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Training a Mini Pig

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From Elisabeth & Piccolino:

Is there anything published about clickertraining with minipigs? I'm experienced with clickering dogs and horses, but I found a lot of things very different with minipig Piccolino. We'd be very grateful for any support.

Dear Elisabeth,

Every species has its own peculiarities, but the laws of learning apply across the board no matter what animal you are training.

Pigs differ from dogs, for clicker training purposes, in several ways.

One, they seem to be unable to take food gently from your hand. It is always wiser to drop the food into a dish or onto the floor, to avoid getting bitten.

Pigs don't give in to pressure, but tend to resist vigorously being pulled, pushed, or led by a leash. Shape the pig to go freely where you point, or to follow a target stick, rather than trying to use a collar.

Pigs don't sit like a dog, squarely; they sit on one hip.

Pigs don't carry things in their mouths, easily; at Sea Life Park we found it was easier to put things in a basket and have the pig loop the handle of the basket over its snout.

Work in short segments.

Don't expect the pig to work for love. Treat after every click.

Pigs seem to need warmth (when cold) and cold water (when hot) more than dogs do. You can Jackpot with a session under the heat lamp or a few minutes with a lawn sprinkler.

Hope this helps.

Karen Pryor

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