Rabbits are one of the most social and intelligent animals, and they are quite easy to train. Most pet owners, however, fail to successfully train their rabbits by either going about it in the wrong way or not giving enough effort and time into the training.
There are a few steps that you need to follow in order to better understand your pet and build a better relationship with them. Keep reading to learn how to house train your rabbit.
Because in this article, we are going to walk you through the step-by-step process of training your rabbit.
How To House Train A Rabbit
To make things easier for you, we are going to describe the entire process in steps. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Find Out What Motivates Your Pet Rabbit
You will find that rabbits respond very positively towards rewards and incentives. The best way to train them and to make them more cooperative is through incentives. Instead of punishing them, offer them food or toys as motivators.
If you frighten your rabbit, then they will flee and hide. When this is the case, ensure that your rabbit feels safe and comfortable before moving on with the training process.
Step 2: Understand Their Use of Sight and Smell
You might already know that rabbits rely on their sights less and more on their sense of smell when it comes to objects directly in front of them. Therefore, it’s better if you place their treats right under their nose.
Make sure that your rabbit knows you are present before you touch them. Let your rabbit see or smell you beforehand; otherwise, it might get frightened and flee.
Step 3: Be Kind and Loving
The main goal out of your training should be that your rabbit feels comfortable and loved when in your presence. You will notice that rabbits respond positively to kindness and better treatment.
Shower them with love and attention and you will see that they are more inclined to listen to you. Never hold them up by their ears or hurt them in any way. Also, check if there’s something that’s bothering them like fleas. If that’s the case, take the necessary steps to solve the flea problem.
Step 4: Give Time and Effort to Training
Keep a daily routine for best results. Make sure you are devoting time to your rabbit’s training every day. The sessions themselves don’t need to be very long. You might have two to three sessions throughout the day, each consisting of 5-10 mins.
Step 5: Make Use of Their Favorite Treats
A significant part of training is based on the incentives that you provide, therefore it is quite natural to use your rabbit’s favorite treats. This might make them react more positively.
If you aren’t aware of what your rabbit likes the best, you might want to try experimenting a little. Offer them a new kind of food every day in small amounts, and note down their reaction to it.
If you are not completely sure regarding what food to feed your rabbit, then you might want to consult a veterinarian to ensure the safety of the food.
Step 6: Create The Right Environment For Your Rabbit’s Training
It is better to train your rabbits of certain acts at the time and place they are most likely to occur. For example, put your rabbit on a couch while teaching him/her to jump on your lap.
Check our article about Indoor Rabbit Cages Review
Step 7: Plan Your Training Sessions
Don’t over complicate the training process. Start with simple acts and plan smaller steps for your rabbit to accomplish first. Make a habit of rewarding your rabbit after they complete each step, and once they get the hang of it, give it a name.
Step 5: Reward Your Rabbit Immediately
If your rabbit is doing something you want to reinforce, then you must reward him/her right away. This will encourage and reinforce the act. Try to be consistent with your rewards so that your rabbit understands what the rewards are for.
Naming your commands helps immensely, as they start to associate them with rewards and will listen. Make sure to use simple names and use the same ones every time. You might also want to verbally praise them while giving the treat.
Step 6: Keep Rewarding Until You Achieve the Desired Results
Reward your rabbit whenever they are attempting at a new task during training. Keep rewarding your pet rabbit until you see that they are responding the way you want them to.
When you are breaking down a task into simpler steps to follow, reward them at every step and for every attempt so that they are encouraged to move on to the next step.
Step 7: Try Using Clicker Training
Using clickers to reinforce habits is very effective. Whenever you are feeding the rabbit, click the clicker once until they start to associate the clicking sound with the food. Then, during training, clicking the clicker device will alert them that there is food coming, therefore encouraging him to act upon the desired behavior.
It is important to click the device at the exact time your rabbit is doing something you want. This will ensure that your pet knows what they are getting rewarded for.
Step 8: Gradually Wean Off the Treats
As soon as your rabbit starts to master a skill, it is time to gradually remove the incentives from the equation by offering the rewards less frequently. For example, instead of rewarding them every time, do so every few times or even just once. After a while, no treats will be needed at all.
To keep this behavior strong over time, use toys and petting, and sometimes you might even use food.
Step 9: Reinforce Training When Needed
Your rabbit may need some training to relearn a skill all over again. When this happens, make sure that you do not scold or punish the rabbit as it will frighten him and delay the training. Don’t be afraid of bringing back the incentives for the training sessions.
Arnisays always recommends that, the key to successful training is to always be kind, gentle, and loving. Never be too harsh or scold them as it will be counterproductive. Make sure that your rabbit feels safe, comfortable, and loved so that they are more inclined to listen to you and your commands.