Guinea pigs are one of the most adorable pets that you can adopt. They will not only be there for you to feed and take care of them, but you can also build a great relationship with them. Guinea pigs are very affectionate pets. Also, you can make use of their intelligence and engage them to learn some useful stuff that will make both of your lives easier.
Are guinea pigs smart? Guinea pigs are smart, curious, active, and trainable animals. They are intelligent enough to understand some basic commands, good at identifying different noises, have a strong memory, and can recognize their owners through sound and smell.
Compared to dogs that can begin being trained whenever you want as they are easy to “reprogram”, guinea pigs are best trained when they are young or as soon as you get them.
It takes longer for guinea pigs to learn some complex things than cats and dogs, but they more than make up for it with their ability to quickly learn various cute and simple tricks.
Training also helps keep guinea pigs from being bored and in shape. In the following sections, we’ll discuss why guinea pigs are considered intelligent and more about smart guinea pig training. Let’s start!
How Smart Are Guinea Pigs? | Fascinating Facts You Should Know
Guinea pigs are blessed with an excellent memory. If you take them out and somehow lose them on the way, they have the amazing tracing ability for paths. They will quickly get back to where they are supposed to be.
Moreover, guinea pigs can remember their names. So, if you call them by their names, they will respond. This is a pretty helpful trick when you want to ask them to stop doing something or call them to come to you. They remember your tone and act accordingly. In this regard, guinea pigs are more intelligent than hamsters.
Moreover, not only do guinea pigs recognize their owners’ voices, but their scents too!
Adaptable Sleeping Habits
Generally, guinea pigs aren’t nocturnal animals. But sometimes, guinea pigs can be a nuisance during the night by making different types of sound. This happens if they are hungry or suffer from some health problems.
However, you can easily train them according to your sleeping schedule. To do this, you can apply different tricks like serving them a particular snack daily before your bedtime or petting them to sleep.
Once they get the drift of such signals and gestures, they will understand that it’s your time to sleep, and they will go to sleep as well. This type of intelligence is rarely found in rodents.
Guinea pigs are very friendly with children. These rodents rarely bite, only if they’re provoked when someone holds them for too long or when they need to go to the bathroom. Guinea pigs also have a sense of recognition whether the person is a child or adult.
Moreover, when children are alone at home, guinea pigs are great companions as they can learn how to play with children if trained properly. This quality of guinea pigs makes them great pets for kids. They can also help autistic children.
Easy to Care for
Guinea pigs are not usually grouchy until you forget to serve them their meals. As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs can understand different gestures you make, and they love following the feeding schedule.
The guinea pigs are sensitive creatures. They know that their owners care for them. They will make purring sounds when you do something good for them. All they need is fresh water, veggies, timothy hay, and dry pellets to eat and for them to stay in a good mood. Once you provide it all, you can rest assured that they will never growl at you.
However, they are smart enough to differentiate between fresh and stale water. You need to pay attention and always serve them fresh water so that they don’t feel grumpy. Moreover, these furballs are pretty low maintenance and need a good cage and bedding.
Related: Are Guinea Pigs Hard to Take Care Of?
Non-Destructive in Nature
Unlike other pets, guinea pigs are non-destructive unless they are hungry. They don’t chew furniture in the room, but they need to be trained not to use their teeth on the wooden objects in the cage.
If you give them meals at regular time intervals, they will certainly stay away from the wooden objects. They have a terrific sense of schedule and realize that things will come to them without asking.
Moreover, even if they do something destructive or aggressive, it’s very easy to catch them, and once you start petting them, they will understand the gesture and calm down.
They Can Be Potty Trained
The worst thing guinea pigs can do is poop or pee on the floor of every room in your home. However, if you train them, they are smart enough to know where to poop or pee.
To train them, you can start observing where your pet usually goes to use an area as a toilet. Put the litter box where they usually poop and watch them use it.
You can also add their poop in the litter box for the guinea pigs to smell and have an idea that you want them to use it as their toilet. Also, you can put your pet in the litter box whenever you see some signs that they are about to pee or poop.
Know Their Premises
Guinea pigs are smart enough to know their premises. So, if you have a dedicated cage for them, they won’t try to escape it. They are quite disciplined, and as long as they get meals to eat on time, they will not escape their cage.
However, you have to ensure from your side that you don’t leave the door open during the early days after you adopt them.
If you fail to do so, they may form a notorious habit of wandering. You will then have to train them again from ground zero to understand that they have to stay in the cage and not go elsewhere.
Guinea pigs can easily adapt to the new environment. So, if you are shifting from one place to another, you can rest easy that your adorable pets will not create havoc. Although it will take them some time to adjust, they will not be a bother as far as the other things are taken care of.
Moreover, guinea pigs make efforts to adjust to their surroundings instead of being homesick. It is said that they are susceptible to distress when you change their place, but that is not the case when you properly take care of them.
More so, guinea pigs are smart enough to know that they need to move with their owners. Hence, they don’t feel grumpy in the new premises because they know that their owners are with them. It is important to keep their cage from the old house as that will speed up the adaptation process.
How to Make Use of the Guinea Pig’s Intelligence and Train Them?
Now that you know that your guinea pigs are intelligent and smart, you should make use of this so that you can have an amazing experience while hanging out with them. Here are some tricks you can use to train your smart guinea pigs:
Teach Them Basic Commands
First of all, you need to give your guinea pig a name. Once you do that, start calling it by that name when it is time for food. Continue this for the next three days, and they will learn to recognize their name.
Later, you can ask them to stop doing something by calling them by their names.
Teach Them to Come to You
You can hold food in your hand and call them. They will come to you as they will be interested in the food you are holding. After that, you can try this gesture without food. After some days, they will be used to it and start following your command.
You can keep a food bait in your hand to make them stand on two legs. It can be a piece of veggie or fruit.
After that, you can try the command without the food bait. You will be surprised that they are smart enough to know what you want from them.
Push the Ball Command
Keep a ball in front of them and show them what to do with your finger. They will not understand it in one move, but they will ultimately start pushing the ball if you keep repeating the gesture.
This game can be amazing if you have children. Guinea pigs can be extremely smart when learning such playful things.
Jump Through the Hoop Trick
Use a hoop and show them using a dummy doll or something else. If they don’t understand, put a bowl of veggies on the other side of the hoop, repeat the trick with the dummy doll, and pretend to feed it.
It’s funny when you show them the trick for the first few times. But you will be amazed to see them quickly catch on and begin jumping through the hoop afterward. Do not raise the hoop too much in the air; keep it almost at the ground level.
The Circle Training
You can teach them how to move around in a circle. All you need to do is use a piece of veggie and draw the circle. Keep the veggie in one hand and start circling so that they follow the veggie in your hand, and soon they will start making circles.
After they perform one or two circles, give them a treat. Ensure that you don’t let them eat the veggie if they didn’t follow the command.
Here is a video on how to start training your guinea pig:
Related: Guinea Pig Tricks: 7 Adorable Tricks to Train Your Guinea Pig
Once you train your guinea pigs, it is very easy for them to understand your gestures, voice, and commands. Moreover, guinea pigs are smart enough to identify what exactly you want them to do. Guinea pigs don’t need a lot of time to learn and to obey commands.
It is important to make sure that you keep rewarding them for their performance. If your guinea pig doesn’t do something you ask them to do, never yell or abuse it, this will only cause them more stress, and your dear pet will become terrified and scared. Always stay calm and pleasant around your pets and take good care of them.
Related: Are Guinea Pigs Trainable? | Guinea Pig Training
List of Sources
Consumer: How Guinea Pigs Could Help Autistic Children
Wild Genius – Domestic Fool? Spatial Learning Abilities of Wild and Domestic Guinea Pigs