First of all, thank you to everyone who has or is planning on purchasing a show pig from Shaffer’s Gold Rush. We really appreciate your time and business with us!
I am going to start a weekly series, Now that your Pig is HOME, to help guide you on the training of your show pigs and preparing them for the show.
As spring is coming around and the weather is warming up, it is VERY IMPORTANT to be getting your pig out in the yard! It is never too early to start walking and training your pig. Obviously, your pig will not be trained by day one. They are either going to run everywhere or not move at all! This is why it is crucial to get your pig out now, while you weigh more than your pig! The pig is still small enough that you can handle them. If you wait until your pig is 200 pounds or more, you are only setting yourself up for frustration and failure.
Here are the steps that you need to be working on this week/weekend. Getting your pig out of the barn, allowing them to get used to the being in the yard, and getting back into their pen in the barn. Although, this may seem pretty simple, sometimes this is the hardest part of training your animal. Again, very very important that we start this NOW, TODAY, not tomorrow! When getting your pig out of the pen for the first few times, I strongly recommend that you have a helper with you. Someone needs to have a herder board and help guide the pig towards the door. If the pig wants to turn and run back in, gently use the board to push them outside, then shut the door behind you, if possible. **This will require A LOT of patience, remember your pig is simply scared. There is no need to get angry or upset at the pig. It will only be like this for a week at the maximum, so the more you get them out, the better they will be at walking out.
Once you have maneuvered the pig to the yard (it is best to walk on grass, avoid rocks and gravel) just let them do their thing for a few minutes. Let them get comfortable in this new place and sniff and smell around. This may sound silly, but sometimes it is very helpful to have a dog or cat out in the yard with them. Once the pig appears comfortable, start tapping it with your show utensil. This is just to get them familiar with your whip or pipe, don’t worry if they are not responding well. There is no need to be overly aggressive with your pig at this point. You have a couple months until the show, that is why we are getting the pigs out now so we can teach them a little at a time. Let them roam your yard a little while longer, but try not to let them root or dig up your yard.
Now the hard part! Getting back to the barn! Again have at least one other person help you by using a herder board. ** Remember staying calm is key, this can be frustrating. Gently guide the pig towards the barn. Stay low to the ground, in case the pigs tries to turn around. Using your arms and hands to guide the pig is best, not your feet and legs. Taking your time is key, if you try to push your hog too far, too fast it may overheat or possibly stress. Remember it is easier to do this while the pig is small, so you are stronger them and can push them in the barn if needed. Once the pig is back in the pen, reward it with food or love!
The key is to make the first couple of outings enjoyable for the pig, so it will want to return outside! You need to repeat this process daily if possible. It may take a week before the pig will walk in and out of the barn on its own.
As always, feel free to call with any questions that you may have! 888-690-2022
Be looking back here at the blog for Part 2 in Now that your Pig is HOME!