Interaction with your guinea pig is essential to their health and happiness. As a bonus, it likely helps yours too. You have many options for how you interact with your piggle, so you can mix it up as much as you want.
When a guinea pig is comfortable at home, the interaction of cuddle time is highly rewarding. You can do this simply by holding your guinea pig while you sit somewhere. Just remember to watch for nervous signs and put the guinea pig back before they appear.
Adventures in the House
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can place your guinea pig on the floor in a room of your home. Some people refer to this as floor time. Then you follow your guinea pig from a little distance. Just make sure you have carrots (or other veggies) to lure them out from under furniture!
The outdoors require a bit of preparation before you can take your guinea pig out for those interactions. First, the area you take your guinea pig cannot be treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, etc. for safety. Second, you need some form of containment, ideally with a roof. That way, the guinea pig can’t get far, and the birds won’t bother it.
The first time you take a guinea pig outside, it will freak out and likely sit still. That’s okay, as long as you continue building exposure in short, controlled doses. Soon you will see your little friend racing around you.
Guinea pigs are trainable in a basic sense. That means you can teach them to hop on things, go to certain cage areas, spin in a circle, and things like that. Usually, you start training in their cage with pieces of spinach or another quickly eatable vegetable.
Food as Interaction with Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs love food, and they’re grazers. That means, if you desire, you can feed them their vegetables spread throughout the day. When your guinea pig is comfy with you, you can feed out of your hand rather than depositing the veggies in the food dish or feeding through the cage bars.
Brushing, especially for a long-haired guinea pig, is a social interaction. If your guinea pig has cage mates, you’ve probably seen them grooming each other. Using a brush includes you in that interaction.
Providing you’ve socialized your guinea pig, they may be more open to in cage petting. As a rule of thumb, you should not chase your guinea pig if they enter their hidey-hole. If you keep doing this, you may even get an elusive happy guinea pig purr.
Talking as Interaction with Your Guinea Pig
This is the first step in socializing a guinea pig, but you can do it as often as you like. While it may not look like your guinea pig is rapt at the sound of your voice, they do still enjoy it when you’re talking to them. You can also read the morning paper or a book if you’re unsure what to say.
If you have children, you may also want to suggest to them that your guinea pig would enjoy the books they’re reading. Reading aloud helps improve reading skills and confidence, which helps in your child’s academics.