Tunnels are a great beginner obstacle to teach your guinea pig. A short open tunnel in particular is typically pretty easy to teach, and you can also add some variations to this obstacle after teaching the simple version to make it more interesting. You can make a tunnel out of small rectangular boxes or similar items you might have around your house, or you can purchase a tunnel that is extendable and bendable to add a bit more variety to your agility course. You can also teach your guinea pig to go through a closed tunnel after they have learned the open tunnel. Instructions for teaching a closed tunnel are near the bottom of this page, below the main tutorial.
How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Go Through a Tunnel (Video Tutorial)
For this trick, you will need…
- Your guinea pig
- Your piggy’s favorite veggie treats
- A safe enclosed space with few distractions
- Tunnel (at least 5″ in diameter)
- Fleece or fabric material for the closed tunnel (optional)
Put several treats inside the tunnel and around the entrance. Encourage the guinea pig to check it out. If they come all the way through the tunnel at any point, give them lots of treats and praise. Do this a few more times
until the guinea pig seems comfortable going inside the tunnel to look for treats.
Lure the guinea pig through the tunnel with food in your hand. If they are hesitant to come all the way through, give them some treats while they are still in the tunnel and reward just for following one step at a time. Practice until you can lure them through the tunnel easily.
Start to fade out the lure. Try guiding the guinea pig to the start of the tunnel and hold your hand at the other end to encourage them to come the rest of the way through. After a few times, try guiding them to the start of the tunnel, and see if they will go through on their own from there. After a bit more practice, wait and see if they will go through without any prompting at all. Practice until the guinea pig will consistently go through the tunnel.
Part 2: Teaching the Closed Tunnel
After your guinea pig has learned to go through the open tunnel, the next step is to teach them the closed tunnel. The closed tunnel is a little more challenging than the open tunnel, but if your guinea pig has already learned the open tunnel and can do it well, they should be able to pick up on the closed tunnel quickly as well.
Hold the collapsed part of the tunnel open with one hand. With the other, lure the guinea pig through and reward. Practice a few times until the guinea pig can go through without a lure.
Gradually hold the collapsed end slightly lower each time.
After awhile, try leaving the collapsed end on the floor and see if the guinea pig will come through it. If they hesitate in the tunnel longer than a couple seconds, lift up the collapsed part and help encourage them to come through. Practice until the guinea pig will consistently go through the closed tunnel on their own. If they seem to be struggling with the closed tunnel at all, go back a step and practice a bit more before moving on to the next step again.
Additional Video: How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Go Through a Tilting Tunnel
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
- Make sure your guinea pig knows the open tunnel thoroughly before you attempt the closed tunnel. As always, cutting corners leads to more time spent later on, so make sure you spend enough time teaching the simpler obstacles so you have a good foundation for more challenging ones. The same goes for teaching little variations to the open tunnel, like curved tunnels; it will be easier to teach if you teach them to go through a short straight tunnel first.
- Remember to repeat this obstacle thoroughly so the guinea pig can complete it independently and without hesitation. In an agility course, a guinea pig is likely to avoid the tunnel if they don’t know it well enough.