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Pot Bellied Pigs/It's Lloyd the mini-pig...Again!


QUESTION: Hi again... So I took your advice and bought Priscilla Valentine's book, which is great. I really understand that I have to stop treating Lloyd like he's human and start treating him in a way which he understands, which is pig.
The book really talked a lot about what a pig thinks/feels compared to what we're feeling. So I decided to start brushing him everyday for about 40 minutes to an hour. Just to bond with him. He has his own bed now so that when we don't want him on the couch he has a spot that is his own to go to, which works really well. He's very accepting to having his own bed. I've learned from the book and your previous postings to other people, that when he's sleeping, and I just want to give him a big hug and kiss, he may not be in the mood. So instead of picking at him and forcing it, I just let him be. He allows kisses more often than he urns them down. I understand that all the times my b/f yelled at him has affected him, and it's going to be awhile for Lloyd to forgive him, but as long as we talk calmly to him, it'll get better.
I just wanted to let you know the things I've changed.

The question is though, I want to train Lloyd, for him so he's not bored and for me so we can bond more, but he snaps for food. In the book there really wasn't a set "if they snap, do this" section. I read that all treats should be given by hand right after they complete the required task so that they don't think the treat fell from the sky. Lloyd will only take one treat nicely, after that he's very snatchy and will lean in toward you to grab it from your hands. I want to teach him some basic things like stay, paw/hoof, lie down, but I'm not sure of the required steps to address his snatching. I tell him "no" and "be easy", but I'm sure he doesn't understand that. When I'm trying to work with him, how can I keep training him after he snaps without him thinking he's being rewarded for snapping.

Also can him eating too many sugary fruits make him more snappy? They say not to give them lots of fruits, but I give Lloyd 4 whole pieces of fruit a day (1 at each meal). Is this too many?

Thanks again....Jen

I attached a picture so you can see him.

ANSWER: This is a bit difficult. How do you teach a snappy pig to do tricks without rewarding the snapping?

I think the secret might be to stay within Lloyds limits. He takes one treat nicely, then snaps. So, at first stick with just one. Have only one treat in your hands. Try a trick like Twirl or Turn, where his nose follows your hand. When he has completed the turn, give him the treat and lots of praise.

Make sure to use exact words when asking him to do the behavior and rewarding him for doing it.

Anyway, after he's done it once, stop. Tell him he's a good boy and then do something else or go somewhere else. This way he has done something right and been rewarded and the training session ends on a happy note.

Pigs learn by repeating behavior. Because you're asking Lloyd to do the trick only once, you'll need to ask him many times, and it may take a little longer for him to catch on.

But once he does "get it"; you'll know it. At that point you can ask him to do it a second time for a second treat (but make sure the second treat is nowhere near your hand when he gets the first treat!). Then stop after doing it twice.

Next time you can try asking Lloyd to do the trick three times in a row. But, make sure he never, ever sees more than one treat at a time.

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QUESTION: Another question I meant to ask but forgot has to do with hoof trimming.
He lets me trim his dew claws, but the bigger hoof nail is thicker and bigger, so he pulls away. I wanted to know if there's a good kind of nail file for pigs, so I could just sand the nail down. He's really good with letting me touch his feet, file them, rub them, and also pick off the extra nail that kind of grows on the bottom of the dew claw, but when it comes to the pressure for cutting the hoof, he's not a big fan. I've seen dremel files for cats and dogs, where it's just a round metal sander, and I was wondering if something like that would be appropriate...Jen

I've used ordinary wood files. A finer file takes longer, but a coarse file is more likely to upset a pig.

I've never used a dremel tool, but I think any bit made for soft materials like wood or plaster, would probably work.

I bought my wood files (sometimes called rasps) at the local hardware store.

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Helen Morrison


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!


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

Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

BBA from KSU

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