Pot Bellied Pigs/My 7 week old Hamlet
Ok I have no idea where to start but I have never owned a pig before but have always wanted to until now!! LOL I have had him since he was 6 days old and the breeder was very knowledgable and helped a lot and even provided me with a starter package for him. Then I came home and read and read and read on them. I now know I got him WAY to young but I did everything she told me to do and even more on things I have read. Now let me tell you about my demon that I am totally in love with but I tell every one that he is worse on his best day than all three of my kids on there worse days together. He picked up on the potty training pretty good so I thought until he would get to where he would go over to his litter box and instead of getting into it he will pee in front of it so I added another litter box and then a root box now he will use them sometimes but almost always he pees in floor in front of it. He always gets in to poop I have put the rag I clean it up with inside of it and now I dont know how to fix that problem. If I fuss at him or pop him he will pee in the floor because he got In trouble. Another issue I am having is he constantly roots me but doesn't do it to every one in the house not even the kids or the dog only me. I have popped his nose yelled no pushed him away and nothing works. If he gets mad at us for correcting him he will charge at the dogs and ram them or he will throw himself down on the floor. Now anywhere I go through my house he is on my ankles squealing I guess because I left him. He will find paper and shred it into a hundred pieces I walk h to his box but he may or may not get It. He has a extra large dog as his bed and I have it covered all the way around it. Now feeding I had him on goat milk and then added rice cereal and then went to oatmeal I bought him starter pellets but he wont east them but loves to eat the dog food he wont accept treats of no kind I am at home with him all day long and I dont know how to train him if he wont eat treats I cannot even get him weaned cause wont eat anything but his cereal and a few bits of dog food through out the day he is averages about 4to 6 hours between feeding and he is fat I cant see I am over feeding him. How do there moms dicipline the piggy I am scared it only going to get worse I want to do the things his mom would for him but I dont know what that is or how so please help before I scream
Ok there's a couple of different issues happening here, potty training, interaction with the other pets, weaning, discipline, and natural piglet life vs house pet pig life. That's a lot of stuff, so we'll tackle things one at a time.
Piglets learn from their Momma and siblings. Piglets also stay very close to their Mommas all the time, because piglets in the wild are easy prey. That is why he is always at your ankles, it's his natural instinct. This is a good thing, because it will help you keep an eye on him when he is out of his safe space.
Because a house is not a normal pig environment, it's best to make a safe space for him. It doesn't have to be large, in fact, for potty training it's better to be small. But I'll get to potty training in a minute.
The space should be secure, with his bed, potty box, water dish and plenty of toys. No dogs should be able to get into it (cats are Ok. Pigs and cats get along well). Keep him there when you can not be keeping a close eye on him. He will squeal at first, but ignore the squealing and he will adapt.
Piglets learn about their world by exploring, and rooting and shredding are a natural part of that. Let piggy shred whatever piggy likes, you can find old blankets cheaply at thrift stores and garage sales. Newspapers, magazines and phone books are fun to shred. Piglets enjoy playing with human infant toys, especially ones that make noise. Rooting boxes are great, too. Basically, the more toys the better.
Pigs see the world as a ladder, with each person, pet or pig having his or her own rung. Pigs in a herd show each other who is in charge by making each other move. Say for example a lower ranking pig is sleeping under a tree. A higher ranking pig walks by. The higher pig might make the lower ranking pig get up and walk away from the sleeping spot. The higher ranking pig then might or might not take over the sleeping spot. The point wasn't who gets to sleep in the spot. The point was that the higher pig could make the lower pig move. So, that's the key to teaching your piglet that you are the higher ranking person. Make the piglet move.
Make the piglet move at random times during the day for no apparent reason, and make the piglet move as a form of discipline. Now, it would be rude to wake a person from a nap just to make them get up and take a few steps away from the bed, but it teaches the piglet that you are in charge. The key is to making the piglets feet move. When piggy gets nippy, make piggy take a few steps back. Piggy knows you love him - that's why he thinks he can be the boss. He will still love you when you are the boss.
Piglets seem kind of "hard wired" to start tasting different foods at 4 - 5 weeks, and actually eating the foods at 6 - 7 weeks. So piggy is ready to start eating pellets. Start by soaking two or maybe three pellets in the milk until they are dissolved completely. At the next meal, add four or five pellets to the milk, then six or seven, etc, until the mix looks like cream of wheat. The pellets dissolve better in warm liquids. At this point you can switch gradually from milk to water. Then you can either begin reducing the amount of water in the pellets, or continue feeding them wet.
Try offering him little bits of treats, tiny bites so he can easily eat them without much chewing. You can also try leaving slices of fruit near his water dish when he's in his safe space.
Pigs learn to potty in a particular spot, not in the box itself. Move the box and the pig will continue to potty in the same spot. Pigs learn quickly and unlearn very very slowly. So, with the potty situation, my suggestion would be to set piggy up with a potty box in the safe space and do away with the current box. Wash the box spot with a cleaner designed to remove pet odors and keep piggy away from that spot because piggy will remember pottying there for months and months.
Take piggy to the box often, at least every 90 minutes, and make sure piggy potties in the box before coming out of the safe space. The box should be big enough for piggy to turn around, have a non-slip floor and one low side so piggy can step in without stepping up.
Some pigs can play with human feet without problems. But, because this piggy is already going after your feet, and because making another person or pig move their feet is an act of dominance, it's probably best to not let this piggy play with feet at all.
For resources I suggest the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine, the dvd There's a Pig in the House from tophogs.com or the Yahoo group PigInfoAndChat