Training Tips for Pigs

How to train a pot belly pig

 

So you’re thinking about getting a pet pig…

If you don’t already have a pig for a pet, you will have a few things to research and learn.  If you already have your pet pig, and don’t know what to do with it, or how to manage it, you really have jumped the gun, haven’t you?

While pigs are still somewhat a novelty pet, they are also extremely intelligent.  A pig, whether it is a half ton (market hog) or a so-called miniature variety, (usually weighing anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds at maturity) you may be surprised at their agility and intelligence.  Some people who may lack real experience with pet pigs may think that pigs are stubborn.  They are actually very interesting animals, that once they are bonded with their human, they seek your attention, and try very hard to please you. With sufficient attention, and socialization a pig usually becomes very attached to their human family, as well as the other animals in the household.

Pigs are naturally herd animals, as well as prey animals. If they become frightened, they will instinctively run, as fast and as far as they can from whatever frightened them.  Pigs can cover a lot of ground in a very short period of time when they feel they are about to be attacked, or otherwise injured. This is just one reason to never take your pig to any unenclosed area without their harness and leash attached to yourself.  There are few animals more difficult to catch than a terrified pig.

There, now that you have a little up front fill-in information, lets get down to the business of teaching your pet pig some tricks they can very easily and very willingly learn.

 

Instructions

  

photo by Keith Roper
Step 1
Litter train your pig:

 

This will in all probability be the very easiest thing for your pet pig to learn.  If a very young pig is given a small room with a litter box containing a pig-safe litter, it will almost certainly automatically head to the litter box whenever it needs to relieve itself.  You may help the the little pig in learning where their litter box is at first, but once they know where their litter box is, they are very inclined to use that spot.

Be sure not to feed you pig anywhere near their litter area. An older pig, that is not accustomed to using a litter box, may take a little while to make the change, but they will almost certainly appreciate a clean litter box even more than does a cat.

Pigs are naturally very clean animals, and don’t like to be unclean. They will naturally eat and drink in completely different areas of their enclosure, away from where they urinate and from the area they choose to defecate.


photo by Chris
Step 2
Training to sit:

 

While you pig is still small enough to move around with your hands, start teaching him to sit:

Begin by getting some very small bits of his favorite treats, and while telling him to sit, hold his treat above his head, moving your hand containing the treat back toward his shoulders, thereby encouraging him to back up a bit, starting to sit down.  As soon as your pig begins the sit motion, immediately say, “good,” and give him a tid-bit of the treat, petting or patting him a bit.  Do this several times, until he catches on.

Once he seems to understand, he will start to sit on his own. You may not even have to use hand pressure if you move your hand with his treat back in such a way that he naturally begins the sitting process.

Now that your pig understands what it is that you want him to do, he will be listening and looking for his treat so he will be eager to please you to get another treat. Just practice a few times a day, every day and he will get in the mode of really looking forward to doing as you ask.

While pigs don’t ordinarily get bored as quickly as a dog, you still don’t want to keep asking for the same things every time you are with your pig. After all, you and he still need some real bonding.  He needs and wants you to pay attention to him.

 

 


photo by
Step 3
Teaching your pig to dance:

 

Teaching your pet pig to dance is relatively easy once you have taught it to sit.

Now, it’s just a matter of having it sit, and then using it’s favorite treat to lead it’s snout back and forth, while you say, “dance.”

Practice this several times, and praise your pet, patting him, and demonstrate your approval, praising your pig over and over.

You may decide that you would have your pet pig dance while he is on all fours instead of sitting.  This too is rather simple to teach, just bypass the sit command, and use the same technique of leading his snout in the direction you want him to dance. He should catch on quickly. Again, once he get the idea, he will willingly dance on command, waiting for his treat, which should be given as soon as he performs.

Always keep your actions and communication open between your pig and yourself, as this will develop a permanent bonding between you both.

 

Step 4
Continued training:

For continued training, it is strongly suggested that you have  a good connection with someone who has experience with pigs as pets. They will be an excellent source of information and help in times you may get frustrated by some very natural pig behaviors, such as eating the roots of your precious roses, or young fruit trees.

Be sure to keep up the training of your pig. It’s an ongoing, really unending process.  He will be very happy making you happy with him, and even happier with the tiny morsels he receives as his reward for performing.

As your pig grows and matures, likely he won’t be as active as he was as a very young pig, but if properly cared for and if he is not neglected, or hit, he will continue to do his very best to please you in any way he can. He knows he will gain a yummy reward, too.

 

About Vickie Craig

I an avid horseback rider, animal lover, and Owner/Operator of Creekside Farm Tiny Oinkers or my webpage  CreeksideFarmTinyOinkers.com All of my writing comes from factual information, not just my personal experiences or word of mouth.