If given the choice, Oscar always prefers to nap while cuddling with one of his humans. When he absolutely must nap alone, he has the most adorable post-nap routine. He starts with a big yawn, decides to get up and then changes his mind several times, and ends with a leg stretch. You can see his post-nap routine in this video:
It took Oscar a while to figure out that he likes to eat grass, but now it’s his favorite thing to do. When we go outside, he gets so into chomping on the yard that we have to drag him back in the house squealing.
Here is a video of Oscar doing his favorite thing, eating grass. In case you’re wondering, the dog in the side of the video is real. He’s in the middle of a standoff with a toad.
We enjoy finding creative ways to feed Oscar. Feeding him in different ways keeps him busy and entertained; it also occupies him for longer than when he just eats out of a bowl, giving me time to catch up on a few things.
One of our favorite ways to feed Oscar is in his ball pit. We originally made a ball pit for him so that he could root around for treats, but feeding him entire meals in it has worked well. He will run to his ball pit in the morning waiting for food and will sometimes just jump in and root to make sure he didn’t miss a piece during a previous meal. He seems to enjoy rooting around for his food, and we enjoy watching him as it’s very entertaining.
Oscar learned his first trick! Since mini pigs have a reputation for being stubborn and spoiled, I am training Oscar so he learns some basic obedience and listening skills. Hopefully these quick training sessions at a young age will help minimize behavior problems as he grows.
Here is a video I put together on basic mini pig training and you can see Oscar perform his first trick near the end.
I train Oscar with a clicker because I find the click provides a consistent and concise message to him that he’s doing exactly what I asked him to do. Some people use words and that’s fine, but I prefer the clicker as it’s quicker and I don’t forget which praise word I was using and confuse him.
For training treats, I keep them small which allows me to do more training without overfeeding Oscar. He likes Cheerios, so I often break them in half for training. I’ve learned that he doesn’t really care how big the treat is, just that he’s getting a treat consistently for each trick done correctly. Occasionally I give larger treats for challenging tricks or just to keep him interested and excited about training, but I try not to overdo it. You can also use cut up carrots, peas, or fruit if your mini pig likes those. When Oscar seems to be bored with the reward, I switch up the treats.
Keep the training sessions short, preferably no longer than 2-3 minutes each. I train in two short sessions each day after his meals so that we can make progress without him getting distracted or bored. Training sessions should be fun for you and your mini pig, so if you or your pig is getting frustrated just stop for that session and try again later or the next day.
To see Oscar’s first trick, check out the video and watch him circle. If you want to hear more about mini pig training basics, start from the beginning. If you just want to see the trick, jump in around minute 3.
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!