Intelligent guinea pigs
They’re so small – and yet so smart! Guinea pigs are intelligent rodents that can be taught many things. They need variety and don’t like being bored.
Guinea pigs best learn a lot later than cats and dogs – while dogs are best trained when they are only a few weeks old, the time is right for guinea pigs when they are nine to ten months old. If you want to train your furry friend, give them plenty of attention then. Learning is hard in a group – there’s simply too much distraction.
To start with, you can encourage your rodent’s intelligence by hiding small pieces of carrot for them to find when they are out of their cage. This will really get them moving! This challenges all of the senses and promotes a desire to discover, and at the same time, your furry friend gets a good dose of exercise. If you want, you can create little obstacles such as tubes to scamper through and boxes with something delicious hidden inside to really boost their grey matter. You can also test your guinea pig’s sense of direction by building a small maze, out of bricks, for example. First, lure your pet through the maze with a little treat. Then, they have to try and find the right way by themselves. Who wants to bet that they get the hang of it very quickly?
These smart little animals also quickly learn how to tell voices apart. You can try this for yourself: Ask a friend that your pet does not yet know to help (so not a family member). Call your pet and it is sure to come running straight away, as it is used to the fact that the sound of your voice is usually followed by food or attention. Then get your friend to repeat this, using the same words as you did to call your pet. Your guinea pig with barely react – because they do not recognise the voice.
Guinea pigs can also learn little tricks such as begging. To train them, all you need is a bit of patience and plenty of treats, at best something delicious like a cucumber. A guinea pig would do almost anything for a cucumber! Take time to find out what exactly you pet most enjoys doing and encourage this. As you’re sure to find out, a guinea pig learns very quickly!
Guinea pigs: small creatures with gumption
Even guinea pigs enjoy small challenges in their daily routine. A very simple trick: hang a lettuce leaf in the cage or enclosure so that the animal has to put its head into gear before it can get to it e.g. clamber onto a little house then stand up straight. You can also teach your guinea pigs to differentiate between the primary colours red, yellow, blue and green: you need four colour-marked bowls for this. Always put the food in one particular bowl and keep changing the arrangement of the bowls. You’ll find the test interesting and a challenge for the guinea pig. Incidentally: if you want to test whether the animals only go to the right bowl because of the smell, then don’t put any food in initially – but fill it straight away when the guinea pig goes to the right bowl!
Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts