Potbelly pigs are some of the smartest animals around. Their ability to retain information and react to stimulus makes them a remarkably easy pet to train—whether you want to teach tricks, develop healthy habits, or prevent damage to your home. Additionally, potbellies are food-driven animals, providing a built-in reward for their excellent memories and willingness to learn. If you have the patience to develop a strong bond with your animal, your pet Potbelly will be trained in no time. Below, we have five essential tips to follow.
1. Determine an objective. Figure out exactly what you want your pig to learn. Potbellies can learn tricks, such as shaking hands and sitting, but you can also teach them useful skills–how to use the bathroom, how to ask for food, and how to ask for water.
2. Gain his trust. A pig will only commit to training if he knows he can trust you. If he doesn’t believe you have a reward, he won’t follow through. Give both yourself and the animal time to adjust to each other and the surroundings.
3. Train at the right time. Pigs can be stubborn animals. They retain information best when they are alert and interested. Don’t force lessons on your pig when he doesn’t want to learn—he’ll only resist your commands. Optimal training times are between or just before meals, when he is especially food-driven.
4. Reward your pig with treats. Be sure to have a special treat to reward your pet pig—not normal food. After the initial treat, only give the food to your pig after he has obeyed the command.
5. Use commands. Pigs can easily pick up on words used. While training, stick to the same one- or two-word commands. This will allow your pig to begin understanding the skill. With enough time and patience, he will no longer need a treat as a reward.