Teaching your guinea pig their name is pretty easy, but it takes some repetition. However, it’s so rewarding to have a guinea pig that perks up and comes out to greet you when they hear their name. Teaching your guinea pig to respond to their name also makes it super easy to teach your guinea pig tricks like coming when called, standing up like a meerkat, and doing circles on command.
Teaching your guinea pig their name is a simple and fun way to bond with your guinea pig in a positive way. Keep reading to learn how to teach this to your piggy. I also included several tips to help your training progress even faster and more successfully.
Can Guinea Pigs Learn Their Name?
Absolutely, guinea pigs can learn to recognize their name, and you can even teach them to come when called. Some guinea pigs will learn much faster than others, but all are capable of learning their name.
Find Your Guinea Pig’s Favorite Treats
To train your guinea pig, you’ll first want to find your guinea pig’s favorite veggie treats. This is important so you can form a positive association between your guinea pig and their name.
My guinea pigs absolutely love green leaf or romaine lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, radicchio, cucumbers, and endive.
Try a few and see what your guinea pig seems to like the most! It can take some time for guinea pigs to start eating a new type of food, so leave it in their cage a few times to see if they’ll change their mind. Once you have some favorite veggies, it’s time to start training!
The Best Way to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Respond to Their Name
To teach your guinea pig to respond to their name, say their name in a happy tone of voice and offer them their favorite veggie treat. Use super small pieces of food so you can do many repetitions of this! Repeat this for a few minutes a couple of times a day, and you’ll soon start to see signs that your guinea pig is connecting the dots.
Create Positive Associations With Their Name
You can also teach your guinea pig their name by associating it with positive things that your guinea pig likes. For example, say their name in a happy voice every time you fill up their pellet bowl or give them a big fresh pile of hay.
Guinea pigs will soon learn that hearing their name means great things are happening! This will also make it super easy to teach your guinea pig to come when called in the future if you choose to teach them.
Likewise, it’s a good idea to avoid using their name in a negative light. For example, instead of saying “come here, Daisy” while you’re trying to pick up your guinea pig, use a word or phrase that you’re not going to use for training.
Tone of Voice
Guinea pigs often have a hard time distinguishing between words. For this reason, it’s important to change your tone of voice when you say their name. Use a happy, excited tone of voice every time you say their name. Your guinea pig will learn much faster and have a much easier time recognizing their name if the tone is different from your regular speech.
It’s important to use the same name when you first start teaching your guinea pig their name. Avoid short forms or nicknames at the start. Once your guinea pig learns their actual name, you can start teaching them other versions or cute nicknames. However, it can be confusing for your guinea pig early on if they’re hearing all kinds of different words. They will learn much faster if you’re consistent with one word.
Guinea pigs also have an easier time learning short words than long words or phrases. So if your guinea pig’s name is “Prince Fuzzberton,” it may be a good idea to pick a short form to teach your guinea pig right from the start, such as “Bert.”
Guinea pigs also tend to learn faster if you’re consistent with your training time. If you’re always at their cage at 8 pm for training time, your guinea pig will also come to be alert and ready at that time. If you come in to do training at 8 pm one day, 1 pm the next, 9 am the next, etc., your guinea pig may be unprepared or sleepy when you want to train. This isn’t a deal breaker or anything, but your guinea pig will almost certainly learn their name faster if training occurs at generally the same time every day.
Train in a Familiar Environment
When teaching your guinea pig their name, it’s a good idea to practice mostly in their cage or another area where they feel comfortable. A scared guinea pig is not going to be able to learn very well! If you’re introducing them to a new space, give them time to explore at their own pace before starting any training in that environment.
How Long Does it Take for Guinea Pigs to Learn Their Name?
All guinea pigs learn at a different pace. Some guinea pigs will start to make the connection in just a few days, while others may take a couple of weeks to figure it out completely.
However, learning their name is one of the easiest things you can teach your guinea pig, so it usually doesn’t take longer than a week.
Tame and food-oriented guinea pigs will learn their name the fastest. If your guinea pig is nervous and a bit scared of you, they will likely take a bit longer to learn their name. However, don’t give up!
You can also teach your guinea pig to trust you by keeping your hand still and letting them nibble on a piece of their favorite veggie from your hand. You can say their name in a soft voice while they’re eating, so they begin to form a positive image of their name. You can also check out the Taming and Bonding page for more related tips.
I hope you found this article helpful! Teaching your guinea pig to respond to their name is a great way to start training and begin to form a bond with your new guinea pig.
Usually, it’s super easy to teach, and it paves the way for teaching even more tricks to your guinea pig. Check out some of the easiest tricks to teach your guinea pig, or put your new name training to the test by teaching your guinea pig to come when called.