How to train a rabbit?

See Rabbits files

Today, many families decide to take a rabbit as a pet. It is not surprising, since these sweet animals are in turn very intelligent, which makes them perfect housemates if they are provided with a proper education for coexistence..

If you are interested or have already hosted one of these little lagomorphs, you may be interested in knowing how to train a rabbit. For this reason, at AnimalWised we want to help you in this process by providing you with the information you will need in this article..

You may also be interested in: How to scold a rabbit? Index
  1. Characteristics of rabbits
  2. How to gain the trust of a rabbit?
  3. How to train a rabbit to relieve itself?
  4. How to teach a rabbit not to bite?

Characteristics of rabbits

In order to educate our furry friend, we must first understand what attributes characterize him, since these will determine our way of relating to him.

  • They are lagomorphs: rabbits are small quadruped mammals, that is, they stand on four legs, belonging to the order of lagomorphs, which are distinguished from rodents in the fact that they have two pairs of upper incisor teeth (rodents only have one pair). In addition, they are from the Leporidae family, in the same way that hares are..
  • Physical appearance: their physical appearance is characterized by having bodies covered with abundant hair with the most varied colors (white, brown, palomino…) present in a layer of homogeneous color, diffuse or with spots. These animals can weigh between 1 and 8 kilos depending on the breed of rabbit. They also have an oval head, round eyes and their characteristic long ears of between 5 and 7 centimeters, as well as a small tail..
  • They are herbivores- Rabbits are herbivorous animals and therefore can only feed on vegetables. They have teeth that allow them to gnaw on hard foods that are part of their diet, such as seeds. If you want to know more about what your furry's needs are, we invite you to read the following article on Rabbit care.
  • They are very sociable: rabbits also have strong legs with which they can dig and live in burrows where they are protected and in community with others of the same species, which makes them very sociable animals.
  • They are prey: rabbits in their natural habitat are prey, which makes them agile, skittish and with very acute hearing due to their long ears, which allows them to flee at the slightest sound that makes them suspect that a predator is stalking them.
  • High playability: also, due to their prey condition, they have a high reproductive capacity (and, therefore, proliferation), being the same female capable of giving birth to approximately 30 young rabbits a year (this is how we call the young rabbit).

How to gain the trust of a rabbit?

As we have seen, due to their prey nature, rabbits tend to be rather fearful, which can lead to a more elusive or reserved behavior if we do not know how to properly relate to them. We must also bear in mind that there are rabbits more timid or meek depending on the breed, for example, Belier rabbits tend to be calmer compared to toy or dwarf rabbits. Still, each individual is unique and has their own peculiarities..

1. Be patient

Building a satisfactory relationship with our furry from the beginning is very important to be able to educate it and, for this reason, it is very important that when we want to teach something to a rabbit let's be patient, Since learning is a process that requires time and, in addition, it will not be beneficial at all for the welfare of the animal or for it to trust us the use of punishment, scolding and yelling, since the only thing we will achieve is that we be afraid. We must also bear in mind that it may take a few months for a rabbit to adapt to a new home and new people..

2. Let him get closer to you

When interacting with our rabbit, we must try to catch up with him, since these animals are small and generally they will always be at our feet. Because of this, as we are taller, they can feel intimidated. For this reason, when you want to interact with him, try to sit near your bunny, on the floor or the sofa, and let him come to you, since these are curious by nature and if you are patient they will come to inspect you.

3. Avoid sudden movements

When she gets close to you, resist the urge to pet her immediately and let me explore you first so he learns that you are not a threat. Then, little by little, interact with him avoiding sudden movements and initially caressing his body, since he may feel threatened if you touch his face, always using a soft tone of voice (remember that they have a very sensitive ear). Also, be sure to reward him with food that he likes (such as small pieces of carrot, apple, herb…), since thanks to positive reinforcement you will make him see you as someone trustworthy and to his liking.

4. Pick him up (carefully)

Once you have established a bond of trust and you see that he is not scared by your side, you can try to take him in arms. Keep in mind that this can be a complicated step for him, since rabbits generally do not like to be restrained and the fact of being "in the air " can generate quite a fear, since it is usually predators that lift off the ground. For this, at the beginning we will take it for a short time close to the ground, and we will progressively increase the height and time, always rewarding him in the process with gifts and caresses if we see that he likes them.

How to train a rabbit to relieve itself?

To begin with, we must bear in mind that rabbits are clean animals who like to have a specific space where they can relieve themselves. However, when they are small they still do not control their bowel movements and, therefore, they will defecate and urinate in all places. Also, if the rabbit is already an adult, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian to neuter or sterilize it, since this could make its stools in unwanted places with the intention of mark your territory.

1. Add a corner piece to the rabbit cage

To educate your rabbit to relieve itself in a suitable place, we will start the learning process by facilitating a cornerback large enough in his cage, with a specific substrate, so that we encourage him to relieve himself in the right place. In case we observe that it raises its tail with the intention of urinating and defecating outside the corner, we will take it to take it to it, as long as the rabbit does not have problems in taking it in your arms. On the contrary, if it has a more scary character, we will avoid catching it so as not to generate a stressful situation..

2. Place your stool in the corner

When our partner does his needs out of site, we will collect them with a cloth or toilet paper to place it in his corner, so that relate that space to the smell. And in addition, we will thoroughly clean with a product specialized in urine (which you can buy in a pet store) the places where you have defecated or urinated erroneously in order to erase odor traces and prevent it from doing it again in the same place. In the same way, as the rabbit will go to its corner piece due to the smell, it is important that when we wash its corner and fill it with clean substrate, we mix it with a little of the old one to preserve the smell and not confuse it..

3. Reward him when he relieves himself in the corner.

Finally, it is also important that we try to educate our furry through positive reinforcement. Therefore, every time we see that it does its needs correctly, we will reward it at the moment with a prize that we know you like, such as your favorite food or caresses. In this way, we will get him to associate the behavior we want with a positive situation and will repeat it more frequently.

If you need more information on how to educate your rabbit to do his needs correctly, we recommend the following article: ¿How to teach a rabbit where to relieve itself?

How to teach a rabbit not to bite?

Although it is popularly believed that rabbits are peaceful animals, since they are not predators, they can surprise us and manifest behaviors aggressive like biting us. If your rabbit has ever exhibited this behavior, it may have scared you into thinking that it cannot be rectified. Now, it is possible to teach your rabbit not to bite, but for this you must first know the reason why it has bitten you. Let's take a look at the most common reasons:

1. My rabbit bites out of fear

As we have discussed, rabbits generally are afraid of being manipulated because they are prey. For this reason, if the animal has not yet gotten used to us, it will run away. Contrary, if you feel cornered unable to flee (for example, if we hold him in our arms), he is very likely to react by biting us.

Also, if we have tried to "educate " our rabbit through aggressive strategies such as physical punishment or yelling, clearly it will be afraid of us and will try to defend itself with the bite. In these cases, it is important that we dedicate time to make friends with our rabbit, so that he loses fear of us and learns to trust us.

2. My rabbit bites in pain

If your furry did not have problems when you were related to him, but has made a sudden change in behavior becoming aggressive when you touch it, it is very likely that it has experienced or is experiencing pain. For more information, see this other article on 15 signs of pain in rabbits.

That is, it may have been the case that you have accidentally hurt him and related you to the bad experience. In this case, we will have to dedicate time so that he understands again that we are his friend and that we are not going to hurt him again..

Or, it may be that you have pain as a result of some pathology or injury. In this case, it is important to quickly take him to the vet so that he can detect it.

3. The rabbit is angry and bites

Your rabbit may have a rebellious attitude because your well-being is not fully covered. For example:

  • You are not comfortable in your accommodation.
  • Because he's locked up in his cage for a long time.
  • Because you need to run, dig, jump, socialize, and interact with your environment.
  • Because if it doesn't come out of the cage, it can't stretch properly.
  • Because you don't pay attention and they feel lonely and angry.

If any of these situations occur, our rabbit will feel frustrated and can react aggressively. Also, rabbits that cannot stretch properly can develop physical pathologies that cause them pain.

It must be taken into account that their social needs are covered, since rabbits they need to be in company to feel safe. For this reason, a lonely rabbit will feel more nervous and may be aggressive accordingly. To resolve this situation, if the animal spends many hours alone, we should consider that it lives with another rabbit.

4. My rabbit bites because it protects something valuable

Some rabbits may bite when we get close to something that is valuable to them, What:

  • Your territory (usually your cage).
  • Your food bowl.
  • Another rabbit to be your friend.

For the rabbit, it is necessary to protect this element and it may see us as a threat. Consequently, with the intention of defending himor, it may bite us when you bring your hand closer, for example.

Once again, we must generate a bond of trust from the beginning in our rabbit to avoid this situation. In these cases, to rectify this behavior, we must gradually approach this element that the rabbit wants to protect, and reward it as we get closer and do nothing to us. We shall be very patient, since depending on the individual it may take a few days to learn. And we will have to act progressively, avoiding forcing the situation, since it could return to bite us and perform a bad learning again. In case he hurts us again, we must avoid scolding him at all costs because we will only achieve the opposite effect to what we want, since we will become an even greater threat.

5. ¿Why does a rabbit bite? - Hormones

Rabbits can display aggressive behavior towards us or other rabbits generally in spring, which is the natural breeding season for rabbits. This aggression is hormonal and indicates a normal desire to defend your territory and ward off any rival..

If we have ruled out the previous causes, we should take him to a vet, as this behavior must be reduced by neutering or spaying.

For more information, you can read this other article about ¿Why does my rabbit bite me?

Leave Your Comment

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here