The AMPA’s official Mini Pig Training Handbook: Tricks, Life Skills, and Communication With Your Mini Pig is the first training book of it’s kind! An impressive 130 pages full of training instruction, behavior, communication, problem solving, aggression, tricks, manners, and FULL COLOR or B & W photos to help you visualize the wonderful companion that is within your reach.
One of the keys to a long and successful relationship with your mini pig is training and enrichment. Pigs are incredibly intelligent animals. Highly trainable and they thrive when their minds are stimulated and challenged. A well trained pig is a happy pig. Every time you train with your mini pig, you are improving your communication and strengthening your bond. Training teaches your mini pig the skills she needs to be a well behaved member of the family. Training also gives her the tools she needs to communicate with you.
Basic Life Skills ♦ Harness and Leash ♦ Potty Training ♦ Fun Tricks Obstacle Course ♦ Teaching Respect ♦ Enrichment Activities
Tricks, Life Skills, and Communication
With Your Mini Pig
Sit is a great basic command or trick to teach your pig. This is especially useful as it’s a quick one to teach, great to build on, and can be performed anywhere. A pig that will sit on command presents the perfect opportunity for strong leadership. You can ask the pig to sit before anything is given. Before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner, before salad, or before a snack. Plus, a pig sitting at your feet hoping for shared food is a lot easier to deal with than a screaming pushy one!
Teaching a pig to sit is pretty basic but can take some tweaking to find the training that works best for your pig. First, teach your pig to take treats gently. If the pig is lunging at treats or biting your fingers, the training will be frustrating for you both. (See previous blog, “Teaching Pigs Gentle Command”).
When you can easily give your pig treats, you’re ready to train. Start out holding the treat just above his nose and move it slowly over his head, towards his back. The key here is to keep the treat close enough to pig to keep his interest yet enough out of reach that he doesn’t grab it. As you move the treat back over his head, he should tip his head back to follow the treat, ending up planting his bottom on the ground. As soon as he does this, praise him “Good boy! Good sit!” and have his reward ready. When rewarding him, be sure to use an open hand held below his head. This will prevent him from reaching up to grab treats, and fingers, while you’re teaching him other tricks.
Now, if you have a tricky pig –
If he backs up instead of sitting down, try positioning him in front of a wall, a couch, or in a corner. As you move the treat back over his head, he will follow the treat and back himself into the obstacle. Once there is nowhere else to go, he will sit his bottom down on the ground as he tries to follow the treat. Use your timing with “Good boy! Good sit!” and reward.
If he is distracted, dismissive, or not following the treat, then find a treat that he goes crazy for. Increase the value of the treat. Some pigs will work extra hard for unsalted almonds, little bites of peanut butter sandwich, cheese, coconut oil, or chopped up fruit like apples and strawberries. Also, make sure you are in a quiet isolated room away from distractions so he can focus on you and pay attention to what you are asking him to do.
If your pig is over enthusiastic and impulsively lunging at the treats, try holding the treat in a closed fist so they don’t have access to it. This will help to dull their excitement enough for them to focus and pay attention. Hold your closed fist with the treat close to their nose so they do not have space to jump up.
As with other training, timing is key. Ensure you are rewarding the pig verbally at the exact moment he performed the desired behavior, then quickly reward him with a snack. Once it clicks for him, get him to sit again and again and again. He will be sure to surprise you later in the day when he is sitting (begging!) in the kitchen as you look for something to eat.
Enjoy the moment – you are creating a beautiful relationship between yourself and your pig. A relationship that will be cherished for many years. Don’t stop now, you’re just at the beginning. Build, build, and build that training and communication. You have places to go with this porcine friend!!
What can you teach a pig?
- Back up
- Walk on a harness
- Relax for hoof trims
- Come to their name
- Out or leave it
- Shake hands
- Push a ball
- Pick up objects
- Solve Puzzles
- Honk a bike horn
- Play a piano
- Play guitar
- Obstacle course
- Ride a skateboard
Teach A Pig To Sit, You’ll Have A Friend For Life
Training Series: Blog 4
Visit our website to learn more about mini pigs, become a member of the AMPA, and register your mini pig in the official registry!