Can you train a rabbit?


For those who have a rabbit as a pet this may be a topic of interest. Many people believe that this hairy apricots do nothing but eat and jump. The truth is that it is possible train a rabbit to make interesting tricks.

Although basic training for rabbits is about teaching them how to use the litter box, or staying or entering the cage. It is possible for our pet to learn some simple but very funny tricks. Doing this will not only increase and improve our relationship with him. It will also help you stay physically and mentally active and so we will have a healthy and happy rabbit.

We recommend you dare to train your pet. You will have a lot of fun and make it a very happy hairy. If you don't know the steps you should follow or what is the best way to train a rabbit, we give you some interesting tips then.

Table of Contents

Train a Rabbit

This is a task that usually results much easier than it seems. Rabbits usually respond quite well to training, especially if prizes are used. Prizes generally consist of “candies"Which are nothing more than a piece of the healthy and appropriate food Enjoy your pet more. We can also alternate food for attention and pampering, which also enjoy a lot.

One of the most effective tactics is the use of booster sounds. These are words or sounds that are used to tell our pet that what he did is what we want. One of the ways to use these booster sounds is what is known as “clicker”.

The clicker is a device that is widely used in training several animals. It is an object that produces a sound like a button. What happens is that the animal, rabbit in this case, is given a prize when listening to the sound. Over time, your pet will associate the sound with an action because he will know that he will receive a prize in return.

If you do not have a clicker available you can use a reinforcement word. This should always be said once the rabbit completes the trick and before giving him the prize.

As owners we must understand that training a pet requires time, attention and patience. Routines should be repeated frequently for our rabbit to learn the lesson. And we must be patient because not all rabbits manage to do the tricks in command at the same time. The> a fun and useful activity. If we don't have enough patience we can get frustrated and cause more harm than good to our furry.

Benefits of training a rabbit

  • There are many benefits that we can find in training a rabbit. For example, We will teach our pet not to fear us. When training we establish a relationship that always ends in a good way (prize). Also, if we do things well and patiently, our pet will see us as a source of positive things.
  • The relationship established through training too help our rabbit be less shy>

Ways to train a rabbit

Here is something you need to know. There is something called the strategy hierarchy To train a rabbit, here's how it looks:

  • At the bottom are the more practical strategies, like physically picking up your rabbit and spinning it in a circle.
  • Then comes the strategy of put a prize right in front of your pet's nose. So we will use the smell of what he likes to do it, for example, running in circles.
  • After that you can use a gesture without a prize. Such as making a circular motion with your hand.
  • And finally, with enough training and more than a handful of treats, your rabbit will be able to perform a trick with just the verbal indicator.

The goal is to gradually reduce the amount of guidelines needed for your bunny to complete a trick. To aim excessively and growl to a simple command of a word.

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Training rules of a rabbit

1.- Clicker training is usually very good. Although it is possible to replace this device with a vocalization such as Yes! or All right!, we must mention that these words should not change during training. That is, when choosing the word that will accompany the prize, it should not change. The clicker is recommended because usually we humans are not usually consistent with the words we use, but if you think about it, you don't need the device.

2.- You should ALWAYS reward your pet With a tangible prize. The best thing is that it's about how you get their attention. The pieces should be small so that you can eat them quickly. This way you make sure you don't waste training time.

3.- Start using a combination of guide with prize, gesture and verbal. Use a strong tone of voice, but without shouting. The prize guide and gesture can be combined in one hand movement for now. If you need to physically move your rabbit many times to do the trick, surely you need a more attractive prize.

How to train a rabbit to circle

We will show you some tips that will help you to train your bunny to perform this trick:

1.- A good idea is that you achieve first get your pet's attention. How to achieve this? A good way to do this is to use a prize. Find a meal that you know your rabbit especially enjoys and get his attention by putting that piece in front of you and calling his name.

2.- The next step is get him to perform the action you want. For example, if you want me to make a circle, use the hierarchy guide. Try to do it using the attraction of the smell of the prize. Put the candy in front of his nose and make a circle so that following the smell your rabbit does. As soon as you complete it, use the clicker or word of encouragement and give it the prize.

3.- If you do not get your pet to perform the movement in this way, take it below and guide it until you make a circle, when you complete it, use the auditory reinforcement (clicker or word) and give it the prize.

4.- You can start using a command (word) or gesture while your rabbit makes the circle. In this way you teach your rabbit to associate the movement with a word or gesture. When you do this, later you will only have to use the gesture or the word for your rabbit to do the trick.

How to train a rabbit to come when you call him

1.- Get your rabbit's attention and sit on the floor near him. Put your favorite treat in front of him but a little away and say in a firm but soft tone "(name of your rabbit) Come”. If your pet approaches Give him a prize and use a word to reinforce the action.

2.- Once you get your rabbit to get a little closer, try to get away. First you should get away just a little. In doing so, repeat the actions described above. Show him the prize, call his name and say "come". When he approaches, give him the treat and reinforce the action.

3.- If your rabbit approaches you only by showing him the prize, you must say the command out loud while addressing you. In this way you will be training him to respond to the command and not only to the promise of the prize.

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What to expect from training

Training a rabbit is not difficult and even less impossible. However, it requires that we be very committed to be consistent with routines. The training steps should be repeated frequently for several weeks before seeing definitive results. Even during the day we should try part of the training. This for our pet to record the commands and I can repeat them more easily.

We must be prepared for certain behaviors which are common in rabbits that are being trained. These are some of the things that could happen to us with our pet:

  • It is possible that our rabbit want to be rewarded every time you do the trick that we have taught him even without having asked for it with a command. It will not be strange to see our hairy spinning uncontrollably for no apparent reason. If we have been training it, it probably will because it expects to receive an award. Ideally, ignore this so as not to confuse it. That is to say, We should only reward him when he does it following a command, either verbal or gestural.
  • Another thing that happens commonly is that the second trick is a bit more complicated to achieve. As we will have spent some time, for example, teaching him to spin, he will believe that any word or gesture means "spin." Do not lose patience if this happens. Follow the steps with tenacity and you will achieve excellent results.

Idiosyncrasy of rabbits

Before starting any method of training a rabbit, it is convenient reflect on the way of being of these lovely little animals.

With the following brushstrokes, you will know more about their qualities, behavior and motivations:

  • The common rabbit –Oryctolagus cuniculus– is a species of lagomorph mammal, from the Lepor family> snacks, toys and, even, caresses, are great allies in the training of the small furry.
  • its vision is better by far Y sidewaysIt's not up close and forward. This is due to the singular separation of his eyes. Keep this in mind when offering a treat. You must place it under your nose and mouth, since these senses are more effective than sight.
  • Don't forget that they are delicate and sensitive animals. Treat them with all the softness and affection they deserve.
  • Your petting in the head they will be well received by the rabbit, not so in the rest of the body. Try to avoid them so as not to intimidate him.

“During training, don't scold your rabbit, don't punish him, don't yell at him. In this way you will only be able to create anxiety and delay training. ”

Train a rabbit: the click method

Training a rabbit has infinite advantages, because in addition to facilitating coexistence with him, it keeps him active and reinforces the bond of friendship between animal and human.

Does the training system sound based on the click method sound?

Below we explain it step by step.

The clicker

  • You will need a clicker, a work utensil that is used to strengthen training secondarily of the animals.
  • With the help of the clicker and the awards, you can get the rabbit to obey a series of orders aimed at learning or modifying various behaviors.

“The operation of the clicker is based on the classical conditioning (of the Russian physiologist Iván Pavlov), as a learning method and consistent in the association between two stimuli”

Choose the right time

Your little animal will be more motivated if you start training before feeding him.

  • You can offer him a few goodies or bits of his favorite vegetables.
  • When you are chewing the candy or the carrot piece, for example, click once on the clicker.
  • When you finish the first bite, give it another and click again.
  • Repeat the action until you finish the handful of treats or vegetables you had prepared.
  • With this routine, the rabbit will associate the sound with the food prize.

Four challenges in short sessions

A rabbit is bored if the stages of training are long, slow and tedious. Therefore, we will try to plan everything very well so that they become pleasant experiences for him.

Prepare in advance everything you will need for training, such as the clicker, treats, food, toys, objects, etc.

Give the treat quickly, do not take more than five seconds after the clicker sound.

Start with simple challenges, such as those we propose below, so that you get used to a discipline, and gradually increase the difficulty of them.

1. Reach a sound object

  • Go bringing the candy close to your nose to sniff it and keep it until you reach the target, which will be at a safe distance.
  • When the rabbit manages to touch the rattle, press the clicker and give it its reward.
  • Repeat this step several times and when you see the animal get tired, stop.
  • As you overcome the challenge, you can move the target a little further.

2. Order of sitting

  • Order the rabbit that sits, saying "sit down." As soon as he obeys, click and give him his prize.
  • When the rabbit becomes familiar with the order, you can gradually delay the moment of giving him the treat.
  • In this way, you will get the animal to feel without the need for sound stimuli or prizes.
  • If you want to get up, repeat the exercise, but with the order “get up” or “up”.
  • Prizes should not necessarily be material, it may be your favorite food, but also pampering or anything else that your animal likes to do especially.

3. Teach him to come to you when you call him

  • Make sure he sniffs you and follow your movements.
  • When he comes to you, give him the treat.
  • Be firm during training, only then will you get the animal to understand why you reward it.

“You can complete the training orders with compliments, such as“ sit down, very good ”or“ enter here, great ”

4. Positioning a harness

  • For this task you will need a large dose of patience and do it in several phases.
  • The first step is to reward him for the mere fact of approaching the harness, smelling and touching it.
  • Give him another treat when he lets himself put the armor on his back.
  • Gratify him again for letting him lift a little leg and for being calm as you put it on. Reward each of the movements in which he is calm.
  • Finally, when you have placed the harness, leave it on for a few minutes, without adjusting, so that you get used to it. Then, take it off so it doesn't get overwhelmed.
  • At another time, you can already put the harness on.
  • Then, teach him to get acquainted with the strap and drag it before hooking it to the harness.

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There are other challenges, fun and useful. For example, train your rabbit in situations that cause fear or distrust (such as preparing it for a trip or visiting the veterinarian), cutting his nails or getting him into his cage when it gets dark.

Gradual withdrawal of awards

The ultimate goal is for the rabbit to do things without having to receive a treat in return. You will achieve this by following these steps:

  • When the hairy responds successfully to a specific order, it is time to reduce the frequency of sweets.
  • 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 replace the treats with caresses and leave the food to reinforce their behavior at specific times.

Remember that one of The keys to successful rabbit training is planning. Once you have the plan, organize each step and put it into practice with patience.

Good luck! Surely you get it and both your little animal and you will love the experience!

Steps to follow so that your rabbit learns to answer your call

Place your rabbit in front of you and hold the reward a short distance while you call him by his name several times until it is completely fenced, then hold the candy for a few seconds near its snout and finally give it to it.

When the rabbit has collected his gift you can caress him affectionately to show himself pleased by his attitude.

It is important to repeat this at least three times a day until it adapts to the process and as its reactions are faster and more precise, we can decrease the frequency and increase the repetition distance.

Mammals usually respond efficiently to these training techniques, however, The rabbit's response needs more adaptation than other pets usual like dogs or cats.


Chapter 1. Welcome home!

The first thing to get home is to place our pet in the place that will be his home, his cage, well cleaned and prepared with his feed water and hay. Try to have it all before bringing the animal home because changing it from cage can create adaptation problems. The place of the cage should also be planned in advance, beware of drafts, or that the sun directly, that is not a hot or very cold place. It should be a little apart from people but not isolated because it would be depressed.

Many people feel sorry for enclosing their bunny between bars but we must think that in this way he will be safer than in any other site and no one can harm him or he can escape or perform dangerous behavior with dangerous objects. His cage is for him the safest and most comfortable place. At night or when we can not watch you should always be in your cage.

The first three days we will do as if he were not there, everything around him should be pleasant without loud sounds, without disturbing him, to facilitate the adaptation process. Something that we should avoid above all is to stress the animal. No cuddling or moving or catching him. They may even get sick due to the stress that these first days of acclimatization suffer.

Chapter 2. Trust me!

We will always speak to him in a pleasant voice and respect him because it is a new place and because we are like giants for him and he also does not know our intentions. How would you be in that situation? We must always put ourselves in their place to imagine what they feel and what they want.

Also, if we have another animal at home, it should be kept out of the way so as not to scare the new family member, the presentations in due time!

His first reaction is to hide, protect himself from us, so we have to show him that he can trust us, that we love him and we are his friends. And for this we must be patient and loving, never force or quarrel because in this way mania will catch us. Offering food is a good incentive, we will teach it, without making sudden movements, to arouse your curiosity and attract you to us. If this step is successfully overcome we can very slowly make an attempt to caress the forehead. If at any time the bunny gets scared or withdraws, the process must begin again.

Chapter 3. Pee and poop in the tray!

Do you want me to always go to your tray to pee and poop and not do it anywhere? we can teach you!

First we will release it in a room that is not very large and that is safe. Normally rabbits choose a corner, the one they like best, to make their needs. Look where it does and there we will place the tray.

Every time you do it right or see that you try to do it but it has not just come out reward you with food and praise. If you make a mistake and do it in another place, say NO! And quickly place it on the tray, but you have to do it at the same time that you are urinating because otherwise you will not associate it with the tray. Nor should you tell him sharply because you will scare him and he will be afraid of the tray and you.

When you urinate in the wrong places remember to clean the site well with lemon or vinegar to eliminate the smell that can lead you to repeat.

If the tray is impregnated with your urine it will be easier for you to learn, so at first do not clean it so that you remember that it can be urinated there.

Male rabbits have a tendency to mark the territory especially after 4 or 6 months of age when their hormones are fired. So they will try to urinate everywhere to mark their territory.

Castration will facilitate training with the tray and improve its behavior by making it calmer.

Chapter 4. Daytime sleep and night ... party!

The rabbits are nocturnal and you will see how they spend the day sleepy and not wanting to do anything while at dusk and dawn they want to have fun and play.

At least they need to go out half an hour a day to run around and stretch their legs otherwise they may not let you sleep.

Chapter 5. Back to the cage

When the time to run around runs out, we will guide you to the door of your cage by pushing it from behind or showing you some food that motivates you to enter. It is very important that you have taken us before and do not fear us because then you will hide from us and it will be very difficult for you to approach us. Remember not to catch him abruptly.

Chapter 6. Behavior according to race

It is a mistake to think that depending on the breed of a rabbit, so will its personality. Each rabbit is unique regardless of the breed to which it belongs.

Neither purebred rabbits are better than mixed-breed rabbits, nor are smaller breeds more docile than giant breeds.

Broadly speaking, it could be said that large breeds tend to be less moved than small ones, which are more active, and that belier and long-haired ones tend to be calmer.

The only way to know what a bunny's personality is is by observing their usual behavior before acquiring it: how it relates to other rabbits, if it is relaxed, if it does not stop moving etc ... and look carefully if it fits with our way of being and to live

Chapter 7. Behavior according to age

Baby rabbit: The little ones only think about running around and having fun, they don't like being sent or caught, although that will also depend on their character. Some are more cuddly and look for caresses and warmth, others are more interested in exploring.

Although the game is necessary for its development and personality, do not forget that early training is much more effective, and the sooner you learn good behaviors, the better for everyone.

Teen Rabbit: With the arrival of adolescence, (3-4 months in small breeds or 8-9 months large breeds), hormonal changes will cause behavior changes in our pet. Our bunny becomes more active, rebel even aggressive, especially in males.

He can start courting you, he follows you, runs in circles around your feet giving buzzing.

To mark your territory you will urinate everywhere and you can stop using the tray.

They can growl scratching and biting to defend themselves if you invade their cage even if you are feeding it. This behavior is done mainly by females to defend their nest.

Your good forms may disappear but it is important to remain calm and patient, if we constantly quarrel you will be worse.

If you have decided not to breed you can castrate him so his behavior will calm down and facilitate the training.

And if you need activity we must provide it with toys and exercise.

Mature rabbit: With maturity comes calm. Our bunny will be more docile and understanding, he will have learned not to bite the furniture, to use the tray etc ...

Chapter 8. Psychological pregnancy:

Sometimes an adult female, who has not been ridden by a male, begins to tear her hair to make a nest believing she is pregnant. This behavior is caused by a hormonal imbalance. To eliminate it we can sterilize it or let it breed.

Chapter 9. Aggression and destruction

Above all, let's not lose our nerves! It is much more effective to tell him how to do things correctly than to punish or scolder him all the time because he will become even more aggressive.

Every time you do it well we will reward you with food and when you do it wrong we will say NO! and we will remind you of the correct way to act.

If you bite furniture we will teach you to bite toys that you can bite, and if you want to dig we will give you a suitable place with suitable materials to do so.

Remember that a castrated rabbit is more tame (at least theoretically).

Chapter 10. He bites me if I catch him and stroke him

It is normal that sometimes our pet is a little tired of being petted and caught at all times and scratching and biting is his way of telling us to leave it a little quiet.

We must love them and also respect their wishes and discover what they like and what they don't like.

Rabbits have by nature a certain phobia of heights. So respect that he wants to interact with you from the ground and little by little when he trusts you more you can try to put it in your lap sitting on the floor next to him.

On the other hand a bunny is not a stuffed animal, so try not to overdo it in achuchones, no matter how cute they are, because they are overwhelmed and for them it is like torture.

How to tame a rabbit

When we are going to take the important step of increasing our family with a pet, many doubts may arise in this regard, especially in the behavior of these animals. One of the characteristics that you should know about the domestication of a rabbit is that it is not complicated, but it needs some basic care that you must attend daily so that the relationship that will exist between the animal and the human is correct and necessary.

First of all when a rabbit enters our home, we must give him some freedom and above all peace of mind so he can live in your new house. These animals at the beginning are very scary and easily stressed, so we have to avoid at all times lights or sounds that can alter it, as is the case with radios or even very loud voices. With peace of mind we will approach him, so that he sees that we are not a problem and that what we want is to give him affection and attention.

When we take it out of the cage in the same way this animal needs to smell, get close to the objects that are around it and that will be part of its life. Rabbits love being in high places (but safe) in order to see better what they have underneath to mentally make a scheme of their new home.

Rabbits are very scary, but also very curious.

By the time they lose this fear and have already explored their new home well, it is time to approach people, interacting with them, smelling them and accepting any kind of pampering That can be offered. Although at first they will seek the affection of humans, they also need to have their moment of peace, and they rarely feel at ease in the arms of a person.

The love and the bond that unites the pet with its owner is not something that is achieved in a few days, so you will have to be constantly giving love and games to make him feel happy. In the same way, if you stop giving affection, this animal is able to become more apathetic with you and you will have to return from the beginning to love you again.

What to do to tame a rabbit

Rabbits due to their large ears have a very fine sense of hearing and they detect almost all the sounds that are produced around them. They are very disturbed by loud and shrill sounds, so we always have to avoid talking loudly or even to the ears, as it can cause deafness.

When you are going to address your rabbit, always do it with a soft voice, that he can listen to you well, and especially making him see that what you are saying is something very beautiful, since by the way you pronounce it he will reach understand it One way to tell him even more that what you're saying is something nice is caress it while you talk, this will reassure you and you will also have more confidence in you. One of the parts that he likes the most is the forehead, as well as behind the ears, the gut and tail being two of the parts that they hate the most and that will do everything possible so that they do not touch these areas.

Remember also that when catching them, never throw them into the air, since this scares them a lot and they can get very stressed, so much that they would stop eating or could bite you. Nor should you turn it around, that is, rabbits will always prevent you from touching your belly but also be on your back. Another fact to remember is that the ears should touch the least, since it is one of the most sensitive parts of this animal and can be easily damaged.

A rabbit always needs company to not feel alone.

What can a rabbit be taught

Among the most common actions that can be taught is to have a bowel movement and also urinate in a special tray located in its cage for this purpose. This will help you to have your cage much cleaner, in order to have to remove only this tray when cleaning it. This is something that requires a lot of time and above all to have a lot of patience since it will not do it at first and you will have to follow some habits towards your rabbit in order to get it and understand that you must do your needs in that corner and never in other.

When the rabbit is out of the cage to play, also put this same tray out of it so that if the animal wants realize your needs I can do it. The education outside the cage should be the same as inside, when you see that he is going to urinate or defecate you should make it clear that this is not done, rewarding him with caresses or even a bauble when he does it well, only in this way will he understand that he should do it in the tray.

There are people who can teach their rabbits many tricks to play with and have fun with them. You can try throw an object that you can carry in your mouth, bringing it later as if it were a puppy, as long as you practice these trainings a lot by giving it that object brings you many pampering and beautiful words or even rewarding it with a treat that you like very much.

In addition to this you can also have them notify you when they want something, for example caresses. This is a technique that is very easy to do and only consists of giving a toy that makes a lot of noise like a stick with a rattle or rattle. Hide from him, and when you hear the rattle come and give him many caresses, so several times a day, surely after a few weeks every time your rabbit wants your presence, it will sound the rattle so that you are with him.