How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Run Around An Object
Circling around an object is easy to teach. It makes a great beginner-friendly trick for guinea pigs new to training. This trick can also be made more challenging by teaching your piggy to circle around the object twice before coming back to you.
You can also make the trick more interesting by using various different objects for the guinea pig to run around. For example, you might start by teaching them to go around a basic plastic cup and then get creative by having your guinea pig run around a teddy bear, sign, or a holiday-decorated object for a special occasion.
How Long Does it Take to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Run Around an Object?
If you’re just teaching your guinea pig to circle around the cone once, most guinea pigs can learn this within a few days. However, if you’re sending your guinea pig from a couple of feet away and want to teach them to circle around the object multiple times, it will likely take an average of 1-2 weeks.
Every time you use a new object for the guinea pig to circle, your guinea pig may need a quick refresher as well. This is especially the case if the item is much bigger or different than they’re used to using. For example, teaching the guinea pig to go around a cone, then switching to a larger teddy bear. The good news is that it generally only takes a couple of minutes to get the guinea pig on track with a new object once they’ve already learned the trick.
What You Need for Training
To teach your guinea pig to circle an object, you’ll need your guinea pig, some of their favorite veggie treats, and a safe enclosed space that is free from distractions. You’ll also need a plastic cup or similar object for your guinea pig to go around.
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 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 Circle Around An Object (Video Tutorial)
The following is a video of my guinea pig Ace demonstrating how to teach your guinea pig to run around an object. For the written steps and more training tips, keep scrolling for the full tutorial below.
How to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Run Around an Object – Step by Step
Follow along with these steps to teach your guinea pig to circle around an object. It’s important to progress at your guinea pig’s pace. Make sure they are completely confident at one step before moving on to the next. Some guinea pigs will learn much faster, and some will need extra time on each step.
Take your time, and don’t be afraid to go back a step if your guinea pig gets overly distracted or confused. Going back to an easier step is often the best way to get your guinea pig back on track and learning quickly again.
1. Lure Your Guinea Pig Around the Object
Lure your guinea pig around the obstacle with a treat in your hand. Reward every time they go halfway around, and then give them another treat when they come the rest of the way around the cup.
Practice this until you can lure the guinea pig all the way around the cup. Give them a treat each time they come around. Keep practicing this until they are pretty comfortable following the lure around the cup.
2. Fade Out Your Hand Lure
Gradually start to fade out your hand lure by using it less and less each time. You can do this by leading your guinea pig out towards the cup and then taking your hand away as soon as they are committed to going the rest of the way around.
Practice this until the guinea pig will go around the cup with less reliance on the lure.
3. Increase the Distance
From this point, you can gradually increase the distance you send your guinea pig to go around the obstacle. I usually teach them to go around from about a foot or two away.
Start by moving the object just a few inches further away at first, and move it gradually further each time the guinea pig is successful.
4. Teach the Guinea Pig to Go Around a Second Time
This extra step is optional. It makes the trick a little more interesting and challenging. Use your hand lure (as needed) to guide the guinea pig around the object a second time before they come back to you. Gradually use your hand less and less until the guinea pig can go around twice without any extra guidance.
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
Once your guinea pig learns this trick, try switching up the items that they run around. Stuffed animals and decorated obstacles make an otherwise simple trick more fun and make for cute photos/videos too. You can also increase the distance that you send the guinea pig around to increase the challenge even more.
If Your Guinea Pig Isn’t Getting it
If your guinea pig is struggling to learn this trick, try moving the object closer and make it as easy as possible for the guinea pig to be successful. Make sure you’re using a small, easy-to-navigate obstacle when you first teach this trick. Using something bigger or wider for the guinea pig to go around can make it easier for your piggy to get distracted early on.
If your guinea pig doesn’t want to follow your hand lure, you can find some tips on improving that on the how to start training your guinea pig page. Other than that, make sure you’re progressing at your guinea pig’s pace and increasing distance slowly once you get to that point.
This trick is a great beginner choice to teach to a guinea pig new to training. You have so many more options of fun and easy-to-teach tricks that you can tackle next. Paws up, jumping through a hoop, and playing soccer are also a lot of fun. You can also find a list of 10 great beginner-friendly tricks here for more trick ideas and training tips.