Guinea pigs are very smart animals. They have a great memory and they adapt to new environments quickly. They identify us and act by our voice. We all agree they are very intelligent pets but do guinea pigs have feelings? Do they really recognize us and not just our human voice? Can they feel us being sad or happy?
Sure guinea pigs have feelings! Guinea pigs feel happy and excited just like humans and they know how to show that as well although it’s sometimes different from other pets. On the other hand, they can also feel sad or lonely, and it’s our job to make them happy.
Let’s see how they feel emotions, how they express happiness and joy, why it’s a bit different than other pets, and learn how to make them trust us which is the main key for their heart.
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Do Guinea Pigs Feel Love? (Or Any Other Feeling?)
Guinea pigs are engineered to live in the wild. They are prey animals so makes sense It takes them more time to develop trust and show affection. They have survival instincts developed through the years, they even sleep with their eyes open! Finally, when they do show affection, It’s not exactly like other pets. They definitely show love, just a bit different.
Many people don’t understand this fact and may think guinea pigs can’t feel our love or return love and affection back. That’s not true! Guinea pigs can definitely feel our love and they return affection back. For guinea pigs to show affection, we need to understand exactly how to earn their trust.
In the beginning, as a new guinea pig owner, it takes time to bond with your guinea pig. And sometimes it’s frustrating, as you wanted a pet who shows affection immediately. Don’t worry, be patient, it will happen, and it’s worth it. For example, when you bring your guinea pig food, he will wait until you set the food and go, and only after, he’ll approach and eat. Another example for him not trust you at the beginning is trying to hide inside the cage when you approach. it’s totally normal at the beginning. Don’t worry. That’s because he doesn’t know you yet. At this point don’t think your guinea pig does not like you, remember it’s just the bonding period.
To make this bonding period as short as possible (usually, it will last a month, depends on your pig personality) try to make your guinea pig feel as safe and relaxed as you can. It means alow him access to hay all the time, you don’t like to be hungry either, right? Make sure they have also access to water 24/7. Make him nice and cozy bedding, they like it. Try to not make any scary loud sounds near him. He needs to feel totally safe near you. I recommend you also talk with him nicely, so he will recognize your voice, and will feel more comfortable with your presence.
Be patient. Your guinea pig is smart enough to understand you are caring for him and not some kind of a predator. He will feel your love and affection and finally will start showing you his affection back. Let’s continue and see exactly how.
How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Love Me?
First, for your guinea pig to show love and affection, you need to make sure he is happy. See here how to make sure that’s the case.
We already know guinea pigs have feelings and they have special ways to express their love for you, signs which mean they are happy and sees you as their friend. A common sign is the popcorn popping when they actually hopping up and down when they see you.
Going one step further, when your guinea pigs lick you it means he fully trusts you and this is a very strong expression of his love for you – congratulations! You have a new loving friend. Start by giving him some small pieces of veggies in your hand, first he will eat from your hand, and later on you will see he will lick your fingers.
When they are licking themselves or their cage friend, they are just grooming their fur, it’s not the same.
Another good sign is when you open the cage (which I totally recommend doing from time to time) and let him go around the house, your pet is following you to wherever you go. This means your cavy wants to be near you as he feels comfortable with you.
The last stage is when your guinea pig feels really relaxed with you and then you will find him crawl on your hand when you feed him. That’s great!
Now, If he really likes you he will even crawl on your body and let you feel his warmth and fluffy fur. You can do it while feeding him outside the cage on a sofa.
When your guinea pig allows you to hold him with your hand this is another big sign for him to trust you.
Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?
Guinea pigs are very social animals with one another and when they trust their owner they will be social with him as well. Do they recognize their owner? Yes! they show their love and affection dedicated only to you. Let’s see how.
Hopping When Seeing You
They start hopping when they see you or when you go near them. It doesn’t happing when some else is walking near them.
Lick You And Cuddle With You
One other way for guinea pigs to show feelings for you is cuddling while you seat and lick your fingers or hands. These are strong signs of their affection for you and you can be sure they will not do it with someone they don’t recognize.
How To Help My Guinea Pig Recognize Me
The most important thing is to spend time with them. Give him your attention. Be around them so they could smell you and remember your presence. It’s in their nature to be social with someone they trust and by being with them you earn their trust.
Talk with them. Feed them yourself. The best way to earn your cavy trust and love is by his belly.
Let them out of the cage so they can seat near you and your family.
Guinea pigs have feelings and they have their own way of showing it. They are very sensitive creatures and will feel your presence, recognize you, and will show you affection when they feel calm and relaxed around you.
It will take some time until your guinea pigs get to know you and trust you, the bonding time. It’s very important that you spend time with your guinea pigs in order to gain their trust. In the end, when they will cuddle with you and will hop whenever they see you, you will understand it was all worth it.