5 Ways to Build a Better Bond with Your Pet

Written by Oxbow

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July 21, 2022🞄

Building a better bond with your pet doesn’t have to be an advanced process! In fact, it may be simpler than you think. This blog covers 5 easy ways to strengthen the bond you have with your small exotic companion mammal.


guinea pig eating parsley

1. Offer Your Pet a Variety of Fresh, Healthy, Species-Appropriate Foods

Small mammals are highly food-motivated animals! Offer different species of appropriate vegetables or greens to your pet to find out what appears to be their favorite.  

While treats like fruits should be fed in moderation, vegetables that are low in sugar can be fed to our little ones a couple of times a week safely. This gives you additional opportunities to interact with your pet in positive, meaningful ways.  


2. Pick Up Your Pet Every Day

It can take a lot of time and effort, but once a small mammal is accustomed to being handled, they are much less likely to run away when you attempt to pick them up. Not only is this a wonderful convenience for you, but this also means that precious time isn’t wasted during an emergency.   

Better yet, when you pick them up have them spend a bit of time on the couch with you! Whether they’re sitting on your lap or securely sitting next to you, couch time is a direct form of bonding.


chinchilla in a play pen

3. Bond With Your Pet in Their Playpen

It can be easier than you think to spend time with your pet! Setting up a playpen that is attached to their enclosure allows your pet to explore while having the safety of home close by. Better yet? You can sit in the playpen while your pet is exploring!  

Many small mammals (especially guinea pigs) love to walk perimeters.  When your pet walks around you as you sit in the middle of their playpen, they get more used to your particular scent. Choosing an appropriate activity while doing this (such as watching TV or reading a book) makes it easier to spend time with your pet on their own terms, as they can approach you whenever they want in this scenario.  

Keep in mind that small mammals love to chew on anything and everything. Make sure that cords, papers, and other materials you don’t want your pet to chew on and consume are safely out of their reach. 


4. Teach Your Pets Basic Tricks or Play Fun Games

Because small animals are so food motivated, they can also be fast to learn basic tricks! Simple tricks can include walking in a circle, stepping up onto your hand, or standing up on their hind legs. If your pet masters these tricks, you can try more advanced tricks, such as the ones shown on Ace’s Amazing Tricks. If your pet may enjoy games, we also have many suggestions for simple games that you can play with your pet.


5. Always Remember That Consistency Is Key

Building a better bond with your pet requires consistent interactions over time.  Inconsistent interactions are confusing for our small friends, and this confusion can sometimes lead to a lack of trust.  

When you interact with your pet, it’s best to not trick or deceive them (pretending to offer food and instead give them a bitter-tasting medicine, for example).  Instead, honest interaction with your pet in this scenario would be to pick them up, give them the medication, and then provide a treat as a reward afterward. When your pet knows what they can expect from you, they will be more trusting of you.