split image coco the guinea pig

A guinea pig from North Carolina, USA, has achieved the record of most tricks performed by a guinea pig in one minute, with 16.

Coco is a male Abyssinian guinea pig, estimated to be four to five years old. But he’s no ordinary guinea pig – he’s a Trick Guinea Pig Champion!

Coco’s owner, Gwen Ford, fostered and later adopted Coco from an animal shelter in December 2018.

After noticing Coco’s high energy levels, Gwen began training him through a trick certification program run by Do More with Your Dog!, which certify any animal capable of completing the requisite tricks.

Coco soon learned over 70 tricks and became a certified Trick Guinea Pig Champion.

As a young guinea pig, Coco was always interested in exploring.

"He seemed very bored in his pen and was always excited to get out and explore the house," Gwen said.

Coco memorized the layout of the house and before long could navigate his way back upstairs if he was brought down.

Coco looking at the camera

After a while, Gwen introduced some props to Coco, such as a bell and a ball.

"He learned really quickly so then I added spins and jumps. And it just grew from there."

Coco began his trick certification program at the rank of Novice, but over the course of 2021, he quickly progressed through all nine ranks to become a Champion.

Watch Coco’s submission video for his Champion title below.

After acquiring top dog guinea pig status, there was only one thing left to do – break a world record.

Gwen realized Coco had the ability to break the record of most tricks performed by a guinea pig in a minute during their practice sessions, where Coco could perform up to 20 tricks in 60 seconds!

"We practised several tricks from the list of 70 that he learned from acquiring his trick titles, and I chose the ones that I could cue fast and he could perform quickly," Gwen said.

Preparation for this record attempt involved selecting a sequence of tricks wherein each trick easily flowed into the next.

Additionally, Coco had to give his final approval on which tricks he wanted to perform.

"Coco was clear about when he didn’t like certain tricks or a sequence of tricks – he wouldn’t perform it or he would chatter his teeth."

Coco standing up

On the day of the official attempt, however, the much-practised routine had to be abandoned, due to Coco becoming upset at the furniture being moved.

"The change upset Coco so much that we had to create a new routine," Gwen said.

That wasn’t the only challenge Gwen faced. During the attempt, Gwen miscued and Coco tried to jump in her lap. Unable to touch Coco or offer him a treat due to the rules of the record attempt, Gwen had to redirect Coco using only her voice and hand gestures.

"Coco was more in the mood for treats than tricks, so it was challenging to keep him engaged and focused."

Coco playing with a ball

After achieving this Guinness World Records title, Coco is "essentially retired."

"Now that he’s older, he has calmed down and prefers to be a guinea pig – eat, sleep, poop, repeat." – Gwen Ford

Coco’s new favourite activity is to search for carrot bits that Gwen hides around the room.

Coco holding paper

Although Gwen and Coco’s achievement may inspire you to start training your own guinea pig, it’s important to note that very few guinea pigs enjoy trick training. 

"Coco is the only one of the 100 or so that I’ve fostered over the years that really took to it," Gwen revealed.

Whilst some of Gwen’s guinea pigs could be taught to do a couple of tricks, most of them didn’t even want to learn a simple spin.

"I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned through this process is to learn to read your guinea pig. I never asked more of Coco than he wanted to give."

Coco posing in front of his trick certificate

Rising from being rejected at an animal shelter to being a world record holder and a Trick Guinea Pig Champion, Coco has had an extraordinary life.

"Coco epitomizes why animals should be adopted and be allowed to blossom, instead of abandoned or shut away in cages," Gwen said.

"His story makes me feel a sense of redemption for him and all the other shelter pets. Then I come back down to earth with one look at Coco who is oblivious to his accomplishment and is just happy eating his hay and sleeping under his blanket."