How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Come When Called
Come when called is a super adorable trick that you can teach your guinea pig. Coming on command is one of the best “dog” tricks you can teach your piggy. This trick is just so cute! It’s hard not to have a smile on your face when your guinea pig comes running over to you when they hear you call them.
This trick is also pretty easy to teach, but it takes a bit of patience and repetition. However, it’s well worth it! Teaching tricks is a lot of fun, and it also helps you form a great bond with your piggy.
Can Guinea Pigs Learn to Come When You Call Them?
Definitely! Guinea pigs can learn to come when called. Teaching your guinea pig to come to their name is generally pretty easy. All it takes is some patience and repetition (and good treats, of course!) All guinea pigs can learn to come when you call them, but some will learn faster than others.
How Long Does it Take to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Come When Called?
It usually takes between 1-3 weeks to teach your guinea pig to reliably come when you call them if you’re working on it consistently every day. This varies from one guinea pig to another. Some guinea pigs pick this up in only a few days; others can take a few weeks.
The main factor is usually how tame your guinea pig is. If your guinea pig is nervous, it will take them longer to get up the courage to come to you. If your guinea pig is tame and has no problem following you around and begging for food, this trick will be super easy for them to learn.
You can also speed up the process by teaching your guinea pig their name. If your piggy already has a positive connotation with their name, it makes training go much faster.
How to Call Your Guinea Pig
When you call your guinea pig to come to you, use a happy, higher tone of voice. This is much easier for them to recognize and respond to than your regular voice. Use the same words each time you call them to avoid confusing your guinea pig.
Every time they come to you, give them a veggie treat so they learn that coming to you is fun and rewarding. This makes it much more likely that your guinea pig will come running to you every time they hear you call them.
What You Need for Training
To teach your guinea pig to come to you, all you’ll need is your guinea pig, some of their favorite veggie treats, and a safe enclosed space that is free from distractions.
Choose vegetables that are low in calcium and well-loved by your guinea pig. My piggies love green leaf or romaine lettuce, cucumber, radicchio, bell peppers, and carrots the most. Once you have some favorite treats, break them up into small pieces to use for training.
You’ll also want a quiet environment to train your guinea pig. Choose a space that is familiar to your guinea pig. A room that you use for your guinea pig’s floor time is usually a great option. It’s a good idea to block off a smaller area of the room, so there are fewer distractions. If you have multiple guinea pigs, it’s a good idea to separate them one at a time for short training sessions.
You can do both of these things with a foldable exercise pen. Personally, I love to buy a pack of wire grids and zip-tie them together to make a pen in the exact size I want. The wire grids also fold like an accordion for storage, as long as you don’t zip-tie them too tightly!
It can also help to have a waterproof floor mat to protect your floor or carpet from messes while your piggies are running around. My favorites are these waterproof splat mats made for kids. They are washable, easy to sweep clean and do a great job of preventing any pee from seeping through.
How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Come When Called (Video Tutorial)
Below is a video demonstrating how to teach your guinea pig to come when you call them. If you prefer the written steps, keep scrolling below. I also included some extra training tips below.
How to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Come When Called
Follow along with these steps to teach your guinea pig to come when you call them. Remember to progress at your guinea pig’s pace. Some guinea pigs will be ready to move on faster, and others may need more time for each step.
If your guinea pig gets stuck or confused at any point, don’t be afraid to go back a step! Oftentimes, this is the best way to build up your guinea pig’s confidence and get them back on track quickly.
1. Call Their Name and Offer a Treat
Start with your guinea pig right in front of you, close enough that you can get their attention easily. Call your guinea pig, and feed them a treat immediately after. Repeat this several times. This teaches your guinea pig that hearing their name/come means that food is coming. Although it seems simple, this is an important step. Be sure to practice this several times before moving on.
2. Increase the Distance a Tiny Bit
Now you can start to increase the distance just a little bit. Move just a few inches away and call your guinea pig. Hold a treat out if needed to draw them towards you. Give them the treat as soon as they take those few steps and come to you. Practice this until your guinea pig can confidently come to you from a close distance.
3. Gradually Keep Increasing the Distance
Keep practicing this, gradually increasing the distance. If your guinea pig stops responding to you at any point, go back to working at a closer distance and progress at a slower pace. Set the guinea pig up for success by increasing the distance slowly and only calling them when you’re pretty sure they will come.
If you notice your guinea pig getting distracted a lot, it may be best to end the session and try again the next day. Guinea pigs often lose focus when they get mentally tired. Getting very distracted all of a sudden is often a sign they need a break.
4. Add More Distance and Distractions
Keep increasing the distance until you’re happy with the distance your guinea pig is coming to you from. Once your guinea pig understands the basics of this trick, you can also work on teaching your piggy to come to you outside the training environment, in bigger areas, from around a corner (with you out of sight), and with little distractions set up in the guinea pig’s path (like small piles of hay and toys). These can all be taught in the same way, by starting close and gradually stretching out the distance.
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
The key to teaching this trick is to start out close and then very gradually increase the distance as your guinea pig learns. If your piggy gets stuck or distracted, try working at a closer distance again to set your guinea pig up for success. Remember to move at your guinea pig’s pace. Patience, repetition, and food will take you far.
Also, make sure you use the same word every time to call your guinea pig. Also, use the same tone of voice, so it’s easy for your guinea pig to recognize. Mixing up words and sounds can be confusing for your guinea pig, and this can slow down your training.
Keep training sessions short as well. Five minutes is usually the maximum time that guinea pigs can focus. If your guinea pig is new to training, this time will likely be cut to two or three minutes. Try to end your training session on a positive note. It’s best to end the session before your guinea pig gets bored. This way, they will think training is fun, and they’ll be looking forward to the next session.
If Your Guinea Pig Isn’t Getting It
If your guinea pig is struggling to learn this trick, it likely means that they are not tame enough, or they feel like the training is too hard. To fix the latter problem, make sure you’re rewarding frequently! Also, practice at a very short distance for a while to make it super easy for your guinea pig.
You can also spend some time teaching your guinea pig their name. Simply say your guinea pig’s name in a happy voice and feed them a treat immediately after. This is super easy for the guinea pig because they don’t really have to do anything at all. Teaching them their name will also make training much easier.
If your guinea pig is nervous about you, this can seriously hinder your training as well. The best way to remedy this is to spend time hand feeding your guinea pig some of their favorite veggie treats. Spending some time just calmly and quietly hand-feeding your guinea pig teaches them that people are not intimidating and that they bring yummy treats! You can also find more tips on taming by visiting the taming and bonding page.
I hope this tutorial helped you learn how to get your guinea pig to come to you when you call them! This trick is one of the cutest and best tricks, in my opinion. It takes some consistency and repetition to teach, but the reward is well worth the effort. There’s nothing like watching your guinea pig come running happily to you when they hear their name.
Teaching tricks is a great way to bond with your guinea pig. It’s also a great form of enrichment and exercise for your piggy. To learn some more fun tricks you can teach your guinea pig, check out this page on the 10 easiest tricks you can teach your guinea pig.