Man is a social animal. As much as we want to socialize with our human connections, we also socialize with animals.
But, are guinea pigs social? The answer is that these animals are as social and responsive as any cat or a dog. Guinea pigs live in herds, and they always want companions near them. They thrive best when they are paired or kept in groups.
Some people may argue that their guinea pig is happy with human affection and does not need a companion but if only they would stop being selfish and look closely, they would understand that even guinea pigs need the companions of their species. If not anything else, imagine living a life with just guinea pig without any human connection. It is the same for these poor animals.
Do guinea pigs fight?
It doesn’t matter if two guinea pigs living in the same cage fight all the time, the company of a guinea pig is always better than no company at all. They will still be happier than living with you. As a pet owner, it might hurt your ego, but this is a fact. Exceptions are there when some guinea pigs like to be left alone, but that happens rarely.
Guinea pigs fight with each other and then eventually settle down their fight like a grown up intelligent people which shows their constant need to socialize.
Male guinea pigs court female guinea pigs and also fight with their competition for getting the attention of the female guinea pig. In case, your guinea pigs are fighting little too much you can always separate their cages or make a wall of grids inside the big cage.
Some behavioral characteristics they show while courting are rumble strutting, butt sniffing, butt nudging, chasing, butt dragging, mounting nose faceoffs, teeth chattering and raised hackles.
Do not expect much of their attention
Guinea pigs communicate with each other with their sensitive nose and sharp ears. They also make sounds to interact with others. In the absence of the companion, these skills are lost, and the people who complain about their guinea pigs being lazy, non-responsive or aggressive should look more closely. As a pet owner, you should keep a guinea pig in pairs or groups, if you want to enjoy a happy guinea pig sounds.
Usually, pet owners become obsessive about getting the attention of guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are responsive, but they are different from dogs or cats. Guinea pigs do not act according to your whims. The sooner you realize that, the better it is for both guinea pig and you. They will gradually befriend you, but you will have to give them time and another guinea friend to talk to.
Are guinea pigs dominant?
Guinea pigs not only fight for female guinea pig attention but they also fight for supremacy in the herd. It can be between male/male or male/female or female/female. Again, if the fight is getting extreme, it is better to separate them.
The chances are that your guinea pigs will never get along with each other and you should be prepared for it. But, this nature is also part of socialization. Fighting is a social character. Some of the features that they show while they want to show their dominance are teeth chattering, nips, wide yawn to show off their teeth and snorting.
When the fighting gets extreme, they show behavior like bite attacks, raised hackles with loud, angry teeth chattering and rumble strutting. Sometimes, both pigs would rear up face to face on their haunches, and it finally leads to the full battle.
Even females try to avoid confrontation with each other when they are trying to get a mate. It is to avoid competition. It is their social behavior which makes them familiar with these tactics to avoid the fight. After they are done with mating, they go back to being normal. It’s like two friends trying to hide something from each other.
Social behavior of showing dominance is common in both male and female cavy. If there is only one source of food, water or even mating, the dominant will definitely try to bully others.
Guinea pigs are quite picky for their food and show childlike behavior if you don’t feed them the food of their interest. They would even go to the length of starving themselves to death.
Are guinea pigs depressive?
Guinea pigs love with their whole hearts. Often, when one guinea pig dies, the other suffers from depression and might refuse to eat leading to starvation. Guinea pigs make chirping sound indicating that they miss their friend. In that case, you should try to introduce him to a new guinea pig friend.
You should spend more time with your guinea pig and try to make him happy by offering him his favorite food. They will come around for sure. This shows how social a guinea pig can be!
Do guinea pigs like to communicate?
Guinea pigs are very communicative. They produce so many sounds. Guinea pigs love to be vocal when they want to communicate their happiness, excitement or even sadness. They chatter their teeth, squeak, wheek, and chirp. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t do it.
Like us humans, some guinea pigs are extroverts while some like to keep things low and don’t want to talk at all. It does not mean that guinea pigs are not social. It means that they all have different personalities. Their behavior and their voices can tell you what they are trying to say to you.
There is no set timetable for their sounds or chattering. They can do that during the day or even in the night. Guinea pigs are most excited when they are being fed with fresh veggies or hay or when they are communicating with their companion.
So, if you want to witness their chatter, you can keep an eye on them and feed them lavishly. Guinea pigs also respond to the noises that they don’t like. It could be loud music in your house, the sound of a keychain, wind chimes hanging at your door, doorbells, the ringtone of your phone, etc.
When in herds, guinea pigs maintain a social hierarchy. This enables them to avoid unnecessary fights. In fact, it was found in a research that guinea pigs thrive better in herds than singly or even in pairs.
Guinea pigs have their personal space of comfort
Guinea pigs do come around. They can become your snuggle pets if given time but if they don’t, there is not much you can do about it. Generally, guinea pigs are popular as a pet for their gentle and affectionate nature. They respond well to gentle handling but do not require as much attention as other pets.
Guinea pigs love to spend some ‘lap time’ due to their social nature. They love to play and have someone to talk to. They are rarely hostile and often in for a scratch. Though, guinea pigs do mind personal space and usually won’t hug other guinea pig. Guinea pigs will run away at the slightest of disturbance which is their survival tactic.
Though guinea pigs can settle with anybody, it is better to keep them with their own species to avoid any clash especially the animals which are stronger than guinea pigs. Animals like dogs and cats are carnivores and can harm your guinea pig in your absence even if you have trained them enough.
Even less aggressive animals like rabbits or hamsters can bully your guinea pig which will on aggravate their stress. Guinea pigs turn out to be well with humans because we do not try to harm them and show affection. If other animals had that intelligence, guinea pigs would have surely survived with them.
Domestication has been part of human life since long ago. At first, it was about making profits out of them, but eventually, they befriended them also. Similarly, animals also like to socialize. Guinea pigs have been long known for domestication and have been used by humans as food. They became popular as a pet when Queen Elizabeth kept guinea pigs as her favorite pet.
So, from the above discussion, it is quite evident that guinea pigs are social animals and easy to be domesticated. It is okay if your guinea pig hides away at the first site of your guest who you might want to show off your fur animal. It is their basic instinct to find a safe place if they see any danger. The unknown stranger is perceived as a danger.
So, give your pet a little time to adjust even with you, and if they don’t feel comfortable with you, it does not mean that you are not a good owner, it is just that your guinea pig is an introvert and would like to be left alone. Stay and watch them from a safe distance and enjoy their way of life. If they are active with you, then there is nothing more you would like to see in a pet. They are cute to look at and will entertain you with their small tidbits.