Mini Pig Training: How to Hold a Mini Pig

One of the trickier parts of our first few days with Oscar was learning how to pick him up and hold him. Mini pigs generally don’t like to have their feet off the ground, and that includes being picked up or held. A lot of the advice I read prior to getting a pet mini pig was to wait several days before trying to pick him up. That was my initial plan, but we ended up needing to lift and hold him from the first day to get up and down our porch steps to take him to potty. We learned quickly what to do and what to avoid.

The first hurdle to picking up and holding a mini pig is getting through the squealing. Since they don’t want to be picked up, they squeal and it can be surprisingly loud and piercing. It’s important that you continue to hold them through the squealing and resist putting them down so they don’t equate squealing with getting put down. It’ll be difficult, but do your best to hold them until they calm down or at least stop squealing. It will get easier.

The second hurdle is figuring out how to hold them. Oscar squirmed a lot when we first held him; between the wiggling and the squealing, my panic mode kicked in and made the situation even more stressful. On top of it, I swear he could sense my fear. So, go in confidently and pick up your mini pig and get your arms under his legs and feet to support him. If you can get the legs or feet supported, your mini pig will calm down much more quickly. Here is a video showing how I hold Oscar.

Now that Oscar is used to being held, he generally falls asleep soon after being picked up. It’s great being able to lift and hold him, but it took time and patience. If you’re in the first few days of learning to hold your mini pig, hang in there and stick with it through the squealing. You’ll get there!

92 thoughts on “Mini Pig Training: How to Hold a Mini Pig”

  1. Hi I just got my mini pig yesterday and it will not let me pick it up, it will just run and squeal. It has not had much contact since born it is just now 8 weeks old! Do you have any advice?

    1. Hi Dora! Thanks for your question, and congrats on getting your mini pig! What you’re describing is perfectly normal, and it will take some time before your mini pig is willing to trust you and be held. Some people recommend not trying to hold your mini pig for a while, and that’s an option if it works for you. For us, Oscar only went to the bathroom outside, so we had to pick him up to carry him outside several times a day starting on his first day home. When you pick your mini pig up, it’s important to not let him down until he’s stopped squealing. Pigs are smart and will learn that squealing means “I get what I want.” So, you want to hold your mini pig through the squealing and only put him down when he’s quiet. This will be hard and frustrating, but it’s important. If the squealing is too loud, you could even try ear plugs! Your mini pig will eventually get more comfortable with being held and stop squealing, but it takes some time.

      If you haven’t read my post on Bonding with Your Mini Pig, I recommend that one since you are just starting out. As much as you can, sit on the floor in a small room with your mini pig and let him come to you. You can use treats and see if he’ll come to you (offer them with your hand flat on the floor and palm up so that your mini pig learns to take treats nicely), but it’s completely normal for it to take a while before your mini pig will approach you. Both holding your mini pig and bonding are slow processes and can be frustrating at times, but hang in there. Look for the small improvements and successes over the next few weeks. Keep me updated and feel free to ask any questions! Good luck with your new baby!

    1. Hi Rachael! That’s a great question. I’ve read some advice that says to wait until they’re more settled and comfortable at home before trying to hold them, so you could wait until she’s a little bigger. What I would probably do is sit on the floor, maybe even in a carpeted room or on a rug, where the floor is softer and try holding her that way. The benefit of that is you can still try to get her used to being up in the air and held, but she’s low enough to the ground that she won’t get hurt if she wiggles out of your arms. If she’s super tiny and feisty, aim for just getting your hands under her legs and hooves and try to get her pulled into you so that she feels secure. You won’t be able to hold her as much with your arms while she’s really small, so just use your hands as much as you can and try to get her secure without any of her legs or hooves dangling. I haven’t held one that’s really tiny so I don’t have any direct experience, but that’s what I would try to do. Hopefully that helps! 🙂

  2. I just got a 5 month old min pig so picking him up is not a option, I need help on how to deal with an older min pig

      1. The biggest is touching but I understand he has to trust me but another is pooping in the house I tried a litter box he will have nothing to do with it I am using puppy pads now and he uses them but makes a huge mess afterwards

        1. The touching will come with time and trust, like you mentioned. It’s really hard in the beginning while you’re waiting for the trust and bonding, but you will get there. In the meantime, you could try using warm blankets or something similar to see if that’ll encourage him to cuddle with you. Even a little bit of cuddling can help break up the early frustrations when the bond isn’t quite formed yet. For the pooping in the house, that would be frustrating. Oscar has always gone outside, so I unfortunately don’t have any direct experience with a litter box. One thing you might have tried already is putting a piece of his poop in his litter box to help signal to him that he’s supposed to go in there. I know a lot of pig parents have had luck doing that. Otherwise, I would restrict his space so that he doesn’t have as many places to poop in the house and it’s easier to control and train. Hang in there! Although we’ve had some behavior issues with Oscar lately, nothing in my opinion was as hard as the first few months with him when he didn’t trust us yet. That time is so hard because you get a lot of the work without many of the benefits that come with the connection and bond. It gets easier though!

          1. I am def hanging in there, I feel
            Attached already. What about snacks I am very new to this and I want him to be well taken care of do you know of any books or magazines that would be helpful with even the simple questions I have?

          2. Unfortunately, I really haven’t found any good books or magazines helpful for mini pigs. There are a few good pig organizations out there, like NAPPA and AMPA, with websites full of helpful information. I highly recommend both sites for info on food, grooming, behavior, etc. As for treats, we feed Oscar veggies for treats most of the time, and we’re lucky that he loves veggies like kale, carrots, and celery. We also give him fruit for treats, but we give fruit less often just because of the sugar content. However, he loves apples and blueberries, so we use those as special treats. Stick with as many veggies as you can and then add in fruit and things like Cheerios and peanut butter for extra special occasions. Hope that helps!

          3. Another question and I think I’m good their behavior are the in the lazy side sleeping a lot like I said bacon is 5 months old

          4. I think that’s totally normal! I’ve been surprised by how different each pig can be. Some people have really active, playful pigs and others not so much. Oscar is definitely one of the lazy ones, and he spends a lot of his time resting and has since he was a baby. Not sure if you use Instagram or not but, if you do, there are a ton of “pig accounts” where people post pictures of their pigs but also provide really helpful information and have helped answer a lot of my “is this normal” questions. If you look up Oscar’s Instagram account “Life With a Mini Pig” you can see a lot of the accounts I follow and people who comment on Oscar’s pictures. I’ve found some really helpful, experienced pig owners on there, and I’ve learned a ton. It might be worth checking out! 🙂

          5. I own a 2 month old micro mini piglet and he already uses his litter box(mostly!)after 1 day. We have a toddlers swimming pool with a chunk cut out in the front (edges wrapped in duct tape so he doesn’t get hurt) and he, because they are so smart, was put in once and now that is where he just aims for. Didn’t make it a couple times but do kids when they are training ace it the first time?? Good luck

        2. I put a puppy pad in the litter box. I threw some strawberry slices in there because those are her favorite. She jumped in and ate them. Then she tried to eat the pad where the strawberry juice was. I grabbed a wadded up puppy pad that was already saturated and put it over the strawberry juice. She sniffed it, backed up and peed and has never gone anywhere since. When I went back and got her sister, she just played ‘Follow the Leader’. Never had a problem since. Good luck. Oh, and mine were not socialized AT ALL.

    1. Same here I just got an 8 month old who lived outside, shes sweet but wont let us hold or touch her and we have to trap her to bring her back inside when she goes out. Please if anyone has advice, I have about 40 tabs open on pigs and I’m trying to figure it out. They say mini pigs should be spayed to neutralize the hormones but anything else that helps??

  3. I just adopted a 6 2 7 month mini pig thats what I was told,how can I get her to stop screaming this is driving me crazy please help,she does it bad when I have 2 pick her up

    1. Hi Julie. Unfortunately, it just takes time and practice for them to stop screaming when they are being picked up and held. Pigs are prey animals, so being picked up is typically a sign of a predator and is scary for them. They can get used to being picked up and held, but it takes time. One thing that’s important to keep in mind…once you’ve picked your pig up, don’t put her down if she’s screaming. Pigs learn very quickly and will learn to associate screaming with getting what they want (put down in this case). Although it can be really difficult at first, make sure you are holding her through the screaming and don’t put her down each time until she has stopped. That will help train her over time. It’s one of the more challenging parts of getting a mini pig, but it does get better. 🙂

      1. My 2 month old mini pig, I just got yesterday, is already calming down, not screaming near as much when we pick her up. She actually loves to crawl on us when we lay on the floor. Its the only way she’ll come to us. Just pet it as much as possible. Also, we do the, shhhhh sound when she screams and it calms her quicker.

        1. Hi Donna! That’s awesome to hear that your little one is already calming down. I love that you just lay on the floor and let her come to you and crawl on you. Sometimes they’re scared of being approached when they’re new at home, so it’s perfect to do that and let her crawl around and get to know you at her own pace. We’ve actually been trying to teach Oscar the shhhhh sound lately, so it’s funny you mention that. Oddly, it seems to be working, so maybe you’re onto something with teaching yours that! 🙂

    2. Hey my name Alexis I got a 7 week old Julian pig I got him at 4 weeks the breeder lied and said he was tamed come to find out he never was 2 days later he was getting sick he probably was already sick because the vet said he was in poor condition they kept him for 5 days and had to inject him with so much stuff do you think he traumatized from that ? when I pick him up he scream loud and my anxiety so bad so I scream to and put him down then they way I see people old there pig I can’t hold mines like that because I’m scared for one and 2nd he small he was a runt I got him and he wasn’t even a pound yet .. the vet told me to just keep touching him at all times then with the harness what harness do you recommend because he will not let me put nothing on him I need a real easy one . Is it true the longer I keep petting him the less screaming he going to do when picking him up ? And would it be helpful if I get somebody who not scared to come and pick him up and help me out ?

  4. Thanks for the post. My daughter want’s to get a mini pig, and this is helpful to know how to care for one. I want her to learn how to care for and hold it gently. It is good to know that when you pick them up they will squeal. I would be afraid that I would be hurting it. Like you mention, I think the more you hold them and resist putting them down, they will learn and become comfortable with being held.

    1. I tried this and didn’t work,she kicked me in my ribs so watch they are very dangerous when trying to hold them…..I have been trying to hold her for along time and she still won’t allow u 2

      1. I have wrapped mine in a blanket since day 1. Because they are socialized, the screaming was even worse. But the second I put them in the blanket, they are fine

    2. Hi Bob! I’m glad you found it useful! Learning to hold them without them squealing is one of the hardest parts when a mini pig first arrives at home. One of the common concerns I get is people think if they hold the pig a certain way, it won’t squeal. Rather, even if you hold them perfectly at first, they will squeal because they’re just not comfortable being held yet. Part of it depends on the breeder too and how much socialization they have had; some breeders are holding and handling their pigs from a young age now which makes it easier on the owners when the pig first arrives at home. It’s just one of those things that takes time at first, but it gets much easier and is something you won’t even think much of after the first few months. I think it’s awesome you want your daughter to learn how to care for and hold the pig gently. Pigs can be pretty wiggly when held at first, so that’s something to keep in mind too. Between the squealing and the wiggling, it’s not easy but gets much easier with practice and time!

  5. Hello

    We just got a mini pig. She is 8 weeks old. I’ve tried holding her 2-3 times a day to get her used to it. Each time I hold her she squeals and poops! I don’t put her down u til she stops. My question is, about how long does it take for the pig to tolerate being held without squealing? Thank you.

    1. That’s a good question. It probably took us at least several weeks to a month before he didn’t squeal as much, but it will also depend on how much socialization they had prior to going home with you. At the time, it felt like it took forever for him to squeal less when being held, so hang in there. 🙂 Even if you hold her the “right” way, it will still just take time for her to adjust and accept being held without squealing. On the bright side, she should gradually squeal less as you “practice” holding her, so there’s some encouragement along the way!

      1. I just got my second mini pig my first one I got she was about I think they said five to six weeks she was a good baby it took me only three days to potty train her she goes outside she’s almost a year now she does tricks she listens to me very well she follows me she definitely treats me like her mom but this second pick that we just got is extremely tiny compared to what my first one look like but it is a male and my first one was a female I’m getting a lot of squealing that I didn’t get with my first one and was wondering could it be due to the fact that I think it might have been too soon for them to have taken her phone and her mom

  6. Just got a mini pig Princess Fiona not sure how much she was socialized, but she mind of runs from me and has a glass shattering squeal lol, thank you for all of the tips I have screenshotted them so I can keep them close when I need them! I will try holding her the way you did in the video and hope it works! Thanks for the tips on treats!

    1. Hi Carla! I remember the glass shattering squeal all too well! I’m glad you’ve found the blog helpful. Hopefully holding her the way we do Oscar will keep Princess Fiona from squealing as much. One thing that’s important is that, even if you hold her “correctly”, it will take some time and practice for her to get used to being held. But, it does get easier with time and, as she gets used to being held, she should start squealing less over time. Ear plugs are helpful sometimes too! 🙂

  7. Just found this blog after bringing our mini home two days ago and learned so much thank you. A few questions for you because this is our first time having a mini as a pet. Do you have your females spayed, we have read its really risky and here in our town its very expensive costing more than our price to purchase our baby? Do you have other pets and if so how are they getting along and how did you introduce them. Thank you for your help!!

    1. Hi Jay! You’re welcome…I’m glad you’ve found the blog helpful! We only have experience with Oscar and we were fortunate in that he was neutered when he came home to us. However, I highly recommend having all mini pigs for pets spayed and neutered. The real issue in not spaying or neutering them is the hormones that are left in their bodies, which causes behavior and aggression problems. It makes a huge difference in their behavior, and I would go so far as to say that mini pigs who aren’t spayed or neutered are not desirable house pets. I don’t think you will be happy with her as a pet eventually if she isn’t spayed. Females go through a heat cycle every 21 days due to their hormones, and they can mark their territory, have a more aggressive shift in their mood, and even become more destructive. I know yours is a female but, just to mention for others looking for similar information for male mini pigs, male mini pigs who aren’t neutered have a strong, very unpleasant hormonal smell, become aggressive, and are more prone to roaming in search of a mate.

      As you mentioned, there are some risks associated with spaying her, but the risks should be weighed with the risks of keeping a mini pig as a pet with these very real hormonal issues. If her behavior gets out of control because of the hormones and you would have to rehome her, that is a serious consequence to her as well. And, if you did have to rehome her, finding someone willing to take her when she is not spayed is significantly more difficult. I recommend searching for and finding a veterinarian who is experienced with mini pigs and has successfully performed other spays, and don’t be afraid to ask tons of questions to the vet to make sure you are comfortable before moving forward with the procedure. Here is an article that I think is really helpful and will give you more detailed info on this:

      For your other question, we do have another pet. We have an older Boston Terrier, and I consider her and Oscar to be frenemies…haha. They certainly aren’t friends but tolerate each other okay. They do have days where they snip, mostly trying to settle Oscar’s hierarchy issues, so I always keep an eye on them when they are out and about together. I’ve had to “break up” a few spats between them, but they’re both fairly small at this point so I don’t stress about it too much. Hopefully someday they’ll work out their hierarchy and will get along better. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Hi thanks for all the advice. I have a 3 month old that is fine with being held now. (Once we catch her) Thats my question. Any suggestions on her allowing me to pick her up and not running? She figured out pretty quick that food offerings mean she’s about to get snatched up. So now she doesn’t even trust that. Going potty outside is a very time consuming process without a harness. Thanks for any advice!

  8. I got my first pig yesterday and he did fine when I picked him up he didn’t scream to much but did a little and got over that stage he’s 6 weeks as far as we know that’s what we were told but I can’t seem to get him to eat ice tried goat milk cottage cheese the mini chow pellets for pigs, grapes, baby food, oat meal, bananas, and pieces of a biscuit he eat like 3 small bites if any but he’s drinking plenty of water idk what to do he’s worrying me when I get him out to eat he drinks water and just wants to crawl up in my lap and sleep and he hasn’t did the number 2 since we bought him is this normal?

    1. Hi Dakota! In general, pigs should always want to eat, so it’s almost always a red flag if your pig isn’t hungry or isn’t eating. That being said, I have heard from several people having trouble with pigs not wanting to eat when they first arrive at their new home. If you want to be completely safe, you can take him to a vet experienced with mini pigs and have him checked to make sure everything is okay. I would also contact your breeder to let them know so they are aware and can give you some guidance. I am not an expert or a vet, but it’s possible that he is still tired and adjusting from the big move to your home. So, I think it’s likely that he will perk up and start to eat soon. I’m glad he’s drinking water, so make sure he continues to drink. If it were me, I would contact the breeder now and, depending on what they say, I would wait a little bit and see if he starts eating. If it’s another day and he’s still not eating, I would definitely take him to the vet. But, keep watching him and if you are concerned, it’s safest to just contact your vet. Hope he eats soon!

      1. When I first brought my pig home, she didn’t eat for two full days. I tried the bottle, the makeup sponge and the pan method. Once she settled in a bit, the pan method worked best for us as she screamed too much when being held to feed the other methods – we were afraid she would aspirate. I would use my finger and touch the tip of her nose with some goat milk, taking care not to get any on her nostrils. She picked it up quickly after she had a couple days to get accustomed to the pan. Transitioning her to pellets was harder. I would put the pellets in the milk to soften them and encourage her to eat them but she just wasn’t interested. Then I started adding things to entice her like baby food, oats, Cheerios, small bits of banana etc. she would eat it then! Then I had the hard task of removing those items and only giving her pellets, so in hindsight it would’ve been easier not to introduce them so quickly. She refused to eat without her additions for two solid days. After that she realized she wasn’t going to get her additions and got hungry enough to eat just her pellets. I’m still having trouble with her screaming when being held though. She also screams when we wake up in the morning until she’s fed. I’m trying so hard to stay strong and not give in to her demands but the screaming is driving me insane. I love her to pieces and won’t give up on her, I just wish the screaming was like half the volume

  9. I have noticed with my babies…. after they realize food comes from you… they are less shy. They do not like sudden movements… instinct of a prey animal… so if I hold my hand out… wait… they come to me and are less szqueally…. lol

    Now… when you trained your pig to go outside (because litter is a nightmare and puppy pads are worse (although they trained instantly) how do you train them to go? did you leash them outside? put them in a pen?

    1. Hi Nikole! I 100% agree with holding your hand out and waiting for them to come to you. We actually still approach Oscar that way, and we tell guests to do the same with him. People often approach him and go to pet him on his back just like they would a dog or cat, and Oscar often flinches or backs away. If I tell them to hold out their hand and let Oscar sniff it, he approaches them and then they can pet him. But, Oscar needs to see that they are there (and check to make sure they don’t have any food in their hand…lol), and then he handles every situation better. That’s dead on about the instinct of a prey animal because it’s something that was true for Oscar when he was a baby, and we still do that with him now that he’s a little older.

      Since Oscar started out outside and never had a litter box, we never had to do the transition from litter box to outside that a lot of people deal with. That being said, he honestly just knew to go outside. We were lucky and really didn’t do anything to train him to go outside; he just always did. We still had accidents with not getting him outside in time, but he always knew outside was his spot. When he was little, we trained really similarly to how we would have trained a puppy. We leashed him and took him out and then said “potty” and stayed out there with him until he went. In the beginning, we did that every hour or two just to make sure he didn’t have accidents, but it wasn’t much more difficult than that. One big difference between potty training him outside vs a dog is that we didn’t give treats as a reward. Pigs are frustratingly smart and can reverse the order and start pottying in order to get treats, so we never gave him food rewards and stuck to verbal praise instead. Hopefully that helps! I know that litter box training is great for a lot of pigs, but training Oscar outside was much easier without the transition from inside to outside. 🙂

  10. Hello

    We got our mini pig in April 2016. She is adorable and likes to sit on our laps but still does not like to be held. Is it too late for us to keep training her on being held? If not do you recommend us holding her for a certain amount of times per day? We do wait until she stops squealing to put her down. It just seems she hates it. Thank you.

    1. Hi Desiree! I don’t think it’s too late at all. When we were training Oscar to be held, we picked him up and held him each time he had to go outside, which was every few hours. But, since training them to be held is not fun for anyone and it can be easy to avoid, I would just pick a number of times each day (maybe 5? just a guess so pick what works for you) and stick to it. You’re doing absolutely the right thing by not putting her down until she stops squealing. They learn quickly what gets them what they want (which you probably already know by now…), so that part is vital. One thing I’m not sure I stressed enough in my original post is that teaching them to be held really is a training process and not a matter of simply doing it right or wrong. Some days will be easier and then other days will revert back to being tougher again, even as she’s making progress. But, I think it’s worth training them, so hopefully it goes well! Hope that helps!

  11. Hi we just got our first mini & she hates when we try to hold her. She squeals & squiggles & growls & once bit me. She won’t even let us pet her when we sit on the ground with her for quite awhile & she’s eaten treats out of my hand but she still jerks away when I try to touch her. We’ve only had her for a few days & im guessing we just need to be patient but im worried that if we don’t break this now that she will just get worse as she grows?

    1. Hi Claudine! I wouldn’t stress about her behavior too much at this point. They are still so scared when they come home for the first time. Other people might have different opinions, but I wouldn’t stress too much at this point about her growling and biting. She’s reacting out of fear because she’s in a new environment with new people, and she doesn’t have any type of bond yet. If it were me, I would wait on trying to hold her for a little while and just let her get to know you at her own pace. Just sit in the same room with her and let her approach you when she’s ready. It can be tough in the beginning but, while she’s still that scared, just be there next to her and allow her to start feeling safe around you. Let her approach you and resist trying to speed up the bonding process. It can be tough, but she will slowly start to adjust and trust you. If you want, you can offer her treats while you sit with her, but that’s okay if she doesn’t want them yet. As she gets older and is more comfortable at home, then aggression definitely should be addressed. But, at this point, I think she’s still just scared and reacting out of pure fear, so just let her settle in and get to know you. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you for the reassurance. I’ve been feeling this exactly. She is so cute & now starting to respond when we say her name she looks at us & her lol tail starts going crazy. She will eat treats out of my hand & on occasion even let me touch her while she’s eating a cheerio. I noticed that when she’s all snuggled in her blanket & I gently sneak my hand in there (while talking to her) she will let me scratch her & pet her & even let me touch her adorable wrinkled nose (That’s my favorite part of her…lol), but as soon as the blanket come off she runs away like crazy…:(

        1. You’re welcome! The socialization comes in really tiny baby steps, but those baby steps feel amazing when you start making progress. It can be really hard to earn their trust but is totally worth it in the end. And, even though it’s hard, you start to see the small gains like you have been lately, and it makes it a little bit easier. If she is still having aggression issues once she’s completely settled in and you know it’s not just from her being scared in a new place, then I would start her on Move the Pig and I’ll link to our post on that. But, for now, I wouldn’t stress much about it and just enjoy getting to know her. I love their adorable wrinkled noses too btw! 🙂

          1. I have another question. What do I use to clean the tear ducts of my piglets eyes? She still won’t let us touch her so I know it’s going to be a crazy ordeal but her eyes have gotten a lot of crusties & I don’t know what to do??

          2. Hi! This is tough when they’re little. We use a microfiber washcloth and put some warm water on it and wipe Oscar’s tear ducts down every day or so. It has always been an ordeal (screaming, grunting, head whipping, etc), and I dread it to be honest. Some pigs who don’t hate water as much will tolerate it, especially once they find out the water is a little warm and feels nice. Others, like Oscar, throw a total fit and scream when you try to wipe them down. Unfortunately, that’s still the best way I know to try to wipe them down. If you’re able to leave the washcloth in place for a few seconds, it really does help to loosen up any crusties. Give it a try if you can (it might take multiple people at first…haha) and see how she responds. You can give her a treat while doing this and see if you can get her to like it. I wouldn’t push it too much if she hates it, at least while she’s still that young and not bonded, but hopefully if she gets treats and scratches, she’ll handle it ok. Hope that helps!

  12. Hi! I have had my mini pig Piper for about 2 and a a half months . I love her so much . My boyfriend is usually home with her most of the day . He is now out of town for a while and she has begun to act up. She has always grunted when I go towards the fridge because she obviously knows that is where her veggie treats come from . But lately she howls .. Kind of like a death metal band lol! And she doesn’t let up ! I can’t even go into the kitchen without her throwing a fit. I don’t give in all the time but sometimes when she is especially crazy I give her some carrot … And my 1 year old lab follows suit and starts to beg too. If I get food from the kitchen and go into the living room she also goes nuts . Lately I have had to put her in her crate or outiside while I eat ! She has also become a little more destructive… I tried to give her busy balls and things to play with but my lab takes them and chews them. They are really good friends and play together and even cuddle up at bed time . Is she spoiled ? Or is it because my boy friend is gone ? Or because she isn’t spayed ? She’s driving me nuts ! I have no intention of ever re homing her so I need some advice ! Thanks !

    1. Hi Kelly! I’m so glad Piper and your lab are such good friends! Oscar got pretty crazy about the kitchen for a while, and it drove us nuts too. We were actually worried about his safety because, if anyone opened the fridge, he would jolt up and jump off of beds, couches, slide on the floor, fall on his side, and just act crazy to get to the fridge. If he was on a lap, the poor person underneath him would get scratched or even bruised because of the hoof jab when Oscar jumped up so abruptly…haha. Piper is going to hate this at first, but my recommendation is to pick her food times and to not feed her from the fridge for now. Even with treats, pick a specific time and put her treats in a bowl for her to eat (although be cautious to not start a new expected “meal time” when doing this). It might take a while but, when she is never fed from the fridge, she will likely give up and stop even trying to run to the fridge. Since she’s younger, it might take longer for her to give up, but I honestly think it will work. We did this with Oscar, and we fed him his pellets twice a day and then took the treats we would normal feed him throughout the day and either put them in with his meals or picked a time and put several in his bowl at once for him to eat. After running to the fridge enough times and not being fed, he eventually stopped trying. This will probably be hard even for you (I know it was for me!), but I think it will help over time. My guess is that this has more to do with her being a little spoiled than your boyfriend being out of town, but it could be either. Most of our pigs are at least a little spoiled, so that’s why I think that. 🙂 If you haven’t read my post on Spoiled Pig Syndrome, you might check that one out. Oscar is super spoiled, and we’re paying for that a bit now that he’s older. I’ll link to it below. For now, stick with her meal times with no extra treats (and, even if you cave and give her a treat, always make her do a trick first so that she earns it), and I think you’ll start seeing some improvement. Hope that helps!

      1. That’s so cute, we just got a piggy & named her Piper Which I see is your lil ones name too.
        I also see a harness on your piper & we have tried & tried & tried to get a harness on our piper but she freaks out & literally goes crazy psycho & somehow manages to get herself right out of it in seconds. I hate this because not only she won’t let us hold her, pet her & now no chance of taking her for nice walks…I’m getting so discouraged. Everyone else seems to have fun friendly piggies but ours is so freaked out about humans

        1. Hi Claudine! I think what you’re experiencing with Piper is completely normal, and she will calm down more in time as she gets to know you and trust you. Try not to get discouraged because it will get better with time. I know that’s the answer everyone hates, but you will see small victories as she starts to bond with you, and I promise it will feel super rewarding. They just take a long time to bond. It’s tempting to compare to other pigs on social media and in other places, but many of those pigs have gone through similar stages as you’re experiencing with Piper or, in some cases, were extremely socialized by the breeder, which is the exception and not the norm. Also, not many people are showing pictures of their squealing, terrified pig who throws a temper tantrum every time the harness comes out. 🙂 I promise you’re not alone as you’re trying to adjust with Piper, and it’s totally normal for them to hate being held, pet, and going on walks in the beginning. Hope that helps some! It really does get better!

        2. How cute two pipers! I actually kept her busy with a few grapes and slipped the harness right over her head and snapped it over her belly ! She didn’t mind at all once it was on her . And she knows she goes for walks now when she sees it

  13. We just brought our Chesney home from Tennessee. We were on vacation and fell in love when we saw him. He seems to be adjusting well to the house, he already knows not to leave the living room area, is pretty good at coming to you when you say “Chesney come”. He does have a bit of a strong stubborn will though. When he is rooting at your clothes he doesn’t give up even with a strong no. Holding him like all the other comments is very challenging. Screams really loud and even bit my boyfriend (Chesney was very angry but he didn’t put him down until he calmed down). After reading many things online we decided to give him some time to adjust and bond with us before trying to hold him again. Is this the right thing to do? Also, they recommended that we hold him to introduce him to our dogs so that they can sniff him. That will not be an option as he won’t let us do that. What do you suggest us to do to make the introduction a bit on the smoother side? I plan to leash the dogs for them to meet Chesney but I’m at a bit of a loss how to make the initial introduction.

    1. Hi Dawn! On the holding, you really can go either way with continuing to try now or waiting for a while. Given your comment, I would probably hold off for a little bit and let Chesney adjust more and then try holding him again. We worked on holding Oscar right away because we had stairs to carry him down to take him outside to potty, but it was still probably a month or two (can’t remember exactly) before Oscar was more comfortable being held (and before the squealing and flailing stopped). I don’t see any problems with waiting a bit before doing more training with holding Chesney if you’d like to let him bond some more before trying again.

      When we introduced Oscar to our dogs, my husband and I teamed up and one of us stayed near Oscar and one stayed with our dog. We kept both Oscar and our dog leashed and introduced the dogs to Oscar one at a time. The dogs did a little sniffing but, actually, our dogs were scared of Oscar at first. I know that dogs and pigs are a huge concern together since dogs are predators and pigs prey animals but, in my experience, a lot of dogs are also scared of Oscar. So, it could really go either way when you introduce yours. This is a case where it’s best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you have two people, you could introduce the way I mentioned we did it. If you don’t or you’d like to test the waters a bit more first, you could have them meet through a baby gate or something like that first to get an initial reaction. Hope that helps and that they have a smooth introduction!

  14. My problem is my pig screams to be in my arms and im trying to teach her its ok to be down in the floor but she wants to be held all the time and she seems to not like cherrios.
    I got her saturday she was ok then she gotsick again today early and i kniw im not feeding her too much and i dint think she uses the bathroom to good either. Im feeding her mazzuri youth food and i cant get her lined out right to eat what shes suppose to eat please help and how to you quitenen her when she screams but your trying not to give in to her please help

    1. Hi Rebecca! One thing you might try since she likes to be held all the time is sitting on the floor next to her while she roams around and letting her get used to just wandering on her own. Since she likes to be held, it’s possible that she’ll just try to crawl right up on you but it’s worth a shot. Also, she’ll need to learn to be down on the floor and so, it’ll be hard at first, but you’ll want to let her scream without picking her up for a while so that she doesn’t learn that squealing means she gets picked up. You’re kind of going through the opposite process as most people, but the idea is the same with the training. So, be careful that you’re not training her that screaming gets her what she wants. If she doesn’t like Cheerios, you can try little pieces of fruit or veggies or even her pellets and see if those work as treats for her.

      If she’s getting sick and not using the bathroom when you think she should be, it might be worth a vet visit just to make sure everything is okay. They’re pretty fragile when they’re young, so it never hurts to have everything checked out just as a precaution. I’ll put a link below to an article that talks about the proper amounts for a pellet diet, and hopefully that will help too.

  15. Hey there! So I got my first mini pig today and named her Pumpernickel. I brought her home in a box and when I opened it up and my dad went to reach and pet her, she tried to bite. I then brought the box on his enclosed front porch and she jumped right out, obviously and rightfully scared. I stayed on the porch with her for almost 4 hours trying to get her warm up to me. I’ve gotten her to eat food out of my hand and pet her but she’s still SO skittish. I picked her up twice and she squealed as I was doing so but stopped when I had ahold of her. When I put her down she runs off and hides under furniture. My question is, and I apologize if you already answered it, how long does it typically take for mini pigs to warm up to you and be sweet and snuggly? I’m going to keep her as an outside pig; my husband is finishing up her pen tomorrow as I keep her on my dads porch tonight. I just don’t think there’s any sense of having her if she’s going to be petrified the rest of her life. I know I made a tiny tiny bit of progress by having her eat out of my hand and petting her here and there but at the end of the day, I just feel so discouraged and honestly bummed she’s not what/how I thought it would be.

    1. Hi Heather! Pigs have many different personalities so each is different of course, but they can take quite a while to trust their humans and bond with them. For example, dogs often settle at home quite quickly, but pigs can take weeks to months to bond with their humans. What you’re experiencing with Pumpernickel is completely normal since she is so new at home, so you’ll want to start spending as much time as possible around her (outside in her pen if she’s living out there), and just sit with her and let her get to know you. Be careful not to rush the bonding process and just sit near her and hold treats out for her to see if she’ll start coming to you and trusting you. I’ll put a link to a post below on Bonding with Your Mini Pig that I think you’ll find helpful. Hope that helps!

    2. Hi Heather,
      Pumpernickel sounds just like our piggy Piper & I know your discouragement too well. We’ve had Piper for close to 2 months now & she is still skittish & wont let us near her except to grab Cheerios out of our hand & she hides under furniture and yeah it’s not been a very fun experience so far & im fearful she’s never going to warm up to humans If you figure out a fix please share.
      Best of luck ~

      1. Juat wanted to share a word of encouragement everyone because we were in the same place with Gracie a month ago. It took about three months for her to really start trusting us and come over for us tonrub her belly so juat yake your time and dont rush it.

  16. Hello! I just got two mini pigs a couple days ago and they’re doing pretty good. I’ve seen that a lot of people say not to try holding the mini pigs, so I’m curious why you don’t think so too? These two that I got are not indoor pets, they’re outdoor. They are right now in a large dog carrier with a ton of hay that I love to snuggle and root in. Every time I try to hold them, they squeal, and even though I know what you mean about the squealing thing and not wanting to put them down, I do anyway, because they are SO loud and so wiggly, and they have started biting. I don’t know what to do. Should I just wear a coat when I go to hold them and wear ear plugs? Would it be bad to just not get them terribly used to holding? I’m already planning on getting them on socializing by crawling on my lap and all- which shouldn’t be a problem because they’re pretty friendly when pet.
    On the good side though- they are eating their food and drinking their water. Well… drinking some of it, and spilling the rest… They seem PRETTY comfortable, and the boy likes me to scratch on him. The girl isn’t quite as comfortable yet, but I think she’ll get better. I have only had them here for two days. They should be used to being held though, because at the fair place I got them at, there were TONS of people holding them (which was probably stressful also) but they were FINE with other people holding them- and when we were there, they were fine with ME holding them…. Any tips?

    In the other comments to people, you said that it was best to neuter them as soon as possible or else they may be aggressive. I’m planning on raising mine and breeding them- so They can’t be spayed or neutered… I’m not sure if this will just make them untamable, or if it’s still possible to have them tamed and friendly as they get older. Another place I read said that it was good to have them come to you and approach you. And that they would get friendlier as they got older as well. Is that true? Mine are miniature potbellied pigs. Thank you! Sorry if this was an overload of questions. 😐 😉
    ~K.A~ I’m 12 by the way.

    1. Hi K.A.! Sorry for taking a while to respond. Hopefully things are going well with your piggies at this point. I usually do recommend trying to get to where you can hold your pigs. However, if your pigs are going to be outdoors, then I would only do it if you want to be able to hold them. In that case, it’s more up to you if you want to train them to be held. For people with indoor pigs, I usually recommend it if the pig needs to be lifted often, like on the couch, bed, in the car, etc. But, it seems like it would be less necessary where your pigs live outside. So, I think it’s really up to you if you want to train them to be held.

      As for getting them more comfortable, it sounds like you’re doing the right things. Just going out and sitting with them or being near them is best while they are still adjusting to home. Don’t try to rush the bond too much, and just let them approach you and/or start taking treats from you. It might take some time, but they will eventually get more and more comfortable around you.

      I definitely recommend spaying and neutering pet pigs, but I understand where you’re coming from with your question. Unfortunately, I’m not a great resource for that. Since you aren’t planning on spaying/neutering, I would read up on all of the issues that come with unaltered pigs. I think it will help you understand and deal with any issues you see from your pigs. The hormones are the issue, so make sure you know what behavior you should be disciplining and what is just natural and should be expected from an unaltered pig. You might contact a breeder or someone who has been around unaltered pigs for a long time so you can understand what living around them is like. Here is a good article on some of the behaviors you can expect to see from unaltered pigs:

      Hope that helps and that you’re off to a good start and enjoying your your new piggies! 🙂

  17. THANK YOU for this post!! I got my mom a mini pig yesterday and it’s been a task trying to pick her up, sometimes to even catch her. It looks like we’ve been doing the right things though, so hopefully she will get through this stage in a couple of weeks! 🙂

    1. Hi Lanae! Thanks for the compliment on the post! Stick with it, and it gets easier with time. But, what you’re experiencing is normal and just takes a while to “train” them on. 🙂

  18. Hi we have what looks like the 3rd piggy named Piper 🙂 I actually named her before I had her and begged my husband for almost a year to let me get a piggy. We’ve had her about a week and I’m glad to read all the things we’ve experienced are normal. I guess I was expecting her to warm right up to us. like our cats and dogs did.

    She is an indoor piggy, but she is going outside to potty in a pen area. We have a very, very hard time picking her up (which sounds normal) My husband is terrified of the screams, but I’ve noticed if I put her head on my shoulder and lean my neck into her snout she quiets down. She will even let me hold her on the couch like that and tell her bedtime stories.

    My question is she sleeps in a large dog crate. We have trouble getting her out of the crate (even with food she will just come to the edge and not come out) That leads to us having to kind of pull her out which I hate and know isn’t good. We have a harness and I’m wondering if we should try that.

    Also, she urinates in the crate at night on a puppy pad or her blankets. She won’t poop in the crate, but will scream as she carry her out in the morning and go as soon as we set her down. Is there a way to get her to stop urinating at night or maybe that just comes with time? I read maybe to buy a product that totally eliminates the odor or she will continue to do it. Right now I’m just cleaning it with soap/water and washing/switching out her blankets several times a day.

    1. Hi Katt! Piper must be a popular name, but it’s a good one so I can see why. 🙂 You’re definitely right about it being normal that she isn’t warming up really quickly and that she doesn’t like to be held yet. All of those things come with time and some pigs just warm up faster than others. Oscar took a long time to really warm up to us, so what you’re experiencing is normal and will improve with time. The biggest advice there is to not rush the bond and just let her bond in her own time. I’m glad you’ve found that she lets you hold her on the couch since that will help the bonding process for both of you!

      I agree about it not being great that you have to kind of pull her out of the crate. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but things like that tend to make Oscar more reactive. I would keep trying to use treats to get her to come out of the crate to make it as pleasant as possible. As much as you can, try to let her come out on her own, but there will likely be times when you just need to get her out of her crate. You can try the harness, but that can be another tricky process. We use treats to put Oscar’s harness on (there’s a video on our website which I’ll link to below) and that helps a ton, so you might give that a try and see if Piper prefers the harness to being pulled out of the crate. I would say do as much as you can to convince her to come out, but at some point you just have to do what works when you need her out. Just make it as rewarding for her as possible.

      I’m certainly not an expert on potty training, but one thing you might try for a while is a smaller crate. Oscar had a relatively small crate when he was a baby, and we didn’t have problems with him going in his crate unless we failed to get him outside in time. He had enough room to move and turn around but not really enough to be comfortable if he pottied in his crate. It’s true that they can’t hold it very long when they are babies so it might improve with time, but we had pretty good luck with Oscar holding it through the night even when he was little. I think using the enzyme cleaner will help to get the smell out, but you might try a smaller setup for her to see if that helps.

      Good luck with Piper! It sounds like things are going well overall!

  19. We just adopted a mini pig that is 4 months old. We were told that she was just a little over weight but other than that she is litter box and house trained. Turns out we were mislead. She isn’t house or litter box trained, very obese, tries to bite when you put her in a crate, will not let you pick her up and also pees and poops in her crate within 2 minutes of putting her in there. She also screams the whole time she is in it. We have tried a smaller crate and she refuses the litter box. She also tries to bite when you tell her “no” and won’t let her get what she wants. (like chewing on the edges of the furniture) Any advise on diet (they were feeding her dog food and pig food) and how to correct her behavior issues would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Lesley! It sounds like she is just scared right now and acting out. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t need rules because pigs definitely do, but I would let her get settled in at home and with you and then worry more about her behavior. What I usually recommend is setting her up a small room (like a bathroom) of her own and letting that be her space. You can put her litter box and anything else she needs in the room, but let it be her safe place. I would have one person go in at a time and just sit with her. Don’t rush the bond and just let her come to you when she’s ready. For now, if she’ll take treats, you can offer those to her and also use treats to get her to do what you want, like getting in and out of her crate. One thing to not use treats for, however, is potty training. Pigs are smart enough that they can reverse on you and start going potty to get treats.

      You might already know this, but it is never recommended to feed pigs dog food like the previous owners were doing. Salt is very toxic to pigs, and the higher levels of sodium in dog food can kill pigs if they get too much. We feed Oscar Mazuri Mini Pig food, and we’ve been happy with that. Here is a link to my favorite article on mini pig nutrition and how many pellets to feed.

      As for litter box training, we only outdoor trained Oscar, so here is an article that I think will help you with that.

      Once she has settled in and feels more comfortable around you and at home, I do think things will improve!

  20. Thank you so much for all of the videos and information you put on your site! I finally got a piggie. I’ve been wanting one for such a long time. He’s 3 months old and his name is Percy. He’s getting more comfortable with us. Your video on holding pigs and putting the harness on where extremely helpful! I can’t wait to train him how to do little tricks. I know that it all takes time. I took him outside today with his harness. I picked him up and he went crazy! I’m sure all the neighbors were like, what is going on? 🙂 Do you recommend picking him up more so he gets used to it? When he squeals, I continue to hold him until he calms down. He typically calms down pretty quickly. He comes to me on his own, he just hates being picked up. Again, thanks for all your information. It’s been so helpful!

  21. Hi! I will get my mini pig next month! I’m really exited because I’ve always wanted to have one but I’m a little bit nervous of the growing part How old is yours? And do you know at what age do they stop growing?

  22. Hi, my mini pig is almost 9 weeks old. I have had her for 5 days. My question is how should i introduce her to going outside to potty? It takes me about 15 min to get close enough inside to pick her up and i usually have to corner her so i am scared if i try to take her outside she will run and i wont be able to catch her

  23. My mini pig is almost 11 weeks and I’ve have had him for just under 3 weeks his name is Francisco, he is settling in very well and has never had any accidents inside the first 2 weeks he was sleeping very good but this week he has been a night mare , he just isn’t going to sleep constantly wanting attention I went over too him as he kept squeeling and he just lay on me to go to sleep , tonight he was doing the same so I put him in his pen but as you know pigs are very smart and managed to unzip It and hot out , is there any advise u could give on how to deal with this behaviour ??

  24. This blog was a lifeline to me when I first got Strider as I was really worries about the time it was taking to bond. But he’s been with us for 6 weeks now and we are really happy.
    We are about to get a 2nd pig as Strider is very needy and we are going to have them sleep in our courtyard rather than the sofa (!) Obviously this will be a big change for Strider, do you know how he might cope with this change? I already feel guilty!

  25. Hi I just got my mini pig a couple days ago. I was told he is only 6 weeks old. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to potty train him to the pine chips. I got him a litter pan an he’s gets in it but he just kicks them around. I am a new mini pig owner an I’m not sure how to approach the situation. Thanks in advance.

    1. Honestly.. I just put the litter box out with the pine chips and my piggy just figured it out…. They are very private animals… Therefore they usually don’t like pooping or peeing when ppl are watching they also dont shit where they eat so to say so make sure it’s a good distance away from where she usually eats and sleeps

  26. I just got a mini pig yesterday and he hasn’t ate or drank water. He hasn’t peed or pooped is there something wrong ? He also hasn’t allowed me to pick him up he just runs or squeals? How would I potty train him?

  27. Ok so my story is a bit different because my piglet is 5 days old. He had to be taken from his mother cause she had too many piglets and he wasnt getting any milk.
    What i want to know is how to get passed the squealing and how long did it take for you to get yours to stop as ive got neighbours and they’re probably thinking something is dying?

  28. Hi
    I have a 5 mo old George who has been neutered. he loves me and follows me everywhere. had him for a month. when I pick him up he squeals and there is a very unpleasant order, maybe a urine smell, but nothing is wet. is this normal

  29. Ok Soo it’s Saturday afternoon, I just got my new piggy – her name is Marilyn and she is going to be 9 weeks old – on Tuesday night. She was really good actually the first time I held her and brought her down the stairs. She was also very good the first time I took her outside. But bringing her inside when I have to leave for work or whatever is the challenge. Also now, every time I take her up or down the stairs she squeels very loudly and then squirms and kicks right out of my arms. There’s really NO holding her when she does this !!! I have NO idea what I’m doing wrong now that I was doing right the first day. She let’s me pet her sometimes and I know she’s alrdy used to me but… I just hate that anytime I go up or down stairs with her she freaks out. I carry her from the kitchen to the stairs and she’s fine but soon as we get to the stairs she’s freaking out and squirming and like I mentioned before – jumps right out of my arms and then she’s shaky and anxious. I tried giving her food other than her barley .. but she just pushes it all away and doesn’t want any of it.
    She hasn’t been outside since yesterday morning because I just can’t get her to not squirm right out of my arms going down the stairs to go outside. It’s very upsetting because I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I live in a basement suite. She does have a litter box that I’ve seen her pee in .. but I’ve never seen her poop except the first day when she went outside. She’s very good with everything else she sleeps through the night and she’s very friendly and very curious… But.. it’s just the stairs and the squirming that I’m so worried about.

    1. If you have a small pet crate, you should carry her in that when on the stairs. Then after a short time, she will not associate the stairs with panic and anxiety.

  30. Hi there. Found this blog as I am researching if I should get 2 piggies as pets. A couple of quick questions.. I plan to keep them as outdoor pets.

    #1: how soon should I introduce them to their outdoor living quarters? Example, should I keep them indoor for the first few months and then transition them to living outdoors? Or should I introduce them right away to their outdoor pig house? I am concerned that I will not be able to bond enough with them if they are outdoors from the very beginning.

    #2: if they are raised as outdoor pets, should I ever allow them to come inside? I am concerned that once they come inside, they will not want to live outside again.

    I know having 2 pet pigs may be a challenge but everywhere I read says it is better to have 2 rather than 1 to combat loneliness, social behaviors etc.

    I look forward to hearing back, and I couldn’t find this info anywhere. Thanks 🙂

  31. Seriously, this blog is saving my life right now! I had done so much research before getting a mini pig but it was still different than what I expected. All of your posts have been so helpful. I just tried holding him your way after holding him the wrong way for the last week and he settle down immediately!!!! I kept hoping he would be better after we had bond more but this will make it so much easier. Thank you so much

  32. Thankyou so much for this information. My new potbelly pig is gaining confidence with clicker training but she bites if we try to pick her up! She is only 10 weeks old and is a very scared piglet.

  33. Me and my mom are thinking of getting our first pig because they look cute, but we want to know if it is even worth it. And can they be inside pets?

  34. keep in mind they are not dogs. get a very young one and train it. they are grazers so keep that in mind also and they love to eat. train it to go outside to potty by ringing a bell at door. they can grow up to 300 lbs.

  35. Hi. I got my mini pig last week of September 2020. He let me hold him without squealing and slept in my arms. We have been training on pottying, sitting, and come which he has done well on all. However all of a sudden he squeals bloody murder which he NEVER did before. What could’ve happened between getting him and now?

  36. My pig Sam use to let me hold him with no issues. All of a sudden, he squeals when I pick him, and I don’t know why. I’ve tried sitting on the floor and saying “up” and try gently lifting him up, and he stills squeals. Any advice?

  37. Hi I got my little man about 3 weeks ago and he started biting when we pick him up? What am I doing wrong. Hes now 10 weeks old.

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