Thinking of Getting a Pig? (Part Two: Tricks)

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    Training a pig can be rewarding and fun, but you may be mystified over what types of tricks a pig can learn. Pigs are smart animals that can learn a wide range of tricks, but it all depends on the personality of the animal. There are basic tricks that any pet should learn, but there also things pigs can learn that may shock you.

    Potty Training

    Pigs can learn to relieve themselves indoors like cats. This trick mostly apply to pot-bellies or miniature pigs. Young pigs don't have full control over their bowels, so it is best to keep them close to a litter box until they are six months old, at the least. You can do also small things like leading them to the litter box every two hours, and leaving some feces in the open in order to remind the pig where their designated rest area is. While that may sound unappealing, it is only a temporary measure until the pig is fully aware of its established bathroom area.

    Shake Hands

    Yes, pigs can learn to shake hands like a dog. When it comes to learning to shake hands, you have to physically show the pig what you want them to do. Start the training session by grabbing the pig's hoof until the pig learns to do it without your help. A well-trained pig will simply place its hoof on your hand once you reach out your hand. You can see a demonstration of this in the following video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVMuAluiJUI
    As you can see from the video, using hand gestures and showing them the trick is a good way to encourage your pig to learn fast and follow instructions. This will be a basic template of training your pig.

    Swim

    It may sound like an unconventional trick to teach your pig, but pigs can swim, and is something that you'll find at sideshow and carnival attractions. But pigs can swim, and it can be good for them on a hot, summer day. However, you must be very careful when introducing your pig to water, and exposure to water must be limited to be on the safe side. Pigs will learn to paddle and scurry their legs in water as demonstrated in the following video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O89DvVdthDY
    If you have a pool, introduce your pig to the area by having them scout around the edge of the pool. When teaching your pig to swim, always be in the pool with them.

    Sit

    Again, this is another option that you'll have to show to your pig. This is very similar to training a dog, and it takes time and practice for the pig to catch on. Training a pig to sit on command is one that will impress neighbors and friends, and it will be quite a sight at any show circuit.

    Jumping Hoops

    This is a common trick you'll see at pig shows. Pigs can also jump through hoops, but not every pig may be willing, depending on the size and tolerance of the animal. Again, this would be one of those tricks would have to show them by using hand gesture and pointing towards the hoop. Throw a toy through the hoop as a starter, and follow by encouraging the pig to jump through the object without the toy. In order for a trick like this to work, the pig would have to be fairly active, and you may want to begin by teaching your pig to fetch.

    Fetching

    Fetching is one of the more basic tricks you can teach your pig, because it is a good foundation to learn other tricks like the aforementioned jumping through hoops. By teaching your pig to fetch, it becomes more active, which is excellent if you're trying to keep your pet in shape. It is one of the easiest tricks you can teach a pig, since you can simply take the animal's favorite toy and encourage them to fetch it.

    Some of these tricks can be learned by most pigs, while others may be a little harder to do, but it never hurts to see what your pig can do. You may discover a hidden talent in your little piglet.

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    Image from BBC

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