Are guinea pigs affectionate towards their owners?
If you’re wondering if cavies make good cuddle-buddies, keep reading!
We’ll look at some signs your guinea pig likes you, along with tips to build your bond!
Let’s get started!
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Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate Towards Their Owners?
Short answer, yes, guinea pigs can be very affectionate towards their owners.
However, just like any pet, you get what you give!
If you just leave your cavy in her habitat all day and ignore her, then no, she won’t really feel much of anything towards you.
Put bluntly, she’ll view you as “the hand that drops the food and cleans our poop,” and nothing more.
On the other hand, If you take the time to really bond with your cavy, then you’ll be rewarded with love and affection.
Makes perfect sense, right? So, how do you know if your efforts are paying off and your cavy actually likes you?
Let’s look at some of the signs of affection that your cavy might show.
Check: Do Guinea Pigs Cuddle?
Signs that your guinea pig loves you
Just like humans have very different ways of expressing love, so do cavies.
However, there are a few unmistakable signs that your piggy really loves you.
The super cute video below gives you a good overview, so take a look!
Then, we’ll go over some other signs.
Related: Understanding Your Guinea Pig Language
Letting you hold her
Just the mere act of letting you hold her is a sign that your guinea pig loves you!
When I first got my piggy Krystal, she acted like she was downright terrified of me!
Every time I picked her up, she kicked, squealed and basically acted like I was King Kong coming to drag her to the top of the Empire State building!
I guess to her I was.
I mean, I’m significantly shorter than King Kong (and, honestly, than the average adult), but still, think about it from her point of view.
When she finally let me hold her and even nuzzled in close, I knew I had finally earned her trust.
Like cats and dogs, guinea pigs lick themselves to groom their luxurious locks.
However, if that turn that tongue on you, it could be a sign of love and affection!
Of course, it could also be a sign that your cavy thinks you really need a bath, too. 🙂
Seriously, though, consider this- if your cavy is comfortable enough to settle into your arms and give you a bath, then she must really like you!
Popcorning when they see you
“Popcorning” is one of the cutest ways guinea pigs express joy.
As the name implies, they sort of “pop” around, kind of like how corn kernels burst into pieces of popcorn!
If your cavy popcorns at the mere sight of you (or sound of your voice), then it’s a pretty safe bet that she loves you!
“Chatting” with you
My piggies lived in my son’s room, mostly because it was the safest room in the house since our cats and dogs rarely went in there.
Every day, when he got home from school and walked into his room, Charlotte & Krystal would start “talking” to him like crazy.
They’d popcorn, squeak, squeal and jabber as if they were telling him all about their day and asking about his.
If your piggy gets that excited when you walk into a room (and it’s not feeding time!), then it’s safe to say she likes you!
Now that we’ve determined that guinea pigs are affectionate towards people, what about their feelings towards each other?
READ MORE: Pros and Cons of Guinea Pigs as Pets
How to Get Your Guinea Pig to Show Affection Towards You
There isn’t a magical formula for getting your piggy to like you better.
At first, bonding with your piggy is all about showing that you’re trustworthy.
So, let’s start there.
Build a trusting relationship
Put yourself in your piggy’s proverbial shoes for a moment and think about the things that would make YOU trust a ginormous stranger.
Some things that would make me personally feel better if I was a guinea pig include:
- A clean and comfortable home with room to spread my proverbial wings
- A safe place to hide out when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
- Being left along when I flee to my “safe place.”
- Being handled with care!
- A reliable feeding routine
They’re pretty self-explanatory, but let’s break them down a bit.
In other words, give your cavy a roomy habitat with plenty of space for her to run, sleep, and eat comfortable.
Make sure you include a few hiding spots for those times when she just needs some peace and quiet.
When she’s in her “hiding spot,” let her be.
She’s telling you that she needs some space. Forcing her out and trying to hold her will break the trust that you’re building.
You’ll also want to handle your piggy with care. Give her some warning before you pick her up.
In other words, don’t just reach down into her habitat and scoop her up!
Let her see your hand, talk to her gently, and stroke her before lifting her.
Unless you absolutely need to move her (for a major habitat cleaning, for example), don’t force the issue if she doesn’t want to be held.
Knowing that my new family isn’t going to let me starve is another major aspect to building trust.
Let’s talk about it in a bit more detail, though, as you can also use food to create a special bond.
Using food to bond with your cavy
The mere act of feeding your cavy on a regular schedule helps build that trust we just talked about.
However, you can also use special treats to further cement your bond by hand-feeding her.
You’ll want to use something extremely enticing, and something that she doesn’t already get in her nightly salad.
At first, she may be scared to take it from your hand. Don’t push, and don’t withhold it if she just won’t do it.
Instead, place it next to her and let her get a taste, then try again.
If she still doesn’t take it, repeat it daily. Eventually, she will let her hand feed her. When that happens, you’ll know that she really trusts you.
Long story short, yes, guinea pigs are affectionate. They just need to trust you before they show it!