How to Teach a Guinea Pig to Go to a Platform
Pedestal/platform training is a great foundation behavior for all species of animals. Not only is it an easy trick to teach and a great confidence builder, it also makes certain tricks (such as wave) easier to teach. Working on a platform is great for teaching tricks at a distance and responding to hand signals too. A platform reminds your piggy to stay in their own space and look for cues rather than following your hand or searching for food.
How to Teach a Guinea Pig: Go To Platform (Video Tutorial)
For this trick, you will need....
Find a suitable platform to use for this trick.
The platform chosen should be sturdy, safe, and big enough for the guinea pig to turn around on easily.
I like to stick to platforms less than 4 inches high, so the guinea pig can get on the pedestal easily, and avoid injury in case they happen to slip or fall off of it.
If the platform is too high for them at first, you can also start with books instead (gradually stacking more books as the guinea pig gains confidence) until the guinea pig is comfortable enough to get onto the actual platform.
Lure the guinea pig off the platform and back on again. Only reward for getting up, not coming back down again. Repeat this several times until the guinea pig will get up without relying on the lure as much.
Only start rewarding for getting off the platform when they become somewhat hesitant to get off.
Also remember to reward periodically for staying on the platform.
Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick
- Only reward the guinea pig for getting off the platform when it's starting to become difficult to lure them off. You want the guinea pig to be somewhat "magnetized" to the platform so they aren't as tempted to jump off when you start teaching other kinds of tricks on the platform.
- Avoid picking the guinea pig up to put them on or off the platform. Let them figure out how to get on at their own pace, and get off when you ask them to as well.
- If the guinea pig is hesitant to climb onto the platform at first, practice with books first and gradually stack more books until you reach the same height as your actual platform. You may also want to practice Paws Up and/or Stand Up with your piggy to improve their balance and build more confidence with their feet off the ground.