You love your pet pig, but are you struggling to figure out ways to connect with them? Here 5 fantastic bond building exercises to help you and your pet pig thrive and live your best lives together!
#1 Establish Trust With Floor Time
Known as “floor time” in the pet pig community, this is literally getting down to your pig’s level by laying on the floor and allowing them to come to you.
As prey animals, pigs are naturally scared of everything until they learn they are safe.
At first, your pet pig will require some personal space until they become familiar with their new home as a safe place.
Avoid fast movements and reaching over your pig’s head during floor time since this can scare them and slow down the process of gaining their trust.
PRO TIP: Treats are your friend during the “establishing trust” phase. Offer plenty of treats during floor time and you will have your new piggy pal begging for your love and affection in no time!
#2 Make Time for Well-Care & Interaction
Pigs are incredibly intelligent and sociable animals. They require more than just food and shelter for their well being.
They also crave attention, stimulation, and bonding with their human companions.
One of the best ways to interact with your pet pig is with a daily (or weekly) well-care routine.
Some examples of daily well-care are:
- Combing or brushing your pig’s hair
- Trimming or filing their hooves
- Moisturizing skin, hair and hooves
- Belly rubs and snuggle time
- Taking them for a walk or for a ride in the car
- Just sitting with them and letting them know they are part of the herd!
Set aside a regular time each day for snuggle time with your pig, whether it’s on the couch, the bed, or a soft blanket.
Use this time to relax, bond, and show affection to your pig. They’ll appreciate the attention and feel more connected to you as a result.
# 3 Have Consistent Rules & Boundaries
Establishing clear rules for your piggy pal and thereby setting them up for success is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship.
This not only goes for you, but for everyone in the household. Be sure to discuss the rules with everyone who will be interacting with your pet pig to make sure you’re all on the same page.
Pigs are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. If you’re inconsistent with the rules, your pig may become confused and act out.
For example, if you allow your pig to sleep in your bed one night but not the next, your pig may become anxious and stressed.
The last thing you want is for your pet pig to become spoiled. This is known as SPS or “spoiled pig syndrome.” You can read an in depth article all about SPS here.
Establishing clear rules for your pet pig may seem daunting at first, but like we mentioned before, it really is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship.
By setting boundaries and being consistent with the rules, you can prevent unwanted behavior and establish a positive and loving relationship with your pig.
With patience, dedication, and love, you can raise a happy and well-behaved pet pig!
#4 Tricks & Teamwork
Pigs are smart and very easy to train. They are also very eager to learn new tricks and behaviors.
You can teach your pig simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “spin,” fairly quickly and easily using positive reinforcement such as treats, praise, or even with target practice and clicker training.
You can also teach your pig more advanced tricks like jumping over obstacles, ringing a bell, or fetching objects.
Trick training not only strengthens the bond between you and your pig but also provides them with the mental stimulation they so desperately need.
The American Mini Pig Association (AMPA) has even created an entire website dedicated to trick training.
We highly recommend taking a look at some of the courses they offer to help you get moving along with training your pet pig all while developing a deeper bond with them!
#5 Use Positive Reenforcement for Mealtime Bonding
Pigs love to eat so they are highly food motivated! You can use mealtime as an opportunity for bonding and to reenforce good behavior.
Try these fun and easy tips:
- Hand feed your piggy’s dinner bit by bit as they do what you’ve asked (sit, spin, etc.)
- Use a puzzle feeder to stimulate their brain and reward their problem-solving skills
- Feed with a treat dispenser to motivate your piggy to move around and get some exercise
- Try sprinkling their food in a rooting mat to satiate your pet pig’s natural instinct to graze and root around.
Bonding with your pet pig is a fun and rewarding experience that requires time, patience, and creativity.
By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can deepen your relationship with your pet pig, enhance their well-being, and create a lasting relationship with them.