Many times when you pet your dog, cat or a guinea pig, you’ll see a different reaction. Some animals love to be petted on the back, some love it on the stomach, and some hate it.
But, can you tickle your guinea pig? Definitely no. While your guinea pig might look like you tickle it, it’s actually a general reaction to the petting spot. For example, if your pet shows signs of discomfort, it’s usually because it really doesn’t like it. Many predatory animals hate being petted under their neck as this is the place where a potential predator will attack. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, have a specific spot where they love to be petted thus we’ll talk about that in this article.
Do Guinea Pigs Love to be Petted?
Of course, they do! However, guinea pigs are rodents and rodents aren’t so gullible when it comes to trusting the world around them. This means that when you buy yourself a guinea pig, you shouldn’t immediately grab it and start twisting it around. Guinea pigs hate that and they definitely hate being pushed and clenched between your hands. As much as they love their cage, they hate a claustrophobic feeling that your hands could give it.
A guinea pig will need some time to adapt to a new home, new environment, and the new owner – you. When you buy a guinea pig, you should definitely spend some time with it to create a bond between you to but you should also restrain from petting. If you do everything as you should, your guinea pig will begin to trust you and you’ll be able to pet it whenever you want.
The best way to do this is to let a pig sit in its cage. When you want to spend time with it, open the cage and let the pig approach you, and not vice versa. If the pig starts approaching you often, that’s a perfect sign that it gained trust in you and you can proceed to pet.
How to Pet a Guinea Pig?
Even though a guinea pig isn’t ticklish, it can still show signs of discomfort and dislike the way you pet it. The first thing to do before you pet it is to make sure that you’re gentle enough. Guinea pigs aren’t some big dogs that could bite off your hand but the gentle animals that require patience and tenderness. When you decide that you want to pet your guinea pig, be sure to alert them in some way. Don’t just go behind or sneak up on them. They can get scared and you’ll lose every chance of petting it, at least for some time.
If a guinea pig doesn’t want to be petted, you should never chase it. Simply let it go until it returns and wants to be petted. Of course, petting should be gentle and in the direction of the fur. Going in the opposite direction will cause discomfort for both you and a guinea pig. This direction is from head to hips – not the opposite.
Now, Where Should You Pet Your Guinea Pig?
Well, that’s sometimes a tricky question. Many owners say that you should start by petting the back, which we don’t agree with. Petting your guinea pig on the back might trigger its instinct and make it scared. This will also apply to the underside and the feet, which is something that you should stay away always. The best way to start petting is under the chin or head. If you see that your guinea pig is comfortable, you can then move to back but ONLY if it’s comfortable.
If not, petting your guinea pig under the chin or head is the way to go. In my experience, this is the area that guinea pigs like the most. Many times, you won’t even need to stop petting as your guinea pig will move away from you. That’s a signal that the petting should stop.
What If a Guinea Pig Doesn’t Want to Be Petted?
If your guinea pig refuses to let you pet it, there can be several problems:
You Don’t Know How to Pet Properly
A guinea pig that doesn’t enjoy your petting would gladly tell you that… if only it could speak. If you aren’t gentle and you don’t follow the rules we’ve mentioned above, a guinea pig will reject you every time you try to pet it. Why do it if it’s not comfortable?
Before you rush to your pig to pet it, be sure to follow our guide to petting again. Never force a guinea pig into petting if it doesn’t want it. Let your pig approach you and then touch it gently. While this sounds hard, in reality, it really isn’t. All you need to do is be gentle and pet in the direction of the fur.
It doesn’t Trust You
Would you let someone you don’t trust touch you? Guinea pigs neither! In this case, you should work on a relationship between you and your guinea pig. Since guinea pigs are widely domesticated, you’ll have zero problems in this. Just be sure to feed it regularly and keep an eye on it and you should be good. You can also include your family members to socialize it with the other people in your family.
It doesn’t Like to be Petted
Simply put, some guinea pigs don’t like to be petted. That’s how it is. If your guinea pig behaves like this, you’ll need to get over it and stop petting it and don’t be sad about it. You can still have fun with your guinea pig without physical contact – through training and play.
What About Food?
Can you somehow bribe your guinea pig into petting? In some cases, yes. Guinea pigs have only one thing in common with the regular pigs and it’s their love for food. You see, guinea pigs are gluttonous eaters that will wipe away every bit of hay you give them. Vegetable, fruit or hay, they don’t care. Whatever your guinea pig likes, be sure to give him that but in a larger portion. While it eats, approach slowly and pet it gently.
If a guinea pig doesn’t react negatively, voila! You got it! Over time, it will start to associate the feeding time with you and will like petting more and more. Since you probably feed your guinea pig several times a day, you can use that time to pet it and enjoy your gentle moments with it.
To put things into perspective, guinea pigs can be safely petted and they aren’t ticklish either. While it’s a good thing to know, you should also know that they won’t tolerate aggressive petting as it can hurt them. Some guinea pigs love petting and some hate it – it’s up to you to see and decide.
If you have some of the American guinea pig breeds, they will most likely like it. Breeds like Abyssinians with fur that grows in erratic patterns will definitely feel better without petting. Enough reading for today. Go and spend some quality time with your guinea pig but don’t smother it too much!