Pigs, like all animals, have individual personalities. When you first bring a young pig home, you initially need to gain the piglet’s trust, even before you begin working on basic behavior training, such as leash training and house training. At first your piglet will probably be very nervous and scared, even if it was well socialized by the breeder. It is important to respect that your piglet has left everything familiar behind and has to adjust to all new people and surroundings.
When you are trying to tame or train a piglet, whether a willing one or a stubborn one, you may consider hand feeding it all of its food. You may have to sit on the floor with your piglet and, at first, put the food on the floor in front of you and gradually work up to the piglet taking food from your hand. Do this repeatedly over the course of the first few days and let everyone in the family have a turn so that the piglet can bond with all of the family members. The quickest way to a pig’s heart is through its stomach! Remember, however, that obesity can be a common problem. We will provide you with appropriate feeding information that includes keeping treats to a minimum and making sure that you are not overfeeding your piglet. Once the piglet is comfortable with being near you and taking food from your hand, you can reach out and try to scratch your piglet under the chin or along the sides. Speak gently to the piglet and move at a calm pace that the piglet is comfortable with. Be mindful not to spoil the piglet so it becomes demanding and expects constant attention!
It is important to be patient with your piglet and to know that, with pigs, positive reinforcement is the key to success. Pigs won’t respond to force or punishment very well at all. It is also important to understand the concept of negative reinforcement and how you can inadvertently be reinforcing the pig’s less desirable behavior with your reaction. Undesirable behavior should not be rewarded. Any behavior such as nipping should be rewarded with a firm no and light tap on the snout.
Remember that pigs are VERY smart and, as such, this pertains to how you will be reinforcing either good behavior or undesirable habits with your training techniques.
Although most pigs quickly outgrow being picked up, it is worthwhile to get them used to being picked up as they will be more willing to be handled and restrained, when needed, for grooming or medical care. There is a fine line between spending enough time with your piglet and spending too much attention on your piglet. You don’t want them to expect attention ALL THE TIME! This is also true for using food as a training tool. Spend time with your pig that doesn’t include giving treats otherwise the piglet may think of you as a food dispenser and demand, or even scream for, food all the time. Reward only the behaviors that you want to encourage; ignore undesirable behaviors, like screaming for dinner. Your pet pig must learn to be quiet and patient. Spoiling your piglet in the beginning will cause you great frustration in the future.
This information is not meant to scare you from adopting one of these lovable pets but rather to make sure that you are well informed of your responsibility as a pig owner to ensure that you provide your pet with adequate behavioral guidance.
With proper training, a pig is a delightful family pet. One of a pig’s most admirable traits is its loyalty. They are very social and intelligent animals and they will crave your attention much like a dog does. They are also very clean and litter train extremely easily. Micro-mini pigs make great companions and are fun to have around, even with all their quirky behaviors. Even though piglets outgrow being picked up, they do love to crawl on your lap to snuggle. They will learn quickly and thrive in your home environment when you give them the appropriate behavioral guidance, love and attention.