Becoming a pet parent is not just a matter of ownership — it’s also a matter of the heart. As we spend more time together, our pets bring us immeasurable joy and become an intricate part of our lives! Guinea pigs, especially, being adorable and personable can be delightful friends and companions. However, their charming and chatty character can only be brought out if they have a strong bond with their owner.
On the other hand, a strained or negative bond can negatively affect them, leaving them feeling lonely, depressed, untrusting, and lacking social stimulation.
Whether you’re a new owner, or someone looking to deepen their friendship with their guinea pig — here are 7 steps you can implement to create a strong, loving bond with your pet!
1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Space
Providing a comfortable and safe environment for your guinea pig is the foundation of a strong bond.
Opt for a spacious, calm, and quiet cage, away from loud noises or disturbances, and add character to it by including cosy bedding, engaging toys, and snug hideouts for them to explore and play in.
Remember to keep their cage clean and change the bedding regularly to maintain health and hygiene.
2. Use Gentle Mannerisms
With their sensitive hearing, guinea pigs can be easily startled by sudden noises or movements.
Speak to your guinea pig in a gentle, soothing voice, creating a calm and undisturbed atmosphere. Approach them slowly and avoid reaching out abruptly. This gives them time to observe your actions and become comfortable with your presence.
3. Hand Feed Them Delicious Treats
Nothing quite wins the heart of a guinea pig like a yummy treat — even better when it’s from their favourite human’s hand!
Hand-feeding your pet their favourite fresh vegetables, fruits, or specially formulated guinea pig treats can help create positive associations and trust. Simply hold out your hand, allowing them to approach you and take the treats at their own pace. Remember, moderation is key to maintaining their health.
Additionally, make sure to give your guinea pig nutritious food and regular meals. Being involved in their personal care is also a big part of bonding with them!
4. Gently Pet and Cuddle Them
Once your guinea pig feels at ease with you, it's time to introduce gentle petting and cuddling sessions. Start by stroking their back or chin with slow and tender movements. Respect and observe their reactions.
Some guinea pigs may enjoy longer petting sessions, while others may prefer shorter interactions. Adapt to their individual preferences and accordingly shower them with affection!
5. Lap Time
Lap time can be an intimate way of bonding with your guinea pig. For a cosy lap session, throw a soft blanket over your lap and settle away from any noises or disturbances. Allow your guinea pig to explore and settle in your lap voluntarily. Shower them with gentle strokes, speak softly to them, and offer treats as a reward for their trust. These sweet moments will give way to a deeper connection and strengthen your bond!
6. Interact With Them During Playtime
Guinea pigs are curious and active creatures, so providing them with interactive playtime is essential for their well-being and socialisation. Set up a play area with tunnels, toys, and obstacles for them to explore and discover. Engage yourself in their interactive play by gently rolling a small ball or offering chew toys for their enjoyment.
7. Handle them Gently and Frequently
Your guinea pig has to get used to your touch and smell in order to bond with you. Handle your guinea pig gently — approach them when they are relaxed, slowly extend your hand and let them sniff you. Then — carefully supporting their back, legs, and chest — scoop them up and hold them close.
You must also handle them regularly to maintain your bond. Handle them daily and consistently, picking them up for short periods throughout their day or providing lap time.
Remember, building trust with your guinea pig takes time and patience. Respect their boundaries and avoid forcing interactions as this can overwhelm them. Each guinea pig is unique, so it's important to allow them to adjust at their own pace. Be patient and understanding, and with time, your guinea pig will love you and accept your hand of friendship!