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What does it Mean when a Pig Nudges You

by Dean

What Does It Mean When a Pig Nudges You? When pigs nudge you, it can be a sign of affection. But, it can also be a way to show a bit of aggression. Knowing the meaning of your pig’s nudge is key to responding correctly. Read more to know the meaning of your pig’s nudges?

What is the meaning when a pig nudges you?

Pigs can be aggressive. It is in their nature to be like that. When you introduce a pig into your home, you become a part of their herd. The herd has a certain hierarchy and your pig will challenge you to be on top. This is where the aggressiveness comes from.

So, what does it mean when your pig nudges you? It is simply an act of aggression that your pig is showing to try to obtain dominance over you. Almost all mini pigs and farm pigs will do this, but KuneKune pigs are the only exception. Another reason for the nudging 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 should you do when your pig nudges you?

pig nudging you

It’s important to stand your ground and show your pig who’s 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. If you notice your pig about to charge, 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.

Could nudging be because of rooting behaviors?

pig nudging you

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

Sometimes they will continue to root, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes it could be your couch or carpet they are deciding to root. 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. You could also just let them outside so they can go to a spot. But do this if you don’t mind your yard being all rooted up.

Can a pig nudge be dangerous?

A fully grown adult doesn’t have to worry about nudges from their 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 them.

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

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 severely injured and even killed by dogs.

Usually, pets like cats and rabbits will just run away, but because dogs are naturally predator animals they will respond to a nudge. This makes small dogs susceptible to injury from the pig. A small dog may try to fight your pig even though it can’t win because of its size.

What if your pig doesn’t stop nudging you?


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 its 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 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 is a kind of pig that won’t nudge you, or do much of 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

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?

pig nudging you

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.

What are other possible meanings of pig nudging?

A pig’s nudge usually indicates a rooting action.

Rooting is a natural behavior for pigs. These animals root in different ways and for various reasons, but it’s not a negative attitude.

If it’s a rooting nudge, it’s likely due to these reasons:

  1. For comfort

These animals repeatedly nudge someone or something if they feel comfortable doing so.

Thus, when a pig nudges you, it may be a sign that it likes you and that it’s comfortable with you.

  1. To communicate

These animals also nudge their fellow pigs to communicate, and they try to do it with people as well.

Thus, you may want to respond by tapping it, to show that you acknowledge their effort.

  1. To cool off

If you feel some heat, your pig probably feels it too. If it nudges you, you may want to offer some cold water to help it keep up with the heat.

  1. To ask for food

Another meaning of nudging means they are hungry, and they try to ask or search for food.

For pets, they nudge to get your attention. Still, if it’s not mealtime, don’t feed it with a large meal. Offer some treats and water, but don’t spoil it.

Spoiled pigs can get more aggressive as they grow.

  1. To show dominance

Now, a nudge does not always mean positive. If your pet nudges you and does it with a little more force, it may be trying to prove its dominance.

Pigs are herd animals, and they have territorial instincts that can kick in anytime.

Such instances usually happen in older pigs. As they grow, they may nudge you as if to challenge your dominance in the area.

Thus, if your pet nudges you and you get pushed away, it may assume victory, and that it’s now the boss of the area.

You can always differentiate these nudges through the force they exert.

A gentle nudge means rooting, while a sideways and forced nudge is a territorial instinct.

How do pigs show affection to humans?

Pigs can be very affectionate and sweet to humans, and they can do it in a lot of different ways.

These animals can show affection through:

  • Snout kissing
  • Lap Visiting
  • Licking
  • Nudging
  • One of their sweetest ways to show affection is when they nudge at you gently.

A nudge from their noses is too adorable to resist. Take it from this video clip to see how they show affection.

A constant gentle nudge means they’re seeking your attention. At the same time, it can also be a pig’s way of asking something.

For this reason, you may want to tap its back and pet it as your way of recognizing its effort. You can also offer a little treat, but don’t overdo it.

A little bit of affection, in return, goes a long way for these adorable animals.

What is spoiled pig syndrome?

Pig Nudging You

While a little bit of affection and treats is beneficial, overdoing it can lead to spoiling your pig. That’s when a spoiled pig syndrome occurs.

This kind of syndrome pertains to the behavioral problems of a pet pig. It’s a negative one that does not show any respect to its owners and other humans.

The reason is that these animals get accustomed to having what they want.

At the same time, when they don’t, these animals tend to act negatively. The negative actions may show aggressive behaviors and tantrums.

This problem occurs when pigs receive what they want, whatever the attitude they show.

It also happens when they receive treats even if they aren’t doing anything.

As they grow older, they become familiar with treats and frequent meals. Thus, not getting such pleasure makes them act differently.

At the same time, getting spoiled in their early days makes them feel superior to their owners.

Thus, they challenge their owner’s dominance by showing aggression.

You can avoid such behavior and syndrome by training and disciplining your pig at an early age.

You can also punish your pig whenever it acts differently, and reward it when it behaves well.

How do you punish a spoiled pig?

Punishing isn’t the same as hurting. Thus, when punishing your pig, you should never hurt it.

You can show negative responses, such as ignoring your pet. You can also murmur and make disappointed behavior to indicate you didn’t like what your pet has done.

You can even reprimand your pet by saying words in loud and angry tones.

By doing these punishments, you also train it to behave well and avoid destructive behavior.

These animals can be sweet, and you can shower them with affection and treats.

Still, doing so would take a toll as they grow, and without proper discipline, they can even pose threats.

Thus, it’s essential to balance both affection and discipline. Such a principle applies to all pets and pet owners.

With balanced caring, you will be able to take care of your pet and train it to behave well.


A pig’s nudge can be both positive and negative. A gentle and continuous nudge from your pig shows affection. Thus, you should respond by petting and offering treats.

Forceful nudges can be a show of aggression and a challenge of dominance. For this reason, you may want to give some disciplinary measures for your pet pig.

Pigs can be sweet and affectionate as pets. Still, it doesn’t mean you should always offer treats and discard discipline. It’s essential to balance both affection and discipline.

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