Mini pigs make the best pets when they are properly trained and understand boundaries. Basic 101 tricks can be easily taught, and mini pigs respond very well to clicker training. You can purchase a clicker at any pet store for just a few dollars. We were impressed when we saw a new mini pig owner teaching her mini piglet tricks using a clicker. She is not an animal trainer or experienced mini pig owner. Oscar is the star of Life With a Mini Pig, a website showing how Oscar is being trained and growing up. Check out the “how to” videos and step by step instructions to implement clicker training with your mini pig.
Mini Pig Clicker Training Basics
Mini pig training is a great way to teach your pig basic obedience while building trust to improve your bond. Additionally, mini pigs are smart and stubborn, and training helps direct your mini pig’s intelligence toward productive, positive activities. Mini pigs can become destructive when bored or lonely, and training allows your pig to spend time with you doing something challenging and fun, making your pig a better pet and companion.
Training your mini pig should be fun for both you and your pig, so keep the training sessions short, preferably no longer than 2-3 minutes each. I train in two short sessions each day after our mini pig’s meals so that we can make progress without him getting distracted or bored. Some days our pig loves training and learns quickly; other days he is disinterested and easily distracted. If either you or your mini pig gets frustrated during training, stop for that session and try again later or the next day. Always keep it fun!
I highly recommend using clicker training with your mini pig. I train our mini pig with a clicker because I find the click provides a consistent and concise message to him that he’s doing the trick correctly. The biggest challenge in training has been getting our mini pig to figure out what I want him to do with each trick. The clicker allows me to clearly communicate to him, reducing confusion and frustration for both of us. Some people prefer to just train with words, but I prefer the click as it’s quicker and more consistent. Also, using the clicker means I never forget which praise word I was using and accidentally confuse our mini pig.
For training treats, I keep them small which allows me to do more training without overfeeding. I prefer to work with Cheerios since they are dry, portable, and easy to break in half for even smaller training treats. I’ve learned that our mini pig doesn’t really care how big the treat is, just that he’s getting a treat consistently for each trick done correctly. Occasionally I give larger treats for challenging tricks or just to keep him interested and excited about training, but I try not to overdo it. You can also use cut up carrots, peas, or fruit if your mini pig likes those. If your pig seems bored with the reward, switch up the treats to keep it fun.
Before your very first training session with a clicker, you need to teach your mini pig that the click is positive. This is called priming the clicker. Sit next to your mini pig with the clicker and some treats, and simply click the clicker and then immediately give your mini pig a treat. Continue to click and give a treat several times. You can repeat this process in as many sessions as you would like, but my experience is that mini pigs figure out very quickly that the click is positive and is accompanied by a treat. When you click and your mini pig either comes to you or looks as if she’s expecting a treat, your priming is finished and you are ready to start training.
How to Train a Mini Pig to Sit
Teaching a mini pig to sit can be challenging because they don’t sit very naturally. The toughest part about training a mini pig to sit is getting him to figure out what you are asking. When our mini pig was learning to sit, he spent several training sessions confused, not understanding what I wanted him to do. What eventually worked was using a floor with good traction and a wall to back our mini pig up until he was naturally forced to sit. Once he correctly sat a few times, I was able to reinforce the behavior with the clicker and then he knew what I wanted. Getting him to sit the first few times was the hardest, and he learned quickly once he knew what to do.
Steps to training your mini pig to sit.
1) Find a place where you have flooring with good traction and a wall nearby.
2) Have your mini pig stand facing you with the wall behind your pig.
3) Start with a clicker in one hand and a treat in your other hand.
4) Hold the treat just above your mini pig’s head.
5) Say “sit” and then slowly move your hand back in the direction of the wall. Your mini pig will move back to follow the treat, and his rear will bump up against the wall behind him and force him to sit.
6) As soon as he sits, click and give him a treat. It’s okay if your mini pig isn’t sitting all the way initially. As long as he is attempting to sit, go ahead and click and give him a treat.
7) Continue practicing sit until your mini pig is sitting nicely and can sit even without the wall behind him.
Thank you Oscar and family for sharing your wonderful training videos and step by step write up. Many pig owners will benefit from watching!