Guinea Pigs are great pets for children. They are cute, furry and a small and manageable size for children to look after. Training a Guinea Pig to perform a few basic tricks is a good way to enhance the experience between child and pet and it keeps the Guinea Pig mentally stimulated, active and healthy while being fun and rewarding for your child. To get started there are two basic methods used while training a Guinea Pig. There is the Lure-Reward training and the Clicker training. Both are effective and your child can use one or the other or a mixture of both. These ways are also positive and there is no punishment involved in training. Lure-Reward appeals to the Guinea Pigs love of treats. It is a simple method of giving the animal a verbal command, luring it through the action with the food and then rewarding it with the food when the task is complete. Healthy treats, such as carrots, lettuce, parsley and berries are good to use as you don’t want to end up with an overweight pet in the process. Clicker training is similar to Lure-Reward, but a clicker is added when the treat is given. This gives the animal a noise to recognise and associate with having done well. Eventually the food can be taken away and the Guinea Pig will recognise the clicker as reward. Now that you have a start, here are a couple of fun tricks to try:
Firstly, hold a treat in front of the Guinea Pigs nose and let them get a sniff of it, then once you have their attention, introduce the voice command of “Stand” or use a hand signal as direction. While you are doing this start raising the treat slowly. When the Guinea Pig starts to stretch its head up, let it have a few nibbles on the treat, then move the lure higher until it is standing. Repeat the steps until the Guinea Pig learns to recognise the command to “Stand”.
Rolling A Ball
First things first find a small ball that is a good size for the Guinea Pig to work with. Now put the Guinea Pig in a play area with the ball and watch to see if they show curiosity or nudge the ball. Rubbing the ball with some food might help to peak their interest. When they do nudge it reward them with a treat and or click. If it doesn’t show immediate interest, then reward them for paying attention to the ball, such as moving towards it or looking at it. The trick here is to develop the behaviour and keep rewarding them until they get to the point of moving the ball around. These are both a couple of fun ways to start off and as your child progress it can be fun for both of you to look into more tricks to try.