How to Train a Guinea Pig (8 Proven Ideas & Methods)

Guinea pigs are popular pets in America and around the world, and one of the questions we often get asked is how to train their pets and how much exercise they need to stay healthy. There are many conflicting reports on the internet and a plethora of toys and devices that claim to help your pet stay in shape. We’ll look at the various methods you can use to safely keep your pet in shape and discuss how often and how much activity is most beneficial, so stay comfortable and keep reading while we help you keep your pet healthy.

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How Much Exercise Does a Guinea Pig Need?

Most experts seem to agree that your guinea pig should exercise about an hour per day. However, these activities don’t have to be all at once, and your pet can do several different things each day that will help your pet meet their daily needs.

How Does Guinea Pig Exercise Benefit?

guinea pig side view

Exercise is as beneficial to your guinea pig as it is to any life. This helps your pet to stay at an ideal weight. Obesity can cause several health problems that can shorten the life of your pet. Lack of exercise can lead to heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, constipation, and more. Overweight guinea pigs will also be less active and may even become depressed. Following some of the ideas outlined in this guide will help your pet from becoming overweight. It will also give them lots of mental stimulation, make them happier and help them bond with you better.

How Do I Train a Guinea Pig?

1. Give Lots of Space in the Cage

One of the easiest ways to ensure your pet gets more exercise is to build a larger cage to accommodate it. A larger habitat will encourage more movement each day, and this extra exploration can help burn calories without you needing to do anything.


2. Free Running Time Outside the Cage

You need to make sure the area is safe, but some free time roaming outside the cage can be a great way to give your guinea pig some exercise as well as some mental stimulation. Your pet is a natural explorer and will appreciate the opportunity to see what’s under your couch. While letting your pet roam free, it doesn’t take up much space or even an entire room. Something about two to three times the size of their habitat should be fine. Too much space can leave them confused or even frightened. It’s also more difficult for you to patrol larger areas, and guinea pigs can move very quickly.

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3. Outside Playpen

A guinea pig running around in the park_theianov_Shutterstock

Guinea Pigs get really excited when they go outside, which automatically gets their hearts pumping, and they start running. You can buy an inexpensive outdoor playpen or a small cage to give your pet some fun in the sun. Your pet will love to play on the grass, and this is one of the best activities you can provide. While we’ve never had a problem, we recommend placing the lid on the playpen or using a cage, not only to keep the sun away from your pet but also to keep it out of sight of birds of prey and feral cats.


4. Play Tunnel

Guinea pigs love to explore almost as much as they enjoy the outdoors. Play tunnels can provide a great way for your pet to have fun and exercise. You can place it anywhere in the house or outside and keep the edges. When your pet is done playing, the tunnel folds down to a fraction of its size for easy storage.


5. Train Them to Use Toy Ladder and Ramps

Guinea Pig bed

Guinea pigs won’t climb stairs naturally, but you can train them to do so with treats. After a few tries, your pet will run up and down stairs with ease, and that will give them a lot of exercise. There are all kinds of ladders and ramps that you can buy for your cage that your pet can use throughout the day to stay active.


6. Building Obstacle Course

Another way to make your guinea pig more active is by building obstacles. The obstacle course is a DIY project, and you can make it as big or small as you want. You can use ramps, squares, paper towel tubes, and more to create your course. The maze is also a fun way to get your pet to move long distances in a small space. Cutting cereal boxes and gluing them together is a great way to make a maze for your guinea pig.

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7. Get More Guinea Pigs

guinea pig_Frauke Feind_Pixabay

One way to make your guinea pig more active is to get a second guinea pig. They will spend all day fumbling and often engage in competitive behavior that can lead to a fair amount of exercise. You can often get one of their favorite vegetables like a cherry tomato or a slice of cucumber and give it to one of your pets. Other guinea pigs will often quickly steal it and start a chain reaction in which they both continue to steal from each other, causing them to be much more active than usual.


8. proper diet

A proper diet will help in several subtle ways. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein will give your pet the energy it needs to stay active and build muscle. The right diet will help ensure that your pet doesn’t get fat, and that animals of the right weight are more active than obese ones.

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What Should I Avoid?

Exercise Ball

Exercise balls are very popular and easy to find at any pet store. Unfortunately, this ball is for hamsters who have flexible backbones. The guinea pig’s spine is barely flexible, and your pet could easily get injured trying to run on one of these sets. We recommend sticking to tunnels, ramps, and stairs, along with plenty of free roaming time.

Related Read: Can Hamsters and Guinea Pigs Live Together? Is it Recommended?

Too Many Toys

Many owners try to treat their pets with too many toys, and it clutters the cage. A cluttered cage is difficult to move around, and your pet won’t move the way it should. Some toys are fine, but make sure there is plenty of open space left in the cage to walk around.

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If you allow your pet to roam freely in your home, you must ensure that no wires are exposed as your pet may chew on the wires causing damage and risk electrocution.

We love using playpens and tunnels to keep guinea pigs in large, new enclosed areas, so our pets feel like exploring new areas without going near wires or hard-to-reach areas.

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Summary

It’s important to make sure your pet is active for about an hour per day, but you don’t need to be present for all of that. If the crate is large enough to walk around, your pet will get a lot of the exercise it needs. The ramps and stairs will add to the activity going on when you’re not there. When you have time to interact with your pet, tunnels and free roam time can give your pet a full workout. A little time outside on a hot summer day will be the highlight of your pet’s week.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide, and that it has helped answer your questions. If we’ve helped you get your pet into fitness, please share this guide to training your guinea pig on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: scigelova, Shutterstock