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What is Spoiled Pig Syndrome

by Dean

WHAT IS SPOILED PIG SYNDROME? Spoiled Pig Syndrome refers to the social problems of a pet pig that does not respect his humans. Spoiled pigs quickly become habituated to getting what they want and when they want it. When they don’t get what they got, they will act out. These fits and outbursts of anger can result in dangerous aggressive behavior.

 Like when you spoil a child, they often disobey because there are no consequences for bad behavior and they get what they want all the time. Pet pigs are very similar to a child and there’s a name for this condition. It is called Spoiled pig syndrome.

Spoiled pig syndrome sounds like a joke when you first hear about it. But, if your pig starts displaying this kind of behavior, you won’t think it’s a laughing matter. Rather, you’ll be desperately looking for solutions to safeguard your home so that it is peaceful and safe. This warrants that you and your pig have a great relationship for years to come.

Spoiled Pig Syndrome (SPS) 

Spoiled Pig Syndrome refers to the behavior problems of a pig that does not respect its owners. It is mostly about respect but you have to earn it. Spoiled pigs quickly become accustomed to getting what they want, when they want it. When they don’t get their way, they will act out. 

These irritabilities can result in highly aggressive behavior. When a pig becomes spoiled, everyone is unhappy, including the pig. Remember to set boundaries, impose them, and enjoy a relaxed relationship with your pig built on trust and respect.   


Pigs become spoiled when they are given too much attention or not given a suitable leadership structure. In a domestic environment, when the pig does not respect the people as leaders, they will treat them as lower-ranking members of the herd.

Pigs follow a very strict hierarchy. The leader fortifies their role often throughout the day. In a group of pigs, the herd leader will not endure misbehavior from pigs of lower rank. Leader pigs quickly bring the lower ranking pigs in line. Lower-ranking pigs hurriedly respond to the orders of the herd leader or face dangerous consequences. To live harmoniously with your pet pig, you need to be a herd leader. Do not allow yourself to become someone lower in the hierarchy than the pig.   

If the pig hassles you for food by rooting at your leg while cooking, and you give him a bite, he becomes higher ranking than you and expects you to follow his orders. If you don’t comply with the pig’s demands, he will “correct” you with quickness and firmness.

When you feed your pig to silent them when they are shouting, you are transferring the leadership role to your pig and telling them it’s ok to set orders for you to fulfill. If you feed your pig snacks often throughout the day, he will start to expect and demand food. When food isn’t available he will become irritated and mad.  

What Are The Signs of Spoiled Pig Syndrome? 

  • Screaming  
  • Biting    
  • Charging        
  • Growling       
  • Shattering       
  • Head Swiping       
  • Stealing Food       
  • Failure to move when asked    
  • Destructive Behaviors 

What Are The Causes of Spoiled Pig Syndrome?

There are numerous causes of SPS in your pig. Here are some of the most common causes of the condition:


 What you feed your pig and how you feed him and when you feed him may all affect whether your pig develops SPS. This also depends upon who feeds the pig

Physical Space 

Pigs need their own nominated space in your home. This space includes both indoors and outdoors. Without it, they’re at a larger risk of developing this condition.


SPS may also arise depending upon whether your pig has been weaned from both its mother and siblings. Also if your pig is currently suffering from a urinary tract infection or other common health issues, SPS might occur.


Lack of discipline in the home as well as certain members of the family not getting along with the pig play a significant role in developing SPS in your pig.

 What Are The Treatments For Spoiled Pig Syndrome?

Training is the best and only way to treat SPS. For example, if a pig is nipping at people, then every member of the family must discipline the pig using the same expression to make sure the pig can learn that this behavior is wrong. Direct and short phrases work best. 

You should also incorporate positive reinforcements, like treats. But only when your pig exhibits the correct behavior that you’re trying to achieve. Doing so is more effective than using discipline alone and will help you achieve the result you’re looking for.

How to Prevent & Correct Spoiled Pig Syndrome?      

Nothing is Free 

Every scrap of food needs to be worked for. Ask the pig to obey a command before offering the treat. Nothing is free, it should all be earned.

Restrict food to small meals 

If pigs are expecting food all the time, they will demand it whenever they want. To train a spoiled pig, restrict food to small meals, 2 or 3 times a day.

 Do not feed your pig a bite of food when you are preparing meals, do not feed out of the kitchen, do not give the pig a bite when you are eating, do not feed the pig off your plate.

 There needs to be a very clear difference between their food vs. your food, so they are not expecting food unless it is intended for them.        

 Give Importance to Mental Health

pet pig 2

Instead of serving food in the bowls, have your pig work for their food. Disseminate food throughout the yard or spend 10-15 minutes in a training session while they earn each bite of their food. The extra time you spend training your pig, the better you will be able to connect. 

 Just 10 minutes once or twice a day will give you adequate opportunities to interact, learn, and teach. Besides the basic commands, you are also learning together how to communicate with each other. Positive rewards will have them longing to learn more and do as you’ve asked.        

Keep Your Pig Moving

Practice moving your pig throughout the day, at different times, for no specific reason. When you choose, walk up to your pig and expect them to move out of your way wherever you go. 

This is typical leadership communication between pigs. Moving your pig around earns respect and reinforces hierarchy boundaries.        

 Arrange Outdoor Time 

Make sure your pig gets abundant outdoor time daily. Confined pigs are far more likely to develop Spoiled Pig Syndrome symptoms.

Set Yourself as a Leader

Enforce yourself as a herd leader, apply the rules, and expect respect. If your pig misbehaves you need to correct them. Do not tolerate misconduct or acts of aggression, no matter how small it seems.

 Follow a Routine 

pet pig

Pigs prosper on a fixed routine. Set up a clear routine for your pig that he can rely on. Pre-mealtime practices are particularly helpful in contesting spoiled pigs. Instead of having a loud pig at your feet while you make a salad, keep the pig out of the kitchen till the meal is ready. Before you feed, ask him to do a sequence of tricks. 

 Here are some don’ts that will help you keep the annoyance of a spoiled pig at bay.

 Don’t Treat Your Pig like a Dog

Pigs especially baby pigs can be like dogs at times when they want to cuddle, and when they plead you for snacks. But when they want attention, or they are being very stubborn, their behavior is almost catlike. Don’t expect your pig to come running when you call him. He will come only when he wants to. 

Also, you may be able to teach them a trick or two, but don’t expect them to try very hard to please you as a dog would.

Don’t Pamper Your Pigs by Hand Feeding Them

Pigs rely on their sense of smell, which is quite strong and reliable. Also, a pig’s eyesight is quite weak, which makes it harder for them to tell what is going on around them. Even if you’re trying to show your affection, don’t let them eat out of your hand, even if the food has finished, they may still smell something and try to bite off your finger.

Don’t Give Your Pig Full Access to the Whole House

Pigs have small bladders, and if they’re roaming all over your house, they may let loose and relieve themselves if they have to go. This will be particularly bad if you have carpeted rooms or rugs lying around. Let them have access to fewer rooms and make sure their litter area is easy for them to reach.

 If they have managed to pee anywhere else in the house, make sure to get the smell out correctly to stop them from returning.

Don’t Let Them Contemplate that they are In Charge

When left on their own, pigs especially baby pigs can get quite out of hand. Train them to understand the word “NO.” If they’re going in places they shouldn’t be in or doing anything senseless, you can tell them to stop and over time, they’ll start listening to you.

 This is also generally important when you’re potty-training them to keep them from pooping all over your house

Spoiled Pig Syndrome Does Not Have to be a Big Deal

SPS shouldn’t be a problem if you discipline your pig right from the moment you bring them home. Doing so is much easier than allowing bad behavior to occur and then having to correct it.

 Remember, consistent training and discipline are the best solution for your pig and evading SPS. By following through, you can ensure you have nothing but good experiences with your new pig. 


pet pig

​Spoiled Pig Syndrome is an all-in-one term that covers a wide range of behavioral problems with pigs. It can differ quite a bit from pig to pig, but overall, it is related to unintentional reinforcement of unwanted behaviors in addition to the following: a lack of leadership from the owner, lack of clear expectations for the pig, unreliable or changing rules for the pig, and erratic or incorrect use of aversive and punishment-based training approaches.

 Pigs that fall into the classification of SPS are often assertive and aggressive. They were most likely given a free hand to do whatever they wanted as piglets. They see people as food-dispensers and have no boundaries. They don’t know how to behave properly because unintentional reinforcement of problem behaviors is occurring.  The problem is exaggerated because often, the first line of correction is punishment-based. Remember that pigs are not mind-readers and they don’t essentially know the proper way to relate with people. If we only tell the pig ‘no’ when he is doing something wrong, he still won’t know what he should be doing instead. 

pet pig

By using negative reinforcement, he now understands that these assertive behaviors might well lead either to treats or punishment. It makes for a highly volatile, aggressive pig, which is still probably badly behaved. These pigs become highly uneasy because they don’t understand clearly what’s expected of them and they never know whether that behavior will lead to threats or punishment.

 Remember that Spoiled Pig Syndrome is often because by multiple issues and to successfully resolve it, we must clearly define the problems. If the pig has not yet developed destructive behaviors, it can be as simple as tightening up the routine, clearly outlining expectations for the pig, and being diligent about evading unintentional outcomes.

 Once aggression develops the help of a trainer is crucial. Resolving the problem may require not only redefining the routine and eradicating accidental outcomes but may also need to include desensitizing and counteracting to resolve defensive and aggressive behaviors in your beloved pig.

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