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How To Train A Guinea Pig Not To Bite

Guinea pigs are docile animals, and rarely bite without cause. They tend to 'mouth' their owners while being held, just to see if you’re edible! These are not hard bites, though, and don't hurt. It's not aggression, just curiosity.

Guinea pigs only use their teeth aggressively if they feel under threat - they are their only means of defence. If your pet bites you for real, it’s because they’re afraid of you. Teaching them that they don'y need be afraid, and that they can actually expect treats and affection from you is what this training is all about.


 Guinea pig teeth biting
Guinea Pigs don't usually use their teeth aggressively

How to stop your guinea pig biting

You need to figure out why your pet is biting in the first place. There are different possible reasons:

Fear

Do you smell of something that your guinea pig might be afraid of, such as cats and dogs? Wear clean clothes and wash your hands before you pick them up. It's a good idea to wear gloves - clean ones - to offer protection in case the GP still wants to bite. Or perhaps the GP is stressed, and therefore afraid. Are they in a noisy place? Do they feel threatened by other pets, noisy children, or noisy household appliances?

Pain

Another thing that causes a GP to bite is if it's in pain. Are you holding too tightly? Is the guinea pig ill or injured? Give them a quick health check to see if they need to visit a vet. If they have the skin disease mange, it can make handling painful for them, and they have no way of telling you not to pick them up other than biting.

Calls of Nature!

It's possible that your guinea pig wants to be put down because it needs to go to the bathroom and can't wait! In this case it may nibble irritably on your hand to let you know. When you put your guinea pig down, watch it to see if this is indeed the case.

Living Conditions

Another possible reason for a guinea pig biting is to do with the animal's environment. If it chews its bars all the time, it can indicate loneliness. If you only have one guinea pig, then even if you’re the most affectionate owner in the world then it will still be lonely without a guinea pig companion. Alternatively, it could be because you haven't cleaned out the hutch and the animal is getting stressed by the soiled bedding.

Testosterone

Another potential cause, amongst male GPs, is testosterone. If if your guinea pig isn’t neutered, he may turn aggressive. You might want to consider neutering him, but need to be aware that this is actually no guarantee that he will change his behavior.

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Comments Leave a comment

Della, 13 October 2021

I have bred and raised hundreds of Guinea Pigs...only two were biters. The first one was raised by me and she rarely bit- and never did once I discovered that she had a sore spot which the vet treated. Long after I'd stopped breeding piggies a pet store owner who used to sell mine called and asked if I would take one as he wouldn't sell her once he found that she was a biter but didn't want to see her euthanized. It took me weeks to dissuade her of the habit...though I was never able to completely do so...and that little girl was sooooo pampered:) For her, the only way that I was able to do it was to lie her on her back in my lap, stroke her gently about her face, talk/sing to her and give her her special treats when she was quieted down and contented- then let her turn herself over. She did become quite a special pet with her own hammock and the run of the living room.


Lynnette, 3 May 2021

The comments are informative but, my Guinea only bites me. If my hands are too close he snaps at them,and then he chatters me. Sometimes I feel like we've made some progress and then he starts the biting and chattering. Also do Guineas get jealous?


Donna, 5 April 2021

I have 2 male guinea pigs and I try every day to make my guinea pig that I love them both and would never do anything to hurt them as mine keeps nibbling me and making like an angry sound


Renee, 23 April 2020

I adopted a bonded pair of piggies 2 years ago. One of them died from bloating because I didn't catch it in time. I rescued a tiny baby guinea pig so that my lone pig could have a friend. But the baby bites me. I think it may be because of her old home, where she wasn't treated well. She has made great progress so far and is not afraid of my hands. However, she still bites me when she is out of the cage. We are currently treating her for bloat, but she is making a speedy recovery and is on her way to full health. I think I will just show her extra kindness and we will work on It more with some treats ;). Thanks!


Mallory, 1 March 2017

I think this is a great article! It told me exactly what I needed. My cavy is most likely lonely. I will try and do what I can. Thx