Before we decided to get Oscar, one of my biggest concerns was how our dogs would respond to a mini pig. I did my research and knew that mini pigs and dogs can be great friends, but they also can have disastrous outcomes. By nature, dogs are predators and mini pigs are prey so they must always be watched when together. Also, mini pigs are stubborn and often won’t back down when interacting with a dog which can lead to altercations. Since mini pigs aren’t able to defend themselves against a dog, they end up on the losing side of a battle. For these reasons, even in the best of circumstances, mini pigs and dogs should always be watched when together and separated when home alone.
I was fine with watching them and keeping them separate when necessary, but I didn’t know if our dogs would be hostile or friendly with a pig. I love our dogs, but I had to be really honest with myself when assessing if they would tolerate a mini pig in our house. Rylee and Liam are generally friendly but both prefer people to other pets. They can be unwelcoming and anxious around new animals, so I was concerned about how they would respond to one completely unfamiliar to them.
We made our decision to get a mini pig partly based on the fact that, while our dogs are often unwelcoming, they have never been aggressive with another animal. I expected that introducing a mini pig to our dogs would be challenging, but I thought they would eventually adjust. Still, I was really nervous. I wanted all of our animals to get along, and I knew there was a chance that our dogs wouldn’t enjoy or even tolerate a mini pig sharing their space.
When we brought Oscar home, our plan was to get him adjusted to the house first and then slowly introduce our dogs in a neutral space outdoors. That’s not how it worked out. The first night we had Oscar home, during the big garage chase, our dogs could hear Oscar oinking and squealing, leaving them anxious and barking. After we caught Oscar and got him inside the house, he quickly fell asleep in his litter box. Since our scared, squealing pig was temporarily sleepy and calm, we decided to let our dogs come in to see Oscar in the hopes that it would calm them down.
We leashed our dogs and introduced them one by one. They were upset, but Oscar had no reaction to the dogs. Oscar was around dogs at the breeder’s place and was so sleepy that he just ignored them. Without anything reacting back at them, our dogs eventually calmed down and became more curious than agitated. We watched them very closely for the first few days, but the dogs just wanted to inspect this new creature and Oscar was accepting and calm toward them.
I wish I could tell you that Oscar and our dogs cuddle and play with each other, but that’s not the case. I still hold out hope that they will become great friends, but for now they are mostly indifferent to each other; our dogs tolerate Oscar but go about their own business. Rylee tries to play with Oscar on rare occasions, but she plays a bit rough and startles him. Liam is afraid of Oscar and moves across the room if Oscar gets too close or tries to share his blanket. On the bright side, Liam is slowly adjusting and lets Oscar get closer and closer each day, so I’m hoping they will eventually enjoy each other’s company.
I mentioned in a previous post that Liam is a food guarder, so we always feed our animals separately. Our mini pig will try to eat dog food if it’s out, and he’s crafty about finding ways to get to the bowl. Since Liam is protective of his bowl, that could be a recipe for disaster. For that reason, I always feed Oscar his meal and then put him in his crate while the dogs eat. I recommend this even if none of your animals have guarding tendencies since food is a precious resource to pigs and many dogs.
If you have a dog and are considering getting a mini pig, the best advice I have is to be really honest with yourself about your dog’s personality, friendliness, and tolerance levels. This can be difficult to do when you love your dog so much and also really want a mini pig, but it’s important that your dog can adjust to the change and get along with a mini pig. I prefer thinking that my dogs have no flaws, but in reality Rylee is bossy and in-your-face with other animals, and Liam is fearful of almost everything and guards his food. I ultimately decided that adding a mini pig was a risk worth taking and it worked out for us, but it’s worth the time and effort to do your own assessment before making a final decision.
I hope our dogs learn to love Oscar and allow him into their space more with time. As Oscar grows and their relationships change, I’ll update. Rylee is boss of the house now, but I’m guessing Oscar will challenge that hierarchy as he gets bigger!