Rupert

Pig participates in obedience classes

NANAIMO – A four-month-old pig learns new tricks alongside pooches.

While one little piggy went to the market and another stayed home, a particular Nanaimo piggy found himself at obedience class with a handful of pooches.

For the past couple of weeks, a four-month-old kunekune mixed-breed pig named Rupert and his owners Tyler Kyle and Jessica Babcock have been attending canine obedience classes at Best Paw Forward.

Despite being the only pig in a room full of dogs, Rupert gets along fine and just like his canine classmates, he is there for a reason.

“He is very food driven and until he is full he will make noise,” Kyle said.

Kyle and Babcock decided to enrol Rupert in classes after learning about another pig that attended Best Paw earlier this year. The couple said they want Rupert to learn basic manners and obey them, the same way any pet owner would.

“We just want general manners, like a dog. Not that he jumps on people but he will beg and squeak and squeal and we want to be able to walk him on a leash with no problems,” Kyle said.

Robyn Andexser, owner and lead trainer, said having a pig in class is “fantastic” and that Rupert is a happy and interested learner who isn’t afraid of his fellow canine classmates.

“He is eager to learn new things,” Andexser said. “His tail is wagging all the time and he is a happy pig.”

Classes typically last an hour and focus on positive re-enforcement techniques, often using clickers and treats as a reward for good behavior. Andexser said pigs are smart animals and with training, can learn obedience the same way a dog can.

“With positive re-enforcement you can really teach an animal anything,” she said.

According to Kyle and Babcock, Rupert has never had a fight with a dog, doesn’t bite and has a serious appetite. But despite a heavier diet than that of a dog, Rupert, in many ways acts the same as a dog.

“You get up on the couch and he will hop on your lap and watch a movie with you,” Kyle said.

Raising Rupert, as with any new pet, has had its challenges, but the couple said it has been worth it and having a pet pig has been an enjoyable experience.

“It is the same struggles that you have with a puppy,” Babcock said. “He is just adorable and he is a good pet.”

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Kidney Foundation Nanaimo chapter president seeks ‘bail money’ in fundraiser

Randy Spensley will be on a scissor lift in a jailbird outfit Aug. 25 at Country Club Centre

MULTIMEDIA: Fair weather, food and fun at VIEX in Nanaimo

A gallery of the second day of the Vancouver Island Exhibition at Beban Park in Nanaimo

Urban planner wants to join city council to help build Nanaimo

Tyler Brown held his campaign launch this week

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Former homeless camp ‘dump site’ being cleaned up along Millstone River

Nanaimo’s Jeff Callaghan has taken up the task of clearing trash from abandoned homeless camp

VIDEO: Fires break out in scrap piles at Harmac mill

Nanaimo firefighters got blazes under control in early morning hours Saturday

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

Two hurt in car wreck at Northfield intersection

NANAIMO – Honda and Volkswagen crash at 10 p.m. Friday on old Island Highway

Nanaimo’s VIEX country fair underway

Vancouver Island Exhibition happening Aug. 17-19 at Beban Park

Vehicle catches fire on Rutherford Road

NANAIMO – No one hurt in incident, which happened at 2:30 p.m. Friday

Island swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read