Why Does My Guinea Pig Push My Hand Away? The Truth!

Guinea pigs are frenetic and vocal animals who have no problem letting you know what they want. Also, guinea pigs will tell you what they don’t like. Your guinea pig can also tell you if their food and water bowl are empty. However, if you are not adept yet in having a pet guinea pig, it may be hard for you to ponder what their body movements are. 

Even if you are already adept, it may be still hard to identify what your guinea pig really wants and doesn’t want. Why? Because sometimes guinea pigs do or express things that alienate us. They sometimes do different body languages and vocalizations that we have not experienced yet! 

One of these unusual body language guinea pigs do is pushing their owner’s hands away when their owners try to pet them. So, why do guinea pigs push your hand away? This is the answer!

Why does my guinea pig push my hand away? Guinea pigs push your hand away to let you know that they don’t want you to pet them anymore or don’t like the way you are petting them. Sometimes, your guinea pig may poke your hand to voice out to you that they want to play or show dominance.

You don’t have to worry if your guinea pig pushes your hand away if you pet them. Because today, I will be giving you tips on understanding whether your guinea pig is telling you that it likes or dislikes you petting him/her. 

Also, I will tell you where you should and should not pet your guinea pig and when you should stop petting them. Lastly, I will also add other information that will be useful for you. If you are ready, let us go!

Related Article: Do guinea pigs have quiet days?

Your Guinea Pig Just Don’t Feel Interacting With You

Sometimes, our guinea pigs just don’t feel like interacting with you. That is why they push or bite your hand. Guinea pigs have emotions, which is why it is normal for them to have mood swings like us humans. 

If your guinea pig seems quieter than usual, it might mean that your guinea pig doesn’t feel like interacting with you. If you try to bother your guinea pig even though it already shows a hostile attitude, it might make your guinea pig stressed. However, being quiet might also mean something. If your guinea pig is quiet it might also have illnesses or injuries. 

You Are Petting The Wrong Body Part

Guinea pigs know their personal preferences. They are very particular where they like to be petted. The reason why is because of their nature as prey animals, and sometimes to the direction their fur grows. Your guinea pig will tell you what kind of stroking it wants or doesn’t want by pushing your hand away, biting your hand, or squealing loudly.

Where Not To Pet Your Guinea Pig?

If your guinea pig pushes your hand away, bites your hand, or throws its head upward while you are petting its head or face, your guinea pig probably tells you that it does not like to be pet there or doesn’t want your way of petting.

As a prey animal, guinea pigs don’t love having their eyes covered or their vision is being blocked. If you pet your guinea pig on the head, it is inevitable to block their eyes. Also, guinea pigs don’t prefer to be petted on their nose or head. So, where should you pet your guinea pig instead? Here, let me tell you. 

Where To Pet Your Guinea Pig?

Your guinea pig would love you to pet its back along the spine. So, instead of petting your guinea pig’s head or face, try petting it on their back. Some guinea pigs would love you to pet their ears or their necks under their chin. 

Guinea pigs are naturally inclined to startle when you touch them unexpectedly. When you execute this too often, your guinea pig might not like you to pet him/her. You have to make sure that your guinea pig can see your hand and know when you will approach him/her. Also, always pet your guinea pig gently!

Also, you have to be careful petting the part of the body of your guinea pig where the hair is growing. Most guinea pigs have swirls of fur that can be tricky to follow. Petting against the flow of the fur can be irritating for your pet guinea pig, which might break the rapport between you and your guinea pig. 

When Should You Stop Petting Your Guinea Pig?

The other reason why your guinea pig pushes your hand away is that it is not in the mood for being pet or no longer interested. Guinea pigs are not extremely affectionate or cuddly. Like I have said above, your pet guinea pig might have mood swings and might not be in a mood for strokes and cuddles. 

If your guinea pig bites your hand or pushes your hand away and acts irritated even though you pet him/her right, it may just mean that your guinea pig is done with the petting. Your guinea pig had enough of petting. 

You should back off and respect your guinea pig. Also, you can try another activity with your guinea pig. By doing these two things, your guinea pig will like you more! 

How To Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Enjoying Your Touch?

It is not difficult to know if your guinea pig is enjoying being petted. If your guinea pig is enjoying your touch, your guinea pig will not toss their head, push your hand away, or bite your hand. Your guinea pig will purr and will stay close to you if your guinea pig enjoys it. If your guinea pig seems to enjoy your company, continue it to build strong rapport and trust. 

How To Build Tolerance Of Your Guinea Pig For Petting?

Like I have mentioned above, guinea pigs are not naturally cuddly. However, if you know the secrets of how to pet them properly, which is along their back or their neck or chin, your guinea pig can enjoy petting time with you. You can increase the tolerance for petting and handling by starting slow and building up step-by-step. 

If you notice that your guinea pig is pushing your hands away or become fidgety when you pet your guinea pig for long, your guinea pig could get bored and irritated with you. If this is the case, you have to decrease the time you pet your guinea pig. Then escalate into a not much longer time of petting. 

To prevent your guinea pig from hating you and build tolerance for petting, you have to check their body signals. You need to be conscious! If your guinea pig bites your hand or pushes your hand away, move back and stop the petting. 

Your Guinea Pig Might Have Dominance And Territorial Behavior

Guinea pigs, whether domesticated or wild, are dominant and territorial animals. They will show dominance over other guinea pigs by chasing, mounting, squealing, and fighting against each other. However, it still depends on the personality of the guinea pig. Some guinea pigs are not that dominant, while some are very dominant (in people these are the insecures). 

Because of their natural dominant behavior, your guinea pig will push your hand away if they don’t feel like interacting with you or don’t like how you pet them. However, dominant behavior is something that doesn’t last in guinea pigs’ behavior. They will eventually leave it behind!

It often shows up in guinea pigs that become adults, guinea pigs who are figuring out how to deal with other guinea pigs, during the breeding season, or because a guinea pig feels that there are not enough resources for both of them. 

If it seems like your guinea pig is showing dominant or aggressive behavior, just continue interacting with it gently. You can also offer your guinea pig some treats, and spend time near the cage of your guinea pig if it does not like handling. Respect your guinea pig’s boundaries. This will make you more trustable and lovable for your guinea pig. 

Playing With Your Guinea Pig

So, what if your guinea pig wants to play with you but doesn’t want to be petted by you? Or what if your guinea pig is feeling frenetic to play and poke your hand to call your attention? There are many fun, and gentle activities you can do with your pet guinea pig that your guinea pig will enjoy!

Below are the different fun, and gentle games you and your guinea pig can do:

  • Tossing or rolling a small ball or toy
  • Creating a simple maze for your guinea pig
  • Playing hide and seek with a towel or blanket
  • Hiding treats and let your guinea pig find it
  • Talking to your guinea pig
  • Watching television with your guinea pig
  • Singing a song on your guinea pig

Your Guinea Pig Might Have Mites Or Skin Irritations

The last reason why your guinea pig pushes your hand away when you pet him/her is that its skin is irritated. One of the common reasons for skin irritation on your guinea pig’s skin is mites! 

If your guinea pig has mites, it can cause extreme discomfort which can be increased due to petting. That is why your guinea pig will push your hand away. Sometimes, you might not see the mites, but there are symptoms of a mite manifestation. These are:

  • Crusty skin
  • Your guinea pig often scratch or bite themselves than usual
  • Thinning fur
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Skin infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Don’t like to be touched or petted

What Should I Do About Mites Or Ailments?

If your guinea pig seems to suffer from mites or some other illnesses which are causing your guinea pig to prevent you from touching him/her, the best action is to bring your guinea pig to the vet for a proper checkup. 

Never try to get rid of the mites by yourself by bathing your guinea pig, unless a vet told you to do so. Otherwise, your guinea pig’s irritation might get worse! Your guinea pig is not a lab rat! Don’t experiment with things on your guinea pig!

How To Avoid Mites And Infections?

The best way to avoid mites and infections on your guinea pig is to give your guinea pig a well-balanced, nutritious diet and fresh, clean water. Also, make sure to keep your guinea pig’s enclosure clean. You must also use bedding that is soft and will not irritate the skin of your beloved guinea pig.

Final Verdict

The reason why your guinea pig is pushing your hands away is that it does not like being pet by you. There are many reasons why your guinea pig doesn’t enjoy it. Your guinea pig might just don’t feel like interacting with you, you are touching the wrong body part, if your guinea pig is not accustomed to petting yet, or your guinea pig is ill.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
Photo of author