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Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Friday, July 15, 2016

Training Your Bunny & Bonding Too

This is a good way not only to train your bunny, bond with the fuzzy butt more, but also earn more trust from him or her. The more quality time you spend together, the closer you become!

Steps


  1. Understand what motivates your rabbit. Unlike our canine friends, rabbits aren’t naturally particularly motivated to please the “top rabbit.” This means that strong punishment, such as spanking or yelling at a rabbit, won’t make him more cooperative (many people say these behaviors are actually counterproductive to training dogs, as well). Rabbits, however, are very intelligent and eagerly respond to incentives. If you use these incentives correctly, most rabbits will respond accordingly.

  2. Devote plenty of time to training. For best results, you should plan on initially devoting at least thirty minutes, and preferably an hour or two, every day to training your rabbit. It may seem like a lot of time, but in the long run it’s well worth it. Don’t worry: you’ll probably only need to do this for a week or two. In fact, you may begin to see results on the first day.

  3. Use your rabbit’s favorite treats. Since training is based on incentives, you’ll need to find a treat that provides the best incentive possible. If you don’t know what your rabbit’s favorite treat is, try to figure it out. If you’re not sure if a particular food is safe for your rabbit, check with your vet.
  4.  
    Get your rabbit in position for training. Stage your training in the area and situation where and when you will want the behavior to occur. For example, if you want to teach your rabbit to jump up on your lap when called, first put it near the couch. If you want to train it to go in its crate at night, train it around the appropriate time, and make sure its crate is positioned where it will normally be.

  5. Give your rabbit a treat immediately when he/she performs your request. If you want to teach your rabbit to come when called, start its training by having it positioned very close to you. When it comes to you, give it the reward. Be consistent. Make sure that your companion knows why it's getting a treat. Use the exact same commands, such as “Sit, (Your Rabbit's Name),” or “Up, (Your Rabbit's Name),” every time, so your rabbit will learn to recognize your requests and associate those exact words with getting a treat.
  6.  
    Keep providing the treats until your rabbit responds correctly nearly every time. When you’re trying to teach a new skill, don’t skimp on the rewards. You need to make sure you are thoroughly conditioning your rabbit.

  7. Gradually, wean your rabbit off the treats. Once your rabbit has a skill down, your rabbits name, begin to give the treats less frequently. Give his reward once and then don’t the next time, or give it a treat only every few times. Eventually you may not need treats at all. In time, reward your rabbit with petting and toys, and only use food occasionally to keep the behavior strong.

  8. Reinforce the training as necessary. From time to time your rabbit may need to relearn a skill. That is, you may need to bring the incentives back. Don’t be afraid to do so.

  9. If your rabbit shows signs of aggression, there is a way to solve it and improve your relationship. First, approach your rabbit. Don't be afraid that they will hurt you at all. Remember you are the more powerful person between you. Try to gently stroke the rabbit's head. If they butt your hand away or try to bite you, they think you are challenging their power- this is because they think they are the 'alpha rabbit'. Your mission is to convey to your pet that you are the 'alpha', not them.

  10. Each time your rabbit 'misbehaves', cover their head and without applying any pressure, make a 'PSHT' sound. This eventually will get through to them that this is a 'bad' action. Make sure this tip is never carried out much after the rabbit does it- they won't understand why they are being punished. It is better to leave your rabbit after a naughty action than to punish it without it understanding.

  11. This can also be applied when you are not near your rabbit. Since over time they will understand the command, you can use it when they are, for example, digging your flower beds or scratching your furniture.



Your Mood

It is very important to make sure that you are in a calm mood when you are near the rabbit/s, especially when s/he is getting to know you. Rabbits are very sensitive, so pick up on your mood easily. If you are frustrated with the rabbit (or even frustrated in general) s/he will pick that up and be less likely to be friendly; if you are upset by not being the bunny's friend, again, s/he will pick this up and might cower from you. Before approaching the rabbit, take some calm, deep breathes and calm yourself down, making your mood neutral (i.e. not any extreme moods). It can also help to remind yourself at this point that your rabbit friend is not being awkward specifically because of you, and that it is not a personal thing; it is the rabbit's past and character that are influencing how s/he acts.

For more tips and also warnings to heed during training, please see this footnote link. Have fun with your bunny!!
Footnotes and further reading:
http://www.wikihow.com/Train-a-Rabbit



*****VIDEO!!   WOO HOO!!*****
Bunny agility training is very effective today with clicker training! To see some bunnies working with clicker training, here is a link to take you right to the video! They are just AMAZING!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BDocS5BfR0E#at=33





Other footnotes:
http://www.rabbitsonline.net/f40/bonding-your-bunny-28991/