Introducing a new pet to your dog can be challenging. Is your dog’s obsession over your Guinea pig one such challenge?
Your dog may be obsessed with your Guinea pigs due to hunting instincts, curiosity, boredom, and nurturing instincts. Providing separate living spaces for both pets, providing proper training and adequate exercise to the dog, supervised interactions, and introduction through smell are solutions.
Let’s try to probe deeper into this problem and solve your dog’s obsession over your guinea pig.
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Reasons why some dogs are obsessed with guinea pigs?
Have you caught that your dog is watching your guinea pig closely or trying to smell the little creature? Are you constantly worried that your guinea pig is in danger?
This can be because your dog is obsessed with your guinea pig.
Let’s find out what causes your dog to be this obsessed with your little guinea pig.
1. Hunting instinct of Dogs.
Humans have domesticated canines for thousands of years. However, the hunting instinct of a dog is in their genes.
That’s a natural behaviour of your dog. Guinea pigs are small animals who can easily become prey to your dog.
Guinea pigs look like dog food, and they move around, triggering your dog to chase him.
But the hunting instinct of every dog is not the same. According to the temperament and characteristics of your dog, it differs.
Some dog breeds are aggressive; these dogs can have solid hunting instincts.
If your dog shows aggressive behaviours around guinea pigs like panting, pulling the leash, pacing, farting, clawing, biting the cage of guinea pigs, it shows he has a strong hunting instinct.
However, some breeds are affectionate and have a lower hunting instinct.
If your dog has never seen a guinea pig before, he might be curious about this little creature. Your dog is trying to figure out the guinea pig by closely looking at it, trying to sniff and smell him.
It must be fascinating and exciting for him to look at the movements of the guinea pig. He might actually want to play with your guinea pig.
This might look like he is obsessed with your guinea pig. With time he will understand that a guinea pig is harmless, and he will get used to being around him.
3. Your dog can be bored.
In order for your dog’s brain to be active, it needs a stimulus. If your dog doesn’t spend an active life at your home, he must be bored.
Especially older dogs can be bored if nothing exciting and new is happening in their lives. Guinea pigs are very active and playful.
This can be a good stimulus for your dog. Therefore, it must be entertaining for the dog to watch the actions of the guinea pig.
4. Nurturing Instincts.
While some dog breeds have strong hunting instincts, other breeds can be very affectionate and nurturing.
The reason why they are closely watching your guinea pig might be because they have a motherly instinct towards them, and they need to keep them protected.
However, it is not very common with many dogs. Dogs breeds guarding livestock or dogs who have had previous experience sharing a home with guinea pigs might show this behaviour.
By the way, here are the best dog breeds that get along well with Guinea pigs.
How to stop your dog from obsessing over your guinea pig?
The methods you are using to stop your dog’s obsession over your guinea pig has to be a harmless approach for both your pets. If that experience is traumatic, it can cause negative effects for your pets.
1. Provide separate living spaces for your dog and guinea pig.
One of the best methods to control your dog’s obsession over your guinea pig is to provide separate living spaces for both pets.
Keeping the guinea pig’s cage at an unreachable place or a place where your dog cannot lay nearby will help you.
Until the dog is used to being around the guinea pig, keep them separated; only allow your dog to watch the guinea pig under your supervision.
The separate living areas not only help to reduce your dog’s obsession over the guinea pig, but it also helps the guinea pig to be comfortable at his new home.
2. Keep your dog active.
If your dog is bored at home, the only thing which keeps his brain active is the guinea pig. So obviously, he is obsessed with this fascinating little creature.
So as his owner, we have to redirect the dog’s attention to something else. Dogs look at guinea pigs because they are active, so give them a toy that moves or makes noises.
Spend some quality time with your dog, play with him, take him out for a routine walk every day. This will keep your dog very active and excited.
Over time his obsession over your guinea pig will fade.
3. Training the dog.
If you want your two pets to get along well, a proper introduction is critical. In order to achieve this task, proper training is a must.
The type of training you use on your dog depends on his temperament. The methods used to train an aggressive dog is completely different from that of a very calm dog.
If this training becomes a bitter experience for your dog, it can cause him trauma, and you will fail at your goal of stopping the dog’s obsession over the guinea pig.
You either use professional help from a Trainer, or else you can train him.
If you’re adopting a new puppy, but you already have a guinea pig as your pet, it is better if you can use a professional trainer’s help in introducing your puppy to the guinea pig.
Immediately starting the training process will help the puppy to get adapted to the guinea pig easily.
Not only for a puppy but seeking the help of a professional trainer will also bring benefits to an adult dog.
However, you can also train the dog to get adapted and get over his obsession over the guinea pig by following proper training methods by yourself.
If your dog is aggressive, you can try the following methods and tips to train him.
- Never be aggressive towards your dog. It can cause him mental trauma, which leads to fear. This can ruin his relationship with you.
- Never growl at your dog simply because he is observing the guinea pig. It gives him the idea you are aggressive towards him.
- You can use commands like sit or stay if he is going too close to the guinea pig.
- Let him look at the guinea pig while you are in the room with him. This will help him to observe and be comfortable around the guinea pig. However, when you are leaving the room, call him OUT. Therefore, with time he will understand that he has to accompany you when you leave the room.
- Use a spraying bottle to spray water at the dog if he keeps staring at the guinea pig or sits near his cage for a long time. However, before you spray water, you can command “OUT“, if he responds positively and leaves, you don’t need to spray.
But if he doesn’t obey your command, you can spray water at him. Aim at his neck or chest.
Never aim his eyes or ears because it can cause him pain. The idea of spraying water is not to cause the dog pain but to give him an unpleasant experience and get over his obsession with the guinea pig.
Dogs can also think of this as fun, so do not try to be playful. Using a thin spraying setting rather than a wide dispersed spray setting will be more effective.
4. Supervised introductions and interactions.
One of the main mistakes pet parents make is not giving a proper introduction to both pets. After both animals are comfortable at your home, they can be allowed to meet each other under your supervision.
At first, allowing them to meet in a place where a door separates them is ideal. The animals cannot see each other, but they can hear and smell each other’s scents.
Not allowing them to see each other can be less stimulating for both animals. After a few such sessions, you can allow them to meet face-to-face, but of course, under your supervision.
The dog must be leashed and handled by someone comfortable with him, and the guinea pig should be safe inside his cage or a playpen.
Then slowly allow your dog to reach the guinea pig’s cage and sniff and observe him… If the dog shows aggression or over excitement and the guinea pig shows signs of stress, quickly retract.
Repeat this short interaction activity for several days until both pets are comfortable with each other’s presence. If they look comfortable being with each other under controlled situations, you can move to the next step.
Allow the dog to sit while leashed in an enclosed space with you and another member of your family. Then release the guinea pig to this enclosed space.
Allow him to freely explore the room’s surroundings and observe the dog’s behaviour. This will allow the guinea pig to be more comfortable with the dog, reducing the dog’s obsession over the guinea pig.
5. Introduction through smell.
Dogs can get used to other animals by their scent. Therefore, introducing the guinea pig to your dog through its scent can bring many positive outcomes.
Here are some ways to introduce them by their scents.
When your pet dog is not around, handle your guinea pig for some time, then allow the dog to smell his scent from your hands.
Or else, take something of your dog( like a blanket or a toy). Then put some snacks like spinach on the blanket.
Allow the guinea pig to move on it. Then take the blanket back to the dog and allow it to sniff and get to know the smell of the guinea pig.
Should your dog be allowed to lick your guinea pig?
When your dog is obsessed with the guinea pig, he might try to lick it.
It is better not to allow your dog to lick the guinea pig. Dogs’ mouths contain many bacteria. If they lick the guinea pigs, these bacteria can cause respiratory diseases in guinea pigs.
Things to be aware of.
The interactions of the two animals should be supervised because we cannot always predict the behaviour of the dog. It might accidentally harm the guinea pig even while playing.
The two pets can live in the same house: If your dog’s obsession reduces over time with proper training, the two animals can live together. But better to keep an eye on the guinea pig while they are together to make sure no accidents occur.
Signs of the obsession of dogs towards guinea pigs: Panting, excessive whining, pulling the leash or collar, farting, pacing, over-excitement, aggression, clawing and biting the surrounding objects.
Signs of stress in guinea pigs: Rapid breathing, wiggling, nervousness, baring teeth.
Many pet parents are worried about their dog’s obsession with their guinea pigs. In this article, we discuss 4 reasons for this obsession and 5 methods to reduce it. Your two pets can live in the same house under the proper guidance.