Most pigs don’t like the feel of water – except when they’re very hot and using it to cool off. They also don’t like the slippery, wet tiles in the bathroom as they can easily lose their footing. Getting in and out is a pretty difficult process as well if you have little stubby legs!
To get your pig used to being bathed, gradually start getting your piggy used to being in the bathroom with no negative experiences. Cover the floor of the bathroom with non skid rugs so he can’t lose his footing. Even if you have to stuff your pig full of food to do so, get him in to the bathroom and have him used to being in there. When he is in the bathroom, give him praise and a special treat. You can also get him to perform some simple tricks like sit or spin to show him that bathrooms can be fun places too. Repeat this process every few days until your pig is happy going into the bathroom without too much trouble.
When you’re at this point, you can start to turn on the taps – just to get him used to hearing the running water. Give him a treat when the water is running and turn it on and off a few times and every time you turn it back on, give your pig another treat. This conditions the piglet to understand that turning on the water is a good thing and not something to be afraid of.
Although you can use a bathtub to bathe your pig, it’s easier to do so in a shower stall as he won’t feel so confined. The next step in the process is to start getting him used to going into a shower stall. This may take a while, but you can slowly get him in there using a line of grapes on the floor and a small pile at the end of the line. Once he’s happy going into the stall, gradually add a small amount of standing water in the stall and increase the depth of the water each training session. Make sure the temperature is perfect (use the same method as for checking the water temp for a baby) as if it’s too hot to too cold your piggy won’t like it. Every time your pig gets his hooves wet, reinforce it with the voice command “Bath”.
When your piglet is in the stall, start introduucing him to water slowly by massaging his back with wet hands. Use very little pressure. When you want to introduce baby shampoo (make sure it’s mild), let him sniff it first. Of course while this is going on, you need to continually feed and reassure your pig so he doesn’t get frightened. It’s usually best to have a second person do this task as it gets too much for one person to handle.
When you have finished, you can towel your piglet off using warm towels straight from the dryer to give him a massage. They like the feel of the warm towel and it will reinforce bath time as a relaxing, pleasurable time for your piglet.
You can use a bath as well, but it would pay to put him in the bath when it’s dry a few times for him to get used to the bath. If he tries to jump out, just command him to sit. You should also line the bottom of the bath with towels so he doesn’t get frightened and lose traction.
If you can learn to associate bath time with a good experience for the pig, it will make the entire process a whole lot easier and in time your pig will learn to love it.