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Advice please.... Guinea pig obsession

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Shumbali, Jul 8, 2018.


  1. Shumbali

    Shumbali PetForums Newbie

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    Hi!

    I've recently moved house and my nearly 8yr old crossbreed has been loving having a bigger garden. Lots of sleepy sunbathing and rolling around in the grass. The next door neighbours who we share a boundary with have in the last few weeks relocated their guinea pigs from their previously hidden side of the house home into the middle of their garden.

    This has made my girl go NUTS! Got her as a rescue so dont know a lot of her history, am pretty sure she has never seen a guinea before though. I don't think I'd trust her with one either.

    Every time I take her in the garden she paces up and down the boundary constantly, barking, whining and won't pause for breath or settle. The heat clearly doesn't help either and I'm worried that she'll overheat.

    It's a 4/5ft fence inbetween the two gardens but I'm confident the dog could clear it if she felt so inclined. Am at the point where I can't let her in the garden and if I go out there and leave her inside, all hell breaks loose.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to calm her down a bit and get back to the point where we can actually use the garden and enjoy it? I don't want to annoy my neighbours with the constant barking, they seem pretty nice and I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. Imagine my dog terrorising their family pets would be a very bad foot.

    Thanks
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Tagging @tabelmabel who has both guinea pigs and dogs.
     
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  3. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Shumbali! As you probably know, guinea pigs are prey animals and have no defence at all against predators. Except to freeze.

    I think the most sensible course of action would be a chat with your neighbours - you don't need to mention your concerns but you do need to take a look at the guinea pig housing to see how secure it is.
    Is it a hutch or outdoor run? If it's a run, they will probably move it around the garden so that the pigs have new grass to eat.

    Runs are no match for a dog. Even the lidded ones would likely cave in if a dog jumped and pawed at them. So that could be a real worry.

    A hutch would probably offer sufficient protection if your dog got into their garden as long as the doors were closed and bolted. It would take a few mins at least for a dog to break into a hutch, enough time for you to get over the fence and get your dog.

    If the pigs are loose in the garden, i would seriously ask your neighbour if you could be alerted when the pigs are free roaming as your dog would make short work of pigs on the loose. Some people do let pigs free roam but they should be closely supervised as some birds would take a pig.

    Hopefully you will find your neighbour to be friendly and maybe you could find out why the pigs are now re located and mention your dog if the conversation is going well.

    Ultimately though, you would need to keep your garden secure possibly by raising the height of the boundary fence or keeping your dog on a long line so you quickly retrieve it if it makes a jump for the fence.

    I do have dogs and pigs as @JoanneF said, and the way i manage them is to have very secure housing for the pigs. I would never ever trust my dogs with the pigs. If i am transferring them hutch to run, i put my dogs in the house.

    Guinea pigs that have been mouthed or shaken by dogs stand very little chance of survival. They die of shock even if the dog quickly lets them free.

    Secure separation is absolutely key so a friendly word with the neighbour and take it from there.
     
  4. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Ps i think you're going to struggle to stop your dog barking whilst the pigs are located in the middle of your neighbours' garden.

    The best solution might actually for you to get a pair of guinea pigs or a rabbit for yourself and train your dog around your own animals. . . .
     
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  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’d erect a higher, solid fence so the dog can’t see them.

    If you think it’s necessary add an overhang on your side so your dog can’t get over the fence.

    I definitely don’t think getting any of your own would be a good idea.
     
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  6. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    I would erect a higher fence too.

    My garden fencing is six foot high panels, set on a two foot high concrete base.
     
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  7. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Every home needs guinea pigs! Brilliant idea!;)
     
  8. Shumbali

    Shumbali PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks everyone, some interesting ideas there and I will try elements of them all!

    Today's activity has consisted of making a bit of a defensive fence obstacle course combined with trying to get her to come away from the fence with treats. I may have a cheeky look over the fence later tonight to see the pigs habitat.

    Feel I should stick up for my dog in case I've given you the impression that she is a savage beast....she isn't BUT I just don't trust that her animal instincts won't kick in if she got close to a small furry 'toy'.

    Thank you all for your advice :)
     
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  9. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    No - don't think you have given the impression at all that your dog is a savage beast!

    It's an instinct and i think many if not most dogs would shake and rag a guinea pig.


    Making sure your dog can't get to the pigs should be easy enough but your barking problem could be trickier to solve.

    Some dogs just can't tear themselves away from small furries at all. Hopefully once the view is obstructed, things will instantly improve, but of course your dog now knows they are there and will be able to smell them.

    Treats and distraction should work but i wouldn't be surprised if it takes quite a while.

    When i was a child we kept a rabbit in a hutch. We didn't have a dog then, but when my aunt visited with her dog, it used to just sit at the hutch for the entire duration of her visit. Which was literally hours! Never pawed at the hutch. Just watched like it was watching the telly!

    Good luck!
     
  10. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    I would follow the good advice already given and make sure your dog cant jump the fence. Would high value food distract her? if you can get her to pause a second by waving the treat in front of her nose , you can click a clicker and give her the treat and build up on that . It worked with pip the JRT in the photo .
     
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  11. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    I have guinea pigs. They live in my rodent room (where neither Cad nor Moril are allowed in), but they go into their run on the grass during the day. I taught Cadvan to ignore them in the run in the same way I taught him to ignore Moril as a chase prospect.
     
  12. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    When my grandchildren had piggies my dog was obsessed. He would stand with his nose pressed to the cage mesh, motionless, for as long as he was allowed.
    When the cage was moved inside for the cold weather, and the wheelie bin took its place, he was found standing with his nose up against the bin, convinced the pigs must still be there. Perhaps he thought we'd thrown them away!
     
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  13. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’ve had Guineas Pigs with cats and a dog in the past Ruth no dramas as neither took much notice of them.

    I wouldn’t even think of it now with my high prey driven lurcher - not fair on him or the GP’s imo and not worth the hassle for me either.
     
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  14. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Poor rabbit :(
     
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  15. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Poor Guinea Pigs :(
     
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  16. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    My Jack Russell would be completely obsessed by anything small and furry and would be focused on killing it.

    I would never have a small animal as it would be unkind to both it and Rosie.
     
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  17. planete

    planete PetForums Senior

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    I had the same when we got a little rescue whippet/terrier cross. The guinea pigs were already in residence and she was very interested in them. She was unable to get close to them but could see and smell them. Six months later she would get into their open top pen on the lawn to hoover their droppings without even looking at them and the pigs ignored her presence totally. Familiarity seemed to engender boredom in the end. I am not advocating putting animals in stressful or dangerous situations but "stock breaking" dogs has always been on my agenda as it should be part of a country dog's essential training.
     
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  18. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Yes it was a very poor rabbit @Lurcherlad. And the saddest thing about it was that it lived a very long life in a very small hutch. I think it came to us when it was about 6 years old and lived til it was about 15yrs. I had no interest in it at all and have never kept rabbits since. I don't even know why we got a rabbit.

    My parents are long since dead so i will never know now. I suppose if anything good came out of it, it was that it taught me how NOT to look after a pet.
     
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  19. Northpup

    Northpup PetForums Senior

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    I have guinea pigs around my vizsla, the dog is in the garden when we clean the hutches and has also been in the garden when the pigs are in the pens but he is a massive softy and ridiculously friendly. He puts his nose to their bars and will get a bit nose off one of them. When they are in runs he bounces into play bows in front of them!! It’s so silly.
    We adopted him at 6 months and he hasn’t been around small animals before. He’s now 4 and I think that having the pigs out and about when he’s around with correct supervision has made him not reactive to them. Obviously if your dog has a high prey drive it might only be feasible to talk to neighbors and keep both pigs and dog secure. Stan stalks and chases rabbits on the Park but at any time he has come close enough to grabbing one he just stops and doesn’t know what to do!
    Sorry if this is not helpful, I just thought I’d suggest that ecposure to small furries in safe environments might be good to not eliminate prey drove but just calm it?
    If not I would be happy if you as a neighbour asked me if I could make sure my hutches etc were secure and if I could put pigs in one area of the garden etc although they do get moved around as they have wire bottom hutches so graze the grass :)
     
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  20. Shumbali

    Shumbali PetForums Newbie

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    Wow, thanks everyone for your advice - seems that boosting the fence and a good chat seems the way to go. Though I can see some benefit in getting her used to small creatures, I wouldn't want to risk it because of the stress factor on her, the new furry one and lastly....me! :)
     
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