairs, grass/lettuce

This is preferable with stairs that have carpet, but you can still use wooden stairs, it just may be harder for the guinea to climb up them.

1. Place your guinea on a step and you should sit on a step below them.

2. Grab a strand of grass and feed your guinea pig to get him/her excited to know food is around.

3. Just like "Beg", wiggle a piece of grass above them on the step above while saying "Up-ups" or "Go Up"

4. When they attempt to climb up the stairs with their two front paws give them the food and say "Good girl/boy" in a happy tone.

5. Over time make the food higher until they have to climb that step to reach it.

Teaching your pet to "Come here"

Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 2-3 weeks

Consistency: 10-30 minutes a day

You will need: couch, towel, grass

1. Place the guinea on the couch, on the far end near the arm rest.

2. A few cm away from them, wiggle the grass and say "Come here", emphasizing the visibility of the grass

3. When they come, give them the grass.

4. Slowly increase the distance and repeat.

Teaching your pet to "Hand Shake"

Difficulty: Hard

Duration: 2-4 weeks

Consistency: 10-20 minutes a day

You will need: couch, towel, food

1. Place the guinea on the towel, and sit on the floor

2. Hold your finger out with your left hand, and hold a strand of grass in the right hand, behind your left hand.

3. Put your left hand's finger towards the guinea and the grass behind with the right hand. This will entice them to sniff towards your hand.

4. If they put their paw on your finger, give them the food straight away and say 'pawshake' consistently.

Note:Make sure you are gentle with their tiny paws

Guinea pig tricks

Which of these tricks have you successfully taught your guinea pig?

See results

Tricks with L'amour

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    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 2 years ago from Australia

      OH WOW I'm so glad I could help you! Thanks for commenting :)

    • profile image

      bruce wayne 2 years ago

      Because of this website i Taught my guinea pig to beg! Thanks a lot!

    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 2 years ago from Australia

      No worries :) I'm glad it helped.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 2 years ago

      This is really weird just to say the toilet thing was the only thing strange but this helps a lot thanks :D

    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 3 years ago from Australia

      Yes I agree completely. They may have smaller brains, but through persistence and patience, you can definitely teach your guinea pig tricks. Patience is the key though! Have you taught yours any tricks?

    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Bill. Thanks for your comment :)

      L'amour is now 5 years old I believe. She's still cheeky and active.

      13 years old?! I thought the average age was 5 or 6.

      Do you have any tips for keeping your guinea pig healthy to live longer?

    • profile image

      Bill 3 years ago

      Thanks moony, how old is L'amour, Ive had piggys live up to 13 years old and that makes you feel good because you know they were happy

    • profile image

      Bill 3 years ago

      Great site, I happen to find it when I wanted to know for sure if you could teach guinea pigs tricks, I figured you could being how smart the are and not as many people realize there smart which is a real shame alone but those are the type of people who treat animals like novelties!

    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 4 years ago from Australia

      No problem! Good luck! L'amour is still alive and well and always turns around naughtily to get attention. :)

    • profile image

      La La 4 years ago

      Thanks I'll start training tonight!

    • profile image

      wizzy red 5 years ago

      thanks this a great website i cant wait to tell my friends.

    • Moony27 profile image
      Author

      Meagan 6 years ago from Australia

      Aw, thanks so much! I really enjoy this site.

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Welcome to HubPages! You've made a great start with your first Hub. Step by step instructions, with your own images of the most gorgeous guinea pig, this Hub is sure to be useful and interesting to any who read it. Always good to see another Hubber from Australia.