Pot Belly Pigs are beloved pets for many people. Caring for them is one of their favorite pastimes. In fact, Pot Belly Pigs are very intelligent and highly trainable, which makes them well suited for families. Children, however, should be supervised when with these pigs since sometimes these animals may be aggressive. Many Pot Belly Pigs are a real amusement due to their ability to perform various feats.
In the intelligence scale, they are only two species away from the intelligence of humans! Only the monkey/ape family and the dolphin/whale familes are more intelligent.
Unfortunately, that can be detrimental to having a pig as a pet. The porker will quickly learn to open refrigerator doors and cupboards in his eternal quest for food, and outsmart his trainer by taking the shortest route to gratification. Wily pigs learn to scream, to wake their owners for breakfast, beg for food and raid pantries. They can be demanding, overly sensitive or even neurotic. Piggies often pout if challenged by humans! Their personalities are complex. Because of this, pigs need a lot of discipline and monitoring. A bored pig will root, knock over household objects and devour house plants. Pigs take nothing for granted and seem to want to know what is under everything.
Pigs are not good pets if left home alone with no mental stimulation or physical challenges. And, because of their intelligence, they can be aggressive with young children. The good news is that pigs are very trainable. First, a pig must be taught that he can trust his owner. Firm, gentle discipline works well. Because of their love for food, positive reinforcement is effective. Negative physical reinforcement is not. Pigs have a great memory and respond well to commands. They are capable of learning to slam dunk a basketball, play a piano, or golf, play soccer, jump through hoops, dance, ride a skateboard and dozens of other feats. Housebreaking comes very easy to pigs.
Potbellied pigs average about 125 pounds at 3 years of age. Originally, they were advertised by breeders as being around 50 pounds at maturity. What few people took time to learn was that the pig grows until 4 years of age, and often is too large to ride in a car to go to the veterinarian. This problem can be overcome, if the owner is dedicated, by training a pig to climb a ramp into the car. All pigs must be neutered and spayed to be good pets. Otherewise they are very hormornal, demanding and whiney.
Potbellies are herd animals with a strong pecking order. If they are spoiled, they often become territorial, and aggressive towards humans, especially house guests. The pigs have an instinctual urge to be "Top Hog," and defend their turf. Pigs with lots of subtle, daily discipline and boundaries in the home, do not exhibit this phenonoma. The oinkers must be taught the word "NO" and to respect humans.