HOW INTELLIGENT ARE PIGS?
PIGS AS THERAPY PETS
American Mini Pig Association runs the Mini Pig Therapy Pet Certification Program and The Pigfather has become the first company in the UK to enroll our miniature pigs onto this amazing training program.
Our mini pigs Mikey and Sunny have now completed their training and are now Certified Therapy Pigs! All of our piggies are trained according to this standard and can attend a variety of settings including residential and nursing homes, children’s centers, hospices or they can be hired privately for a disabled person in their own home.
PIGS ARE INTELLIGENT ANIMALS
During our mobile visits we are often asked about the intelligence of pigs. Many people have heard that pigs are intelligent animals and in most cases are smarter than a dog. However, not many people have actually seen the pig’s intelligence in real life. The animals are most of the time quite unassuming, peacefully grazing or rooting around. In addition, most people have never really interacted with pigs close enough to learn more about how intelligent they really are.
At The Pigfather we aim to harness this innate ability of pigs to learn and we channel it for the benefit of both pigs and people. However, being smart can sometimes get pigs into trouble as they learn so fast. One experience is usually enough for a pig to realise the cause and effect. Their memory is also incredibly sharp and the animals will remember both good and bad experiences. In turn, this can make them excellent escape artists as they use both their brains and their sheer strength to navigate themselves out of their enclosure!
On the other hand, pigs do respond well to positive experiences and this is what we apply when training The Pigfather’s mini pigs. An interesting fact we have observed is that the more a pig learns the more intelligent they become! Our aim, therefore, is to allow each piglet to develop into confident, intelligent and well socialized animals which can benefit our communities.
POSITIVE TRAINING METHODS ARE THE WAY WITH SMART PIGS
We only use positive training methods, and, as those who have kept pigs will know, they cannot be forced to do anything they don’t want to do! Apart from being intelligent, pigs can be quite stubborn and would only obey commands if they know there is a good reward awaiting them! In most cases this reward is food!
Most importantly, pigs, like any other animal, need to feel that they are treated with respect, understanding and love. The knowledge of pig’s behaviour is also vital when training them. Incorrectly interpreting a pig’s behaviour can result in loss of that animal’s trust and can lead to undesirable traits.
Gaining a pig’s trust is, therefore, the most important initial aim, in our opinion. Upon this, we build respect and the pig’s desire to obey our commands follows naturally. Being herd animals, pigs are very intuitive to the position they hold in their groups or herds. The animals have very strict hierachy in their herds. Understanding how pigs gain and maintain those positions is paramount to a successful training program.
We feel very priviledged to have the opportunity to so closely integrate with such intelligent animals as pigs. There are many myths that surround them, but learning first hand how to establish mutual respect and to harness their incredible ability to learn, is so rewarding. We would like to share this incredible opportunity with other people. Why not have a look at our Services to see what we can offer you.