The Spoiled Pig Syndrome (SPS)
By Susan Armstrong
According to Webster, the word DISCIPLINE is defined as “training to act in accordance with rules; to train by instruction and exercise; to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.”
We have some very spoiled pet pigs that are causing frustration and agitation with otherwise understanding & tolerant piggy parents. This condition is referred to as The Spoiled Pig Syndrome (SPS). Is your pig misbehaving? Grouchy? Pigheaded? Nippy? Won’t listen to you? Then your pig could have SPS. To make change in this unfavorable behavior, we need to be in control. This behavior should not be condoned by you.. NOT NOW, NOT EVER!!
What causes pigs to become spoiled and how do you prevent it from continuing? I don’t have the answers scientifically accepted as facts but I do see some similar behavior after lengthy discussions with pig owners.
First I look at the physical reasons for undesirable behavior, starting with the feeding menu and schedule. Your pig could have adverse behavior based on WHAT you feed, HOW you feed, WHEN you feed, and WHO feeds.
Then look at the environment the pig lives in. Does he/she have their own “get away” space? Does the pig feel threatened or disliked by a family member? Does the pig get enough fresh air and exercise? Is there unhappiness and discontent in the family?
Next comes questions to determine good health. When was the pig weaned from the mother, and from the siblings? Could there be a toothache, urinary infection or anything else causing pain or discomfort?
Once all the physical reasons are discussed, changed or eliminated, I take a good look at the way the pig has been socialized.
The majority of problems are vastly improved when communication is established between Parents & Piggy. “Discipline” is the magic used to communicate. Put your foot down, no more Mr. Nice Guy, make the little porker behave, if not… withdraw the reward. BUT as soon as you see the behavior you are striving to get, then INSTANTLY reward. Use your voice and body language to express what you want to communicate.
Training and consistency is critical for success in communicating. If we are NOT consistent, piggy will be getting mixed signals. Always use the same short phrases or single words to describe the behavior the pig is displaying. The rule here is: same phrase for same behavior… every time… by everyone in the family.
Communicate with your pig through consistency, training, discipline and lots of love and you will have a great companion. Remember the pig is exceptionally intelligent and will respond in a positive manner when presented with the opportunity to be equal.
© Susan Armstrong 1998