Category Archives: Settling In

Traveling in a Car with a Mini Pig

While we haven’t yet traveled with Oscar by airplane, he has traveled with us in the car many times. Oscar likes to visit his grandma who lives about three hours away, so that’s our most common trip. However, we also let him ride along with us if we are running quick errands where we don’t need to get out of the car. We enjoy having him with us,  so we always look for opportunities when Oscar can ride in the car.


Even if you don’t plan on traveling with your mini pig for fun, training her to be comfortable in the car is important for getting your pig to the veterinarian. Of course it’s useful for normal vet checkups, but it’s especially important for emergency situations. If you ever need to get your pig to the vet quickly, you don’t want to add stress by putting him in a new situation. Also, it takes time to figure out how to get your pig into the car, where to have him sit, and how to secure him. It’s definitely a process, and it’s incredibly useful to have everything planned out before you actually have to travel with a mini pig.

The first few times we put Oscar in the car for a trip to grandma’s house, it took a long time. Where will we put him? Should he sit on the seat or in a lap? Wait, he’ll probably want a blanket…let’s grab one for him. Will he need water along the way? Is he comfortable enough? An hour or so later, we were ready to get on the road. These days, we have it all down. I can grab everything I need for Oscar’s trip in the car, get it set up, and have him buckled in and ready to go in just a few minutes. Since he’s used to the routine, he cooperates and sits calmly in his seat once he’s in the car. It makes trips with him so much easier, and we’re more inclined to take him places with us because we have a system that’s quick.


Before discussing how we travel in the car with Oscar, it’s necessary to point out that not all mini pigs travel well. Oscar is calm and happy in the car, but not all pigs enjoy traveling. There’s no polite way to put this, but some pigs are nervous poopers in cars. I know of many pigs who love riding in cars and also many who are nervous poopers, so be prepared for either if you plan on traveling with a mini pig. The first time you travel with your pig, take precautions until you know how your pig handles being in the car. Oscar’s very first car ride was on the way home from the breeder, and we put a crate in the car and lined it with puppy pads. We ended up not needing it, but we were prepared in case the ride home didn’t go well.

We have two different scenarios for Oscar’s car rides depending on if I’m driving by myself or if my husband is also in the car. When my husband and I are both in the car, Oscar simply rides in the passenger’s lap. Oscar basically considers this cuddle time, and he settles in just like he would on the sofa in the evening. Once he’s in the car, he’s cuddled up and asleep within a few minutes. He wakes up and grunts every once in a while, but otherwise he sleeps for the entire car ride. We bring a blanket along so that he we can cover him up and keep him warm in the car, and he’s a happy little traveler.


Traveling with Oscar by myself is a little more challenging but still pretty simple. When he was a baby and his crate was small enough that I could carry him around in it, I put his crate in the passenger seat and Oscar rode in there. A blanket in his crate helped keep him from sliding around while the car was moving. Now that Oscar’s crate is bigger and doesn’t fit in the seat as well, he sits in his pet booster seat.

We originally bought our pet booster seat for Rylee a few years ago when we moved and had a long car ride with her; she likes to jump around in the car and we wanted her hooked in one spot but still able to see out the window. It worked well for Rylee, but I wasn’t sure if Oscar would like it. I put the booster seat in the car one day with a warm blanket on top and sat Oscar in it, and he sat still the entire car ride. He was still close to me in the passenger seat, so I could pet him without him trying to get in my lap. I don’t let Oscar ride in my lap while I’m driving for safety reasons, so the booster seat is a perfect compromise. He’s out of my lap, but still close enough I can pet him and see him as we ride along.

The Solvit Tagalong On-Seat Pet Booster, Deluxe, Jumbo
is the one we use for Oscar, and we love it. Oscar is 28 pounds in these pictures, and he still fits comfortably and can turn around and nap in his jumbo booster seat.


Although some pigs don’t travel as easily as Oscar, I still recommend getting a system down for traveling with your mini pig. If you have an emergency and need to move quickly, it’s extremely helpful to know exactly what you need and what setup works for you and your pig when traveling. If you can, I recommend trying a few car rides when your pig is young to help her adjust to being in a car as this can get more difficult when your pig is bigger. If your pig is comfortable traveling, car rides can be a fun experience for both you and your pig.


If you are planning on crossing state lines with your mini pig, there are USDA guidelines you need to follow since miniature pigs are classified as swine. We haven’t crossed state lines with Oscar, so I’m not experienced in this area yet. However, here are some links to other websites with helpful information on what you need to travel across state lines with your mini pig.

USDA Regulations for Traveling with “Livestock” and Traveling with your Pig FAQ (Mini Pig Info)

Traveling with Your Mini Pig (American Mini Pig Association)


Update: After writing this post, we took Oscar on his first out-of-state trip, and he got car sick for the first time. You can read about his car sickness in this post

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Move the Pig Example with Mini Pig Oscar

I recently wrote a post about using Move the Pig to deal with mini pig aggression and biting where I discussed how MTP has improved Oscar’s aggression and biting tendencies. After publishing that post, I received some requests to do a video on how we use Move the Pig, so Oscar and I made a video to share a demonstration of what MTP looks like for us.

Here is the video of us using Move the Pig. It starts out with a brief discussion of Move the Pig and then includes two examples of us using our interpretation of MTP. There is also some Oscar cuteness at the end of the second example as his reward for moving quickly and immediately after being asked.

Please keep in mind that this is simply how I’ve interpreted Move the Pig based on my research. I’m not an expert on Move the Pig, so please do your research on MTP to make sure you understand the technique before using it on your pig. I mention this a few times in the video because it’s a really important point for a pig owner’s safety when using the technique. Move the Pig techniques can vary depending on the severity of your pig’s aggression. Since Oscar’s aggression isn’t severe and since he’s still small enough that I can control him pretty well, I use some lighter MTP techniques. However, the technique I use with Oscar might not be safe for an owner of a larger, severely aggressive pig. In more severe situations, owners are often advised to use a board between them and the pig for safety. So, do your research first and decide which particular techniques are best for your pig in order to do MTP in a way that’s appropriate and safe for you and your pig.

Move the Pig for Mini Pig Aggression

Update: I am conflicted these days on the best way to handle mini pig aggression. Move the Pig was helpful for us, but it didn’t solve all of our issues with Oscar’s aggression. After writing this post, I learned there is another approach to handling pig aggression called positive reinforcement, taught by Lara Joseph. If you are having trouble with aggression in your mini pig, I highly recommend researching both approaches before deciding which one to use. The articles linked below are great for learning more about Move the Pig. To learn more about positive reinforcement from Lara Joseph, check out The Animal Behavior Center. She offers many different programs, including webinars (she has one on pig aggression), online training, Facebook live sessions, workshops, etc.

I first heard about Move the Pig after posting about Oscar’s first biting phase. Oscar was playfully nibbling toes, but he was also attempting to bite when we did something he didn’t like, such as move him after a nap or put his harness on. At the time, Oscar was really young and his teeth were tiny and not very threatening, so I ignored any advice about Move the Pig and instead used some positive reinforcement to stop Oscar’s air biting behavior.

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Oscar’s first few baby teeth.

Months later, Oscar started whipping his head at us and air biting again. This time, Oscar was bigger and had very sharp teeth, so I was really concerned. Oscar would growl at us and then, if we didn’t stop what we were doing, the growl would build until he whipped his head around and air bit at us. Now that Oscar was older and stronger, his aggression was really concerning and I worried that we would end up with a dangerous pig if we didn’t do something immediately to stop the aggression. My biggest fear was that his aggression would get to the point where we couldn’t handle him.

To stop Oscar’s aggression and biting, we were putting our hand around his snout while saying “no” to teach him that biting was not acceptable behavior. This is a technique that’s recommended by some pig experts and can be effective. For us, it was keeping Oscar from whipping his head and trying to bite us while we were wiping him down or moving him after a nap, but it didn’t solve the aggression behind the behavior. What we really needed to solve was the aggression issue causing the head whipping and biting.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that such an innocent looking little pig would need Move the Pig.

After I posted about Oscar’s second biting phase, people reached out to me and again recommended Move the Pig. At this point, I was desperate for a solution and out of ideas, so I decided to give Move the Pig a shot. Aside from a few people mentioning Move the Pig on social media, I had no idea what it really was or what I needed to do to try it. I researched and found out why Move the Pig is used, why it’s effective, and came up with a plan to try it with Oscar.

I am absolutely not an expert on Move the Pig, which is a technique originally implemented by Lydia Weaver. I am simply an owner who has researched it and read enough articles to feel confident trying the technique on my mini pig. However, my very basic interpretation of Move the Pig is that it’s a technique that allows us to communicate to a pig that we are the top of the hierarchy. Pigs are very hierarchical, and they need to know their ranking within a hierarchy. Their aggression often results when they decide to challenge someone for their spot in the hierarchy in order to move up, and this can be an adult, child, or another animal in the house. Move the Pig uses the same types of movements that pigs use with each other to communicate hierarchy and allows us to mimic those with our pig. What results is a way for us to effectively communicate our hierarchy with our pig so that he or she can understand and fall into place within the hierarchy. The aggression you see in a mini pig is frequently because of this hierarchical challenge so, ideally, once the hierarchy is established and settled, a lot of the aggression should stop.

We have even noticed Oscar “moving” his dog sister, Rylee, to challenge her for her spot in the hierarchy.

My biggest mistake with Move the Pig was ignoring people’s suggestions to try it. One reason I ignored it was because I didn’t want to think of Oscar as aggressive, and I was uncomfortable labeling him that way. The other reason is that I somehow got the impression that Move the Pig was for larger rescue pigs who needed a ton of rehabilitation and were 100% aggressive and disobedient. I was wrong, and I have instead come to think that nearly every mini pig owner should learn about and understand Move the Pig.

Rather than thinking of Move the Pig as a way to rehabilitate really troubled and disobedient pigs, I now think of it simply as a way to communicate with a pig in his own language. Instead of waiting until Oscar’s aggression gets out of control, we now use Move the Pig techniques daily to communicate and reinforce the hierarchy in our household. A helpful piece of advice someone gave me is to keep doing Move the Pig even after you think it has worked and fixed your mini pig’s aggression. That helped me think of Move the Pig as a simple communication tool rather than an intimidating, complicated technique.

He might look innocent and adorable, but Oscar can be demanding at times, particularly around food.

Move the Pig has been working really well for us so far, and I highly recommend it. Oscar’s aggression isn’t 100% fixed, but it has definitely improved and we feel like we have much more control over his aggression now and an effective tool to use when he shows any signs of aggression.

Since I am not a Move the Pig expert, I will list some resources below where you can read more about Move the Pig. From what I understand, Move the Pig techniques can vary depending on the severity of the pig’s aggression. Since Oscar is still small and his aggression isn’t terribly serious, we use some of the lighter techniques. However, for someone with a pig who is larger or has become dangerous, experts often recommend using a board between the owner and the pig when trying Move the Pig. So, before trying any techniques, make sure to research first and then try the particular techniques of Move the Pig that are most appropriate for your mini pig.

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Move the Pig can seem like it’s mean to a pig, but it’s not and ultimately makes a pig happier.

For us, Move the Pig means that we move Oscar with our feet a few times each day, sometimes from his napping spot and other times just when he’s standing around in the house. We say “move, move, move, move, move” and occasionally stomp or clap, especially when we first approach Oscar so that he knows what’s coming, and he almost always gets up and moves immediately. When he gets up and moves like he’s supposed to, we call him back into our space so that he doesn’t become frightened or see Move the Pig as really negative. I also try really hard not to step around Oscar when walking through the house. After learning about Move the Pig, I noticed how often I carefully step around him when he’s in my way. However, since pigs communicate hierarchy with their feet, stepping around them can send them mixed messages about who is in charge. So, that’s been a big change, and I simply move him or ask him to move instead of stepping over him now, which helps reinforce my communication that I’m in charge.

One thing that’s really important to address is that a lot of mini pig owners think Move the Pig is mean. I’ll admit that it feels mean at first. Many of us have babied our pigs to the point of being spoiled, so intentionally moving them from a napping spot with our feet feels wrong. However, Oscar seems like a happier pig now that he knows his place in the household hierarchy. When he’s challenging us and trying to figure out where he belongs, he’s aggressive, unsettled, and seems always on guard. Now that his place is more established, he seems calmer, happier, and more able to just enjoy being a pig. So, although it might feel uncomfortable and mean at first, sticking with Move the Pig will allow you to see the positive changes in your pig first hand, and I have come to believe they are happier knowing their place rather than constantly challenging to figure it out, even if that place in the hierarchy is lower. Also, if you still think Move the Pig is mean, search for and watch a video of pigs interacting with each other. They are often very rough when moving each other and establishing hierarchy, and it will help you to see how Move the Pig works when it’s between pigs.

It can sometimes be difficult moving Oscar when he’s all settled in and cozy, but he always settles right back in.

To learn more about Move the Pig, check out the below articles. In all of my research, I found these articles to be the most helpful in learning what Move the Pig is and how to use it. 

This article about Move the Pig on the Mini Pig Info website is written by Lydia Weaver and includes an excellent video about Move the Pig that provides an explanation of why it’s effective. I recommend starting here as your first resource.

This post on Facebook is a great secondary resource for Move the Pig. It’s basically a post about Move the Pig and then a bunch of answered questions below that helped me better understand some of the more confusing parts of Move the Pig and how to implement it with Oscar.

To see a video example of us using our interpretation of Move the Pig with Oscar, check out this blog post


Our Mini Pig and Dog are Enemies Again

One of my biggest fears when we first brought Oscar home was that our dogs wouldn’t get along with him. Not only was I bringing a new animal into the home, I was bringing our dogs a loud, squealing baby pig brother. Since both of our dogs were older and used to a quiet, calm home, I knew adding a baby mini pig  would, at best, be disruptive and require adjustments and, at worst, create a dangerous environment for baby Oscar and not work out.


As I discussed in a previous post, the initial meeting between Oscar and our dogs went better than expected. For the first few months, the dogs mainly ignored Oscar; they weren’t friendly but they also weren’t mean or aggressive. As time went on, Oscar and the dogs became curious about each other. They would sniff around one another but avoid getting too close. Although I wanted them to be friends, I was content with this stage. They were happily coexisting, and I was relieved that everyone was at least getting along.

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Oscar looking up to his big dog brother, Liam.
Oscar sharing the sun spot with Liam.

By the time Oscar was five months old, he and our pit bull mix, Liam, were beginning to form a friendship. Liam was still a little scared of Oscar, but they shared the sun spot and rested near each other. I was really hopeful that they would eventually become friends, but Liam passed unexpectedly in late September. Not only was this a difficult time for everyone in the house, but now Rylee and Oscar were left to figure out their relationship. Up until Liam’s passing, Rylee didn’t have much to do with Oscar, ignoring him most of the time and walking away when Oscar tried to approach her.

Gradually, the relationship between Rylee and Oscar improved. I felt awful about Rylee losing her dog brother and really wanted her and Oscar to be friends. So, I bought Oscar and Rylee a bed that I kept in the sun spot, and they eventually starting sharing it. Rylee still nipped at Oscar when she didn’t want him around, but Oscar didn’t mind and just left her alone and tried again later. I was so excited that they were napping together and seemed to enjoy each other’s company. They were probably not going to be best friends, but they were frenemies and that was a big improvement.

Oscar and Rylee getting along and sharing the bed.

Recently, Oscar and Rylee’s relationship changed. Although I’m not positive, I suspect the change happened when Oscar grew bigger than Rylee and decided to challenge their hierarchy. Rylee was my first dog and has always been the dominant pet in the house. Even when Liam came along, who grew to be much larger than her, Rylee was in charge and Liam accepted that. When we brought Oscar home, Rylee remained dominant since Oscar was smaller than her, but things shifted quickly once he outgrew her.

Oscar began snipping at Rylee and challenging her daily for hierarchy, often going from calm to aggressive in a moment’s notice. Oscar would be quietly napping and then, suddenly, wake up from his nap and chase Rylee around to assert his dominance. Rylee, not one to back down quickly, would snip back until I intervened to stop the fight. I was never scared for their lives as one would eventually give up before the fight turned dangerous and because I could easily intervene with them both being small, but I no longer trusted them in the same room together. They could calmly be together for hours, and then Oscar would snap and challenge Rylee again.

Rylee won’t share her bed with Oscar these days because she doesn’t know when he’ll snip at her.

For a while, I didn’t know what to do to stop Oscar’s challenges. When Oscar snipped at Rylee, she would look up at me and I would quickly step in, picking her up to remove her from the fight. However, that seemed to increase the frequency and severity of Oscar’s challenges, so I tried a different approach. They needed to settle the hierarchy issue between them, and I sensed that my “saving” Rylee was hurting the process. I started letting them battle it out and only intervened when I felt someone might get hurt. Eventually, Rylee started backing down more and Oscar’s challenges became less frequent.

Oscar still challenges Rylee every once in a while, but they are small nips and are significantly less severe than before. Rylee backs down quickly these days, so I don’t worry as much about one of them getting hurt. An exception is around food where Oscar tends to get more aggressive, so I watch them very closely when food is out. The biggest downside is that Rylee has grown fearful of Oscar and his unpredictable nips. For the most part, they hang out in different areas of the house. Some days they seem to be making progress and getting along, but other days Rylee avoids Oscar so that he won’t nip at her.

Rylee hiding on a shelf to get away from Oscar.

I feel terrible as a pet parent that Rylee is fearful of Oscar, but I’m also hopeful that the situation will improve once the hierarchy is settled. On their worst days now, Oscar nips at Rylee and she avoids him by going to a different area of the house. On their best days, they can nap or be together in the same room but don’t interact with each other. Part of me would still love for them to get along, but I’m happy to have them at least living mostly peacefully with each other.

When I brought a mini pig home, I thought our dogs would immediately either love and accept him or hate him, but the reality has been very different. It’s been a roller coaster ride, particularly between Oscar and Rylee, with many ups and downs. They started out ignoring each other, grew to become frenemies with some cuddling, switched to enemies with hierarchy battles and fights, and now are settling back into ignoring each other. Although I would love for them to be friends, I’ve learned that their relationship is largely out of my control and to do what I can to love them separately and encourage their relationship but not constantly intervene. I will always hold out hope that they will be friends, but I’ve adjusted my expectations and am content with them both leading happy lives under the same roof.

Rylee doesn’t hide her dislike for Oscar very well.

Note: I’m not an animal behaviorist or professional, and I am only reporting on my experiences and how I’ve responded to the situation between our mini pig and dogs. It might not be the best or right way, and negative situations between mini pigs and dogs can escalate quickly and be life threatening. If your mini pig and dog are not getting along, I recommend seeking professional advice on how to handle the situation so that you and your pets stay safe.

Mini Pig Oscar is Biting Again (with Sound Recording)

Several months ago, Oscar went through a biting phase and would try to bite us when we put his harness on or moved him after a nap. The biting wasn’t very serious and he never clamped down, but he was definitely sending a warning that he didn’t like what we were doing. Still, we took the biting seriously and succeeded in stopping his biting using positive reinforcement.

Hard to believe this cute little guy can make such an ugly sound when he tries to bite.

After months of no biting issues, Oscar has started biting again. The one bright spot is that he doesn’t just bite randomly; it’s always for the same reasons. He attempts to bite when we wipe him down or put lotion on him and also when we try to move him after cuddle time. For the grooming issue, I have tried everything to make these parts of his grooming more pleasant, from warming up the towels and the lotion to giving him scratches and rubs but nothing helps. Even treats only help for a second and then he is back to trying to bite. As for moving him after cuddle time, I’ve tried giving him verbal “notices” that I’m about to move him or giving him a little scratch to wake him up a bit first, but nothing has helped.

Although he consistently tries to bite when I’m wiping him down or trying to move him after a nap, he never actually clamps down. He growls, whips his head around, and will even put his mouth around my hand, but he never bites down. Nonetheless, I take this behavior seriously. He is quickly growing, and I want him to know that any sort of biting or even attempts to bite are not acceptable behaviors. Biting at his young age needs to be addressed so that it doesn’t become a serious problem when he is older and stronger.

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Oscar’s top two teeth form a point and can be painful even if accidentally brushed against a finger, so I worry about his bites if he ever really clamps down.

Here is a sound clip of one of Oscar’s bite attempts. In this clip, I needed to move him after cuddle time, so I was reaching to pick him up. When the clip starts, you’ll hear him grow increasingly agitated with a low growl as I’m putting my hand under him to grab him. When the sound peaks, he is whipping his head around and air biting as I’m picking him up.

Although mini pig biting should never be tolerated, I’ve become unexpectedly sympathetic toward Oscar’s biting attempts. Mini pigs have so few defenses. As I watch Oscar roam around the yard, I think about how susceptible he is to attacks or punishment from other animals and people. He doesn’t have claws or size to defend himself; he only has his bite. It doesn’t make biting in a safe environment like our home okay, but it helps me understand that he’s using his only defense to protect himself from something he doesn’t like, helping me take a more compassionate approach to fixing the issue.

I need to be able to safely groom and move Oscar when he’s older, so I stubbornly continue to wipe him down each day and move him after cuddle time. We are working through the biting issues, slowly making progress. Since his biting isn’t serious at this point, I use his grooming each day as an opportunity to work on his biting. Using advice from the North American Potbellied Pig Association (NAPPA),  I am working on establishing my dominance with Oscar using Move the Pig (which I plan to write more about in a future post) and also using the technique of gently holding his snout closed when he is aggressive. The corrections have been difficult because I hate upsetting Oscar, but they don’t hurt him and are important for establishing our household hierarchy and ensuring we don’t have more serious biting problems in the future.

It might take some time and patience, but we are committed to working with Oscar through his recent biting issues.

If your mini pig is biting or even attempting to bite, it’s important to take it seriously even if your pig is young and small. Mini pig biting can become a serious issue, so it’s better to deal with it before it becomes a real problem. Although Oscar’s bites are just warnings for now, we are working hard to stop them so he doesn’t become aggressive as he grows bigger. If you’re having biting issues with your mini pig, I highly recommend checking out the NAPPA articles linked to above for steps to help stop the biting.