Can you train a rabbit?
Rabbits are very clever animals that can learn any trick you teach them. You just need time, patience and a good method for your bunny to learn everything you teach them.
How to train a rabbit?
It is easier to train a rabbit if you understand that its behaviour is often motivated by the following factors:
- Fear: Being prey animals, they are easily scared, so you must find a way to make them feel comfortable and safe by your side. Before touching them, you must let them see you and smell you, so they will verify that you are not an enemy.
- Positive reinforcements: They will greatly appreciate your being kind to them and, in fact, will learn more quickly from a personable attitude.
- Chew and dig: They love to do both! They are their favourite hobbies, so you already have a hint of the prizes that you can offer them as recess when the training ends, they will be delighted if they know that in the end they will have a reward!
- Small rabbits are usually easier to train than adult rabbits.
Are you able to dedicate approximately 30 minutes a day to training your rabbit until you achieve the results you want? If the answer is yes, follow these simple steps.
- Clear the area of cables and other things likely to be gnawed by your rabbit. You need to control the space you have access to; As it behaves well within an area, you can gradually increase its limits, but always avoiding cables.
- Put it in the place and circumstances where the behavior you want it to carry out can happen. For example, if you want to show them where you want them to relieve themselves, show them where you want them to do it.
- Once time and space have been delimited, you will have to bear in mind that more than words, your bunny will understand reinforcement sounds better.
During training, do not draw attention to your rabbit, do not punish them, do not yell at them. In this way you will only create anxiety and delay training.
Train a rabbit: the click method
Training a rabbit has infinite advantages, because in addition to facilitating coexistence with it, it keeps it active and strengthens the bond of friendship between the rabbit and its human.
To train your rabbit you will need a clicker, a work tool that is used to secondarily reinforce the training of animals. With the help of the clicker and rewards, you can make the rabbit obey a series of commands aimed at learning or modify various behaviours.
The way to use it is quite simple: every time you reward the animal with some food, you must play the sound at the same time, so that the rabbit will associate the click with its action and will want to repeat it to receive a reward in return. In this way you will communicate without words! From here, a world of possibilities opens up in relation to learning. How to make a rabbit eliminate in one place or how to teach your rabbit to come when you call. You yourself will realize the ability of your bunny to learn new things.
Choose the right moment. Your bunny will be more motivated if you start training before feeding them.
- You can offer them a few treats (fruit in small amounts) or bits of its favourite vegetables.
- When you are chewing the candy or the carrot slice, for example, click the clicker once.
- At the end of the first bite, give it another and click again.
Repeat the action until you finish with the handful of sweets or vegetables that you had prepared.
- With this routine, the rabbit will associate the sound with the food treat.
We will try to plan everything very well so that they become pleasant experiences for them. Give the treat quickly, take no more than five seconds after the clicker sound.
Start with simple challenges, like the ones we propose below, so that you get used to a discipline, and gradually increase the difficulty of them.
1. Reaching for a sound object
The rabbit has to touch a sound element, such as a bell or a rattle.
- Bring the treat closer to its nose so that it can sniff it and hold it until it reaches the goal, which will be at a safe distance.
- When the rabbit manages to touch the bell, press the clicker and give them their reward.
- Repeat this step several times and when you see that your bunny gets tired, stop.
- As you overcome the challenge, you can move the target a little further away.
2. Order to sit
- Command the rabbit to sit down, saying “sit down.” As soon as it obeys, click and give them its prize.
- As your rabbit becomes familiar with the command, you can gradually delay giving it the treat.
- In this way, you will get the animal to sit without the need for sound stimuli or rewards.
- If you want them to get up, repeat the exercise, but with the command “get up” or “up”.
3. Teach them to come to you when you call them
- Make sure it sniffs you and follows your movements.
- When it comes to you, give them the treat.
- Be firm during training, only then will you get your rabbit to understand why you reward them.
You can complete training orders with praise instead of treats.
Gradual withdrawal of awards
The goal is for the rabbit to get things done without having to receive a treat in return. You will achieve this by following these steps:
- When your bunny responds successfully to a certain command, it is time to reduce the frequency of the treats.
- You can alternate: once you give the prize and the next time you don’t.
- Another option is to offer the treat from time to time.
- Gradually substitute caresses for treats and leave food to reinforce their behavior at specific times.
How to educate your rabbit not to chew on furniture?
During these training moments you should pay close attention to your bunny. First open its cage or house and let them out when it wants, but remember to do it in a small place, so you can have more control over them. If you see that it begins to gnaw on a piece of furniture, or any other object that you do not want them to chew on, grab its attention and offer them something better, such as a piece of fruit or another object that you have prepared for them, such as an empty toilet paper roll, a branch, or a small wood. Also, you must block their access to the forbidden object so that it is no longer a temptation.