Pigs make great pets but if you want to have one in your home, the first question to answer is if they can be house trained. It’s one thing to have an outdoor pet and an entirely different thing to have an indoor pet.
Can pigs be house trained: Perhaps you’re ready for a unique pet and are looking at a mini breed of a pig. These animals are cute, cuddly, and incredibly intelligent. A good pet is house trained and you can indeed help a pig along. Start by setting up an area for its litter box, somewhere easy to keep clean but is still accessible for your pig. Then, provide them a space like a crate where they can safely sleep and live. Keep bringing your pig to the litter box and always give them plenty of praise once they figure it out. While you should expect accidents at first, these smart animals will quickly figure it out.
Are pigs hard to house train?
As with any animal, consistency is key to house training a pig. That said, pigs may be more difficult than other animals.
Cats, for instance, rarely take more than a day to figure out that their litterbox is where they need to go. Dogs take more time but as soon as they figure it out, they rarely have accidents.
As for pigs, well they are naturally outdoor animals. However, pigs want to be clean, so this makes house training that much easier.
How to House Train a Pig
There are a few ways to house train a pig. We suggest deciding which will work best for your house setup and your pig’s temperament.
If one method is not working out, you may have to simply change to a different setup.
Litter Box Training
Step 1 – Find a large litter box
The good news is that you can use a litter box to train your pig. The bad news is that pigs are usually much larger than cats.
While you won’t be able to litter box train a massive pig, there are many mini pig breeds that will do well with this method.
The key is finding a box that is big enough for your pig. Most litter boxes have weight suggestions on them, so you can use this as a guide. There are also litter boxes meant for multiple cats, so this is another good guideline.
To test it out, have your pig walk around inside the litter box. They need to be able to fully turn around. Otherwise, they will simply make a mess outside the box.
If your pig is too big for a litter box, you can find a large plastic box. A kiddie pool is a good idea, or even a rubber bucket, as long as the sides are not too high.
Step 2 – Pick a location
Because of the large size of your litter box, you want to find a location that is out of sight. You definitely don’t want to be entertaining people and have them constantly bump into the box. Nor do you want your small children to start playing in it.
Pigs, like most animals, like structures, so you will want to keep your litter box in the same place. A laundry room or utility room is a good idea.
The room should also be easily accessible for your pig. Upstairs in a closed-off corner may be convenient for you, but too far away for a pig and its short legs.
Step 3 – Keep the box secured to the ground
Unlike cats who don’t think much of their litter box, pigs will want to explore their areas. They are also natural diggers.
To avoid a huge mess, make sure your litter box can’t be easily picked off the floor. Tape or Velcro are good ideas.
Step 4 – Fill with pine shavings
You may think you want to use cat litter, but pigs are different animals. Unfortunately, pigs may just decide to eat their litter, so an all-natural substance like pine shavings won’t hurt them.
Shredded newspaper and paper pellets are also acceptable.
Step 5 – Clean up most of the mess
You will want to regularly clean your litter box and remove any mess but it’s important to leave some of it behind. This way, your pig knows where to go and will fall into a routine.
Step 1 – Pick an area
Similar to dogs, crate training helps establish a routine and a specific space for your pig. It gives them the security they need as well as dictates where the sleeping area is and where the bathroom area is.
You will want a comfortable spot for your pig that is warm and soft. You can choose to use a large dog crate, a baby fence, or even just a small room.
While you don’t want to leave your pig alone all the time, as this will make it unhappy, you do want to show your pig that this is where they should sleep and rest.
Step 2 – Regular bathroom breaks
It’s best to help your pig know what is expected of it. You can do this by using a special leash and harness when it is time to go to the bathroom.
This will help your pig distinguish when it is time to come out and play and when it is time to do its business.
Place the leash on. You can try using a dog leash and harness.
Then, lead your pig to the litter box. Don’t distract your pig and instead take them right to the spot that has been set up.
Step 3 – Be patient
The whole point of crate training is to take your pig out at specific times for both exercises and to go to the bathroom. Pigs are naturally clean so they won’t want to go where they sleep.
However, crate training can take a bit of time. You should expect to invest about six months in this method.
Ways to encourage your pig to enjoy their crate training is by providing plenty of positive encouragement. Praise them when they properly wait to go to the bathroom.
Also, give them lots of love and snuggles if they like. Now that your pig is inside your home, you need to treat it like a member of the family.
Tips for House Training
Create a phrase
Every time you take your pig to its litter box, be sure to say the same command. This is similar to teaching a dog how to shake a paw or sit.
Pretty quickly, your pig will associate the words with the action. Then, over time, you only need to say the command and your pig will know where to go.
Don’t use food rewards
It might be tempting to use food rewards but these are usually unnecessary. Remember that pigs are naturally intelligent creatures. They want to learn.
Think about food as motivation. If motivation is intrinsic and comes from within, then pigs will learn better and remember their lesson.
But if motivation is extrinsic and comes from an outside source like food, if the food treats stop coming, then pigs may stop the wanted behavior.
Don’t punish mistakes
House training a pig can take a lot of time, work, and effort. It’s important to know this going into the whole business.
The better expectations you have of your pig, the better your relationship will be.
Therefore, if your pig makes a mistake, simply tell them “No!” Then, lead your pig to the right place to remind them where to go.
What to Consider When Having Pigs as Pets
Pigs are animals but they are smart animals. They want to learn and if they are not properly stimulated, they can become bored pretty quickly.
Keep challenging your pig. Teach them new tricks and once they master them, start teaching them more.
While most pigs are happy to have a cuddle, they are still animals and their personalities need to be respected. If they squeal or writhe around, it means they want to be put down.
It also helps to raise a pig from a piglet. This way they get used to your scent and touch and are more likely to want to cuddle.
Space and movement
Pigs need space and while they might like to cuddle inside, they should be taken outside regularly.
Set up an area outside that is protected and safe so that your pig can run to its heart’s content. You should create an area they can dig in and plant grass for them to eat.
If your pig is especially lively, you can even try to create an obstacle course for it. This way they can learn tricks and get exercise at the same time.
While large pigs are not the best pets, smaller breeds can indeed be included in your household. House training is an important first step and you can use a litter box or a crate to get them started. Remember to be consistent and respect their needs.