Sometimes it’s tough to detect the signs that guinea pigs are lavishing you with all the love in their little hearts. But if you pay attention, you can see these signs!
How do guinea pigs show their affection to humans? Read on to find out!
How Do Guinea Pigs Show Affection?
Guinea pigs show their affection in many ways, but most of these methods involve directly communicating their trust in you. As prey animals, guinea pigs are often anxious and frightened.
Interacting with you happily shows that they trust and love you, generally speaking, but of course, there are many other signs of guinea pig affection, too.
6 Ways Guinea Pigs Are Affectionate
1. Letting You Hold Or Pet Them
Guinea pigs enjoy being pet, but they’re also prey animals that retain their instincts from the wild. If they aren’t trusting of you, they will run and hide as quickly as possible.
So if a guinea pig happily allows you to hold them or pet them without scampering or trying to escape, that’s a good show of affection.
This is especially true when your guinea pig nuzzles into you or cuddles contently. This shows that they’re not just tolerating you, but happily trusting you and enjoying your presence!
2. Climbing On You
Just like with allowing themselves to be held and pet, climbing on you – a human being who is “giant” to a guinea pig! – is a peak sign of trust from these little animals.
Guinea pigs will not climb all over someone and willingly interact so extensively with a person they don’t like.
3. Letting You Hand Feed Them
When eating, guinea pigs are especially vulnerable and distracted, and their instincts naturally warn them against the dangers of eating out in the open.
Directly taking food from a human being hundreds of times larger than them would definitely ring some alarm bells!
But if the guinea pig likes you, they’ll eat from your hand. They’ve decided you’re worth trusting in this vulnerable position, which is a high honor indeed.
4. Following You Around
Instead of running and hiding, the guinea pig follows you around cheerfully, wanting to be near you. Even when you don’t have treats, toys, or food, they jump after you willingly and of their own volition.
You make your guinea pig feel happy and safe, so they always want to be around you.
Dogs and cats lick the people they love, and guinea pigs do it too! But it’s a very meaningful action from a guinea pig, as it requires a lot of trust before they do it.
A guinea pig who approaches you to give you a lick definitely really loves you! Think of it as a small kiss from them.
This highly distinctive sound is a kind of guinea pig vocalization. It’s commonly done when a guinea pig is excited about something, typically for feeding or treats.
You might recognize the sound as something between a whistle and a squeal, usually with some length to the noise. It can be surprisingly loud for a creature of this size!
But wheeking isn’t just about food. It’s a positive noise made to indicate anticipation.
If your cavy makes this sound when you’re coming around for playtime or just walking into the room, they’re letting you know that they are excited to see you!
This is especially true if they make this noise even when they’ve already eaten or when it’s not feeding time.
How To Help Your Guinea Pig Show More Affection To You
1. Feed Your Guinea Pig
Food is the easiest way to gain most animals’ trust. The same goes for guinea pigs!
Feeding your guinea pig will form a positive association for them of you. Pellets, hay, fruits, and veggies alike will all be good options when fed according to their dietary requirements.
When your guinea pig realizes that you’re safe and also a positive presence in its life, it will grow more affectionate towards you.
Feeding your guinea pig by hand can slowly increase their trust in you, but not all guinea pigs will be comfortable with this off the bat.
It may take a while before yours is willing to do this. You can also train this by setting up a trail of treats, pellets, or hay that ends in some high-value food in your hand.
2. Spend Quality Time With Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs value routine and consistency. The more time they spend around you, the more they’ll like you.
But this doesn’t mean just spending time in one room with them as they mill about in their own cages. You have to spend proper quality time with them.
What does this involve?
Usually, you can remove your guinea pig from its confined cage or enclosure and place them in a safe, wide area while you sit with them.
You can play games with them, hide treats around the room for them to find, or just watch them wander. Don’t force them to interact with you, but have a couple of treats handy to encourage an approach.
3. Lie Down As Your Guinea Pig Walks Around
When you’re spending quality time with your guinea pig, a great way to encourage them to get closer to you is to lie down near them.
Just stay still and lie flat, being gentle and quiet, until your guinea pig decides to approach.
Eventually, your guinea pig’s curiosity and your gentleness will allow them to feel comfortable walking onto you, climbing on you, and using you as part of its explorations.
This will pave the way for you to be able to pick it up and interact with it more directly. You can also leave treats on and around your body to further drive the guinea pig’s desire to wander.
4. Handle Your Guinea Pig In The Right Way
If you hold your guinea pig in a way that makes them uncomfortable, they’ll likely not feel too happy about you!
This is why you need to learn how to properly handle your guinea pig in the way that is most comfortable and suitable for them.
When you pick up your guinea pig, you must be gentle but provide enough hardy support. Support its bottom with one hand and place another hand under its stomach.
When you carry them, hold them nice and close to your body, continuing your supportive but gentle stance.
The goal is to ensure that your guinea pig feels safe and secure when being held. If they aren’t afraid of falling, they’ll warm up to you quickly and be much happier being held by you over time.
5. Talk To Your Guinea Pig
It seems weird, but guinea pigs are pretty good listeners! As social creatures, guinea pigs enjoy attention from others.
Place your guinea pig’s kennel or enclosure in an area where you’ll be spending a lot of your daily time. As the day passes, just talk to them casually about whatever’s happening, your thoughts, or anything at all.
Sure, it’ll feel strange at first, but you’ll get used to it and you’ll start to notice that your guinea pig does seem to listen to you! Bonus points if you use its name a lot while talking to them.
Regardless, doing this will get your cavy used to your voice so that they look forward to your presence and recognizes you favorably!
6. Be Kind
Guinea pigs get scared very easily, so you have to be very careful and considerate with yours. Be gentle when interacting with them and never shout at or “punish” your guinea pig for anything.
When around them, you should also be careful not to make sudden noises or movements. This will help to build your pet’s trust in you.
Guinea pigs show affection through their displays of trust. Their methods of displaying their love involve demonstrations that they’re not afraid of you and are safe and secure around you.
That’s why gaining their affection is all about gaining their trust!