Are Guinea Pigs Smart?

Are Guinea Pigs Smart

Guinea Pigs are one of the most adorable pets that you can adopt. These furry animals are cute and smart. Guinea pigs are active animals and always seem to be up to something. We can use their intelligence to train them. This also helps keep them from being bored.

Compared to dogs that can begin training when they are as old as few weeks, Guinea Pigs are best trained after they are nine to ten months old. While they are late bloomers compared to cats and dogs, they more than make up for it with their ability to learn a variety of neat tricks really quickly.

They easily understand human gestures. Guinea Pigs respond when you call them with their names and can also identify different noises.

Reasons Guinea Pigs are Considered Smart

  • Excellent Memory

Guinea Pigs are blessed with an excellent memory. If you take them out and somehow happen to lose them on the way, they have a terrific tracing ability when it comes to paths. They will easily get back to where they are supposed to be. This virtue also comes as a blessing when you train them to be quiet.

They remember gestures that human beings make and act accordingly. Moreover, Guinea Pigs remember their names. So, if you call them by their names, they respond. This is a pretty useful trick when you want to ask them to stop doing something or call them to you. They remember your tone and act accordingly. In this regard, Guinea pigs are smarter than hamsters.

  • Adaptable Sleeping Habits

Generally, these rodents are nocturnal animals. Due to this, Guinea Pigs create a nuisance during the night by making several kinds of sound.

However, you can easily train them according to your own life cycle. In order to do this, you can apply different tricks like serving them a particular snack daily at your bedtime or petting them to sleep.

Once they get the drift of such signals and gestures, they come to know that it’s your time to sleep and they should reciprocate with peace. This type of intelligence is rarely found in rodents.

  • Child-Friendly

Guinea Pigs are very friendly with children. These rodents do not bite and they also have a sense of whether the person is a child or an 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.

  • Easy to Care For

Guinea Pigs are not usually grouchy until you forget to serve them their meals. As mentioned earlier, these pigs come to know about the gestures that you make and act accordingly.

Guinea Pigs are sensitive creatures. They know that their owners care for them. They make purring sounds when you do something good for them. All they need is fresh water, veggies, timothy hay and dry pallets to eat and for them to stay in a good mood. Once you provide it all, you can be rest assured that they will never growl at you.

However, they are smart enough to differentiate between freshwater and stale water. You need to take care that you always serve them fresh water so that they don’t feel grumpy. Otherwise, these balls of fur are pretty low maintenance and just need a good enough cage with and a woolen blanket.

  • 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 do need to be trained properly for it. You can train them very easily.

If you give them meals at a regular interval of time, then they will certainly stay away from the furniture. They have a terrific sense of life cycle and realize that things will come to them without asking or for that matter without being notorious if they patiently wait their turn.

Moreover, even if they do get up to some mischief, it’s very easy to catch them and once you start petting them, they understand the gesture and stop the act.

The worst thing these rodents can do in the name of destruction 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.

  • They 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 are getting meals to eat on time, they are not going to escape their cage.

However, you have to ensure from your side that you don’t leave the door open in the early days after you adopt them. If you fail to do so, then they may form a notorious habit of wandering. You will then have to train them again from ground zero so that they live in their cage, and don’t go elsewhere.

  • Adaptability

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 other things are taken care of.

Moreover, these rodents take efforts to adjust to the surroundings instead of perpetually growling. It is said that they are susceptible to distress when you change their place, but it’s not the case when you take care of them.

More so, these 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.

How to Leverage The Intelligence of Guinea Pigs To Train Them?

Now that you know that your pets are intelligent and smart, you will need to leverage this, so that you can have a great experience petting them. Here are some tricks you can use to train them:

  • Teach them Basic Commands

First of all, you will need to give them a name. Once you do that, start calling them when it is time for food. Continue this for the next three days and they will come to know their name. Latterly, you can ask them to stop something or can give other commands like eat, drink or sleep. You can try various commands.

  • 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 food. Thereafter, you can try the gesture without food. After some days, they will be used to it and start following your command.

  • Standup Command

You can keep a bait in your hand to make them stand. It can be a piece of veggie or cheese. They will stand up for 4-5 times to reach the food. Thereafter, you can try the command without the bait. You will be surprised to know 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 in one go but if you keep repeating the gesture, they will ultimately start pushing the ball. This helps when you keep them with children. These Guinea Pigs can be extremely smart when it comes to learning such playful things.

  • Jump Through the Hoop Trick

Keep a hoop and show them what to do 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 dummy doll and pretend to feed it. It’s funny when you are showing them the trick first few times. But you will be amazed to see them quickly catch on and begin jumping through the hoop afterward.

  • The Circle Training

You can teach them how to move around a circle by training them to do so. All you need to do is keep a piece of veggie and draw the circle. Command them to move around and eat it. If they don’t do it, repeat the dummy doll trick a few times and they will soon catch on. Make sure that you don’t let them eat without following the command.


Once you train them, it is very easy for Guinea Pigs to understand your gestures. Moreover, Guinea Pigs are smart enough to identify what exactly you want them to do. Guinea Pigs don’t take a lot of time to learn and to obey commands and make sure that you keep doting on them as they remain disciplined, obedient and thus get more and more adorable.

Related: Are Guinea Pigs Trainable?

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.