Harness Training 101

Before diving into this task remember all piglets learn differently and at a different pace. Some piglets may take to the harness easily and be ready from day one, some may take weeks just to adjust to wearing a harness, but we are going to assume for the sake of simplicity of this quick guide that your piglet is somewhere in the middle and you are intelligent enough to adjust these steps as needed. The average training time is a week or less, remember lots of positive reinforcement, studies show that pigs learn quicker and want to learn with positive reinforcement.
  1. The sooner you start the better! Having a harness ready when your piglet comes home or within the first few days is going to make your task much simpler.
  2. The first time to put the harness on your piglet, expect some hesitation. This is fine, but its important you stay with your piglet and watch and have treats on stand by. The second your piglet calms down (if lucky your piglet will remain calm the whole time) treat your piglet and take the harness off. This is your only job for day 1! You have told your piglet that not having a fit while wearing a harness is good! You have rewarded the good behavior with a treat and the lesson is over, leaving on a good note.
  3. On the second day, we will put the harness on, as soon as the tantrum stops we will treat the piglet with lots of yummy treats and affection but we will not take the harness off. After about 20 minutes, remove the harness (if your piglet is being good) and treat them.
  4. Step 3 will take place several days if needed, we want to get our piglet confident in wearing a harness.
  5. Once your piglet is ok with the harness we will attach our lead. Treat your piglet with the lead on, and let your piglet feel the weight of the lead, treat your piglet and let your piglet drag it for 5 minutes or so. Assuming your piglet is calm, treat your piglet and remove the harness and lead.
  6. Once your piglet has decided its ok to have a lead attached its time to start adding slight pressure, once your piglet submits to this pressure (submit means to not resist for the sake of this tutorial) then treat your piglet and remove.
  7. You will then add length to your training session with the lead on, work up to 15-20 minutes. Treat your piglet, lots of praise.
  8. Your next step is to take your piglet on a short walk in your yard, without distractions, such as dogs and other pigs. Treats, praises and lots of love. After 20 minutes your session is complete and now you can start to add time to your outings.

Reprinted with permission. ©Anita Jacobson, Just Mini Pigs FB Group

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