Pot Bellied Pigs/Nipping Piglet

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Question
Hello,
    I have a 3 month old girl pot belly pig and she is really well mannered. She took to me instantly when I brought her home, she also instantly took to her harness. But when she is in a playful mood and running around playing with her toys she likes to run over and nip me and side swipe me. Now I'm not sure if this is aggression towards me or if this is how piglets play? Also she starts nipping at my feet whenever she smells food my roommate is cooking beyond my bedroom door, just constant nudging and nipping at my feet and she'll get agitated if I try to move her and tell her no. Usually comes with a side swipe and then an attempt to nip me. I need help on how to tackle this, I don't want an aggressive pig!! Other then that she is really sweet and loving but I must be doing something wrong?

Answer
She is interacting with you the way pigs interact with each other in a herd.

Pigs see the world as a ladder with each person, pet and pig having his or her own rung. When you first brought piggy home, she did not know where she fit in, or if she was staying at all! Now she realizes this is home and is trying to establish her "rung".

When she nips or swipes, gently push her face to one side and say "knock it off" or "behave" or "get out". Avoid using the simple word "no" for the command, because no is way overused in daily conversation. An effective phrase is one that doesn't sound like anything else and is used only when you want piggy to stop doing something (or get out of the fridge!).

The foot issue is worrisome. Pigs assert their dominance in a herd by making lower status pigs move. For example, take a low ranking pig sleeping under a tree. A high ranking pig walks by. The high pig will make the low pig get up and take a few steps away. Now the high pig may or may not take the empty sleeping spot. The discussion was not about who gets the sleeping spot, but about the fact that the high pig can make the low pig get up and move away on command.

When your piglet goes after you're feet, she's trying to be dominant and make you move. Your pig is one of those pigs who just can't be allowed to mess with feet. Every time she tries, push her back, tell her "knock it off" or "get out" and make her take a couple of steps away from you.

Chances are, it won't have much effect on her the first time. So expect her to try again and again. Each time stop her immediately. If she tries a third or fourth time, make her walk all the way out of the room. The key is consistency, do not let her play with feet at all.

Pot Bellied Pigs

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Helen Morrison

Expertise

Pot-bellied or other miniature pet pig care, including diet, housing, training, health care. Can provide information about zoning, adoption, supplies, and organizations. Questions about any kind of pet swine are welcome!

Experience

Owning, raising, and caring for small pet swine, including "Vietnamese" pot-bellied pigs since 1992.

Organizations
Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

Education/Credentials
BBA from KSU

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