How to Make My Outdoor Run for My Guinea Pigs Less Publicly Appealing

Updated on April 07, 2012
M.P. asks from Minneapolis, MN
16 answers

I have 3 guinea pigs, that are very dear pets to me and the kids. We love them. We have a large outdoor run, complete with all weather hutch to get out of the elements. The top swings open for easy access for cleaning and grabbing. Its Large and cutely made of wood. It looks like like a little kids log cabin.

Now the public part. We have a fenced back yard, and recently realized since winter, and since our puppy grew up to a 80lbs adult dog, she no longer respects the guinea pigs cage or lives. She wants to eat them when they scurry about the run. So to save them and still let them outside, I opted for the front yard. The problem is that we live in a suburb with few sidewalks. We have one, and we are on the main street, the heart of our city. We have a fairly large front lot, and I have the piggies run close to our house, but the fencing to the run is multicolored, and looks like a circus thing with the doll house/hutch a main attraction. For SOME reason it is causing almost ALL daily walkers and strollers to STOP and wonder whats in there. All shapes, genders and ages. Some kids are even coming up the yard, over the flower beds, and trying to look inside. They are even utilizing the neighbors drive way in odds of seeing better. I put a note on the hutch that says "these are not free, or for sale. They are pets please do not disturb" my husband found it funny to add a note that says "these pets are trained to bite strangers, grab at the cost of a finger"....

so should I put up a blind? like some plywood? a picket sign that says? should I try to camouflage it? I am more afraid of someone nabbing the hutch rather than the pigs. Either way any suggestions? The run is a open topped small animal fence in a hexagon shape and they are super glued to the side of the hutch.

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So What Happened?

Hutch is in neutral brown wood, its just cute. The fencing is colored metal. I dont think I can repaint or maybe I could do dark green spray? I dont have signs OUT, I have it ON the hutch. They would have to come very close onto my property to see them. I did it for discouragement.
Dawn they are... Dash is a Texel Tortie, Sinders is a Satin Brindle Peruvian, and Freida is a Black and White Teddy with attitude. No wonder why everyone wants to see them they ROCK

If you can weed out the grammar and spelling mistakes, thanks Theresa I am blushing ..... :)

My Peruvian and Texel are like Barbie Dolls, they get a every other day full brush out and comb. She even gets some oil on her locks. LOL spoiled brats. Otherwise I just trim the dirty stuff. My texel is a show quality but I dont show anymore. I used to breed them and show them large scale years ago, now I just have pets. My Teddy is pretty self maintenance.
They dont sleep outside for the same fears, they are only in there from mid morning to early evening or the sun starts to go down.

Dad leave it to you to come up with some crazy notion of liability causes. UM, wasn't the meat of this post asking HOW to make it less appealing and hence to AVOID liability. However, whacked out that notion is. This is my property, I am sorry but a outdoor guinea pig run, falls in the same category as a POOL? I told you why they can not be in the back yard. I am not going to fence in a dog in a fenced yard. So according to you, a GARDEN GNOME could kill a child? and hence I better take everything off of my yard and bubble wrap it for the public? SILLY. I know I am going over board but this time so are you. Another question, what child that is NOT of reading age, is allowed to walk a sidewalk with out a parent. So if that parent ALLOWS their child to come on my property to touch an unknown animal would THEY be not liable for being DUMB parents and fall in the category of CHILD NEGLECT? I would say so. Anyway, blah blah IF YOU cant read, then you need your finger shut in a lid where your SNOOPING, and its none of your business. Watch for me on the news I am going to be the first person sued for dangerous GUINEA PIGS...

AV - they have an indoor, C and C cage, its a HUGE thing, We call it Malibu Mansion. Its 4 feet long, 4 feet wide, and has an upstairs thats half that. I take them outside for fun.

The outdoor one, ITS NOT A HUGE thing, with neon lights, and ferris wheels people. None of my neighbors hate it, in fact my neighbors know my animals well. ITS NOT about training my dog to not kill them, she happens just to be that type of breed that wants to. She doesnt bother them inside the house, but outside its just her nature. Thank you everyone, for being so much more concerned for the general public, Some one has too I guess. It sounds like I want to endanger everyone with monster guinea pigs. ooooohhh
by they way they dont bite, it was a joke, and yes I do fear for everyones safety, but after this post I am wondering why in the hell i have a front yard.

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answers from Albany on

I'm sorry M., I don't really have an answer to your questions.

I just wanted to say "How to make my outdoor run for my Guinea Pigs less publicly appealing" it THE MOST interesting title to a post I have EVER seen!

Furthermore, the BODY of the post is fantastic too!

I mean, what a VERY unique situation!!!

ILY M.! And your little pigs, too!


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Why don't you fence in the dog? We have a pen for our black lab/chow mix so he has his own "space" within the fenced yard. Then you can move the GP's back into the safety of the back yard. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Your piggies sound awesome! I love my little pig "Zippy" but she is indoors unless supervised. Do they sleep outside as well? That wouldn't work for me with coyotes and my fear that she would really got stolen. People are clueless, some have actually asked if my guinea pig was a dog!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I didn't read any of the other posts.... but I think you're focusing on the wrong thing. You need to better train your dog, not move your GP's/work on their home.

I don't know if you've trained your dog or any other dog for that matter but it's not that hard... just a lot of consistancey (sp??) upfront... and big rewards after that!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

several thoughts:

no matter how cute the enclosure is....this is pretty much the same as putting a snowcone machine in front of your house, & telling everybody to stay away! It's a novelty, & neighbors (& strangers) can be very curious.

if my neighbors stuck something like this in front of their house, I would not appreciate it. I think it's detrimental to the value of the neighborhood + I would be pissed over the use of my driveway for gawkers. Just my opinion.... You are lucky not to have rules against this - some neighborhoods/subdivisions are very strict with their outdoor codes. :)

& regardless of what you think, yes....without a top on the enclosure, this is a safety & liability issue for you. Curious kids, even teens...couldn't care less about warning signs. If you have a pet which could bite, then you do need to worry about liability.

So here's my solutions: move the enclosure to the backyard. Add a secure top to it to prevent doggie snacks.

If you leave it out front, you do need a top on it for safety. Stray dogs/cats could have a smorgasboard without that protection. + you would be protecting children from self-chosen harm.

To me, a top on the enclosure is a win-win solution. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree to paint all simmilar to the house and to take down the signs on the animals. Place a sign on your property fence reminding people of No Trespassing if you feel you need to. Here is the thing, those that already know they are there will still want to come have a look.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Wow - they sound like show-quality piggies! How do you keep your peruvian's hair from getting matted up in the run?

How about an additional sign "GET OFF MY FLOWERS!!!"

If that doesn't make an impact, nothing will!

Your piggies sound darling!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Repaint the hutch a neutral color before trying anything else and take down the signs. Signs prompt investigation. Brightly colored anything also draws attention. If you do all that and it still doesn't work, you may have to build an enclosure for them

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have a guinea pig and love him. Such an awesome dude. I wish you the best in figuring out what to do, BUT...

I will have to say, this post is very humorous to me, just really plain funny. I know it is a real problem, but I'm just saying, it happens to be a very comical problem. Hope you don't take offense!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

You may want to consider moving them out of the front yard.

While your warning sign is helpful, you still have property liability issues.

Imagine a child getting bit, or smashing a finger in the lid - YOU are liable.

Not all children can read, PLUS you have created what many states consider a curiousity for children meaning they just can't help themselves but want to play on it.

That is why many places require a fence around a pool, or a cover on a hottub. For liability issues.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

how tall is it, maybe you could get one of those things designed to hide trash cans to block people's view of the cage?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

I was wondering the same thing but our guinea pigs are inside unless I take them out so I am not 100% worried about it. they have a play pen outside. If you want to call it that. For my rabbit I had though his run was up against the garage the same color. A lot of people didn't know he was there. I also made him a box that he could hide in if anyone bugged him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Post "no trespassing signs" every few feet, at the edge of the property and on the hutch itself.

Put a lid on the enclosure, and put a lock on the lid. Put a double fence around it, or netting (like the bird netting to prevent birds from getting into your berries kind of thing) over the whole thing.

I think your pen in the front yard counts as an "attractive nuisance" though it's may not be as potentially dangerous as a horse or a swimming pool (two classic examples). But it is unreasonable to expect that you can camouflage it so that people will ignore it. I think the best you can hope for is that you can make it safely inaccessible, so people can only look but not get into it.

Its probably not possible to train the dog to ignore it's prey drive, but you might consider contacting your vet and asking for dog trainer references... Unfortunately, to the dogs, they look like either toys or food (or both), and it can be a deep instinctual drive in some dogs. That being said, if you can't train him to accept the pets, then the next thing might be for the dog to his his outdoor time in the yard, and the guinea pigs to theirs. To me, this seems like the easiest solution.



answers from Minneapolis on

Can you just post "Stay off the grass" signs near the sidewalk? And then get some long planters, plant lots of colorful flowers and place then near the colorful sections of the run to maybe make it stand out less.

I want to build a covered outside run for our pair of cute little "piggies". Yours sounds amazing! All our little gals had last summer was an area with super tall grass that would fall over and make tunnels. They loved it but we had to sit with them the whole time in case the hawks in the neighborhood got hungry.

Best of luck to you.



answers from Madison on


I'm with you; it's your yard, you can do with it what you want. If that means you want to dig up your entire front yard and plant a garden, you should be able to--provided there's nothing against having a front yard garden. And people should leave your garden alone.

In the same vein, you should be able to have an outside runner/hutch for your guinea pigs. The issue seems to be that it "stands out" and catches people's attention. Toning down the colors/etc., might be one way of keeping curious people and fingers off your property.

I used to raise rabbits, and their hutches were on the ground during all seasons but winter, when their hutches were placed up for the winter behind the house (with lots of straw to keep warm). My rabbits were never in the front yard--always in the back--but because we were on a corner lot, everyone knew about and could see the hutches. Unlike you, however, we never had anyone just "stop and look" at the bunnies.

I cannot believe the gall of people, that they would just assume that they can go right up and look at them. I don't really think it's your fault for having them in the front yard as it is people's lack of integrity and common sense.

Sorry, everyone, but I side with this mom and the fact that her property is her property and people should stay the hell off. She doesn't have the guinea pigs so that every Tom, Dick, and Harriet can stop by any time of day and "have a look." That would be like everyone who walks be someone's front yard garden stops and snaps off some beans or peas or picks a few strawberries to eat. Really? I call that stealing.

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