Following a person around is one of the cutest things a guinea pig can learn. Some guinea pigs take to this trick more readily than others, so don’t get discouraged if your piggy doesn’t catch on right away. Go slow and spend some time hand feeding and bonding with your guinea pig first to help them become more comfortable around you and less nervous of sudden movements. It takes a lot of trust on the part of the guinea pig to comfortably come close to your feet, especially while you are walking. People look incredibly big and tall from a guinea pig’s point of view, and this can be intimidating for some pigs, especially at first. Go slow and take your time teaching this trick.
The concept of this trick is fairly simple, so once you get past that initial confidence building part, most guinea pigs will catch on pretty quickly. Some outgoing guinea pigs will even start following you around without any training at all. If your piggy is already doing this, all you have to do is reward them periodically while they’re following you to keep their attention and encourage them to keep following you.
The confidence and trust that the guinea pig has around people is the biggest factor in how easily they will learn to follow you around, so if you end up struggling with this trick at all, try going back to that and keep working on building up the guinea pig’s confidence.
How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Follow You Around (Video Tutorial)
For this trick, you will need…
- Your guinea pig
- Your piggy’s favorite veggie treats
- A safe enclosed space with few distractions
If you think your guinea pig might still need a bit of work, spend some time bonding and building up trust with them before starting on this trick.
They should be fairly tame and comfortable around you before trying to teach them to follow you around.
The first step is to teach the guinea pig to feel more comfortable around your feet. One way to do this is by dropping pieces of food on the floor around your feet while you’re sitting on a chair or bed. Also offer food from your hand whenever they approach on their own.
It’s also a good idea to practice luring the guinea pig back and forth in front, and around your feet with a piece of food. Reward them for following the food lure in your hand even just for a step or two at first.
Once they seem more comfortable around your feet, take a step away from the guinea pig and drop some food on the floor beside your feet. If they have trouble finding the food on the floor, you can lure them to you with some food in your hand instead.
If they don’t come right away without prompting, try taking a smaller step instead, and use your hand to attract their attention to where the treat is. Repeat this step a few times until the guinea pig will readily come up beside you as soon as you drop the food.
Next, try taking a step and wait until the guinea pig comes to you. When they do, give them a treat. Take another step, and reward when they come to you again.
Practice this until the guinea pig will consistently follow you for one step at a time.
If the guinea pig doesn’t come to you at all, go back and work on the previous step a little longer. Continue to practice taking one step and dropping food beside you until the guinea pig is ready to come up to you on their own, without too much prompting.
Once the guinea pig will confidently follow you one step at a time, try taking two small steps, and reward when they come up beside you again. You can drop food beside you or encourage the guinea pig with your hand a little if they get distracted or need a bit of help at first.
Try stepping in different directions. Reward the guinea pig for following just one step at first.
Once the guinea pig seems to be catching on to the trick, start to gradually increase the number of steps before rewarding.
If the guinea pig ever gets distracted or stops following you, lower your criteria and go back to rewarding for fewer steps again.
Also practice stopping and changing direction, rewarding the guinea pig for staying with you.
Keep practicing this trick, gradually adding more turns and more steps. Reward the guinea pig periodically for staying with you.
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
- Take the time to bond properly with your guinea pig and build up trust before teaching tricks, especially those that involve standing and walking around them, like this trick.
- If the guinea pig gets distracted or stops following you at any point, go back a step to where they were previously successful before trying the next step again. You can also try rewarding more frequently or taking smaller steps to keep their attention and decrease the chance of them getting distracted.
- If the guinea pig is hesitant to walk around much at all, try leaving them out in a safe playpen for an hour or so a day, with pieces of their favourite veggies spread out all over the floor. Encourage them to move and explore their environment. Once they are moving about more during floor time, you can try training again. Reward for small efforts at first, such as following a food lure in your hand even for just a step or two.