Rabbit Training is Easier than You Think! If you have decided the best pet for you would be a rabbit, the first thing you will need to consider is rabbit training. Yes, it can be done. As a matter of fact in order for the two of you to co-exist it is necessary.
One of the main things you will have to learn is what is motivational to your rabbit.
They are not like dogs that have a pack order. Rabbits are just rabbits. In order to motivate your rabbit, you will have to find what he likes the most.
Treats and Patience are the Key
The incentive you use is going to be what your rabbit will associate with doing certain things. The treat you provide will make him want to do what you are teaching him. Therefore finding the perfect treat is the first step. What do you want to teach him?
If you want him to learn to come when called, the first thing is to put him close to you and call him. When he comes, give him a treat. He may not come the first few times, but he will eventually. This is where patience is the key.
The importance of using the same command word cannot be emphasized enough. If you want your rabbit to respond, you must use the same word so he can associate this word with what is expected of him.
Once he begins to learn the command words, you can gradually wean him from the treats. Give him one time, do not the next. It will get to the point where you do not have to give him treats to get to come. Of course, you still want to give him one occasionally.
Teaching Your Rabbit not to Bite
Unfortunately some rabbits are very aggressive. They are not the cute little bunny that you had in mind. They may actually sink their teeth into your hand, foot or whatever is close. And yes, it does hurt.
So to avoid running scared every time you see him hopping to you with that look in his eye that you have learned means you look like dinner, you will have to teach him not to bite. Spaying or neutering is one way to cut down on the aggression that your rabbit is displaying. This can be a great help in rabbit training when it comes to biting.
Stress is one of the reasons for the aggressive behavior. The rabbit may be stressed by the new environment. They may be frightened which is another reason for biting. Here, again the key is patience.
By teaching him there is nothing to fear, the aggression should calm down on its own. Make sure that you do not startle him by suddenly appearing in his face. This is one of the reasons they bite. It is a natural reaction to fright. By remaining patient and showing him there is nothing to fear, you should have a calm bunny in no time.
How to Litter Train Your Rabbit
One of the first steps of rabbit training your bunny to use the litter box is to get them spayed or neutered. This will help with the training immensely. Then watch to see where they go and put a litter box there. Usually this will be a corner.
Rabbits like their privacy so it should be in an area that is not high traffic. If they do not use the litter box and choose another corner, simply move the box to the corner they are using. They will eventually go to the box. Sometimes they will snuggle up in the litter box. This is not unusual. They also may eat some of the litter. Do not be alarmed. It is normal and will not harm them.
An organic litter is the best type. There are many that are considered unsafe for rabbits because they can cause health problems. Soft woods like cedar or pine shavings are not a good choice. They are believed to cause liver damage to rabbits. If you want you can just use hay. Line the bottom of the pan with newspaper and put the hay on top.
When training a young rabbit you will probably need a little more patience. Rabbit training older rabbits is easier. Limiting the space they have to run outside their home or hutch is important. They will not become overwhelmed and forget where their litter box is located. This can be done until they have become fully trained.
Train Your Rabbit Tricks
Teaching your rabbit tricks is similar to teaching commands. The best way to do this is through positive reinforcement. Positioning the rabbit close to you, say the command such as ‘sit up’. Hold a treat just above his nose and when he sits up to get it, praise him and repeat this. He will learn what the words mean and eventually will sit up without the treat being held in front of his nose.
This once again is where patience is a virtue. The more time you spend with your rabbit using positive reinforcement for his training, the better he will respond. There are many tricks your rabbit can learn if you just take the time and have the patience to teach him. Rabbit training can be fun if you relax and enjoy the experience instead of looking at it as a chore.
General Tips for Rabbit Training
Do not rush your rabbit training. The time you spend with him is important. This should be at least 30 minutes a day and preferably more. A couple of hours a day is recommended when you first start training them.
Never spank your rabbit. This is not understood and will not help him to cooperate. The rabbit will respond to incentives more than any other method.
Yelling at him does not work either. This will only frighten him and can cause a calm rabbit to become aggressive. They may start biting, which is a natural reaction to fright. If you want to have a mean bunny, the best way to do this is to frighten him. A mean bunny is not a good house mate.
Comfort – Make sure your rabbit is always well fed and comfortable. Food should never be withheld as a training method. What happens to you when you do not eat? You become cranky. Rabbits can become cranky as well and this is not conducive to training.
Rabbit training is not nearly as hard as you might think if you have a little patience. Spend time with your rabbit and enjoy his unique behavior.