My family doesn’t understand my pig. They keep making comments about how I love my pig more than them. What can I do to let them know they’re equals?
~Frustrated pig lover
Dear Frustrated pig lover,
Your family needs to be involved with you and your pig. The entire family should be part of the “herd”. I had a similar issue with my family. Not only were my children jealous of my pig, but my pig wasn’t a big fan of them either. I'll admit that I do have A LOT of pictures of my pig on the phone and not a lot of my children, so I have tried to incorporate them into things I do with my pig. I’ve also included my kids in the retraining of my pig, including the behavioral modification plan I put her on. Obviously your family needs to know you love them, but they need to understand that your pig needs to know that to. If your kids are young, sit down and read a book to them and invite your pig over to be a part of this, allow your kids to give belly rubs while you read the book. If you have older children that don’t want a book read to them, dedicate a family night that includes your pig, watch a movie together while sharing some air popped pop corn, everyone can sit on the floor and watch a movie while also being a part of your pigs life. Asking your kids to go out and pick up pig poop may cause some resentment, so although part of having any pet includes routine care and cleaning, maybe incorporating that at a later time would be better. Have your family join in for the fun times or belly rubs first so they can establish a good relationship. Have your spouse or children teach your pig a trick. Help them learn how to work with your pig on a positive note. Let each person be responsible for their trick and video the progress, let them be able to brag to their friends that they're responsible for your pig being able to spin on command.
As a responsible pet owner, its important for others to realize the amount of time and attention having a pet pig takes. Pigs take time for training, they take time to learn what you need them to know, they need socialization because they’re very social animals and they need to feel like part of your family. There may be days when your family feels like you love your pig more than you love them, at the same time, your pig may feel like you love everyone else more than you love your pig. It’s a delicate balance and you just have to figure out what works. Let me add, teach your family about pigs and how to integrate themselves into your pigs life, if your whole family isn’t involved with the training of your pig, at some point, your pig will likely pick the weakest family member and try to work his or herself up the herd ladder, keeping everyone involved can prevent or at least minimize this kind of behavior from your pig. Everyone can enjoy the family pig, getting them involved with the daily care and routine can help the relationships flourish within the family. Pigs do not stay little forever, just like with kids, its important to take a lot of pictures so you will always have the memories to cherish. Try and incorporate the rest of the family into your pictures so all of you can grow together!! Good luck!!
~The Pig Whisperers