How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Stand Up
One of the easiest and cutest tricks you can teach your guinea pig is to stand up and beg. Almost all guinea pigs love this trick once they learn it. Most guinea pigs will start standing up as a way to get your attention and beg for treats. They know how cute it is, and they use that to their advantage.
Some guinea pigs will learn this trick naturally with hardly any training at all. Other piggies find it a little harder to balance and need to be taught in smaller steps. So if your guinea pig is hesitant to stand up at first, remember that this is normal and totally fine! Be patient, and work through the steps below.
Most guinea pigs will improve quickly with practice. It doesn’t take long for them to go from refusing to lift a foot to standing up all the way with confidence. Be consistent and patient, and your guinea pig will catch on in no time!
How Long Does it Take to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Stand Up?
It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to teach your guinea pig to stand up. This depends largely on your guinea pig’s confidence and age. Younger or agile guinea pigs tend to stand up very naturally with little or no training. These guinea pigs will be standing up in no time!
If your guinea pig is a couple of years old or a little chunky, you may need to break your training into smaller steps to help them succeed. Guinea pigs of all ages and skill levels can learn this trick with a bit of time and consistent practice.
What You Need for Training
To teach your guinea pig to stand up, 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 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 Stand Up/Beg (Video Tutorial)
The following video demonstrates all the steps to take to teach your guinea pig to stand up. I have some more tips and written step by step instructions below, so keep scrolling below for the rest of the tutorial.
How to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Stand Up – Step by Step
1. Teach Your Guinea Pig to Put Their Paws on Your Hand
I find that teaching your guinea pig to put their front paws up on your hand helps build some early confidence and balance. It may not be necessary for all pigs, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to teach it anyway.
You can teach this by putting your hand flat on the floor in front of your guinea pig. Use a treat to lure them onto your hand. Give them the treat as soon as their front paws land on your hand. After a few times, start raising your hand higher off the floor and repeat the same process.
Teaching paws up encourages your guinea pig to move their feet and balance a bit, which will be useful when teaching them to stand up.
2. Lure Your Guinea Pig Up With a Treat
To teach your guinea pig to stand up, use a treat to lure them up. Keep the treat close to the guinea pig’s nose and slowly lure upwards. Try to lure over their head rather than in front of them. This encourages them to shift their weight onto their hind legs, making it easier for them to balance and stand up.
Give your guinea pig a small treat anytime they stretch up to reach for it. If they lift up one or even both feet off the ground, give them a bigger piece of food and lots of praise!
Some guinea pigs can be quite hesitant to lift their feet off the ground at first. Be patient and keep giving them a little nibble of the food each time they stretch their neck up. Have a big piece of their favorite food ready to give them when they finally do lift a foot off the floor. Guinea pigs will learn quickly that lifting their feet equals a much better reward!
Practice this until your guinea pig can stand up with both feet off the floor. They will not likely be standing up very high or for very long at this point. They will continue to gain confidence with time! As long as they are lifting both front feet off the ground for a brief moment, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
3. Build Confidence Through Repetition
From here, all you need to do is build confidence. Often, guinea pigs will develop more confidence naturally with a bit more time and practice. As your guinea pig starts to stand up more eagerly, you can begin to lure them a little higher. Be careful not to push them too fast or they could lose their balance.
You can also encourage your guinea pig to stay standing longer by letting them nibble on the food for a few seconds while they’re standing.
It’s best to keep your training sessions short, ideally a couple of minutes or less. Guinea pigs can get tired easily while learning to stand up. They’re using their muscles in a different way than usual, and this can be fatiguing for them. To keep training fun and easy for them, it’s a good idea to break up the training for this trick into several short mini sessions each day rather than 1 or 2 long training sessions.
4. Fade Out The Lure and Introduce a Cue
Once your guinea pig is confidently standing up, you can fade out your hand lure and choose a cue to teach your guinea pig instead.
Start fading out the lure by using your hand gradually less. Hold your hand higher and use it in a less obvious way to encourage the guinea pig to stand up.
Also, start giving your guinea pig the treat from your opposite hand, so they aren’t as focused on getting the treat in your hand.
You can then start using a verbal cue and say this word each time you guide your guinea pig up with a treat. Choose a word that is short and easy to understand, such as “up.” Eventually, your guinea pig will respond to the word alone, without following your hand.
You can also just switch to using a smaller hand signal as a cue. I personally like to use a flat-hand motion as a cue instead of a word. I simply hold my hand out in front of the guinea pig and raise my hand up a few inches to cue the trick. Once they stand up, reward from your opposite hand, so they’re not just following the food.
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
- Some guinea pigs have better balance than others. If you have a guinea pig with poor balance, be patient and work through this trick slowly. With ample time and patience, their balance and confidence will gradually improve.
- On the other hand, if you have a young or more agile guinea pig, you may be able to skip the first step (putting their front paws up on your hand) and just lure them into a standing position right from the beginning. Some guinea pigs naturally have good balance and therefore pick up on this trick very quickly.
- Many guinea pigs won’t lift their feet off the ground at all initially and will just stretch their neck up as far as they can while keeping their feet planted. Keep rewarding them for reaching up and watch their feet. If they lift up one of their legs, even very slightly, reward with plenty of treats and praise. Be patient and generously reward them whenever any progress is made, no matter how small.
If Your Guinea Pig Isn’t Getting It
If your guinea pig is still struggling with this trick, try to break it down even further. Reward for every little effort they make to stretch up and reach for the treat.
In addition, you may want to cut your training sessions even shorter. Some guinea pigs can only handle 2 or 3 repetitions of this at a time. Instead of teaching it in a dedicated session, try to encourage your guinea pig to reach up for their food just once or twice when you bring them their morning or evening veggies.
You can also practice the paws up trick with a variety of different objects to improve their balance even more. If all else fails, switch your focus to some other tricks and work on something that your guinea pig finds easier. Oftentimes, taking a break and coming back to this trick later on really helps. A big part of this trick is about confidence, so teaching other types of tricks can help build up the confidence they need in order to master this trick.
Stand up is a fun trick for both guinea pigs and their people. Trick training can be a great way to form a strong bond with your guinea pig. It also provides your guinea pig with an interactive source of exercise and mental enrichment.
There are so many other fun tricks you can teach your guinea pig as well. Check out our list of 10 easiest tricks to start teaching your guinea pig first for some more tutorials and inspiration.