This article is co-written by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliot, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and the treatment of companion animals. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. He has been working in the same animal clinic in his hometown for over 20 years.
The number of sources used in this article is 37. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Rabbits can be cute pets, but because in the wild they serve as prey for predators, they can be afraid and refuse to trust people. In order for the rabbit to begin to trust you and become attached to you, you should learn to understand the behavior of the rabbit and give him what he needs.
Is it possible to train a rabbit in the arms?
It is necessary to accustom a pet to hands, and it should begin from the very first day the pet is in the owner's possession. If the rabbit does not trust his master, then during any manipulation - taking out of the cage, combing, trying to stroke - he will experience extreme stress, which will adversely affect his health.
At what age is best to buy a rabbit
You can teach a rabbit not only to sit quietly in your arms, but also to perform tricks and walk into a tray. Due to the fact that the rabbits are smart enough, even a novice trainer can achieve impressive results. When choosing a pet, several factors that influence the rabbit's attitude to people should be taken into account:
- Age. The younger the selected individual, the easier it is to find contact with it. Young animals themselves seek communication with the owners, they like to be out of the cage - walking in the house or in their arms.
- Heredity. Before acquiring an animal, it is worth getting to know its parents and paying attention to their behavior - if rabbits calmly respond to people, are not shy, then with a high probability the pet chosen by the owners will be the same - this feature is transmitted at the genetic level.
- Health. Sick individuals are characterized by increased cowardice, they are reluctant to contact not only with people, but also with relatives. It is not difficult to identify an unhealthy animal, for this it is enough to examine the eyes, hair, ears - they should be clean, without inflammation, there should be no traces of any discharge on them. Tumbled, dirty, crumpled hair, “current” eyes, mucous discharge from the nose are signs of ailments.
You need to train a rabbit right after purchase
When choosing a pet, do not rush - you need to carefully examine the animal, meet its parents, and communicate with the breeders. Such actions minimize the risk of buying a sick or non-socializing rabbit.
What determines the nature of the pet?
Decorative breeds are best suited for maintaining a house - their representatives are small in size, have a positive attitude to contacts with a person and have a good-natured character.
The most popular breeds of ornamental rabbits are described in the table below.
|These pets have a calm disposition, are easily tamed, and they received a special love from the breeders for the velvety and soft fur.|
| ||The individuals of this breed received the name because of the fur collar around the neck, such pets are distinguished by a soft temper and playfulness.|
| ||Pets are affectionate, trusting, but constantly need increased attention and games.|
Dwarf netherlands rabbit
|Individuals are balanced, attracted to people, but it is recommended to keep them as a couple, because they need to communicate with relatives.|
| ||These rabbits love affection, they are happy to perform the learned trick, but they need regular care, as the fluffy wool rolls into mats.|
| ||These animals get along well with the owners, give in to training, and evil individuals practically do not occur among them.|
The above breeds differ from meat and downy ones not only in smaller size, but also in character. Their representatives do not feel fear of a person, have a positive attitude towards affection, and rejoice at manifestations of attention.
Despite the fact that representatives of decorative breeds love to communicate with people, there are individuals among them who cannot be tamed due to the peculiarities of the psyche and the nature of the animal.
How to tame a rabbit in your arms?
The owner of the animal should know that the new pet will not immediately get used to it and will gladly walk into its arms. The process of taming can take from a couple of days to several months - the exact time depends on how much the pet is in contact and the correct communication of the owner with him. So, the first acquaintance should begin only after the animal has examined the cage, eat, wash and lie down to rest. At this time, the owner can slowly approach the cage and, standing or sitting near it, talk to the animal. It is important to speak in a quiet, calm voice and not make loud sounds. If the rabbit does not try to hide and does not show signs of anxiety, you can proceed to the next stage of training the animal, otherwise you need to leave it alone, and then try again. At this stage, the rabbit can be called by name, called diminutive nicknames.
The process of taming a rabbit can take from several days to several months
As when meeting a rabbit, as well as during further communication, the owner should not smell excessively of perfumery - a strong smell will frighten the animal.
The next step is to introduce the pet to the hands. At this time, the main task of the owner is to show the rabbit the safety of his hands. For this:
- gently push a clean hand into the cage, so as not to disturb the pet,
- without making sudden movements, they attract the attention of the pet - this can be done with a voice,
- when the rabbit approaches the hand, let him sniff it, lick it, slightly bite it.
To convince the animal of safety, you can give him various treats from his hands - a small cracker, a piece of fruit and others. And only when the pet ceases to be mistrustful of the owner, you can gently touch it and then stroke it.
Feeding a rabbit with your hands is a sure way to convince the owner of its safety
When the rabbit will calmly react to the hand, it can be released for a short walk around the room, this happens like this:
- the cage is placed on the floor and left open,
- rabbits are quite curious, so he’ll be attracted by an open door and he will crawl out,
- the owner at this time carefully monitors the actions of the animal sitting on the floor and not moving,
- in most cases, the rabbit approaches the owner and begins to study it - here you can treat the animal with a treat,
- when the walk comes to an end, it’s worth putting the cage directly in front of the pet, and putting something tasty inside - for example, a piece of apple or a leaf of cabbage, the space around the rabbit and the cage is enclosed with palms,
- when the animal gets into the cage, the door is tightly closed.
Rabbits eat cabbage
During the walking of the rabbit, it is necessary to carefully monitor him, since a runaway pet can gnaw furniture, things and other property, as well as wires, in a short time, which is dangerous for the animal itself.
When the pet will fearlessly approach the owner outside the cage and allow himself to be stroked, you can proceed to further actions. In order for the rabbit to climb into his arms, they do so - when the animal walks around the room, it attracts its attention with a treat, laid on an open palm. The hand at this time lies on the floor. When the rabbit climbs into the palm of his hand, he slightly raises his hand. Gradually, if the animal does not show anxiety, increase the height of the arm raising. At the same time, you can pet your pet, speak affectionately to him.
After the rabbit begins to allow itself to be stroked, it will already be possible to pick it up
It is recommended that you take the rabbit with your hand on the bottom, as this does not bother him. A hand placed on top for an animal is a sign of danger, which can cause severe fright or even lead to death. The owner does not need to worry if his pet does not want to sit on his hands, but prefers to be next to him and lets himself stroke - this way the animal feels more protected.
If the rabbit at any stage of taming is curled up into a lump, you should leave it alone for a while. Such behavior is a sign of extreme fear, so you should not insist on continuing communication, you need to let the animal calm down.
How to teach a rabbit to a tray?
These animals are very smart, therefore, to teach them to defecate in a certain place is not difficult. To do this, you need to purchase a tray, fill it with filler (sawdust or shavings). The tray is placed in the place where the animal is most often emptied - as a rule, this is one of the corners of the cage. During training, the pet should be monitored - as soon as it begins to relieve needs outside the tray, it is transplanted to the right place, while you can pronounce a phrase that characterizes the action, for example, “go to the tray!”.
How to train a rabbit in a tray
You can’t raise your voice to your pet, even if he did not go to the toilet in the designated place. But praise the rabbit for the right actions is necessary, you can also reinforce this behavior with refreshments.
Rabbits are clean animals, so change the filler as often as possible.
If your pet turned out to be intractable and does not want to cope with the need for a tray, read our article. We describe all the ways to teach a rabbit to a tray and the reasons why all efforts are in vain.
A pet can be taught a variety of tricks, but this will require patience and perseverance. The owner should not scold the pet for incorrectly performed actions, on the contrary, it is necessary to use only a system of positive reinforcement, that is, as soon as the animal has done everything correctly, give him a treat and gently cheer up his voice.
What tricks can you teach a rabbit? Varied enough:
- Skateboarding. To do this, you need to build an even stable hill, having a minimum slope and a length of no more than half a meter. You also need a small skateboard. The learning process goes like this: a rabbit is put on a skateboard installed at the beginning of the slide, released. After the descent, the pet is given a treat. Training can be accompanied by the team “let's go”.
Rabbit on a skateboard
Rabbit jumps into the ring
Rabbit rolls the ball
Training should be carried out while the pet is active. At the same time, one should not feed the animal before training before training, since he will not be interested in getting treats and the learning process will be delayed.
Feed the rabbit full before training
Training rabbits is a fascinating activity. Read our article to learn more about it. What to do to teach a rabbit tricks? Video about training.
What to do with aggressive individuals?
You can tame almost any rabbit if you show proper patience and make a lot of effort. But many owners stop all attempts to raise a pet that is aggressive. This is completely in vain - if you find out the cause of the manifestation of aggression, then it can be eliminated and then the pet who has felt safe will become tame and obedient.
Two white dwarf rabbits accustomed to hands
Why can rabbits be aggressive? There are several reasons for this:
- Fear. If the animal decides that he is in danger, he will defend himself - bite. In order to gain his trust, actions that cause fear should be avoided - you can not make sudden movements and make loud noises, grab a bunny sharply. Over time, he will trust the owner and stop attacking him.
- The onset of puberty. At this time, individuals become noticeably more aggressive, often trying to bite the owners, showing their superiority and dominance. In punishment for this behavior, the animal should be chastised with a strict, but not loud voice and placed in a cage if it was outside of it. For 3-4 times, the pet recognizes the primacy of the owner and the bites will stop.
- Pregnancy. During the gestation period, the rabbits become aggressive, but it is practically impossible to deal with this, so you just have to wait for a show, after which the individual will again become tame and affectionate.
How to care for rabbits
If the rabbit is aggressive during the acquaintance with him and the first attempts at taming, then the owner should leave the animal alone for a day, since this behavior is most often caused by the stress. When the pet becomes calm, it will approach the feeder without fear and stop hiding when a person approaches, you can begin to tame it - talk with your pet, put your hand in a cage, try to stroke it.
Rabbits in a cage
Even among decorative rabbits there are absolutely wild individuals. In this case, the owner can only observe the animal from the outside - it is unlikely that he will be able to overcome congenital distrustfulness and aggressiveness.
Video - How to teach a rabbit to hand?
Even an inexperienced breeder will be able to accustom a rabbit to his hands - these pets are contact, affectionate and quick-witted. You can evaluate the results of working with a pet by watching a video.
Rabbits are pets that are willing to contact with humans, amenable to training and training. Taming such a pet will not be difficult even for a child, but for quick accustoming to hands, certain requirements must be observed - do not rush, do not frighten the animal, praise him for the slightest achievement and show him your love in every possible way.