What Does It Mean When A Pig Nudges You?

Photo Credit: @ticklepigandfriends

Pigs can be aggressive, especially pot-bellied pigs. It is in their nature to do so. When you introduce a pig into your home, you become a part of their herd. The herd has a hierarchy that your pig will challenge to be on top. This is where the aggressiveness comes from.

So what does it mean when your pig nudges you? It is an act of aggression that your pig is showing to try and obtain dominance over you. Almost all mini pigs and farm pigs will do this, but KuneKune pigs usually won’t. Another reason the nudging could be happening is that they are searching for places to root, but they usually won’t nudge you because of this.

Younger pigs that haven’t fully settled into their role in the herd hierarchy generally nudge more often. Naturally, they will want to challenge you to see if they are the leader or not. They may also try to nudge your kids and your other pets.

What to do when your pig nudges you

It’s important to stand your ground and show your pig that you are the boss. You need to ensure your standing as the head of the herd, so if they give you a nudge, give them a harder nudge back.

Sometimes their nudging can turn into charging and even biting. If this happens, you could try controlling your pig with a loud “no” or by just showing you are more powerful. Sometimes you may even need to use a door in between you and your pig to block off their charges and push them back.

Eventually, your pig will start listening to your commands and will stop nudging you. If you notice your pig about to nudge/charge you, and you say no and they stop, reward them with a treat. Nothing drives pigs more than food, so this is almost guaranteed to stop the behavior.

Why the nudging could just be because of rooting behaviors

Pigs love rooting up soil and dirt for many different reasons. Just like being aggressive, it is in their nature to do it. When a pig is beginning to root, they will usually nudge their snouts up against something to determine if it is rootable.

Sometimes they will continue rooting, sometimes they won’t. Hopefully, they don’t if it’s your couch or carpet they are deciding on. So if your pig is nudging you but seems to not be doing it aggressively, they might just be checking to see if you’re rootable.

To deal with this, tell them no and give them a rooting toy or rooting mat to play on. If you don’t have any rooting toys, check out this mat on Amazon. You could also just let them outside and go to a spot that you don’t mind your yard being all rooted up.

Some people get more creative with it and actually make rooting mats and rooting boxes on their own. Check out this lady who made one out of many smooth stones:

Can a pig nudge be dangerous?

A grown adult doesnt really have to worry about pig nudges from there pet pig because it is not that difficult to defend. Your children could be in danger though. If you have a pet pig and children, make sure you are always watching (especially if the pig is younger).

If your pig realizes that they are higher in the herd hierarchy than your child, it could be dangerous. The pig may hurt the child if they annoy the pig in any way.

Your other pets and even the pig themself could also be in danger when they nudge. If you have a dog, always be watching. Nudging can cause your dog to get annoyed which can cause deadly fights. There are many stories of pigs getting saverly injured and even killed by dogs.

Usually, pets like cats and rabbits will just run away, but because dogs are naturally predator animals they don’t. This makes small dogs (especially aggressive ones) susceptible to injury from the pig. A small dog may try to fight your pig even though it’s impossible for them to win because of their size.

What if your pig doesn’t stop nudging?

This most likely is because your pig has assumed the dominant role already in the herd. Generally, these pigs will take longer to change. You need to consistently be showing them you are the boss and don’t let them get any sense of victory.

But the most important thing to getting the nudging to stop is to reward food when they comply with you. I’m telling you, pigs will do anything for food. It’s what they live for.

Also, if your pig has not been neutered/spayed they will be more aggressive, therefore nudge you more often. This gets ramped up during mating times when your pig has high testosterone/estrogen in their system.

Ask your veterinarian if they could neuter/spay your pigs. The older and obese your pig is, the higher the risk of the surgery. If you want to learn more about neutering/spaying, check out this article I wrote.

Do pigs nudge each other?

If you have two pigs, they will most likely try to show dominance to one another. This generally starts with nudging and then leads to charging and fighting. This is very normal, and you don’t really have to worry about it. It would be very uncommon for a severe injury to arise from this fighting.

Is there any kind of pigs that don’t nudge?

Yes, there actually is a kind of pig that won’t nudge you, or do much if any of these aggressive behaviors. This pig breed is the Kunekune pig. I wrote an article all about them that you can check out here. Although they are a bit bigger than most mini pigs, they are great pets (in my opinion better pets).

They look like this:

Photo Credit: @kunekunetoots

Because of their larger size and the fact that they love to graze big fields, kunekune pigs are better kept as outdoor pets. This doesn’t mean you can’t keep them indoors, it just might be difficult. In my opinion, pot-bellied pigs are better kept outdoors as well.

The reason they don’t nudge as much has something to do with their specific breed. For whatever reason, kunekune pigs are just much more friendly to humans than pot-bellied pigs are.

Why do pigs nudge but other pets don’t?

Pigs aren’t exactly pets, and those that do keep them as pets have to deal with many “un-pet-like” behaviors, nudging being one of them. Many people who buy a pig think they are just these tiny cute things that behave perfectly, but this couldn’t be farther than the truth.

Just being straight up, dogs are better pets than pigs. It takes a special kind of person to care for pigs properly because they are difficult. It’s almost like raising a toddler that never grows out of being a toddler.

So many pigs are abandoned or given to shelters every year because people didn’t understand this before they bought one. One thing that I like to say is pigs are best for people who want children but don’t want children if that makes any sense