Pigs are very social and live in a strict hierarchy. The pigs that live in an established group maintain their ranking through aggressive gestures and threats. Threats are expressed by the dominant pig throwing with its head, usually with its mouth open. Sometimes noise is also emitted in connection with this. It is usually not a serious attempt to bite but mostly a way to scare. When Chico does this, we call it “chopping” for someone. Other ways to show dominance are by pushing or by trying to lift your opponent using the snout.
Chico thinks it’s exciting with new people. Whether we get a visit or if we are out for a walk, he wants to smell everyone who shows interest in him (which is almost everyone ..). But when he has smelled, he almost always backs up a few steps so that the person in question can not pat him. You can only pat if he is really curious or if we mislead him a little in the meantime.
Sometimes when there are children who really want to pet, we usually lift him up in his arms so that the child can safely venture forward and pat a little. If the guest is a little too intense for Chico, he may see the visitor as a new flock member who must be shown on site. Then he can “chop”. He is usually cozier when we are at home and visiting others than he is when we have guests.
It does not work as with other animals; that when they have been allowed to smell, it is “free to come forward” for caresses, etc. Chico is reserved for a very long time for new people and this can cause problems because we humans think that as soon as he has been able to smell, I can pat him. This is not the case with Chico, he must be given a warning that you want to pat, then he must decide whether you should get it or not. If you surprise him, there is a great risk that he will “chop” after you. He does not bite but clearly indicates that he does not like what is happening.
He also “chops” after us if we disturb him when he is very tired but has not yet fallen asleep or if we eat something sweet that he does not get, then he can chop after the mouth if he is sitting on his lap. Sometimes when we have eaten something good in front of the TV, for example, and Chico has had the occasional treat, then it is risky to reach out even to him! He expects to get something good when it smells good, when the hand is empty he can get angry and “chop”. Nowadays he gets nothing to eat except in his bowl so this has disappeared completely!
We do what we can to prevent the “chopping” but I do not know if you can get rid of it completely, it is a natural behavior for pigs. We punish Chico every time it happens in the hope that he learns that it is not an idea.
We have no problem bringing guests and friends home, but we always inform beforehand that it is best to completely ignore Chico and just observe him.
The road to the pig’s heart goes through the food bag! Bribes always go home if you want to be friends, but beware – your pig can easily get fat!
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