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Now that your Pig is HOME! Part 2

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.

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10 Comments

  1. Ericka
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Any tricks to get them to walk with their head up?

    • Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ericka,

      There are several different ways to help do this. Lynsee will be doing a blog in the near future with tips to keeping their heads up. Several things that you can start on now to have water and feeders off the ground where they are used to drinking and eating with their heads off of the ground. When you are walking them, you can tap them under their chin to keep their head up. Some people put marshmellows on the end of their whips so when they are walking, the keep the marshmellow up and the pig will learn to keep their head up.

      We will go into greater detail on next blog, but hopefully these tips will help you get started!

  2. Ashley
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been showing for a few years now, and I’m always having a hard time getting my pigs to slow down, do you have any tricks?

    • Posted July 15, 2017 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      When ever my pig starts to speed up, I tap their forehead or the nose. But the forehead works best for me.

  3. Alexis
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    What about when a pig doesn’t want to be separated from a friend and freaks out when their apart?

    • Posted January 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      This can be hard because pigs are very social creatures. With that being said, it is possible. Start out slow and small. If at first you have to take them both together, do so. Once out try to separate them to where they are walking in opposite directions. Rewarding them with something for going out on their own. Keep doing this over and over to eventually get to where you can take them out by themselves. Some people do the cold turkey approach. With the help of several people get the pig out of the barn that doesn’t want to leave it’s friend. Once outside, let them relax and give them a treat of something. A marshmellow, feed of choice, etc. Whatever they like. Tomorrow get them outside, give them a treat than try to go 10 feet from the barn. Build on this every day. It takes alot of time and patience but you can do it!

  4. Peggy
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    In Part 1 of this series, you mention that you shouldn’t let your pig root in the yard. Should you EVER let the pig just be a pig out in the yard/ring or should you always focus on training while out in the ring?

    • Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Great question! When you are practicing showmanship and training for the show, do not let them root because they will want to root in the show ring. They do what they practice.

      However pigs have to be pigs too! What we did was we would let our pigs out in a pen during the day to darken them up and also let them exercise and play. They would typically root around, try to make a mud hole if it was after a rain, etc. When we did this, we were not focusing on showing them, but just getting exercise! Hope this helps!

  5. Madison
    Posted July 13, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I have been showing pigs for a few years now, and they have never been as stubborn as my pig is this year! I work him once or twice a day, depending on the weather. When I want my pig to go forward, I tap him on the back of the hocks, but instead, he reverses and goes backwards! Do you have any tips or tricks on getting him to go forward and listen to me more? Thanks!

    • Posted July 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Oh no! There are some pigs that are just naturally stubborn and take a lot of work! Keep working with him, but he will be one to test your patience!

      First of all, I do like tapping them on their hocks because generally they do not respond as well. They tuck their legs up underneath them and you have little control when you do so as well. What i would so is work with only tapping him on this sides, shoulders and under the chin if he needs to get his head up). Starting out, I would see if someone could help you. Knowing that he likes to go backwards, have your helper have a herder or panel of some kind which is behind him. When he goes backwards, he will run into the herder and not be able to continue. Also, take it really slow and he may be on that you really that to bribe with treats to get to learn to walk. When you are out in the yard, give him a marshmellow or jelly or whatever treat your prefer. Then as you are walking him, give him treat every once in a while or have the marshmellow on the end of your show whip or pipe to where he almost has to follow it. Over time you two will figure out what works.

      He sounds like one that will just take longer than normal to train. Let us know if you have more questions!

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