Showing posts with label PLAY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PLAY. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2013

PLAY: Cool Summer

Out of the archives, Igor's PLAY research report on how to enjoy a cool summer. We did update the link list because most links in the old post were gone or outdated

Igor, studying hard

(Igor) This wheek I want to explain to you how you can get the most out of the cold object that your slave has placed in your cage because the weather is too hot. I actually don't have any experience with these since my current home has been very agreeable thus far. But I wouldn't be a professor if I couldn't supply you with useful information. So, I have interviewed Suus and Yaya and I've also conducted an in-dept analysis of the photo archives. And last but not least, my lovely assistant Lonneke has reviewed the extensive literature study concerning cavies and summer that is already online. We've included a literature list at the end of this report for your convenience.

What is it?:

Concept: a cold object in your cage, preferably when it's warmer then 30 degrees (Celsius = 86 degrees Fahrenheit). You can lie against this object in different kinds of ways to make your life a bit more comfurtable.

Material: in our home we use plastic soda bottles filled with water. These come from the freezer and to make sure our paws and tongues do not stick to it, there is a towel wrapped around them. Instead of the freezer, you can also use the fridge. This is less dangerous, but it stays cold for a shorter period of time.

Variations: besides the bottles there are also other options available (see the literature list for more information). Some slaves put bricks or clay tiles in the fridge, others use ice substitutes with cooling fluid, other use beerbottles or beer/soda cans (from the fridge!! Do not put beerbottles or cans in the freezer).

Dangerous?: Keep in mind that guinea pigs always test for ediblility. Especially ice packs with a cooling gel can be dangerous. If you use a soda bottle filled with water, make sure it not too full because water expands slightly when it's frozen, and this can damage the bottle (and you won't notice until the ice has melted). The use of a sleeve or towel is recommended. It’s comfortable and keeps us from contracting frostnip. If you do not want to use a towel or sleeve, wait a little while to make sure the bottle is no longer sticky due to the cold.

Application: During the interviews and going through the photos archives I was able to abstract the following positions:
  1. Going the Distance. You don’t have to lie on or against the cold object. Just the presence of a cold object in a cage will lower the temperature by a few degrees. Suus suggested that it would be a good idea if I'd wave some cool air in her direction with a fan. Tsssskk.. little princess..
  2. The Cool Cashew. Wonderfully demonstrated on the pigture by Robbie. Yes, fellow guinea pigs, you have to admit, the cashew position is the best position if you want to get comfy, right? Robbie shows how you can combine this optimally with a cold object.

  3. The Belly Flop. Auntie Guiny demonstrates how to stand against the bottle with her belly. Suus assured me that according to auntie Guiny this was very comfortable and refreshing. Whatever it was, it was also very effective against auntie Guiny’s sloshing armpits.. 
  4. The Standard Pose. In other words, just lying next to the object. In the pigture you can see Jan the boar doing an attempt to drape his chin flaps over the bottle as sexy as piggidly possible. Yaya on the other paw, is positioned full-lenght next to the object. According to Yaya, this is the optimal position for enjoying your cold object, it takes very little effort (in comparison to the belly flop) and the body-bottle contact zone is maximized. 
  5.  The Pancake. Ideal when you get a (hot) water bag filled with ice cubes or a tile from the freezer. You just climb on and spread out.. 

DIY-factor?: Almost every slave has an empty bottle somewhere. And I don’t think they have a shortage in towels (at least not when I have to take a bath :-S). So this should be easy to make. If you're going with the tiles, just drop by a hardware store and buy a few. It shouldn't be very expensive and the advantage of the tiles is that you can fit more of them into a fridge of freezer. The bottles keep cold longer.

Target audience?
For every cavy that lives in a space that can heat up to over 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Overheating is very dangerous for us, so I'd really recommend that your staff looks into this.

Literature list
Keep guinea pigs cool and comfortable in summer heat - Guinea Pig Today (June 8, 2012)
Heate-Stroke in Guinea Pigs - Peter Gurney
How to keep your guinea pigs cool in the summer - Happy Cavy Blog
In the heat of the moment - Guinea Pig Welfare

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Igor's PLAY - Baskets

*Yawn* .. a very relaxed PLAY-project this time.. gotta love my job..

What is it?
Concept: A nice and cuddly object to lounge in.

Material: Fabric and stuffing. Preferably with a thick edge to put your head on.

Application: Climb in your basket and start relaxing.. Drape your neckflabs (if present) over the edge, eyes in sleeping position…dream away about carrots and Mavis..

Do-it-yourself-factor?: This is actually something you buy in a pet shop. But my favourite basket has been handmade by auntie Guiny's slave. I don’t know how she was able to get it so comfortable. Sowing a basket like that is something for the more advanced sewing slave.

Variations: Yes of course you can lounge extremely well in a basket, but they have more uses. I myself use it as a toilet. I happen to think this is very hygienic of me, since my slave only has to scoop out the poos and the cage stays nice and clean (if only the ladies would understand this.. *sigh*). It is also makes a nice hayrack, this way you can have a snack while studying for a master's degree in Piggin' out..

Target audience?:

First and foremost, it is intended for the lazy cavies among us. Yes okay, you can eat from it (as suggested above).. but I have a feeling our slave hides the hay just about everywhere nowadays. Not that I mind, by the way ;-)


No, not really. Even our wrecker Yaya hasn't done anything dangerous with this. It has no sharp edges and we don't eat it. Our slave can leave the basket in the cage without supervision.

User experiences?:

(Yaya): Yes lovely! The only thing missing are MORE baskets. That way Suus or Igor would not need to kick me out when I am lounging comfortably. The baskets are also very comfy for my painful paws (because of my OD ); it's even better with a snuggle safe or a flat hot water bag below it, to keep me and my bones nice and warm.

(Suus): Yes, the basket is also a lot of fun for under the hammock (I call that setup the bunk bed). It feels just a bit safer with a roof over your head and it sure is funny bouncing your cagemates out of the hammock from underneath *evil grin*.

Well dear pigs, that’s it for now. I’m going back to my basket, and continue to study comfortably.

Professor Igor

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Igor's PLAY - FoodBall the forward line we see Igor.. front right is Suus doing a give and go with midfield player Yaya and skillfully passes the ball to Igor the terrible.. Igor accepts the ball perfectly .. oooh.. he makes an overhead kick and.. WHEEEEEEEK!!!! IGOR SCORES A CARROTPELLET!!

What is it?

Concept:Playing Foodball is playing with a special ball with yummies inside.
Material: You need a foodball. This is a ball made of plastic with a little sliding window in it. With this little window you can determine the size of the hole. You also need something Yummie that will fit inside. We prefer to use pellets from a different brand than our daily pellets. They are tasty and healthy. There is also special candy for guinea pigs for sale that you can use. Allthough this is a possiblity, these snacks tend to be too salty and unhealthy. Usually you are allowed to have two of them (a day), but this is not very practical when you are foodballing with a whole team. Unfortunately veggies are also not suitable; they stick and can leave bits behind in the foodball that go bad.

Application: Your slave should put something tasty in the ball and then lay it on the floor. Then the game is on!! You push the ball with your nose which will make it start rolling. If you do this right, the pellets ought to fall out of the ball every now and then. I have to say, this is not easy! If there's no pig around to show you how, it can take a while before you understand how to play this game. Luckily, I learned from Suus and Yaya, who in their turn, learned from Auntie Guiny (who else ;-) ).

Do-it-yourself-factor?: Not that high; the ball has to be bought in a pet shop. But it is possible to make one yourself. Your slave has to buy a little plastic bottle in the supermarket and empty it. Then she can cut some holes in it with scissors. Add pellets and there you go! (your slave does have to make sure that we cannot hurt ourselves)
Variations: You can do this as a team or solo. Your slave can also put boxes on the floor so you can manoeuver the ball through.

Target audience?

This is certainly something for the intellectuel cavy. Auntie Guiny was always very good at getting the ball out of small corners when it got stuck. Because there are yummies inside, it is also very suitable for the food oriented guinea pigs. And because you also get some excerise it is also a challenge for the sporty cavies among you.


No, not really. Although I must insist that supervision of your slave is neccesary, you'll never know what we'll come up with. And besides, it is also very entertaining to watch, especially for daddy slaves.

User experiences?

Suus: Really cool game! Although it helps if slaves make sure we do not run out of pellets. It is very challenging to get the pellets out of the ball before your team mates. By the way, I always play for the Netherlands.. I'm already wearing orange socks..
Yaya: When slave introduced the ball again I was the only one who could remember how to play Foodball! Hahhah.. Good huh? ;-)

(Igor): Well guinea pigs that's it for this wheek. I will go grab a carrot beer for the third half. *snigger*.. *stagger*.. Laaalala Blaaaaack pants, Ooorange shirt, thaaaaat is the Winky herd. Holahee dee holala...hooolahee dee hoo laalaalaa...*

Professor Igor

*This is actually the song (in adapted form) that the fans of a soccer club from a small dutch village sing to encourage their team. Our slaves were born in this village and accidentely, Igors furcolors match their gear

Monday, October 17, 2011

Igor's PLAY: vegetable Hide-and-Seek

This wheek I am meeting with Lady Guinyvere. A beautiful and mature lady, who promised to share her experiences with her invention Veggie Hide-and-Seek.

Although our conversation takes place through the cage bars (Slaves thought it couldn't be done *tssk* Apparently, auntie Guiny is a spunky little lady), she soons whispers it is okay for me to call her auntie Guiny. Lucky for me, she isn't as bad as our slaves made her out to be. Next to being spunky, Auntie Guiny also has a reputation of being very intellingent. To illustrate, she understands the concept of 'opening a door'. When she sees a door, she will think first, and then she decides whether she should push or pull. That's pretty smart, I think.

(Igor:) Dear aunt Guiny, what is Veggie Hide-and-Seek?
(Guiny:) Veggie Hide-And-Seek is a hunt for hidden veggies. The special thing about my version of Veggie Hide-And-Seek is that I make my slave use small cups in which she has to hide the veggies. With these cups, Slaves can upgrade the difficulty level. I really need intellectual stimulation (your should hear the mindless chatter in the cage.. *sigh*) so this is one of my favorite games. Also, the game complies perfectly with my natural need to rummage for food.

 (Igor:) What materials can you use?:

(Guiny:) In theory, you don't really need the cups. But once you are used to them, the cups enable you to increase the difficulty level and it becomes more challenging than just gobbling down those veggies. Send your slave to the attic and let her check between the children's toys and kitchenware. You can also send your slave to a rummage sale, a cheap household store etc. 

You also need veggies. Preferably different kinds and small amounts. One piece a cup is enough. Otherwise it is very likely that you pigs out there will lie down after one cup to let the food digest comfortably in your tummy. If you play it like this, it is not much of a game.
As for the veggies, I prefer a bit of cucumber, paprika (bell pepper) and chicory, but that is personal of course.
You also need a large space in which you are allowed to run around. Your slave might need to use a fence or newspaper/blankets in order to protect the floor and furniture.

(Igor:) How should guinea pigs from all over the world apply this?

(Guiny:) I'm happy you ask that question, dear Igor. When you start playing this game, it's best that you start on a low level. This can be achieved by placing the cups in such a way that they are easy to find. Your slave should put them in a position so that you can easily see and reach the veggies.

Once you have mastered this, you go on to the second level. Now your slave can then put them in harder to find places, so you have to try harder to find them. On the third level your slave can start to vary the positions of the cups. For example, when these are upside down, you cannot smell the veggies as easily and you will have to find out for yourself if something tasty is in there. You will also have to find out how to turn the cup in order to get out the veggie. Another difficult position is a cup which is placed just upright. With our cups it is kinda hard to put our noses inside. The final level is a combination of difficult positions and locations. I faced some challenges with cups that were on top of houses, or almost buried underneath a pillow. Needless to say, I conquered them all.

(Igor:) What about the Do-it-yourself-Factor?:
(Guiny:) Veggie Hide-And-Seek is not for sale in pet shops and your slave has to make it herself.

 (Igor:) Lady Guiny, does this game have different versions?:

(Guiny:) Well, as I already explained, there are several difficulty levels. Your slave can also use toilet paper rolls instead of the plastic cups, for an old fashioned game of shred-the-cardboard-to-pieces after you're done eating the veggies. By the way, this game is at its best when you do this with your cage mates. You can do a match, and whoever finds the most veggies, wins (and she who wins gets to eat them as an award *giggle*).

(Igor:) Who is the target audience??:(Guiny:) Well look, Igor, I myself am an intellectual cavy. I don't know if you have ever considered this target audience, but stimulation is very important for my type of guinea pig. We become very bored without it. Playing games like this really cheers us up. Another target audience that will definitely appreciate this, is of course the food oriented cavy.

 (Igor:) Is this dangerous?:

(Guiny:) Slaves have to pay attention to the safety of the cups (Sharp edges, edibility etc.) For this game you will always need a supervising slave, in the case we get stuck. By the way, our own slaves really enjoy watching us play this game...

Professor Igors experiences:
(Igor:) I have to say, I am excited about this game. I have played this game about five times with Suus and Yaya. Especially Yaya is very good at playing, usually I will just trail behind her and hope that there is more than one piece in her cup. We are currently playing this game at level 3. I do find it a bit scary, but it is definitely very exciting.

Dear auntie Guiny, thank you very much for this interview and hopefully I will seen you soon!

Professor Igor

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Igor's PLAY - Houses

This wheek it is time for evaluating houses. Because there are so many different kinds of houses, I'll do this a bit differently. After an evaluation of houses in general, I will discuss the houses we have and award them with a rating expressed in golden guinea pig poos (1 bean for a really bad house, 10 beans for an absolutely awesome house).

What is it?
        Concept: Well what can I say… a house. A roof, walls and holes in it...
        Material: This can be practically anything. The houses I evaluated were made from wood, cardboard, plastic and grass. Auntie Guiny and her herd even have a little tent, which is made out of fabric.
        Application: This is very simple. Your slave places the house in your cage, you walk in and lo and behold!
        Do it yourself-factor?: This is pretty high, depending on the material you use. With a cardboard box even the little or the clumsy slaves can build you a cool house. Slaves that are a bit more skilful, can build a house out of wood. Do pay attention that you use materials that do not splinter and do not contain any harmful substances. Us guinea pigs like a house that can be ehm...altered.

Target audience?

Great for the relax cavy. Go inside and plant your furry behind in front of the entrance and you can lounge in complete privacy (also a good tip for the foodfocused guinea pig) If the house happens to have a flat roof, it is also very entertaining for the climber cavy. Climb on top and enjoy the view while wheeking your slave out of bed (or the couch..) Stressed cavies also appreciate a nice and safe house. It will offer a safe place in your cage from out of which you can observe the surroundings and build up confidence to go exploring later.


This depends on the house. Tell your slave not to buy or make a house that, when being gnawed on (and you know we cannot resist), are harmful to us. Also remove pointy ends sticking out. Your slave always needs to consider your safety when she buys you toys, because some piggy toy designers are just not the shiniest poos in the pigloo. Your slave should also pay attention to the holes in the house, they ought to be big enough. Most of us aspire to become a LAPS Pig one day, and getting stuck in the door opening or window is not very convenient. With cardboard this is not really an issue. Here, I actually prefer it when my slave makes the holes slightly too small because then I like it to decide (and alter) what the size of the window should be. Your slave should also remove tape and staples, especially around the edges.

Golden Poos?

        House 1: (Suus:) House number 1 is a bit small, but secretly aunt Guiny and auntie Lotje like it to be stuffed in the house together. (We call this position the Double PigMac... *snigger*). Jan the boar loved to sit on the roof of this house, he said it made him feel like he was the king of the cage.
Score: (Igor:) 7 Golden guinea pig poos
        House 2: (Yaya:) House number 2 is comfurrtably big, which is absolutly great when you are lying in it. The only downside is that when you are not allowed inside, there is so little cage space left. The roof also offers no climbing uses, but the window deserves points in favour. It is really nice to rest your little head when you are studying for your master's degree in piggin out (yes, very hard work indeed).
Score: (Igor:) 7,5 Golden guinea pig poos
        Houses 3, 4 and 8: (Suus:) These are made by Granny's boyfriend. He added a little bit of extra lovin' to these houses, which makes them extra special. They are all very tasty and have two exits. This comes in very handy when auntie Guiny snaps at you because she wants to lie in the house. With an extra door, there is always a way out...
Score: (Igor:) 7 Golden guinea pig poos
        House 5: (Igor:) This house looks really nice but looking back, this wasn't such a good design. Colored cardboard can be hard on the stomach. The size was nice though.
Score: (Igor:) 5 Golden guinea pig poos
        House 6: (Suus:) Wheeeeek, this was an excellent house! It had a big door (I'm a LAPS girl after all) and I could easily climb on the roof and spy on my slave. It had very edible, yummy cardboard.
Score: (Igor:) 8 Golden guinea pig poos
        House 7: (Yaya:) On the pigture you can see Granny's handsome boar Robbie peeking out of a pigloo. This is not an actual house, but us guinea pigs don't really understand the difference between a house and a toilet. (Just take a look inside our cage *evil grin*). Aunt Guiny refers to this house as The Blue Carriage. After an evening of running around in the living room, our slave had to very kindly beg our Lady Guinyvere (as she likes to call herself..) to proceed into The Blue Carriage. After which she was comfortably transported towards the cage (whereas us plain guinea pigs just had to climb into the cage ourselves). This is an advantage of the Pigloo, because it has a bottom, which makes it perfect for carrying around a guinea pig (be careful to cover the opening though. We are not really built for extreme sports liked base jumping.) I myself think the house is very tasty, but my slave won't allow me to eat it and has removed it from our cage. I guess she is right.. it was a bit hard on my belly.
Score: (Igor:) 5,5 Golden guinea pig poos
        House 9: (Guiny:) This tent is nice and big, it easily fits two of us, and we can even squeeze Woopy in there with us as a third. The bottom of the tent is very comfy, it's made of some kind of wooly stuff that is nice and soft. It can also be taken out (it's attached to the tentbottom with velcro, so your slave can easily take it out and wash it), which is very convenient for the slaves to clean it. The only problem with this tent is that it's made of fabric, which we can chew. I know who made the holes in our tent (right, Igor? *chatter*)..
Score: (Igor:) 6 Golden guinea pig poos
        Bahama shack: (Igor:) Yummy, greawft!... Vwery tastyf. Thoshe dfoorsf ougfwt to be a little biw biggerwsf...*chewchew*...*swallow*.
Score: (Igor:) 8 Golden guinea pig poos

Professor Igor

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PLAY: Hammocks

In Memory of Agent I, we'd like to repeat all the PLAYs (Piggies Like Activities and Yummies) Professor Igor wrote before he became an undercover agent. Unfortunately all of the piggies in this PLAY have crossed the rainbow bridge by now.. But as former owner of these piggies I love looking at their pigtures.

PLAY 1: Hammocks

This wheek I evaluated hammocks for you guys. I must admit, hammocks turned out to be an extraordinary versatile and interesting study object.

Agent I inspecting the hammock
I asked my slave to put up the hammock in my cage and have been studying it thoroughly. There was also a lot of photo material in the archives, I did not want to deprive you guys of that..

What is it?
Concept: Hammocks are little mats in which you can hang around. It is a square cloth, raised a little above the ground and you can lie comfortably in it.

Material: My hammock is made of fleece. Hmm..nice and soft. But it is also possible to find or make hammocks made out of other materials. Small towels..... pieces of fabric. Nowadays my slave usually makes a hammock with a bottom made out of fabric to which no sawdust will stick, and the top made of a softer fabric like fleece. Attached to the mat are cords which can be attached to the cage bars. These can be made of fabric, but there are also mats available that have little chains.

Application: Your slave should first set up your hammock. There are several ways of doing this. First of all, your slave can attach the hammock to the ceiling of the cage. My slave usually ties the hammock cords to the side cage bars or she ties them around the bottom part (knot underneath the cage, against the floor) and then puts the cage bars on top. Choose whatever you and your slave finds convenient and pending on the possibilities of your cage. The knot-around-the-cage-method is ideal for cages with a plastic top. But this will not work when the cords are too short. When the mat has been installed, us guineas can get to work. Climb on the hammock (that can be quite a challenge! :-D) and relax.. lie down like a true pig.. ehm did I just say that? I meant start studying for you masters degree in piggin' out.. But be careful of cage mates that will try to bounce you out of your hammock.
Top left: Suus, Top right: Yaya and Jan, Bottom left: Lotje,
Yaya and Guiny, Bottom right: Suus and Yaya
Other applications of a hammock include; a nice place to study under, or as food storage. Every guinea will appreciate an extra roof above his or her head. And eating from it, is quite a challenge. Imagine balancing while everyone in your cage is pushing and pulling, trying to nibble from the veggies or hay. Ah well.. a little cavy exercise, there's nothing wrong with that, right?

Do it Yourself factor?
Top left: Lotje, all other pigtures: Suus
It is very convenient when your slave knows how to handle a sewing machine. Because if she can, it is just a matter of sewing a square rag and attach the cords to it. For the less gifted slaves, guest towels are ideal (tie shoelaces or something else to the corners and there you go). Slaves can also buy hammocks in a store. There is loads to be found on the internet and some pet stores sell hammocks. If you cannot find any, try looking for ferret toys, the ferret section usually contains some nice hammocks!

There are also hammocks with pockets in them. These are very comfurrtable. There's the oven mitt model, with an opening in the side But there is also a model with an opening in the middle. The one Lotje is showing on the pigture has boning in it, in order to keep it open. I really thought that was a useful addition, because balancing on the mat while you try to stick your head in an opening is hard enough already. Suus is a big fan of the bunk hammock (see pigture). But I have the impression that Suus is a rat inside a guinea pig body. In my opinion, the bunk hammock can be dangerous. Suus is a very good climber so she can manage, but this concept is not suitable for everypig and your slaves should consider this.

The hammock is a tool that is suitable for both the climbing guinea pig and the relaxing guinea pig. Your can pull the funniest pranks in a hammock (Suus: popcorning in a fleece hammock will launch you to greater heights, Squeeeaaaak!!). But above all, it is very suitable to study for a master's degree in imitating a fireplace rug. In other words, it's really perfect for guinea pigs who like to relax. When your slave puts some food in the hammock, it is also good for the munching guinea pig.

Top: Suus, Lotje and Jan the Boar, Bottom pigture,
from top left to bottom right: Jan, Lotje, Yaya, Guiny, Suus
Well, getting into a hammock requires some practise. I actually find it quite scary. Although I have to admit it's not really dangerous in our cage because I won't fall very far. Yaya used to eat the hammock cords. In the past this has lead to diarrhoea, so now our slave uses materials that are simply not edible (like metal chains) or aren't harmful (like sisal rope).

User experiences?
Suus: I am very pleased with our hammocks. I find it an ideal way to explore the surroundings, while bouncing in it. It keeps me fit, and I like to practice my climbing skills. But relaxing is also very nice. Though it could use a defense mechanism, that would enable me to not get pushed out of it by Yaya.. or accompanying earplugs.. because if I do not make space for Yaya she will start to whine really loudly..

Yaya: I think the hammocks should be made of a more edible material. The fleece is so heavy on my stomach. The material of which my lil' Bahama shack is made would do perfectly... hmmm... SLAVE!!!

Igor: Well this was my first PLAY report, if you have any user experiences, photo's or remarks, let me know!!

Wheeks and lots of Play-sure!
Professor Igor