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
Teaching to Shake Hoof & Wave
Training Series – Blog 11
Shake Hands, Shake Hoof, or Give Hoof
Teaching your mini pig to shake hands, shake hoof, give 5, or give hoof is fun but can be a little bit challenging. Petunia picked this up very quickly, she really enjoys this trick and even starts waving at me if she thinks I have food I should be sharing! Olivia on the other hand, is very reluctant to lift her hoof or have someone grab it. It’s funny because for hoof trimming they are the opposite: Olivia lets me grab, manipulate, and clip her hooves without any resistance while Petunia would rather keep her hooves to herself. If your mini pig doesn’t pick up on this trick right away, do not give up! Just take a slower approach that works for you and your pig. Frustration has no place in training. Simply take a step back, rework something your pig has mastered, and then start on “shake” with an approach tailored to the needs of your pig.
This is a perfect opportunity to practice the clicker training method so you can “mark” the position you want your pig to repeat. Read the clicker training blog here. You’ll also want to make sure you are setting up your training session for success by following the tips in this blog.
Start with your mini pig in a sit position. Gently touch your finger to the back of the hoof you want to lift, but don’t lift yet! Just touch the back of that hoof, click your training clicker and reward. This is going to be an uncomfortable feeling for some pigs, so setup a positive association with this new sensation.
When you are able to touch the back of your pig’s hoof without any response or reaction, then try putting a little more pressure. Just a quick press with two fingers along the back of his hoof. Click your training clicker in the moment you touch the back of his hoof, and reward with a treat and praise. Slowly, at the pace your pig needs, increase the pressure you use on the back of his hoof, always rewarding him.
When your mini pig does not flinch or react to the pressure, try using those two fingers to press enough to lift the hoof just off the ground. Click your training clicker and reward with praise and a treat. Give your chosen command word each time the hoof leaves the ground. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
When your mini pig is automatically lifting the hoof on command, hold your hand just in front of their hoof and give the command word. They may surprise you and place their hoof in your hand! Again, click your training clicker, reward with praise and a treat. If he does not lift his hoof voluntarily, simply keep prompting with your two fingers for him to lift his hoof. Some mini pigs need more practice than others before they will take the initiative to lift the hoof on their own. Precise timing of the training click and praise will speed up this process.
Once your mini pig is lifting his hoof to place in your hand, you have mastered the “shake hands” trick! Congratulations are in order!
“Wave” is usually built upon from shake hands. Ask your mini pig to “shake” but don’t hold out your hand. When your pig lifts her hoof she will reach out trying to shake like she was asked. Tell her “good wave” and reward her. Repeat this until she is consistently waving on command.
What have you taught your pig? Tell us about it! We’d love to feature you and your mini pig on the American Mini Pig Association Facebook page. Send your photos and videos to our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Visit our website to learn more about mini pigs, become a member of the AMPA, and register your pet pig in the official AMPA Registry!