Tricks, Life Skills, and Communication
With Your Mini Pig
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
Teach Your Pig To Ride In The Car
Training Series – Blog 13
Training a pig to ride politely in the car takes patience but can start at any age. The younger the pig is started in training for the car, the easier the transition will be. This is an essential skill for all mini pigs both for fun and emergency situations. Never wait until it’s time for vacation or a medical emergency to try to get your pig into the car.
You first need to decide HOW the pig will get in the car. Do you have a vehicle that the pig can get into easily? Will you lift the pig into the car? Will you use travel stairs or a ramp?
It’s also time to decide WHERE your pig will ride. A secure crate is the absolute safest place for your mini pig. Plastic airline crates of adequate size is appropriate. Alternatively, a metal wire crate can also be used. It is advised to use a secondary item to secure the crate door in case of an emergency or crash. A bungee cord can be used across the front of the crate to keep the door from popping open.
Some pig parents prefer to have their pigs ride in their lap, in the seat, or on the floor of the vehicle. NEVER allow a pig to ride unrestrained in the front seat or in your lap when you are driving. Pigs can be pushy and difficult especially with those bruise inflicting hooves. Do not risk your life or safety. For pigs riding in the seat of a vehicle, their leash can be tied to the headrest to keep them in their designated spot. The same can be done for pigs that are secured in the back of an SUV. Always be aware of the reach your pig has on a leash. Do not tie a pig that can hop over the seatback and hurt themselves hanging by a leash.
When you have prepared for your pig to ride in the vehicle, it is time for desensitization. It is common for pigs to have severe anxiety in the car, causing them to squeal, urinate and/or defecate. If a pig is fearful, have compassion and go at a pace they are comfortable with. Do not throw them in the car and become upset when they poop all over the car!
Place your mini pig’s favorite blanket or towel in their designated car riding spot. Gather your mini pig’s favorite treat. Place a small pile of this treat (such as diced apples, cut up grapes, pig pellets, or cheerios) in their designated riding spot. At this time you are NOT taking your pig for a ride. You are only getting them used to the car. Take them to the car with the engine OFF and the door OPEN, let them get in, or put them in, so their nose lands right in their treat pile. This setups up a positive response to getting in the car. For some pigs the most difficult part is getting them inside the car. Having an immediate and profound reward waiting for them will help them overcome this anxiety.
When they are finished enjoying their treat, let them get out of the vehicle on their own, or help them out if they need help. Do this several times, simply place treats in their designated spot in the car, let them go in and have a snack, then come back out. In, out, in, out, in, out. This will help them to not feel trapped by the vehicle.
Once they are comfortable getting in and out without any hesitation or anxious body language, you can go for a short drive. To prepare for this drive, ruffle up treats in the folds of their blanket. This will keep them busy and rewarded longer than a simple pile of treats. The food distraction is important as the vehicle starts to drive away. Make this first excursion VERY short! Drive down to the mailbox or a few houses down the street, turn around and drive back home. All the while be sure to praise your mini pig with a comforting voice. If you are able, also give them petting or scratches to reassure them. Ideally they will have enough treats they will still be distracted when you get back home. Repeat this several times on different days, being sure to not stress out your mini pig. Take these steps as slow as needed, and repeat as many times as necessary for your pig to feel comfortable. Remember, their comfort means no poop!
By now your mini pig is ready for real rides! Take them somewhere fun – to the park, to McDonalds for ice cream, or to the lake to play in the water. The possibilities are endless and your pig will have a rich quality of life with the opportunities their car trips can bring.
How does your pig ride in the car? What tips do you have for other pig parents? Email us at info@americanminipigassociation!
What can you teach a pig?
- Bow or Curtsy
- 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
- Unroll the red carpet
- Step up (onto an object)
- Jump through a hula hoop
- Use Stairs
- Use a doggy door
- Run through a tunnel
- Roll out a red carpet
- Walk up a ramp
- Understand sign language
- Distinguish colors
- Distinguish shapes
- Walk on teeter totter
- Weave through poles
- Figure 8 through legs
- Ring a bell to go potty outside
- & Lots more!
The American Mini Pig Association has a wealth of educational articles including training and enrichment activities: