Dogs are known for being friendly, social, and loyal. Our lovable best friends are great pets, and they can often live in harmony with one another and even cats. However, are dogs capable of living with other kinds of animals, too? It seems like dogs have interacted and lived with a number of other creatures, including guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are small rodents that make great pets for children, and this means that a lot of households contain both dogs and guinea pigs. Is it okay to let the two animals interact? We will find out in this article.
Signs That Dogs Can Live with Guinea Pigs
There are many signs that indicate that dogs can live in harmony with all kinds of different animals. For example, when dogs were first domesticated, many of them were trained to herd and attend to sheep and cattle. However, other dogs were trained to hunt small rodents to keep them out of homes and barns. This means that many dogs have the instinct to hunt small animals like guinea pigs.
Fortunately, many dogs are perfect suited to living in peace with guinea pigs despite their instincts for hunting. You will just want to be sure that you are careful and you teach your dog to interact with the guinea pig the way you want them to. This will require a little training, but most owners have no problems.
If your dog is aggressive, however, it will be better if you never introduce the two animals. Instead, keep your guinea pig in a room away from your dog at all times.
History of Dogs Living with Guinea Pigs
Historically, dogs have been used for different purposes. Many small dogs were taught to hunt small rodents. This means that your dog may be inclined to hunt the guinea pig you just brought home. That being said, it doesn’t mean that your dog will hurt your guinea pig. It just means that you need to make the proper introductions and teach your dog how you want it to treat the guinea pig. In fact, these two animals can co-exist without any problems.
For most pet owners, the biggest obstacle to overcome will be getting the animals familiar with one another. Most people will notice their guinea pigs are afraid of the dog at first. You may also notice that your dog is alert and acts like it is ready to hunt the guinea pig. This means that you will need to take precautions to prevent any injuries to the guinea pig. Regardless of how the two seem to get along, you should never leave them alone together when they can’t be supervised.
While it isn’t always easy, many people have successfully owned both a guinea pig and a dog. You have probably noticed a rise in dog and rodent relationships on social media, which prove that it can be done.
Science Behind Dogs Being Able to Live With Guinea Pigs
Naturally, dogs are typically social and friendly animals. This is part of what makes them such great pets. Guinea pigs are often starter pets for young children that aren’t ready for the responsibility of a cat or dog, but have the ability to care for an animal. However, in the wild, dogs would be prone to hunt small creatures like guinea pigs. Be sure that you are careful and that you monitor all interactions to prevent any harm to the guinea pig.
Remember, it is likely that the guinea pig will be afraid of the dog at first. Keep a separate space for your guinea pig to relax away from the dog for its own safety.
Training Dogs to Live With Guinea Pigs
When it comes to dogs co-existing with smaller animals, the key is a proper introduction. You can train your dog to live with guinea pigs in peace. If you are thinking about getting a guinea pig, you will want to introduce the animals in a calm manner, such as the one described below.
First, you will want to put your dog on a leash and put the guinea pig in a ball to keep it safe. The ball prevents your dog from biting or stepping on the guinea pig, so it is for the smaller animal’s safety. Now that you have the ability to control both of the animals, you and another person need to each take one of the pets.
Starting a few feet away from each other, the person with the dog will want to have treats to try to capture the dog’s attention. You should get the dog to calm down and respond to commands like “sit” or “down.” If your dog can focus on you and perform the task, you should give them a treat and move a little closer to the guinea pig. As long as your dog stays calm, you can keep making your way toward the guinea pig.
However, if your dog starts to get aggressive or too excited, you should take a step away from the guinea pig. If your dog can’t stay calm in close quarters to the guinea pig, you should stop the introduction and try again later. If this is the case, keep the two animals away from each other.
For dogs that can stay calm and meet the guinea pig, you can eventually give them more space on their leash to wander around near the guinea pig. If that goes well, remove the leash and let them explore the space under your supervision. If the two animals seem tense, you should end the session, but otherwise, let them move freely around one another.
By a Pomsky lover Chelsea Mies
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 04/06/2020