My House Rabbit

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Archive for the ‘Rabbit Training’ Category

Thinking about Adopting a Bunny?

Friday, February 5th, 2010

In our earlier post, we mentioned that February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. For those of you inspired to add a bunny to your family, here are a few basic tips before you bring your new furry friend home.

  • Finances: Be prepared to spend money up front on the adoption fee, as well as housing/food/bunny proofing supplies. Be sure you’ll be able to afford ongoing costs for your bunny on food, litter, and vet bills (including spay/neuter fees if your bunny didn’t get the surgery while at the shelter/rescue). So often I receive heartbreaking emails from people whose rabbit needs veterinary attention, but they cannot afford it. Please don’t let that happen to your bunny. Check out Petfinder’s chart of estimated yearly costs of pet ownership to give you an idea.
  • Bunny Housing: Rabbits are social animals. The location of your rabbit’s housing area (which can take the form of a cage, puppy pen, bunny condo, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if your bunny is free reign) is an extremely important consideration. Make sure your rabbit has a place to relax by himself, but make sure that he’s not completely secluded from your family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Take a look at our Housing article to learn more.
  • Bunny Proofing: If your bunny will have free reign in your house/apartment/room, you will absolutely need to bunny proof the area. Even if you keep your bunny in a cage, condo, or puppy pen, you still will need to safeguard your home when you let your rabbit out for supervised exercise. Rabbits are very curious and persistent creatures. They will find a way into your computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They will eat your most important documents. Check out our Bunny Proofing article for tips on protecting your bunny and your things.
  • Enrichment: Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house.
  • Litterbox Training: Most rabbit rescues will start the process of litter training the bunnies they take in. So your bunny should have the basics down, but sometimes rabbits forget their good habits once they move into their new home. This is natural because the drastic change in environment can be very stressful. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits. Read our article about litter training to learn more.
  • Nutrition: It’s important to have a good understanding of your rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his/her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for your rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. But for a more detailed explanation, see our article, What to Feed Your House Rabbit. Another great link is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age.
  • Bonding with Your Bunny: Give your rabbit time to adjust to his/her new setting before expecting him/her to be your new best friend. Check out our article about building a relationship so you get off on the right foot. Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. Talk with a volunteer at a local rabbit rescue to learn more about which rabbit (or pair of rabbits) has a personality that will be a good fit for you and your family.

Bottom line: Do your research first! Check out our articles under the Rabbit Care, Rabbit Behavior, Health, and General sections to learn more. There are also many other websites devoted to rabbit care education. Go to our Resources page to find other useful websites.

http://www.petfinder.com/after-pet-adoption/estimated-yearly-costs-pet.html.

Clicker Training

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

andrea(17)Andrea Bratt Frick has been clicker training rabbits since she adopted a bunny named Filbert who was able to jump 36 inches. She used a clicker to train Filbert to use his leaping ability to clear hurdles. She uses the clicker to signal the rabbit to do a trick, which is followed by a reward. The reward is dependent on the rabbit, some rabbits like particular veggies or pellets, while others are satisfied with a nose rub.

She also uses the clicker to help abused or neglected rabbits become comfortable around people. Clicker training helped these rabbits become less aggressive and more willing to be handled by humans. Frick works with the rabbits at Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter in Santa Barbara, CA.

Read the full article at The Examiner.

Rabbit Show Jumping in England

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Inspired by rabbit show jumping videos on YouTube, two brothers, Mathew and Thomas Haslam, from Doncaster, England, have been training their two rabbits to participate in the rabbit agility competition at the Ultimate Pet Show in Birmingham. The two bunnies, Bubbles and Lilac, are a favorite to win the competition. To prep the rabbits for the contest, Mathew and Thomas set up obstacles in their backyard and initially used leashes to guide the rabbits over the fences.

For more info: The Daily Mail

February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month”

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

CosetteI wrote an article for the local paper here in southeastern CT about the benefits of adopting a rabbit in honor of February being “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.”

Here’s an excerpt:

If you are uninitiated to the world of bunnies, you may not realize that February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.” So in the spirit of spreading awareness, here are a few benefits of adopting a pet rabbit from a rescue or shelter.

But before you get too excited about getting a rabbit, it should be noted that although rabbits make wonderful indoor companions (who can be easily litter trained), they are not low maintenance pets. Rabbits require the same amount of care and attention as cats or dogs, and they can live around 10 years or more. But if you and your family are willing to make the commitment, read on!

Read the full article here >

Best in Show for Bunnies

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

This video has been around for a little while now, but it still cracks me up. The man’s jubilant “YESSS!” accompanied by the double fist pump when his rabbit jumps over the hurdle is hilarious. But, apparently this was the winning high jump of 33.5 inches in the 2002 Danish Championship.

Training (Take 1)

Monday, November 19th, 2007

I quickly learned that putting the treats in the same cabinet as the paper towels used for litterbox cleaning was not a good idea. Now, every time Cosette hears the cabinet door opening, she bounds over with a crazed look in her eye. And since Cosette is excited, Coco will come running over so that he doesn’t miss out. (Even though he has no idea what’s going on.) So after I cleaned their litterboxes last night, I decided that I didn’t have the heart to withhold a treat from them since they were so excited. However, I thought that maybe I could at least make them work for it and learn some tricks.

So, I thought I’d teach them the command, “Up!” I didn’t think it would be that difficult since they enjoy jumping onto tables, boxes, beds, chairs, shelves, etc. And they usually come over if I tap my finger on the ground (only to leave immediately if they see I don’t have food.)

So, I said, “Up!” and tapped the top of the box. After about fifteen minutes of this and Cosette running around and inside the box frantically with Coco chasing her, I settled for the command, “Walk!” which entailed me holding the treat in front of them so they had to stand on their hind feet and walk. Not quite as impressive as I would have hoped…

Especially when compared to these clicker trained bunnies:

It makes me want to buy a clicker, but on the other hand, I kind of find Cosette’s sometimes surly attitude endearing.

Cosette looking surly