Are Guinea Pigs Smart? Things To Know When Training Your Guinea Pig

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Since the 16th century, Guinea pigs have been used as pets and are some of the cutest pets to have in your home. Their compact nature makes them ideal for domestication since they won’t take up big spaces at home. However you may have at one point asked yourself the question, “Are guinea pigs smart?”. If you have, then look no further as we answer it in this post and more.

Their small sizes, however, often make them anxious creatures who fear falling prey to larger animals. They are often very busy, running around a lot, and this typically confuses many owners.

When they behave like this, it’s like there’s no thought in their mind except for their next meal. Which doesn’t seem like something a smart animal would do right? Actually there is more to them than meets the eye.

Are Guinea Pigs Smart? Gauging Their Intelligence

Are Guinea Pigs Smart?Guinea pigs are really smart pet rodents, they can react to your gestures, respond to their names, and recognize different sounds. They can even learn a few tricks quicker than any dog.

But if they’re that smart, how strong is their memory compared to other pet rodents you might raise when it comes to intelligence? 

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Guinea Pigs Have An Excellent Memory

Guinea Pigs Have An Excellent MemoryThese little furballs are memorably blessed. If you take them out and lose them on the way, when it comes to roads, they could trace it back. They’ll quickly get back to where they’ll be.

Guinea pigs may also recall their names. So, if you call them by name, they’ll answer. This is a pretty good trick which can sometimes help you to ask them to stop doing something mischievous. They know and behave accordingly. Guinea pigs often tend to be smarter than hamsters.

Responding To Simple Commands

Firstly, you need to call your guinea pig with a name. Start calling it by that name when it’s time for dinner. Continue this for the next three days while they learn to remember their name. You may ask them to avoid doing something later, by calling them by their names.

Teach Them To Come To See You

You can keep food in your hand, and call them by their name. They’re willingly coming to you as they’re going to be interested in the food you’re holding. After that, without food, you can try that gesture. After a few days, they’ll be used to it and start following your command.

Using The Ball Command Technique

Using The Ball Command TechniqueHold a ball and show them what to do with your hand. They won’t understand in one motion, but if you keep repeating the gesture, they’ll eventually start moving the ball.

This game is great if you have kids. Guinea pigs can be incredibly smart when learning such amusing things.

Stand-Up Command

You should hold a treat in your hand to make them stand on two legs. It can be a veggie, or fruit.

After that, without food bait, you can try the same exercise. You’ll be amazed they’re smart enough to know what you want from them.

They Can Learn And Remember Tricks For A Long Time

Guinea pigs can easily learn tricks if you train them. Compared to dogs who can start training anytime you want, as they’re easy to “reprogram,” guinea pigs are better trained when they’re young or when you get them. 

It takes guinea pigs longer to learn some of the complicated stuff compared to cats and dogs, but they make up for it with their ability to learn a range of sweet, basic tricks very quickly.

Only give them their favorite reward when they do things right, and with such positive reinforcement, they’ll soon recognize what behaviors they need to do to get to their food and easily learn some commands. Through constant training and exercise, you will realize how smart are guinea pigs.

Any simple tricks like calling them out for food, saying a particular order, telling them to stand up or go through a maze, moving a ball, or even going around the cage can be easily taught.

Non-Destructive In Nature

Unlike other livestock, hungry guinea pigs are non-destructive. They don’t chew furniture in the room, but they need proper training not to use their teeth on the cage’s wooden artifacts.

If you give them meals at regular intervals, they’ll stay away from the wooden items. They have a great sense of schedule and know that things will come without asking.

Moreover, even if they do something disruptive or offensive, capturing them is really straightforward, and once you start petting them, they will understand the gesture and calm down.

The worst guinea pigs can do is poop or pee on any room in your home floor. If you teach them, they’re smart enough to know where to pee or poop.

Some Amazing Facts About Guinea Pigs

  • Guinea Pigs Can Purr. Like cats, guinea pigs make a quiet and audible vibrating sound when happy, sometimes when softly petted. Many people without guinea pigs are unaware of this adorable sound. 
  • Besides purring, they can make a variety of other sounds which may include “wheeking” (squealing), “rumbling” (a sound made during mating), and chattering (when angry or aggressive).
  • They do not have visible tails
  • Guinea pigs are somewhat a bit vocal. They have a number of vocalizations to communicate, including ‘purring’ when tense and ‘chirping’ when stressed.
  • Similar to humans, guinea pigs cannot naturally generate vitamin C and must get it from other food sources. Failure to do so can be incredibly dangerous, leading to scurvy and ultimately death.

How Smart Are Guinea Pigs Compared To Other Pets?

Although the intelligence of guinea pigs can not be correlated with numbers or ranking, past research has shown some promising results. 

Guinea pigs are fast learners; they can associate words with behaviors and are exceptional in recalling items that place them in the category of smart animals. But how do they do when opposed to other animals typically kept as pets? Let’s take a look!

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Rabbits?

Rabbits have more brain neurons than guinea pigs do. That should have made them smarter than guinea pigs. Guinea pigs go toe to toe with them as they have a greater memory than rabbits, as the short-term memory of rabbits only lasts for a few minutes.

Yet rabbits can be taught more complicated tricks than guinea pigs, which keeps them competitive. You may say that rabbits are smarter than guinea pigs, but only slightly.

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Cats?

No, guinea pigs certainly aren’t smarter than cats. Cats have more gray matter in their brains than guinea pigs. They can even help recall things because they’re smarter than guinea pigs.

Are Guinea Pigs Smarter Than Rats?

Rats have identical neurons to hamsters. Although certain rats have more brain neurons than hamsters, they still can’t hold a candle to guinea pigs. In general, guinea pigs learn stuff much faster and easily master tricks, making them smarter than rats.


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