The pot-bellied pig is an increasingly common pet in American homes. When bringing an animal inside your home and into contact with your children and guests, therefore, it's even more important to teach the pig proper social skills. If your pet is biting, put a stop to it immediately by assuming a dominant role and shutting down inappropriate behaviors.
Form a Positive Relationship
Although a pig may bite for many reasons, fear is one. If a pig has been badly handled in the past, it may respond by biting out of fear, even when new owners are kind and display none of the actions associated with past situations. The best bet is to create a positive relationship with your pig, which is, after all, a social animal just like humans. Avoid behaviors that could increase fear, like yelling commands or making other loud noises. However, pot-bellied pigs more commonly bite because they haven’t been taught the proper household pecking order.
Be the Boss
Many pigs display dominant behaviors, which means that if you give them half an opportunity, they will try to show you that they're in charge. You must therefore be unerringly sure that you are the dominant one, and demonstrate this to the pig. This sounds easier than it actually is, since everyone in the household must be the “boss” of the pig, or else its dominant behaviors -- which often translate to aggressive behaviors -- will continue. If you have family members who cannot break their fear of the pig, you may not be able to train it to stop biting.
Stop Hand Feeding
Hand feeding gives pigs an opportunity to bite where they should not receive one. If your pig is biting, you should stop all hand-feeding immediately. When the pig does earn a treat, place it in his bowl or on the ground. That way he cannot get mixed messages by receiving a treat while biting you. If you have a new pig who does not yet bite, teach him to use his lips rather than his teeth with humans: hold your palm completely flat, with the treat anchored and sticking up between two fingers.
The most important habit in teaching your pig not to bite is to consistently train him. If you are lukewarm on training, your pig will assume you are the submissive one and will take a dominant role. Don’t allow this to happen. When you make a rule, enforce it every single time. If your pig is aggressive, bites, postures or otherwise challenges you, never back down, no matter what. Consistency is the only thing that will teach your pig who’s boss.
Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.