Mini Pig Harness Training
A mini pig harness & leash training is a priority. A mini pig should never be allowed outside without mastering the command to come, a good sturdy, escape proof fence, or a harness and leash. Pigs are fast and a loose pig that doesn’t know its name or Come will be extremely difficult to catch. This could be a disastrous situation. Harness training is highly recommended for a pig of any age. The younger it is started the easier it is to succeed.
Pigs are naturally a flight animal and that is extremely important to remember when you are harness training your piglet. When attempting to harness train your piglet the first step it to purchase a harness that is pig safe. Harnesses that have two buckles (one on the neck and one on the girth) work best. If you have to pick up your piglet to put their feet through a ‘step-in’ harness you may find it more challenging.
The second step is to introduce the harness to your piglet in a location in the home that is quiet and the piglet is comfortable in. Place yourself on the floor with some of your piglet’s favorite treats (cut up grapes and their pellets work great). Place the harness on the ground in front of you and place some of the treats beside it. Show the piglet where the treats are and allow him to eat them. If the piglet is showing no hesitation with eating beside the harness place treats on top of the harness and allow your piglet to eat them. Once your piglet has demonstrated no hesitation with this step, pick up the harness and hold it still in front of the piglet. Offer a treat to the piglet at this time. The goal is to make the harness positive on and off the piglet.
Once the piglet has shown no hesitation to the harness being in the air you may at this time place a few treats on the ground in a pile and while the piglet is having a snack move the harness towards the back of the piglet. Usually at this step you will see them watching your hand and maybe take a step or two to the opposite side of your hand. If they do, hold your hand still until the piglet settles. Do not move the harness back as this motion would encourage the behavior. It is okay to offer more treats if the piglet is still not settled with the harness being at his side.
Once your piglet becomes comfortable with the movement of the harness towards his side continue the movement to placing the harness on his back. There are three important things to remember at this step.
- Offer lots of treats are he will step away when the harness touches him.
- Do not let go of the harness. You want to prevent the harness from falling on the floor and scaring him.
- Remember you are not trying to fit the harness to the piglet at this time, just placing it on his back.
You may need to work at this step for a few days to get your piglet comfortable with the feeling of the harness on their back.
Once your piglet has become comfortable with all the above steps you can now work with doing up the buckles. This will also be done in small steps and over a period of time if your piglet requires it. Place treats in a pile on the floor and while your piglet is eating place the harness on his back and slowly clip the neck buckle together. Add more treats to the pile and clip the girth buckle. Add more treats to the pile and let your piglet continue to eat his treats while wearing his harness. It is important for the harness to not be too tight on the piglet through the first couple times you are repeating this last step. You also do not want it so loose the piglet can step their leg through it. You would want it loose but not falling off.
Repeat this step a few times a day while allowing your piglet to wear his harness around the house for a bit at a time. To take the harness off offer some treats in a pile and unclip both buckles. As you can see training your mini pig overall is about reading their body language. It’s important to know what it is they are comfortable with and how far you can go with each training session.
Remember, things do not happen overnight. Go slow and allow your piglet to become comfortable with each step before moving along to the next one.
If your pig is comfortable moving around the house in her harness you can begin the steps for leash training. You need your treat pouch or a small cup of pellets. Training treat pouches can be purchased at www.AmericanMiniPigStore.com.
Your pig should be in their harness and you can use the command to come. Calling the pig with the command and a shake of your treat pouch or cup. When she obliges give huge praises and reward with a treat. Practice this around the house several times. When you feel confident you can attach your long leash or retractable leash without applying any pressure. Just clip the leash onto the harness and let your pig move around untethered. Repeat the steps above, calling her to come and praising, reward!
You can slowly begin to let the pig feel a little pressure on the leash keeping her distracted by your cheers, Good pig!! Repeat calling her in, “Come, Come”. Let her wander until she is feeling safe and comfortable with the leash attached. Pigs do not like to be restrained! Don’t rush this. Don’t pull on the leash or apply heavy pressure. Gentle pressure, cues to come, and luring with the treats will send the message she is safe with this leash attached. Work on this in the safety of your home if you have the space. When you are both feeling comfortable and confident move out to a securely fenced area and practice. Pigs love taking walks with their owners. Your harness and leash skills will be extremely beneficial in keeping your pig safe. A whole world opens up when you can safely take your pig outside of the home.