Jumps are one of the most common obstacles in an agility course, and are likely to be one of the first things you teach to your guinea pig. When teaching this obstacle, it is beneficial to have a flexible jump or a few jumps of various heights, particularly if your guinea pig is hesitant to jump at first. If you don’t have jumps that can be made lower, you can easily create some temporary low jumps by rolling up newspapers or using books and a pole/baton to gradually make a higher jump.
Some guinea pigs may be more confident of their jumping ability and may jump the normal height the first time. If your guinea pig does this, you won’t have to worry about making any kind of lower jumps and you will be able to skip ahead a little in these steps.
How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Jump (Video Tutorial)
For this trick, you will need…
- Your guinea pig
- Your piggy’s favorite veggie treats
- A safe enclosed space with few distractions
- 1 Jump (2-3 inches high)
- Pole or baton type of object
- 4 Books
Place the pole on the floor and lure the guinea pig over it with a treat. Reward every time they go over the pole.
Practice several times until the guinea pig seems comfortable following your hand over the pole.
Start to fade out the lure by guiding the guinea pig over the jump without food in your hand. Reward with your other hand after they go over the pole.
Eventually, try waiting to reward until the guinea pig goes over the pole on their own.
Make the jump a bit higher by propping one book under each end of the pole.
Encourage the guinea pig to go over the higher jump. Repeat the same process from step 1 until the guinea pig will jump over on their own.
Stack another book under each end to make the jump even higher.
Practice until the guinea pig seems comfortable with the new jump height.
Switch to your higher (2-3 inch high) jump. Practice until the guinea pig seems comfortable going over the new obstacle.
Once the guinea pig will consistently jump over without any guidance from you, start waiting for 2 or 3 jumps in a row before rewarding.
Start adding more jumps. Start with just two at first and go from there.
From this point, you can get creative and try adding more jumps in different patterns. You can also teach your guinea pig to go through tunnels and weave poles and create an agility course.
How High Can Guinea Pigs Jump?
How high a guinea pig can jump will vary greatly from one guinea pig to another. A young, agile, and athletic pig will likely be much more willing to jump than an older or middle aged guinea pig. If your guinea pig is overweight, that will also affect their jumping abilities. An overweight pig may be tired after just a few repetitions of going over a relatively low jump.
Another factor is the type of jumps that you have for your guinea pigs. I like to use flexible jumps (the red, yellow and purple ones shown above) that can be easily pushed down if the guinea pig puts any weight on them. In order for my guinea pigs to go over this type of jump, they have to jump all on their own with nothing to push off of. My flexible jumps are close to 3 inches high at full height, but I can push them down and use them at a lower height (which I normally do when we’re just training.) If you have a solid jump that doesn’t move when the guinea pig puts their paws up on it, you can maybe go a little higher (4-5 inches) because the guinea pig can use the jump to push off and help them over the obstacle.
I find that my guinea pigs prefer jumps under 3 inches high, so I typically don’t go any higher than that. If I am going to be doing several repetitions of jumps in one session, I often keep the jumps only at about 1 inch high. I usually only ask them to do higher jumps 3-4 times in a row before lowering the jump again. It is important to keep training sessions involving jumps short and sweet (typically under 5 minutes) so the guinea pig doesn’t get tired.
Some guinea pigs seem happy to jump even higher than what I mentioned above, which is usually fine in small amounts. As mentioned above, keep sessions super short, and avoid asking your guinea pig to go over higher jumps more than a couple times in a row. Keep in mind that guinea pigs don’t really have the ideal body type for high jumping and other athletic tricks, so it’s best to keep it limited and work up to higher jumps gradually. Always keep it short and fun for your guinea pig!
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
- Every guinea pig has a different comfort level. Remember to start off with a jump that is comfortable for your individual guinea pig and progress at their pace.
- If you are teaching your guinea pig to jump through a hoop jump, make sure you teach them to go through a hoop at ground level and also jump over a bar jump before teaching them the hoop jump. Also consider the size of the hoop. Ensure that it is big enough for the guinea pig to jump through easily.