About Us!

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, April 15, 2016

Why to Reconsider Harnessing Your Rabbit

 (From Rhonda)

In my own experience, I used the vest type leash more than once. Although I was nervous each time not knowing how the bunnies would react, I had faith in the fact it was covering the body and snuggly as I could get it. Then there was THAT day.

I had a New Zealand about to be adopted. I took him outside on the vest leash. It was snug on him since he was a larger rabbit, but he seemed fine, so we ventured on outside. He heard something I didn't, totally freaked, and the next thing I knew he was rolling and screaming trying to free himself from the vest. I just knew he would have a heart attack! By the time I reached down he was loose and ran into the bushes! He continued to run from me until he calmed down enough to hear my voice. He was on his way out into heavy traffic.
I was able to save that one. I will not do that again.
They are not necessary, just use a play area that is safe. It's about them, not us!

First Hand Stories of Harness/Leash Users:

Here are some questions that you may ask....

Bunnies walking on leashes.  This is extremely cute in theory and heck, even in reality.   But before you decide to use a harness on your rabbit, keep in mind: there is always a serious danger to your rabbit if you put him in a harness. When I got my first bun, Fleury, I was determined to teach him to walk on a harness.  So I researched… and researched more.  And the #1 thing I kept running into involved horror stories of rabbits becoming paralyzed, strangled, or severely injured.  There are always countering arguments on what possibilities and new experiences and adventures your rabbit gets when trained on a harness – but one big fact is always true:  harnessing a rabbit is dangerous.  For me, that knowledge is enough to keep me from harnessing my buns. That said, there were some thoughts I had to sort through before I fully reached this conclusion.

My rabbit has a very calm disposition and never reacts to loud noises or startles easily. 
This seems to be a very common reason some people think it’s okay to put their rabbits on a harness.  This may be true BUT the fact of the matter is rabbits are prey animals.  When startled or frightened their number one instinct is to run and run quickly.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard you train your rabbit and prepare him for the outdoors – you will never be able to rid him of these key instinct that keeps rabbits naturally safe from predators.  This also means the situation will happen much too fast for you to have ample time to react.   Your bunny darts, the leash he’s attached to only goes so far, it happens too quickly for you to drop the leash, and before you know it – your bunnies spine is snapped from the pressure of being pulled back.  Rabbits have extremely fragile spines and putting these risk into perspective outweighs any pleasure I could ever get no matter how calm any of my rabbits are.

I will keep him in a closed in area by my house, where no dogs, cats, or other predators are lurking that could possibly scare my bunny.  
This is another argument I seem to come across a lot.   Unfortunately, rabbits also have very keen senses – much better than we could ever hope ours to be.  Which means they hear things we don’t hear and can see things we don’t see.  One such example that I don’t believe many people think about when enclosing their areas are hawks.  Although a rabbit has poor eyesight up close – they have fabulous eye sight far away.  Which means when a hawk is too far away in the sky for you to see, they can see it perfectly.  And which also means – they will potentially run from this danger.  Being a human, I don’t think we have the senses or the ideas to fully get rid of any possibilities that can trigger your rabbit to flee for cover.

My rabbit will get more exercise if I can take him outside. 

Your rabbit will not be getting more exercise outside on a leash.  Walking around isn’t really “exercise” for a rabbit.  Rabbits get their exercise from binkying and darting around like little maniacs in what I love to call “zoomies”.  On a leash, your rabbit cannot engage in these activities.  And if he does, he risks snapping his spine if he zooms too far and a rabbit on a leash has no perception of just how far “too far” is.

I want my rabbit to explore and enjoy his natural habitat, the great outdoors. 

This is all good and well and I really do understand how some people believe enjoying the great outdoors is necessary for their bunnies happiness.   But in my opinion, risking their lives is just not worth it.  If you are adamant on your rabbit experiencing the normal things a rabbit would experience outside, I would suggest getting creative and giving him these things inside your home.  You can create a digging dirt pit for him with nothing more than a litter box full of dirt and a tarp on the floor.  You can create plants by planting your own indoor herbs or grass and letting him munch
right out of the pot.  You can even dedicate a section (doesn’t have to be big) of a room or his area to just this kind of play area.
If you’ve weighed these things and still want to try harness training your rabbit, just be sure to thoroughly research everything you can. What harnesses are safest and most comfortable for rabbits? What size should I get for my rabbit?  How should I introduce him to it?
What do you think?   Have you tried harness training a rabbit? Are you opposed to it?