How to approach a Pet Pig without Scaring It
Pigs are very social herd animals, but like any animal that in
the wild is often prey, pigs do not like to be startled or to
have some unknown thing move quickly or run at them. It doesn't
matter if it is the owner or a stranger, the prey instinct is
triggered and the pig will do its best to escape. In order to
make your pig comfortable around you and strangers, keep these
tips in mind so that your pig has every opportunity to be loved
and to love you back.
Pigs like to know that they are loved and being cared for. If you
have a new pet pig the best thing to do is put it in a
comfortable enclosure with a nice private and comfortable resting
area, and don't force yourself and your affections on it too
quickly. Go slowly and give your pig the opportunity to approach
you, not the other way around. Make sure that the pig does not
lack for anything: food, water, toys, shelter, and etcetera.
When you approach a pig, do so slowly. Make soothing sounds and
have a treat in your hand of something that the pig finds tasty.
Fresh fruits make great treats. There are also commercially made
horse treats that pigs like as well. Do not try to touch your pig
too soon. Give it at least a week to settle in and feel
comfortable with you and its new home.
Over time and with familiarity your pig will start to come closer
to you on its own and on its own terms. Let the pig smell you and
rub on you, but don't let it knock you down or bully you. There
is a difference. Pigs are territorial and many will try to
dominate you if you let them. This is true of most herd or pack
animals; it is part of the social bonding process. Usually a good
yell and showing that you are angry will let your pig know that
it crossed the line. Get away from your pig before you shout at
it otherwise in being startled it might bite you.
Pigs love to be petted and scratched behind the ears and on the
belly. When your pig trusts you enough to expose its belly for
you to rub you know you are in with it. Do not extend your
fingers out for your pig to smell. Because of limited eyesight
your pig might mistake your fingers for food. Warn any of your
friends of the same thing.
Do not pick up a pig. Aside from the fact that even the small
ones are heavy and unwieldy; the pig may panic and start doing
anything to be put down again, including kicking and biting.
Watch your pig's demeanor and attitude before you or anyone else
approaches it. If it appears agitated and aggressive do not
approach. A pig that is confined in a small area as is the case
in captivity feels vulnerable, and it will try to defend its
territory if possible. Do not allow your pig to think that it is
the boss in its territory (its pen or room). A sharp shout and
showing that you are angry is usually enough to correct such
In more serious circumstances you may need to give it a swat on
the side. Do not let yourself be bullied and do not ever show
that you are afraid of your pig, or it most likely will take
advantage and continue to bully you. This is a natural part of
the herd mentality and society. Just as when training a dog, you
must establish and keep your position as the leader.
When introducing your young pig to strangers, start out slowly
with one person and give them plenty of warnings and advice about
how to approach the pig and how to handle the pig before the
session begins. Do not force relationships on a pig, it won't
work. The first stranger that you introduce to your pig should
never be a young child. Children are excitable and will often
scream and yell in excitement. This is not good for the pig or
the child and can cause the pig, even if it doesn't bite, to be
frightened of the child or even all children from then on.
Once you have introduced your pig to quite a few strangers you
can then try a child and maybe a group of adults. Once your pig
become used to meeting new people it will be easier to introduce
your pet to strangers in the future because it will feel less
threatened by strangers. In fact, if you have many friends to
introduce and they all give the pig a treat in greeting, you may
wind up with a pig that sits up and begs when it meets a new
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