These 7 tricks are some of the coolest, most impressive looking tricks you can teach your guinea pig. However, some of these tricks can be challenging and take weeks to train. They may require the guinea pig to learn a different skill or trick, such as target training or picking up a ball first. It’s a good idea to teach some tricks from the 10 Easy Tricks to Teach First page before starting to teach the following tricks. With that said, these tricks are some of my favorites to teach, and they will surely make your guinea pig one of a kind!
1. How to Teach Your Guinea Pig to Play Basketball
Basketball is a super impressive looking trick, and it’s lots of fun to teach! The first thing you’ll want to do is teach your guinea pig to pick up a ball. Choose a small lightweight ball that is easy for your guinea pig to pick up, such as this one. Hold the ball out in front of them, and reward for sniffing or touching the ball at first. Then start rewarding for multiple touches to the ball, or a little nibble. It can also help to stuff some lettuce inside the ball to encourage them to nibble at it.
Once your guinea pig can pick up a ball, you’ll want to teach them to put the ball in a shallow bowl. Collapsible silicone pet bowls are great for this purpose, because they make a softer noise when the ball drops in them, and they can be adjusted to different heights as your guinea pig learns. Put the bowl right in front of them, and give them a treat every time they get the ball in the bowl. It helps to hold a treat over the bowl to attract their attention in the right direction. You can also use your leg to create a narrow space on the opposite side of the bowl. This often makes it more intuitive for them to turn their head towards the bowl.
If you’re struggling with this, you can also try moving the bowl manually so the ball drops in the bowl. As soon as your guinea pig picks up the ball, move the bowl underneath to where they are going to drop the ball. Reward every time the ball lands in the bowl. After some repetition, they usually start to get the right idea. Be sure to go back and teach them to put the ball in the bowl on their own after this.
Once they’ve mastered this, practice with the bowl on the opposite side. You don’t want your guinea pig to become one-sided! Eventually, you can use a higher bowl, and even upgrade to a cute mini basketball net! There’s no trick more impressive than a basketball playing guinea pig. Check out the basketball page for more training tips and a video tutorial.
Ever wish you could play fetch with your guinea pig? You actually can! Fetch is super fun and incredibly adorable. Like the basketball trick, the first thing you’ll want to do is teach your guinea pig to pick up a ball. Slotted cat toy balls (you can take out the bell) work great for guinea pigs. You can teach this the same way as above; hold the ball in front of your guinea pig and reward for any sniffing or nibbling at the ball. Stuffing it with food often helps to get them nibbling at the ball at first.
Once your guinea pig is picking up a ball, it’s time to teach them to put the ball in your hand. You can do this by moving your hand underneath where your guinea pig is going to drop the ball. Repeat this several times. After that, try keeping your hand still and encourage them to put the ball in your stationary hand. Hover a treat over your hand to encourage them to turn their head in the right direction.
Once your guinea pig has mastered one side, teach them to put the ball in your hand on the opposite side. When your guinea pig is capable of putting the ball in your hand from both sides of them, you can start placing the ball a couple inches away. Increase the distance very slowly and gradually. Reward every time your guinea pig brings the ball back and puts it in your hand. Once they understand how to fetch from a very short distance, you can slowly begin to roll the ball further away. The first part of this trick is usually the hardest to teach. Adding distance is typically the simplest part if the foundation is in place, so be sure not to take any shortcuts in the beginning!
3. Give Paw
Carrying on from the fetch trick, let’s teach another dog trick, shall we? Give a paw is a super fun and popular dog trick, but guinea pigs can learn this one as well! It’s a little more challenging for guinea pigs than it is for dogs, because their body is so low to the ground and lacks flexibility. However, with a bit of time and patience, it’s certainly doable.
The first thing you’ll want to do is lure your guinea pig towards your hand with a treat. Hold your hand slightly to one side of them so it’s easier to lure just one paw onto your hand. You can reward if the guinea pig steps up with both front paws at first. However, the goal is to get one paw.
If your guinea pig really likes to step up on your hand with both paws, you can shift your hand slightly so one paw slips off, and then reward when one paw is on your hand. Be sure to keep your hand very low to the ground, as guinea pigs have wide, low bodies. This makes it uncomfortable for them to stretch just one paw up too high.
Keep luring one paw onto your hand, repeating this several times. It’s a bit of an unnatural movement for guinea pigs, so it usually takes time for them to get the hang of it. After a few sessions of this, try presenting your hand to your guinea pig and see if they’ll do it without any prompting. You may need to try multiple times and keep going back to luring for a little bit. However, with time they will make the connection and start giving you a paw when you hold your hand out in front of them.
4. Weave Walk
Weave walk is a trick where your guinea pig weaves between your legs while you walk. Weave walk is fun and easy to teach, but it takes trust on the part of your guinea pig, and a bit of coordination from both of you. Also be very careful not to accidentally kick or step on your guinea pig when teaching this trick! Move slowly and shuffle your feet when you move.
If your guinea pig is nervous of you standing above them, try standing and feeding them some treats before starting to teach this trick. Take a small step and encourage your guinea pig to come with you and eat the treat. Your guinea pig should be comfortable walking beside you before teaching them to weave through your legs.
To teach your guinea pig to weave walk through your legs, start with the guinea pig beside you. Take one step, and lure them through. Reward for following your hand through. Take another step and lure them through again. Repeat this process several times. Eventually, your guinea pig will start to understand the trick and require less luring. Once they are going through each step with less prompting, start asking them to go through a couple steps before giving them a treat. You may have to lure them through the second step more, since they’ll be used to getting a treat after each step. Keep expanding this to more and more steps at a time, until your guinea pig is able to weave four or five steps in a row.
Wave is another cute trick to teach your guinea pig. Before teaching this, you’ll want to teach a paw target. Once your guinea pig has learned this, wave can be taught a couple different ways. The first way is with the guinea pig on the ground or a platform, waving one paw at you. I personally like to teach this trick on a platform, as it’s much easier for the guinea pig to figure out what you’re asking. Using your paw target object or your hand with some treats in it, encourage your guinea pig to paw at your hand or target. Reward for any kind of paw motion they offer. Practice this until they’re pawing at your hand quite consistently. After that, you can move your hand a little further away and introduce a cue, such as a little finger wave.
The second version of this trick involves the guinea pig standing up on their hind legs and waving one or both paws. Obviously you’ll want to teach your piggy to stand up before trying to teach this. Once your guinea pig is very comfortable standing up, use your paw target or some treats in your hand to encourage your guinea pig to paw at your hand while they’re standing. Reward for every little paw motion they offer. Keep practicing this, rewarding for every effort they make to wave their paw, until they’re offering it more frequently. You can then introduce a little finger wave cue like above.
6. High Five
High five is a super fun and cool trick to teach your guinea pig! To teach your guinea pig to high five, start by teaching them to put their paws up on your hand. Start with your hand low to the ground and lure them onto your hand with a treat. Slowly raise your hand higher as they become more comfortable doing this.
You can then start angling your hand slightly upwards. Keep luring them onto your hand and give them the treat each time they put their paws on your hand. Keep angling your hand gradually into an upwards position, and raising it slightly higher each time. Eventually your hand should be in an upright position. Remember to go at your guinea pig’s pace. If they don’t want to put their paws up, lower your hand a bit more to make it easier for them again.
7. Unroll Yoga Mat
Unrolling a yoga mat is a super cute and useful trick you can teach your guinea pig. To start, you’ll need a yoga mat, some treats, and your guinea pig. With the mat rolled up, put several treats underneath the roll, and a few near the edge that the guinea pig can see.
Point out the treats to your piggy and encourage them to eat the treats. You may need to put quite a few small treats under the mat at first to hold your guinea pig’s attention. Help them find the treats, even pushing the mat slightly sometimes to help point them out. Also reward from your hand anytime the guinea pig pushes the mat with their nose.
Once they make the connection and start pushing the mat more and more, you can put less treats under the mat and instead reward every time from your hand when they push the mat. Eventually, you can start waiting for them to nudge the mat a few times before offering them a treat. If they get bored or distracted, reward more frequently to keep them interested.
Bonus – 5 More Tricks!
Want even more cool tricks you can teach your guinea pig? We have a totally free 7 day email course you can join here. In that mini course, you can find more in depth video tutorials on the two tricks above, as well as tutorials for 5 new tricks. These include playing cards with your guinea pig, untying your shoelaces, bowling, jumping through your looped arms, and more. There’s also some taming tips and other information, such as how to train an easily distracted guinea pig. Tons of great stuff in there!
I hope you found these tutorials helpful to teach your guinea pig some cool new tricks. Trick training is such a great form of enrichment for animals and provides a great source of physical and mental exercise. Teaching tricks can also help you to bond with your guinea pig so much more. My guinea pigs always get so excited to start training and happily greet me at the side of their cage. In addition, training is lots of fun! It’s important to always keep your training positive and rewarding for your guinea pig. Also be sure to keep your training sessions short, typically under 5 minutes. Trick training is truly one of the best ways to really bond with your guinea pig in a fun and interactive way.