Just like humans, animals have different ways to communicate either verbally or non-verbally. For most animals, behavioral patterns play a key role in communication.
Sometimes, your guinea pig will express itself more through actions rather than sounds. They will portray a series of behaviors as a way of communicating to you or to their fellow pets. This could be biting, licking, nudging just to mention but a few.
Nudging is when your pet pushes you with a part of its body or the whole body. So, what does it mean when your cavy keeps nudging you?
Why do Guinea Pigs nudge you?
Guinea pigs will at times nudge their owners for a number of reasons which are;
- Guinea pigs will nudge you when they are being playful.
- To stimulate petting.
- When angry or agitated.
- When the cavy is bored.
- To show that they don’t need your attention.
- To show dominance
- To show affection.
- Nudging when it is stressed.
Is it Normal for Guinea Pigs to Nudge You?
Nudging is quite normal in cavies as they are trying to communicate their feelings. Not only do they nudge humans but also their fellow guinea pigs. Moreover, you will find your pet nudging its cage furniture or beddings.
Understanding Nudging in Guinea Pigs
Nudging from guinea pigs can get irritating especially if your pet does this more often. How do you know the message your guinea pig is trying to communicate?
Understanding a pet’s behavior and the reason behind it is essential for you as a pet owner. Different emotions either positive or negative within your guinea pig will stimulate different types of nudges.
When your guinea pig makes a gentle nudge by pressing into your hand or arm it is being playful or craving attention. However, for negative emotions e.g. anger your pet will nudge you firmly and repeatedly.
As discussed earlier, nudging in guinea pigs comes with different emotions. You will need to know the specific emotion being experienced for you to respond accordingly. Well, let’s find out how to differentiate the different emotions in your guinea pig.
Nudging in Playful Guinea Pigs
Your pet will nudge you when in a playful mood and wants to play around. A playful guinea pig will also make squeaking sounds and will seem very jumpy.
Nudging to Show Affection
Guinea pigs usually show affection to both their fellow cavies and humans they like. Apart from nudging, guinea pigs will also show affection through;
- They will play around or lie around you.
- You will find your guinea pig licking your fingers and hands.
- It can also begin to nibble you gently in the same way they nibble their fellow mates.
Nudging to Stimulate Petting
When your pet craves your attention, it will nudge you for petting. You can pet it by scratching it gently behind the ears or stroking its back smoothly. This will get rid of the nudging. However, recognize that too much petting can irritate your guinea pig.
Nudging in Guinea Pigs to Portray Dominance
Sometimes, cavies feel bold and want to dominate their fellow pets in the cages. They can portray this by nose nudging other guinea pigs. At times, they might transfer the same behavior to human beings therefore they nudge you.
Nudging in Stressed Guinea Pigs
When your guinea pig is stressed, it does not appreciate handling. It will therefore nudge your hands away when you try to touch it. Other stress signs to look out for are;
- Having a poor appetite.
- Tossing its head
- Being nervous.
- Freezing its body.
- Sleeping more than usual
- Your pet hiding a lot or refusal to come out from its cage.
- Being excessively irritable.
- It will experience hair loss.
Nudging in Bored Guinea Pigs
Boredom will make your pet nudge you but how can you confirm that it is indeed bored? Check out for other boredom signs which are;
- Your guinea pig will make whining sounds.
- Your pet might growl.
- It lacks interest in normal routine activities like play.
- It will also make hissing sounds.
- Your pet will chatter its teeth.
Try engaging your pet in play and other fun activities when bored so as to stop it from nudging you.
Cavies Nudging in Anger
Apart from nudging when your guinea pig is angry, it will chatter, bare the teeth and make hissing noises. Moreover, it will make purring noises which can either be a sign of happiness or anger. For angry purring noises, they are high pitched and may be accompanied by vibrations.
Guinea pigs express some similar signs for different emotions e.g. purring. Always look out for the distinct signs for you to know the specific feeling your guinea pig is experiencing.
Nudging to Keep off Attention
Your guinea pig appreciates being touched but not all the time. Sometimes, it needs to be left alone to enjoy some personal space.
Recognize when it does not want to be touched and leave it alone as you may make it irritable or angry. Your pet will nudge your hands away when it does not want your attention. Understand that this behavior does not mean that it hates you it just needs to be left on its own.
Moreover, not all parts of the guinea pig make petting areas. As a pet owner, find out the contact your pet is more comfortable with.
Guinea pigs prefer petting on the following areas;
- Stroking them behind their ears.
- Rubbing their shoulders and cheeks.
To avoid nudging when petting your guinea pig, keep off its feet and underside. Make the petting sessions brief too.
Your guinea pig will often nudge you but this should not be a cause for alarm. Ensure you keenly observe its behavior so as to understand it. This will help you respond accordingly depending on your cavy’s needs.