Pot Bellied Pigs/Mini-pig
QUESTION: Hi, I have a mini-pig and whenever I have questions I come to you. My pigs name is Lloyd and I got him when he was 10 months old and now he's 17 months old. He definitely has character lol and I love him very much. I have 1 dog who is very easy going and is absolutely non-confrontational and I also have 4 cats who are easy going as well.
I've had Lloyd now for 7 months and for some reason he's not adjusting to my other pets...He snaps and squeals whenever he's around my dog (walking beside him or going in and out of the house)and he'll snap at my cats. He doesn't actually bite it's more of a threat I guess. He opens his mouth like he will bite but he doesn't. My cats usually run away, but I do have a very brave, mischievous cat who will stand up to him and I have seen him with his mouth around my cats neck without biting down. I guess I want to know how long it will take for him to except everyone or what can I do to make it better. I do scold him and tell him "no" which he knows what it means or i'll say "bad Lloyd" and give him a tap on his nose to get his attention away from them./squealing. I do scold him and I'll refuse to give him more, but it makes me feel good when I feed him..:) Is this just the way they are naturally?
Also I really want to be able to feed him treats and snacks by hand, but he gets really aggressive if you take too long or you run out... He starts snapping and grunting
Also I love him very much and want to be close to him, but he likes to have everything on his terms. I allow him on the couch with me and he'll sit pressed right up against me which I love, but if you go to lean/lay on him, hug him or pet his sides he just grumbles really loud until he snaps or I make him get off the couch which he doesn't like..lol How can I get him to accept affection better or will he be like this forever because I didn't have him when he was a baby??
His previous owner did teach him to go outside to use the bathroom, sit and dance on his hind legs but he didn't pay a lot of attention to him and told me that Lloyd did spend a lot of time alone...Is it too late and what can I do or how long should I expect it to take for him to change??
All advice is very much appreciated..Thanks so much...Jen
ANSWER: Yes, I do remember discussing Lloyd with you. I think the extended isolation was hard on Lloyd and now it's hard for him to learn to socialize.
When he snaps and squeals at the dog, are they super close, maybe even touching or bumping into each other? If so, then he's exhibiting normal pig behavior, because pigs in a herd will squeal and sometimes snap when they are all bumping into each other.
But if he's acting like this when the two of them are just together in the same room, then he is still having some sort of problem with the dog.
Being a pig Lloyd is going to want to rank higher than the cats. Being cats, they believe they are superior. If Lloyd is not actively chasing them, that's good. It also sounds like the cats are still curious about him, if they're willing to come close enough to irritate him. At this point I would not interfere with Lloyd and the cats, I think they will work things out.
When you're laying on him or rubbing his side he might feel like he's being restrained. When he lays next to you, try rubbing behind his ears, or tickling the very bottom of his tummy, or cleaning his eyes, things that pigs really love. Or, try gently poking him with a fork. You might never be able to give him a big hug, but the fact that he likes to lay next to you means he has bonded with you.
Giving just one treat at a time will help him not go treat crazy. Some pigs get so excited about treats they just chomp, without thinking about what they're chomping on. Knowing that he's going to get one treat and one treat only will help him stay calm. As he gets older, he will be less food-obsessed, and calmer about taking treats, and calmer about life in general.
But if he's charging and snarling over treats, he's going to need some lessons. A friend of mine desensitized a pig to hand feeding by taping a fork to a stuffed glove, and putting a dowel rod in the glove, making a fake hand with a fork. This allowed her to feed the pig from a "hand" without endangering herself. At first, she put the treats on the fork. When the pig was able to take the treat off the end of the fork without going nuts, she started putting the treat on the stuffed glove, and after a year or so, the pig would accept treats calmly from her hand. Now this was a wild adult pig found injured, so he was not socialized at all.
I don't think you'll need a fork but a stuffed glove, like a garden glove, could be a starting point. One treat at a time on the glove, so your hand is safe. Lloyd sounds like a pretty smart pig, so it shouldn't take him very long to learn to take a single treat off the glove politely.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: How long does it usually take to re-socialize him? He lives a very easy life..lol:) and my animals and myself are always the same with him. So he's pretty much on routine. He's able to tell when it's eating with just his gut feeling which I think is really smart.
When he does snap at the dog a lot of time it is walking in from outside where my dog pretty much tramples over Lloyd to get indoors. My dog has a thing with jumping at the door to let us know he wants to come inside and then he like sprints to our front door to see if anyone came inside....lol He's very protective, but when the dog is just laying on the floor doing nothing, Lloyd will go up to him and stand right at the dogs feet and starting that high pitch squealing noise...I always tell Lloyd "no" and "that's enough" which usually works, because I think he's trying to get my dog to move out of superiority...And that's not nice..lol so I don't let him do that. But I'm curious when those things can change? I feed them at the same time, but different rooms so they don't have to ight over food or anything so I guess I'm not sure what Lloyd doesn't like about my dog...
Lloyd definitely loves his tummy rubbed and behind his ears.. unortunately I'm not able to wipe over his eyes or wipe the top of his nose when it's muddy.. I'm not really sure why, but he REALLY doesn't like it...I can pet his nose, scratch and kiss it, but nothing wet can be rubbed over it.
If I only give him one treat he has like this disappointed grunt. I've been able to match his grunts/squeals pretty much with a feeling. When he's unhappy or disappointed the grunt kind of sounds like an elephant...lol And then he walks away talking to himself..lol Will that change with time..? At what age should I see the change in him? Thanks again for all your help. Everything you say makes sense and you've helped me with some of his other behaviours...:)
It's hard to give a specific time frame because so much depends on the pig. Lloyd may never be a snuggle bug, but he won't be emotionally mature until he's age 2, and many pigs become more mellow when they are between 4 and 6 years old.
The only solution to the door situation is to let them in one at a time, it probably would be easiest to teach Lloyd to Wait A Minute before coming in or out to let the dog through. Give Lloyd a treat for waiting until YOU say Ok Come In or Go Out. Make sure this is all coming from YOU, not the dog. It's YOUR choice, and he gets a treat for respecting it.
The nose to nose squealing is, indeed, a power play. It's like the pig saying "I COULD make you move if I WANT to".
Something must have happened to make him sensitive to things over head. So start at the belly, then work your way up to in between his front legs, then throat, then jaw, then up his cheek to his eyeball. Go slow, take several days to work your way to the eyeball and tell him each time you're moving closer, like Rub Piggy Jowels, then rub his jowels, then tell him Rub Piggy Cheek and move up to his cheek.
It will be a while before he learns he gets one and one treat only. He's still young, so still really food oriented. That will change with time as he matures.