Sometimes, dogs and guinea pigs are friends with no harm done. Other times, dogs turn guinea pigs into snacks. Generally, these two animals should be separated from each other. Even if they aren't fighting, the dog's imposing size can threaten and stress out a guinea pig. Check out the following tips for keeping your guinea pig feeling safe and secure. Of course, these tips are also applicable to rabbits and other small animals.
Tip #1 - Always keep your guinea pig (rabbit, rat, etc) in his cage, and keep the cage in its own room. Ideally, your dogs should never go into the same room as the cage, as their presence may stress out the caged pet. Either keep the door to this room closed at all times or put up a baby gate in the doorway to keep any unwelcome canines out.
Tip #2 - Place the cage so that it isn't visible from the door. If you keep your dog out using a baby gate, for example, he may still be able to see the cage, and nothing unnerves a guinea pig like two canine eyes giving a firm stare. If the room doesn't have any good hiding places for the cage, drape a blanket over one side so that the guinea pig can't see the dog.
Tip #3 - Divert your dog's attention. Dogs are predatory animals by nature, and if their instincts kick in when a rodent is under the same roof, you need to find other outlets for their energy. Play games like fetch and tug-of-war with your dog to work out his aggression and take his mind off the caged morsel in the other room.
Tip #4 - Stop your dog with a firm "no" command any time you catch him approaching the cage. Call him back, and when he obliges, reward him with praise.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.