You are here:

Pot Bellied Pigs/Pig refuses to go outside.


My 7 year old female Pot Bellied pig refuses to go outside.  I have tried everything including using her favorite foods to lure her outside. I'm not sure what caused this behavior.  She has always gone outside on her own.  She used a doggie door for a while and then just started opening the door when she wanted to go outside.  This started about 6 months ago.  


Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what a pig is thinking. Usually in situations like this, the pig was either frightened badly by something outside, or the pig was hurt in some way in or around the doorway.

A new predator may have moved into the neighborhood and she can smell it. Coyotes for example, used to live only in rural Western US. Now, they live in almost every state and in some surprisingly urban areas. Pigs can smell when coyotes spray. Other smells that could upset her are paint, wood preservative, or yard chemicals (herbicides, etc)

At age 7, she might be experiencing the first twinges of arthritis. If she had a spasm or pain while outside or coming in, she may associate the pain with outside.

Or, she may have been spooked by something that only a pig understands.

First, make sure there is absolutely nothing that could make it uncomfortable for her to go outside. For example make sure there is a non-slip mat or other safe surface on both sides of the door. If she slipped coming in or going out and it triggered an arthritic pain, she will be reluctant to step where it's slippery.

Check the height of the door jam. When pigs are young, they have no problem stepping up and over a few inches. But as pigs age and gain weight they loose mobility. Long hooves can also interfere with their abilitiy to step up and over something. If the door jam is high or has any sort of lip or ledge that could catch a pig hoof, you might want to try covering the jam with a mat or rug for her (admitedly this could be tricky).

Odors are a little harder to fix because people can't smell them but the pigs can. Start by washing the outside area around the door with a soap that you already use indoors, something she is used to smelling and associates with safety.

It will take her awhile to get used to going outside again. Start gradually, go slow, let her take her time. Open the door and sit on the ground just outside it. Eat something she likes, such as apples. Talk softly to her, pass her a bite of apple through the door. Do this every day for a few minutes at least each time, and she might overcome her fear.

You can also try this with her old doggie door. Doggie doors often have a high jam that can catch piggy hooves or cause aches and pains when piggy must step up high to get out. A block of wood or thick board on each side can act as a "step" to make it easier to step out. Of course make sure the wood is secured in place and covered with a non slip mat or such.

If, after a week or two, nothing has changed, try getting her to go outside through a different door.  

Pot Bellied Pigs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2016 All rights reserved.