Guinea pigs and dogs can get along, although training each to accept the other takes a fair amount of time. Dogs younger than 16 weeks will have an easier time accepting your guinea pig or cavy, since they are still developing socially. With older pets, it can take several weeks of daily training time to get each species to accept the other.
Guinea pigs are social animals, capable of getting along with other guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and dogs. Dogs can get along with other household pets, too. With both animals, individual personality plays a part in how your pets like one another. Whether your guinea pig and your dog will get along has as much to do with how you introduce the pets as well as with your pets' personalities.
Preparing for Introduction
Begin by showing the guinea pig room or cage to your dog, talking in a cheerful voice so that he'll have a good association. Reward your dog with praise and treats for calm behavior in this room. Allow your dog to get the guinea pig's scent by feeding or playing outside the guinea pig room. Rub a rag on your guinea pig to capture his scent, then let your dog sniff the rag. Again reward your dog for being calm.
Face-to Face Introduction
When your dog acts calm near the guinea pig room or when offered a rag that smells like your cavy, it's time for face-to-face introductions. Open the door, keep the dog restrained and allow the pets to make eye contact for a couple of minutes. If both pets handle this well, start acclimating them by having a family member hold a pet in her lap and another hold the other while sitting across the room from one another. Every day, have them move closer together until the person petting the dog can reach over and pet the guinea pig. Next, have the person holding the dog reach over and pet the guinea pig, and vice versa. This cross-petting helps each pet become more comfortable around the other. Next, tether the dog and allow the guinea pig to roam.
With this type of training, it is important to recognize when things are not going well so you can continue to train your pets to accept one another. If the dog becomes aggressive or tries to chase the guinea pig, grab hold of his leash or collar and use obedience training to direct him to sit or stay. Do not leave the dog and the guinea pig alone unsupervised.
- "Guinea Pig: Your Happy Healthy Pet"; Audrey Pavia
- Error-Free Guinea Pig Raising: Meeting the Household Pets; Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp
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