Like many things in life, owning a mini pig comes with tradeoffs. There are things I love about owning a mini pig, and things that are more challenging. I wish I could tell you that I love owning a mini pig every second of every day, but that’s just not true. I love Oscar and wouldn’t trade him for the world but, now that we are settled into life with a mini pig, I am very aware of the tradeoffs we make to own Oscar. To be completely honest, I have moments when I think about how much easier things would be without owning a mini pig.
I want to share the moments I have when I wish I didn’t own a mini pig because I think it’s important to be honest about mini pig ownership. It’s easy to share the happy, cute, and exciting moments of life with a mini pig. We have tons of wonderful moments with Oscar. He’s adorable, curious, cuddly, and funny, and I adore all of those qualities in him. He’s also loud, stubborn, needy, and moody. I spend a lot of time on the blog showing happy pictures and discussing positive moments because they are fun and accurate, but I also want to make sure I’m representing the tough side of owning a mini pig because some days are really frustrating.
Here are the moments when I wish I didn’t own a mini pig:
1. When I want to travel. Finding a pet sitter for a mini pig is difficult. Some people have family and friends who are happy to watch their mini pig while they travel, and that can help in this area. However, I haven’t yet been able to leave Oscar since we brought him home. Not many people have been around mini pigs long enough to know what they need, what they should avoid, or signs and symptoms that something is wrong. Also, Oscar loves routine, and I worry that he won’t handle being away from home or on a different schedule well. Sure, I’m a little overprotective, but it can be difficult finding someone you trust to watch your pig while you travel. If we can take a car, we take Oscar with us. However, there are several places I would like to see and even family I would love to visit that I’ve put off because I don’t want to leave Oscar, because I can’t take him there with me, and because it’s too far to travel by car. At the end of the day, I’m okay with this tradeoff because we didn’t travel much before getting Oscar, but I miss the flexibility of being able to just go somewhere without worrying about a mini pig. There are ways to travel with a mini pig, but those also require some consideration and tradeoffs that are worth considering if traveling is really important to you.
2. When I need peace and quiet. Although Oscar is quieter now than he used to be, mini pigs are noisy pets. When Oscar was a baby, peace and quiet was hard to come by. He squealed a lot and oinked loudly while just wandering around the house. Even though I get more peace these days, it’s not guaranteed. When Oscar decides to scream or oink, there’s no great way to get him stop. If I need to take an important phone call or my husband needs to get on a call for work, it’s hard to explain the squealing pig in the background. In fact, I typically have to take Oscar outside or cuddle with him when my husband is on calls so that Oscar isn’t oinking in the background. I remember one particular morning when we couldn’t get Oscar to stop squealing while my husband was on a work call, so out of desperation I shut myself and Oscar in the laundry room and rubbed Oscar’s belly for an hour until the call was over. If I stopped rubbing, Oscar started squealing again. I think this will continue to get better and easier with time, but I have times where I miss that guaranteed peace and quiet.
3. When I need to run extended errands. We live in the country and it takes a little while to drive into town, so I get a list of errands together and run them all at once. Between the drive to town and back and all of the stores I need to go to while I’m in town, my errand runs can take a long time. Oscar is very routined, so if I’m out much past his meal times, I come home to an upset, screaming pig. Although that’s not pleasant, I can deal with it. The bigger challenge is that Oscar isn’t litter box trained, so he needs to be taken outside to potty. If I’m out too long, he will try to hold it which isn’t healthy or comfortable for him and makes me feel awful for not getting him out in time. In general, I just feel guilty for leaving him home by himself for too long. Really guilty. I used to leave my dogs home alone during the day and, although it wasn’t ideal, I knew they were okay. With Oscar, I feel terrible if he isn’t getting the attention, stimulation, and love that he needs. I used to enjoy errands more, but these days I feel guilty when I’m away from home for long, and I’ve lost the flexibility to just stop at a few more stores because I’m usually rushing to get back home to let Oscar out or to spend time with him.
4. When I want to sleep in. Oscar used to sleep in, and it was wonderful. At some point in the past few months though, Oscar decided to start getting up early. Most days now, he is up by 6:30 am. During the week, that’s no problem and fits our schedule well. However, for those days on the weekend when we want to catch up on our sleep, Oscar’s wake up time can be frustrating. When Oscar first wakes up, he grinds his teeth for about 10 minutes and then starts screaming to go outside. After I’ve taken him outside to potty and brought him back in, I get back in bed to get more sleep, but then Oscar starts screaming for his breakfast. In the past, we just fed him right after taking him outside so that he wouldn’t scream to get his breakfast, but he kept waking up earlier and earlier each day to eat. We have tried ignoring him, putting him in another room, and a million other things, but this is still a challenge for us. Some weekends are better than others and he won’t wake quite as early (the time change has helped!) or won’t scream as much waiting for his breakfast, but we’ve given up a bit on sleeping in and just try to go to bed early enough now that we can get up when Oscar does.
5. When Oscar is being aggressive. I’ve been pretty open about Oscar’s aggressive tendencies, and it’s something we’ve struggled with. Thanks to Move the Pig, Oscar is doing much better now, but we still have challenging days and weeks. I put a ton of time and energy into making sure Oscar is a happy pig, so when he is being aggressive or trying to bite, it can be really heartbreaking. It’s easy to feel like Oscar doesn’t like me, but I’ve learned to remember that a lot of his aggression is due to a pig’s natural hierarchical needs. It doesn’t make the aggression better, but it helps me understand it from a more useful perspective. We are still using Move the Pig on a regular basis and seeing improvements, but his more aggressive days can be difficult.
If you’re considering getting a mini pig, really consider if the pros of owning a mini pig outweigh these tradeoffs for you and your family. The tradeoffs will carry different weights for each individual person. At the end of the day, the tradeoffs are worth it for me. However, for example, if your life goal is to travel and you don’t have someone you trust to watch your mini pig, that tradeoff could be a huge challenge and frustration for you. It might not be worth it for you to have a mini pig in order to give up opportunities to travel, and that’s okay as long as you really consider that before making the decision to get a mini pig. Consider what daily life is like for you and really think about each of the tradeoffs to decide if having a mini pig will be worth it for you.
I went into mini pig ownership committed to Oscar, and he has a forever home with us. We have worked through several challenges with Oscar already, and I know we will work through more. I accepted both the ups and downs of life with a mini pig when we decided to get one. For a while, I was really ashamed of my moments when I wish I didn’t have a mini pig; I felt like a terrible pig owner for just having those thoughts. I still wish I didn’t have those moments, but I don’t worry about them any more. I know they are a result of a frustrating time or phase with Oscar, and I know those thoughts will pass. I have many more moments when I’m so grateful we have Oscar and when I just love him more than I ever thought I could, and those more than make up for the tough moments for me. However, they won’t for everyone, so it’s important to consider the tradeoffs of owning a mini pig before deciding to get one.
19 thoughts on “Times When I Wish I Didn’t Own a Mini Pig”
You’re not alone! I feel all these things toward Piper–love her, but she’s certainly not easy. It’s a good thing our piggies are so cute (especially Oscar’s underbite!). Thank you for your candor.
Thank you for letting me know you can relate with Piper! I appreciate that. Haha…I say to Oscar all the time, “Good thing you’re cute!” His underbite helps make it hard to stay mad at him. 🙂
That last pic of Oscar sleeping is just too much! I saved it
Thank you, thank you for posting this. I was beginning to think I was the only person who had mixed feelings about owning a mini pig. I love him to pieces, but in all honesty, there are days when I wonder what were we thinking or even if we were thinking! What has really helped me is the book Potbellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine. The section in the book, Pig Behavioral Problems from A to Z, covered many of the situations that have come up over the past year that we have had Alfredo. She also recommends a 10-step program for aggressiveness and it seems quite similar to Move the Pig and it has helped tremendously.
My husband had wanted a mini pig for about five years. Alfredo was a year old in January 2015 and we got him when he was about three months old. From the day we took him home, it has been a roller coaster ride. He can be so sweet and lovable, but the flip-side is his stubbornness and “pigheadedness” . There have been a couple of times when I have been close to tears, but he will also have a forever home with us, so the reality is we have to roll with it as he isn’t going to change. He is doing what a pig does. He is truly like having a toddler, but he is never going to outgrow the toddler stage. Even though he is noisy, demanding, and stubborn, he is cuddly, lovable, sweet and so much fun. He can also be destructive. We have replaced flooring in one of the bathrooms that he had chewed by the heat vent. We had planned on doing this eventually, but Alfredo made it a bit sooner than we had planned.
He is an inside pig and he is litter box trained, which brings up another point. There is a lot more housework involved with having a pig as a housemate. I am not a clean freak, but I do like certain amount of order and cleanliness and I can no longer get by with mopping once or twice a week and it has become a daily thing along with cleaning the nose prints off the patio door. His snout is quite strong and he has managed to flip the litter box completely over. That certainly is a cheery greeting in the morning! 🙁
Having him has curtailed a certain amount of traveling. No longer do we do spur-of-the moment weekend jaunts and things have to revolve around Alfredo’s schedule. We are fortunate in the respect that the breeder from whom we bought him also boards piggies that were purchased from them at a reasonable cost. If I am gone for any length of time during the day I worry about him. I feel the maximum I can leave him is four hours at a time and that is pushing it. I do work at home, but I have even cut back on that to a certain extent because he does need a lot of attention and, since I am home during the day, his care mostly falls on me.
I find that I get more frustrated with him if I am not feeling well or if I am tired. When he is able to play outside, he is much easier to deal with and not as inclined to get into mischief. I imagine I feel like most piggy owners; they love their pig dearly, but there are days that are extremely challenging and frustrating. I do think a person thinking of getting a pig as a pet needs to think it through very seriously as it is a lifetime commitment and they must be willing to accept the changes in their lifestyles. Thank you again for discussing this very important issue.
Thank you for sharing that! Every single thing you said is in line with my experience with Oscar, and I think it’s great for people to read experiences other than my own when deciding if a mini pig is right for them. I might have to check out the book you mentioned. I have noticed a few pig behavior books online but didn’t know if any were useful for mini pigs, so that’s helpful to know. Thank you so much for sharing your honest experience with a mini pig. It’s clear that you truly love Alfredo but are able to see all of the sacrifices and frustrations that go into owning him. I never want to discourage someone from owning a pig because we love Oscar so much, but I do want people to understand what all can be involved in mini pig ownership before making that decision. Knowing what to expect and the challenges they might face will not only help make them happier pig owners, but it will also result in fewer pigs needing to be re-homed or moved into sanctuaries. Thank you for your honesty and for taking the time to post your experience. I think it will help other people trying to decide if a mini pig is the best pet for them. 🙂
I never traveled much before getting Elmer anyway, so no big deal there, but if something did come up, it would definitely be hard to find someone to watch him. I know he wouldn’t be good with a stranger. He charged at my dad when he came to visit, so that’s worrisome to me in that regard.
I’m routine-oriented myself, so having a pet who likes routine works out great. If I’m late coming home from work, I do find myself rushing home so I can feed him asap. I even come home for lunch so I can feed him, which I never used to do before I had him. I work close to home so that works out too, but I would feel awful if he had to go 8 hours without food. And you can’t have a pig free-feed like a dog or a cat as it will be gone all at once.
If I want to go out or have someone come over, it’s usually in the evening when Elmer is in bed so as to avoid any charging incidents….haha. He sure does have me wrapped around his hoof, but he’s my baby and I love him to pieces.
We’ve been lucky so far with Oscar being good with guests, but I know that can change at any point. I hope he doesn’t get to where he charges guests because, like you know, it makes things so much more challenging. Funny the things we do for these pigs and how they get us wrapped around their hooves. Oscar made me really mad earlier today, and then in less than a minute, he was being so silly again that I was laughing and thinking about how much I love him. Makes me feel like a crazy person sometimes, but I think that’s just the power of pigs. I gave a little chuckle when you mentioned free feeding a pig…just the thought of it was a disaster…haha. Thanks for sharing that all about Elmer! It’s interesting for me, but I also think it’s good for other people to hear your experience with him. These pigs are challenging, but boy are they loved. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! It helps me feel like maybe we aren’t the only ones with a troublesome piggie. Our Darla is absolutely delightful 82.57% of the time (ok some days more than others, so it’s a rough estimate). However there are other days when my husband and I look at each other and ask if we’re crazy. Darla has been such a blessing and a total comedy show, but days that she doesn’t want to be agreeable are almost unbareable. We unfortunately do not work from home and she’s home for 8 hours and never fails to take a couple of naps and root around in her little box. This rooting causes a little bit of a disaster, somedays are better than others. She is so delighted when we walk through the door that her happy snorts make the mess more tolerable.
I would say the noises are a lifestyle change! We have very quiet dogs and to now have consistent grunting or oinking has changed our environment. The squeals that come at feeding time can definitely make the morning wake up call feel like a fire alarm (I’ve asked her if she knows what weekends are, typically she says no).
Our Darla has been blessed with grandparents who welcome her presence when we travel, but we’re trying to come up with a solution for a summer travel requirement when that won’t be an option!
Thank you so much for your honesty and dedication to our mini pigs. I know many of my friends think it’s “so cool” and “she’s so cute” making it difficult to get the harder points across. I hope future mini pig owners will be sure to research the pros and cons of mini pig ownership and make informed decisions!
Hi Kate! Thank you so much for your comment and for your honesty about Darla. I completely agree about hoping future mini pig owners do their research and make informed decisions. Owning a mini pig is really hard some days, and it’s not a decision anyone should take lightly. Oscar can be sweet and loving, but he also requires a ton of my time and attention and can still be selfish and ungrateful. After being used to dogs as pets, some of Oscar’s qualities have been hard to adjust to. We love Oscar but, as my husband says, “Oscar is more of a taker than a giver.” I appreciate owners like you who are willing to share the bad with the good because it’s so important for people to know what they’re getting into when they make the decision to bring one home. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Darla. Also, I actually laughed out loud at “I’ve asked her if she knows what weekends are, typically she says no.” 🙂
I just wanted to say I am totally new to this mini pig thing and stumbling across your site has been a godsend! We are in our first days of mini pig ownership and boy oh boy… Each day I find myself thinking what have I done?? Little Penny is a sweetheart but she is very testing. Everything is on her terms and we are trying to find our way. At the moment I would be happy with her sleeping in her bed instead of nuzzled up in a corner on our couch!! Seeing as its early days I don’t want to upset her too much but I also don’t want to form bad habits. She is only going to be small for a little while and right now I am seeing a bigger version of her asleep on my couch. My biggest worry atm is our dogs and seeing as we both work full time, leaving her alone all day. I purchased a treat ball for her today with an adjustable opening thinking this would be great for different size treats while we aren’t home…WRONG! She worked out how to adjust the hole so it’s bigger and the treats come out faster within about 15 mins! Anyway, wish me luck in this adventure. I think I am going to need it!
Hi Mel! Thanks for the compliment on the site! I can relate with everything you wrote, and I completely agree about it being an adventure! Oscar is similar in that he is very testing, on his own terms, and a little too smart for my good! 🙂 The issue of where she’s sleeping is indicative of so many struggles I had with Oscar when he was a baby. They are so little and scared at first, and it’s hard to walk that line between getting them comfortable at home, loving on them, and also setting rules and forming good habits for them. I think it’s important to let them get to know you and get comfortable and start to trust you in the beginning, but I also know that we spoiled Oscar when he was a baby and we’re paying for some of that now (I think you’ll relate with the Spoiled Pig Syndrome post on the site…). I’ve learned to be more firm with him over time, but he was so little and skittish and seemed so fragile when we brought him home. I don’t have a great solution but just understand how fine that line is, and it’ll get easier to make those decisions about what you want to and don’t want to allow. I had to laugh a little at your treat ball story. Sounds like you have a super smart one on your hands! When you have moments of frustration, keep in mind that, in my experience, the first few months are the toughest. I’ve had so many ups and downs with Oscar, but now that he’s a little older, he’s settled in and his personality shines through and we enjoy him in a very different way than we did when he was a baby. Looking back, the baby days were cute and new and all the things that come with that, but they were also challenging and I honestly prefer Oscar now that he’s more bonded and we’ve had a chance to figure him out more. Anyway, I definitely wish you luck, and know that you have a great community of pig owners on here to help you through when you need it!
Thank you so much for this article. This is such a great article. I struggle with how to tell people that are considering a pig that it is not all rainbows, but that I would not trade my little man for the world! He has a forever home with me and I plan to get him a sister in the future. I really don’t want to ever contribute to someone running out and getting a pig because they are cute. It is so sad how many are in rescues and I do understand why, but wish more people could read this article first! Thank you
Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked that article because I think it’s an important one. It’s tough writing those because I don’t want to underplay how much I love Oscar; however, I think it’s important to talk about the tradeoffs. I completely agree with how you put it about it not being all rainbows but how we wouldn’t trade him for the world. Every time I meet someone who wants a pig, I’m careful to talk about pig ownership very honestly but also stay positive. There are some serious tradeoffs but, for someone who is willing to make those, pigs sure are awesome. Thank you for the compliment on the article! 🙂
every thing i have read on your site has been so helpful. on days when i am frustrated, i will reread something and am reminded my experiences are no different. my little Bean is 7 months old and for the most part she is a sweetheart. i can’t believe how much they are like a toddler. i have to admit I’ve never been so fascinated by an animal before, they truly are unique. thank you for all the information you provide.
I got my pig Chester on February 20th. He’s such a sweetheart and he’s very fun to be around. Just not in the morning… He squeals like absolute crazy around 2-5 am for his breakfast but sometimes he has already been fed and I can’t figure out what he wants. I try letting him outside, letting him wander the house, giving him belly rubs, and absolutely nothing is working. I feel terrible because my parents and sister can’t get good sleep, but I also am not going to give up on him like that. Please please please help me. I really do not want to lose my baby… 🙁
My pig did that. At first she would have breakfast around 7 am. Then she started getting up earlier and earlier. I realized she was smart enough to figure out I would always feed her when she got up so she trained me into getting up earlier and earlier. I had to turn the table and train her. I started letting her get up early but wouldn’t feed her till 7 am even if she got me up at 4 or 5. It took a few weeks, but when she figured out she wasn’t getting food whenever she threw a fit to get us up but only at 7 am, she started sleeping in again. Consistency is key. Not letting them train you is important. They are smart little buggers.
I too have a mini-pig, Alfredo, who is not so mini anymore and he has topped out at about 100 pounds! I went through the same thing you did several years ago. He is now 3 years old. He would start waking up around 2:30-3:00 a.m. with all kinds of drama and noise and this went on for quite awhile and no matter what we did, we couldn’t get a handled on this. Out of desperation I contacted the breeder from where we got him. She recommended giving him warm oatmeal right before his bedtime. No sugar or milk or salt, just oatmeal cooked in water. I give Alfredo 1 to 1-1/4 cup right before his bedtime and I usually use the old-fashioned oats and not the instant as it seems to be more substantial. She also said that Alfredo was running the show and not us as we catered to his demands just so we could get some sleep and he felt he could wake everyone up earlier and earlier. She also said by getting up with him that early also reinforced that he COULD have a meltdown early in the morning guaranteeing no one would get any sleep. It took a few days of ignoring him, but I think the oatmeal was doing the trick . Since I no longer responded to his demands he learned to settle down and get back to sleep until I was ready to get up. No more early-morning feedings. He now gets up around 4:30 a.m., which has been my normal wake-up time for years, but I do not feed him immediately. He has to wait at least a half-hour before he eats just to reinforce that we are in charge and not him.
Good luck with this and stay strong as you may have a few rough days ahead of you until he understands that you are in charge and any tantrums he produces does not cut it. I hope this gets resolved quickly as I understand your frustrations. Best wishes.
I have this same problem! Pendleton is 2 years old, he has been mostly inside his whole life. We have a back room that he sleeps in that is completely sound proof from our bedroom. So it really wasnt a big deal with him making noise. But now we have a baby on the way, and are working on getting him used to being outside.. needless to say he isn’t a fan. He used to wake up at 6:30/7am every morning when we do, and start screaming. Well that has changed and now he wakes up at 4:30 am, and screams outside my window until we bring him food..I have to jump out of bed and run to give him his breakfast, we have very close neighbors & I’m sure they hate the noise. I have no idea how to make him stop.. I can’t ignore him cause he will wake everyone up, but I can’t keep getting up at 4:30am & having him wake the baby once he is here. I’m at a standstill, I love my pig but idk what to do for him.
That’s so funny about him no longer sleeping in – I had the exact same experience with my Violet. She used to sleep in until 8 or 9 but starting this year she’s decided to become the official 6:00 AM wake up call for the house haha