Are Golden Retrievers Good with Guinea Pigs? 7 Steps to Introduce Them


Golden Retrievers can be friends with almost anyone. They are terrific with humans, amazing with children, great with other dogs, and they even get along with cats pretty well.

But what about other, smaller animals? Guinea pigs make for excellent pets as well, especially for children as they require much less care than with other animals and are relatively easy to care for.

Can the two of them live together under the same roof?

Are golden retrievers good with Guinea Pigs? Yes, Golden Retrievers are good with guinea pigs and they can live happily with them in the same house with some simple training and good planning. Goldens are friendly and gentle with guinea pigs and are unlikely to try chasing them or hunting them.

The key is in introducing them the right way, which can take some effort, but most dog owners can execute this introduction perfectly with no problem. The even better news is that since goldens are so gentle and friendly by nature, it’s going to be easier for golden retriever owners than with other dog breeds.

So, let’s learn why are goldens good with guinea pigs and how you can introduce them to help them get along well… keep reading…

Why Are Golden Retrievers Good with Guinea Pigs?

Golden retriever with Guinea pig to illustrate why are golden retrievers good with guinea pigs

Since Guinea pigs are rodents, most people think that they can’t really live with dogs under the same roof. Dogs have been used for thousands of years to protect houses and farms of rodents, and some dogs will instinctively chase and kill rodents the moment they see or smell them.

While this is historically true, it’s no longer the case today. This stereotypical relationship of predatory and prey is no longer the truth in today’s world where dogs are companions not working animals and guinea pigs are pets not invasive rodents.

This means that for most domesticated dogs, with some training and careful planning, they can live happily with guinea pigs under the same roof.

Of course it still depends on the dog breed’s history and the dog’s individual personality, which is why I think Golden Retrievers are the perfect choice to have with guinea pigs.

Here are the reasons why golden retrievers are so good with guinea pigs:

  • They are Gentle
  • They do not have a prey drive
  • They are obedient
  • They are even-tempered
  • They are easy to train

Let’s quickly discuss how each of these reasons make golden retrievers the perfect dogs for a multi-pet households:

They are Gentle

Golden Retrievers are very gentle dogs that will not play roughly or harm your guinea pigs unintentionally.

They are very careful with smaller creatures and seem to know by instinct that they shouldn’t play too roughly with them to not hurt them.

You will often see your dog looking carefully at the other animal to check on them before they move, and goldens are less likely than other dogs to make the sudden movements that can throw an animal off balance.

The main exception is that they really like to jump on people, but we can take it – and train them to stop doing it.

They don’t have a prey drive

Golden Retrievers were not bred to be hunting dogs, so they don’t have the strong instinct to chase and kill as some other dogs do. They were bred to be gentle and caring and to retriever game safely to hunters.

This means they were bred to be careful when handling small animals and not to bite too roughly or leave marks on it. They were meant to just bring the animal back to their humans, what the human decided to do with it is up to the human and none of the dog’s business.

This very weak – or even lack there of – prey drive in goldens is why they are so good with small animals in general and why they are less likely to run off and chase a squirrel whenever they see one.

They are obedient

Golden Retrievers are very obedient dogs, especially when trained at a young age and socialized well.

They tend to want to make everyone around them happy, which makes them excellent family dogs but also means that they are not suitable at all to be guard dogs.

They are even-tempered

Goldens are known to be even-tempered and patient dogs. Golden retriever owners often have no problem predicting how their dogs will react in most situations – given that the dog is well trained.

This also means that goldens are not triggered easily when your guinea pigs becomes suddenly hyperactive and has a burst of energy out of no where.

This is also why goldens can make unexpected friends such as rabbits and chickens. You can learn more about why are goldens good with rabbits here and why goldens are great with chickens here.

They are easy to train

Golden Retrievers are not only one of the easiest dogs to train, but they also retain excellent recall of their training for years to come. Goldens are a perfect mix of being smart enough to recognize the recalls and loving enough to want to please their owners.

This combination is quite rare. Some dogs, such as huskies, are very smart and are able to understand humans easily, but their intelligence can also make them quite stubborn which makes training them quite difficult.

Goldens, on the other hand, are so loving and eager to please that they will pick up on commands easily – on average after just 3 repetitions.

Speaking of Training, let’s now talk about how you can introduce your golden retriever and guinea pig to each other so they can be friends in no time.

7 Steps to introduce your golden and guinea pigs to each other

Image Credit: Golden Goodness Infinity IG

Here are the easy steps to introduce your golden retriever and guinea pig to each other.

  1. Choose a Good Time and Place
  2. Ask a friend for help
  3. First introduction; both under control
  4. Let the Guinea pig free
  5. Let the dog off the leash
  6. Supervise and Repeat
  7. Course Correction when needed

Here are the steps in more detail so you know exactly what to do:

Choose a Good Time and Place

Choosing the right time and place can make a big difference.

For the time: Your dog should be completely calm and relaxed for this first introduction, so choose a time when they are at their lowest energy level – preferably right after an intense exercise session.

For the place: You should choose a neutral space. The living room or any other common spaces in your house should do fine. Avoid making the introduction somewhere that either animals prefer – such as their sleeping or feeding spots, as dogs can get territorial about these places in particular.

Ask a friend for Help

While you can totally make the first introduction on your own, I think having an extra set of hands and eyes are going to be very helpful to you.

You can have the friend hold the pig while you hold on to your dog’s leash, and this will give yo complete control of the situation.

You can still hold the pig yourself with one hand and the dog’s leash with the other, but I have found this to be quite a handful and quite a difficult task with a large dog like a golden.

First Introduction; both under control

While you or a friend holds the guinea pig, introduce the dog – while on a leash to the guinea pig and watch closely how each animal reacts.

Don’t let the dog get closer than an arm’s reach from your pig and watch closely what they are both doing. The Guinea pig should be relaxed, but if they start moving around and trying to break free, they are probably scared of the dog.

For the dog, they also should stay calm. They may be curious and start sniffing to “know” the pig, but if the tail wagging gets too much, it means the dog is getting too excited.

Whenever either of them gets anxious or too excited, take the dog out of the room and break off the introduction

Keep the first few sessions short. Maybe 5 to 10 minutes at max, and you can repeat this for a few days.

Let the Guinea Pig Free

Once you feel that the Guinea pig is comfortable with the dog’s presence – which can sometimes happen in the first day and sometimes can take a few days – you can start letting them roam free around the dog.

They will start exploring the dog and going around it. By now, the dog is also comfortable with the guinea pig’s presence and doesn’t mind them exploring and roaming.

However, the dog should still be on the leash and you should keep an eye on their body language so they don’t get too excited.

If they try to lunge forward or jump to get at the pig, tell them that to “stop”, tell them that they’ve done something wrong by saying “bad dog”, and take them away for 10-15 minutes until they calm back down.

Let the dog off the leash

Once the guinea pig and the dog are comfortable with each other’s presence enough, you can let the dog free as well. You should stand close enough to the dog to be able to intervene if anything happens that needs your intervention.

The dog and pig will try to “know” each other better then by smelling and exploring each other, and they may even begin playing together.

Supervise and Repeat

You should always supervise these play sessions and keep an eye on how they are both behaving.

You should also repeat the introduction sessions whenever necessary. It’s fine when something goes wrong, it can take some time for the dog and pig to get to know each other well enough to trust each other, the important thing is that you will be making progress.

Course Correction When Needed

Sometimes, things will happen. The dog may one time play too roughly and the pig will be taken aback. Setbacks are okay as long as you know what to do.

Whenever a setback happens, take things a step backward and repeat the last step or even a few steps. You may need to re-do the introduction altogether at some point even, but just keep making progress and you will be fine.

These steps should work fine whether you already have the guinea pig or the golden retriever in the house.

A perfect example of a Golden-Guinea pig friendship

The Internet is a wonderful place where you can be amazed everyday, so it’s no surprise that there are a ton of great examples of goldens and guinea pigs being excellent friends.

Check out this awesome golden retriever which has a friend – a guinea pig – that follows here everywhere!

Seriously, how cute is that?!

You can follow them on Instagram here, where you will be able to find cute stuff like this:

If you liked this post, you can share it on social media using the share and pin buttons at the end of the post, I’ll really, really appreciate it ♥️ ♥️

Related Questions

What small animals get along with dogs?

Depending on the dog’s breed, training, and individual personality, dogs can get along well with many small animals like cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, and even chickens. Dogs can also get along with exotic animals such as snakes if they’re trained well enough.

Planning the introduction can make a big difference in how dogs get along with other small animals, but a well-trained dog can get along well with almost any small animal and live with them under the same roof.

Do dogs eat small animals?

Traditionally, dogs eat small animals as they are carnivores, but modern dogs are too domesticated to kill and hunt on their own unless they are trained to do so. Most dogs can get along with small animals just fine and live with them in the same house peacefully if they are well trained.

Helpful Resources

Can Small Animals Live with Dogs?

The Complete Guide to Guinea Pigs

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