Want something easy to train your bunny to do, that’s also useful?  Try target training.  That is, teaching your bun to touch his nose to a “target.”

Why Start With Target Training?

Target training is an excellent first exercise for both trainer and student.  It’s a pretty simple thing for your rabbit to do, and the mechanics for you are not too complicated.  The best part is, once you have trained this, you will have a way to tell your bun to move to a particular spot. That makes it a nice gateway to teaching other stuff — like, go to a mat, or get in a travel crate. Once your rabbit knows to touch the target, you can get him to go wherever you put it.

Continue reading “An Easy Rabbit Training Task: Target Training”

In the world of professional animal trainers, there seem to be only two kinds.  Most everyone is familiar with dog trainers.  From there, it veers immediately into zoos and the circus.  I was willing to accept this as reasonable for most of my life. Not any more. I now believe that for any species of pet, both human and animal will benefit if training is part of the picture.  And not just any kind of training, either.  It should be force-free and based on positive reinforcement.

What made me so adamant about training, even for rabbits?  After I watched this video by Small Pet Select of Dr. Guen Bradbury I realized that training is the best form of communication that we have with another species.  If you are going to live with someone, things are going to work out a lot better if you can talk to each other!

Continue reading “Why You Should Train Your Pet Rabbit”

One day my husband, David, was singing the praises of our beloved bunnies to a friend whose son had had a rabbit.

Though normally humorous and erudite, the guy went quiet. Then he replied, in a grim tone suggesting traumatic tales of chew-marks too bitter to relate: “They can be very destructive.”

Sadly, I think too many people may feel the same way.

True Confessions Regarding Rabbit Destruction

  1. Moraea ate the walls. 
  2. No other rabbit I’ve ever owned has eaten the walls. 
  3. She’s worth it. (Look at that face!)
  4. She stopped.
  5. I now have a full arsenal of strategies for dealing with a wall-chewing rabbit.  Just ask me.

Behold the “naughty rabbit”!  He (or she) who chews, digs or makes a mess where it’s not wanted!  How can you make your rabbit “be good”? 

Rabbits are natural chewers and diggers.  When a rabbit enters a space, she may see the same objects you do, but to her, their purpose is different.  It generally falls into one of these basic categories: eating, chewing, digging, running on, climbing on, or useless. When the space in question is your home, you may not be very pleased about her conclusions!  But she is not being naughty. You and your rabbit just see things differently.

Luckily, rabbit behavior can be managed, using a combination of: 

  1. Enrichment – providing safe, human-approved ways for bunny to do the things she enjoys
  2. Prevention – making unwanted activities impossible or unsatisfying

Rabbit-proofing is the prevention part. 

This post will be about the basics of rabbit-proofing. This is a to-do list for anyone who is bringing a new rabbit home, or who wants to expand the free-running time or range of their rabbit.  The goal is to make it safe for your whisker-nose to roam around without constant supervision.