After a week of your show pig learning how to walk in and out of the barn and is comfortable in the yard, you can begin to work them a little more. The next step is to teach
them how to turn and walk by using only your show utensil. Just like before, it will not be easy the first day you try this.
** Try to use the whip or pipe that you will show with. Pigs like a consistent routine, so if you start with a whip use it the whole time. A pipe and a whip feel different than each other. Also, remain calm and just have fun with your pig in the yard. We still have plenty of time before the show so if your pig is being stubborn, keep a herder board out in the yard with you to help. The more your pig is out the better it will behave.
Once the pig is out in the yard practice walking your pig straight. When we tap our pig on the side or belly that means walk straight. So while your pig is walking, start tapping it on the side to signify straight. If your pig tries to turn tap the neck and make it stay straight. If you start letting your pig do whatever it wants now, that behavior will be hard to correct later. Like training a puppy, be sure to let the pig know you are in charge.
If you want your pig to turn you will tap the cheek or neck of the pig. Directly under the ear is the best. If you want your pig to turn right, tap your pig on the left. If you
want your pig to turn left, tap your pig on the right.
A good question I get is: how hard do I need to tap my pig? You need to be forceful enough that the pig gets the message that it needs to turn without bruising or hurting your pigs. Just a ‘tap’ will not be enough in the beginning of training. It is just like shaking hands with someone. Too weak of a grip doesn’t give you a good impression. Too hard of a grip can hurt the other person. A firm grip is just right! It you are barely touching the pig, it will never understand and if you get mad and “beat” it then the pig will not enjoy walking and actually be harder to train. Just a few firm taps under the ear will send the message to turn.
Continue to do this daily and try to take your pig a little farther every time it is out.
The photo below is a picture of me in the process of training a boar pig for the summer. You could say this is an action shot! But for those of you that are new to showing, pay attention to where my pipe is, just under his ear. This is me teaching him to turn left. I used a pipe, but a whip will work fine too.
At this time we are still not ready for showmanship or ready to go into the ring, we are simply starting to train our pig and exercise them. If anything getting your pig out
daily to exercise will help keep their joints loose and increase their appetite.
I want to make one last note: Although, I say it is important to get your pig out daily that is if weather permits.