How to train a rabbit

How to train a rabbit

When you have a pet you always want it to understand you and interact with you. Therefore training your pet is essential for there to be a better coexistence in the home. So the bond with your pet will become stronger. And to know how to train your rabbit, you have to understand it. The rabbit is a very intelligent animal and with appropriate incentives can be well trained. So on OneHowTo.com we have some tips so you know how to train your rabbit.

Check that your rabbit has adequate food, lives in a hygienic environment and is has check-ups at the vet regularly. If the rabbit is healthy and well fed it will be easier for you to train it because it will feel good.

Speak to your rabbit in a nice voice so it trusts you. Never yell or chase it as it may distrust you and think you’re a predator. Offer it food as this is a good incentive for it. Do not make sudden movements and arouse its curiosity. In this way, it will come to you. If its approaches and is receptive, try to touch its forehead, if it’s scared, try again later.

Your rabbit, like all rabbits, gets stressed easily, so try to make sure the place where you are, is quiet. Also, this means that rabbits will not respond well to a punishment-based training. Instead, opt for a positive reinforcement training.

If you want to pick up your rabbit to stroke it, pick it up carefully as they have a delicate skeleton. If your rabbit does not want to be picked up, wait and try again when it is more receptive. Never force it if it doesn’t want to.

If your rabbit needs the toilet while out of its cage, look for where it normally goes and put the tray there. Rabbits tend to relieve themselves in the same place and usually in a corner. If at a later time they don’t go in that place say NO firmly and place it on its tray, but you must do so when they are urinating so they understand. If it does well, treat it with food when finished. When you’re teaching it to go to the bathroom in a certain place, at first leave the cage dirty for a few days so that it smells of pee and your rabbit associates it with the potty area, but clean it if it looks very dirty.

Remember to leave your rabbit out of its cage at least half an hour a day for exercise. When you put it back in the cage, guide it to re-enter until the door nudges it in the back or put some food in its cage that will motivate it to go. For this to work, it is very important that you don’t chase it because otherwise it may hide from you. You should never pick your rabbit up abruptly.

Never lose your temper with your rabbit, remember that patience and love will help to train him.

It may be that your rabbit will doesn’t want to be stroked or picked up and can bite or scratch you to tell you to leave it alone. It is not trying to hurt you, respect its wishes and discover what it likes.

To train your rabbit and so that you may live happily together, you have to know your rabbit.

If you want to read similar articles to How to train my rabbit, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

Tip: House Training a Rabbit

How to train a rabbit When house training your rabbit goes bad, you probably move your rabbit out of the house, right? Here’s a way to successfully house train your bunny. First only let your rabbit romp in one small room. Place a litter box in that room with some of the rabbit’s poop in it. Block off electrical wires and small areas that your rabbit can squeeze through. Pick up books and toys and leave a completely clear path for your rabbit.

After a while, give your rabbit more romping room, but leave the floors clear and have no wires around. Place a litter box with your rabbit’s poop in it in every room your rabbit will go. If your rabbit pees or poops out of the litter box put white vinegar on the spot where he did. Rabbits hate the smell of vinegar. Give your rabbit treats every time he uses the litter box, and soon you will have a nice house trained bunny!

By Kailey from Elizabeth City, NC

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Tip: Wood Pellets for Rabbit Litter

The best rabbit litter we’ve found in 20 years of keeping house rabbits is wood pellets. Some suppliers have a product called Woody Pet, but the wood pellets used to fuel wood pellet stoves are usually cheaper.

Article: Teaching Your Rabbit To Use the Litterbox

Believe it or not, rabbits can be trained to use a litterbox, just like a cat! Training will be easier than you might think — rabbits by nature will pick one place for their bathroom and stick to it.

How to train a rabbit

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Archive: Bunny Question

Does anyone know how old a bunny is when they choose their ‘bathroom’ area. I have a 7 week old bunny who has yet to do this.

How to train a rabbit

by Helen Anne Travis

Rabbits are social animals that love to please their owners. With a little patience, they can be trained to run agility courses, fetch, jump, and spin on cue. Rabbits are fun and good pets for beginning pet owners, but training them to perform tasks like using a litter pan, hopping onto a scale, sitting still for nail trimmings, and jumping into their carrier makes them even easier to care for.

“[Rabbits are] really smart animals that are often underestimated,” said professional animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich. “That’s why I encourage people to train them so they can see their true personalities.”

How To Litter Train Your Rabbit

Training a rabbit to use a litter pan is relatively easy, as they prefer to eliminate in the same location. Half of the battle is finding the spot in your home that the rabbit has already claimed and then putting a litter box (the bigger, the better) there.

But what if your bunny picked a less-than-ideal corner of your home to do his business? One option is to gradually move the pan to a more desired spot. For more drastic cases, you can move the box to the preferred location and add some soiled litter to the mix so the rabbit knows it’s his. Placing the box in a small room, or limiting the animal’s access to a small perimeter around the pan will help drive results. Adding a small handful of hay to one side of the box can encourage the bunny to hop in.

Don’t use kitty litter in your rabbit’s pan, as the dust can be harmful, and avoid cedar shavings, which smell nice but can hurt your rabbit’s respiratory tract. Make sure the litter is approved for use in rabbits. Because they like to nibble in their environment, it is vital the litter is non-toxic if ingested. Heidenreich prefers litters made from recycled papers, which seem to be the best for odor control. Clean the pan daily to keep your home smelling sweet.

Like most other pets, it’s recommended you spay or neuter your rabbit, which will help prevent male rabbits from spraying and fighting and will also protect female rabbits from certain cancers and health complications.

How To Train Your Rabbit To Do Tricks

The first step in teaching your rabbit to do tricks is training it to target, or place its nose on a fixed point. This can be leveraged into bigger stunts, like jumping on command, turning circles, and running agility courses.

To teach a rabbit to target, Heidenreich uses a small stick with a tiny ball attached to one end. She shows the ball to the rabbit and each time it touches its nose to the ball, the rabbit gets a treat. For many rabbits, curiosity is enough to get them interested in the ball. Others need a little more incentive, so Heidenreich sometimes rubs a bit of the bunny’s favorite produce on the ball to get its attention.

Once the rabbit starts seeking out the ball, you can use it to move him to a desired location. Spin it slowly over the rabbit’s head to get him to turn in circles. Raise it in the air and reward the rabbit if he jumps. Your bunny will start to learn that the action he performs is what gets him the treat, and then, fairly soon, you can remove the stick from the equation.

“That’s the cool thing about positive reinforcement,” Heidenreich said. “You create situations where the animal says, ‘What do you want me to do? I can’t wait to do it!’”

Can You Tame a Wild Rabbit?

If you find a rabbit in the wild, it’s best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator or, if you don’t know where to find one in your area, your local veterinarian for advice. Do not move the animal without guidance from a wildlife professional.

In most cases, if you’re able to get close to a wild rabbit, it is likely sick or orphaned. The animal is probably frightened and will only be stressed further by your attempts to take it in. It may also injure itself—or you—trying to get away from you.

“Truly wild animals don’t make good pets,” said Dr. Peter Helmer, a specialist in small mammals at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Clearwater, Florida. “They’re a prey species, and you can’t explain to them you’re not about to eat them.”

Fortunately, female rabbits can have up to 14 babies in a litter, meaning there are plenty of domesticated rabbits waiting for you to take them home, if having a rabbit companion is what you want.

If you are interested in helping to rehabilitate wildlife in your area, you can learn more here at the Wildlife Care Association, or contact your local wildlife rescue groups.

Join the Community

How to train a rabbit

Not only can rabbits be trained to use a litter box, but the process is quite simple. It takes a little time and effort in the beginning, but litter box training your rabbit will be well worth it, and you can enjoy letting your rabbit have the run of the house without worrying about him/her making a mess. Make sure your rabbit is spayed or neutered before attempting litter box training, as it will be nearly impossible otherwise.

When training your rabbit to use a litter box, you must confine him/her to a small space, such as a cage or bathroom. Place a litter box in the corner and make sure it is secured if your rabbit shows a tendency to move it around. Use litter with a minimum amount of dust, preferably organic litter. Clay litter and anything with cedar, cedar oil, or zinc should not be used.

Place about one inch (2.5 cm) of litter in the litter box and add some of the rabbit’s droppings. Place your rabbit in the cage and praise her. If your rabbit urinates outside of the litter box, clean it up with vinegar immediately. At the same time, do not keep the litter box itself too clean during training, or the rabbit will think he/she is not supposed to use it. Do not let the rabbit out of the small area until she urinates in the box regularly.

When your rabbit has reached this step, begin letting him into larger areas, under your supervision. When your rabbit leaves droppings outside the litter box, put both the droppings and the rabbit in the litter box and give your rabbit lots of praise and pets. Allow your rabbit to play with you in larger areas as much as possible, but return him to the cage or other confined area when you leave.

When your rabbit has learned to use the litter box consistently, you can let her into other rooms and she will know to return to her cage when nature calls. You can dispose of organic litter in the toilet or use it as fertilizer for your garden, and you will certainly enjoy having a well-mannered house bunny!

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

By: Chewy Editorial Published: January 11, 2018

How to train a rabbit

BeWell / Wellness / How to Litter Train a Rabbit

How to Litter Train a Rabbit

Did you know that pet rabbits can be trained? In this article, we’ll discuss a fundamental that is a great place to start—litter training rabbits. Yes, you can potty train your pet bunny!

Steps for Litter Training Rabbits

1. Get the Right Litter Box

The first step in learning how to litter train a rabbit is creating the right potty environment. Basically, what you need is a box for your pet rabbit to use as a toilet. You can use a specially designed rabbit litter pan, or try a cat litter box if you want your rabbit to have a little more space.The key is to find a box that is big enough to fit your rabbit with room to spare, and which also has space for some hay. The sides should be low enough for the rabbit to hop in and out easily. A box with a high back, like the Kaytee Hi-Corner Small Animal litter tray, can help catch scattered litter. But remember that pet rabbits are still prey animals, so they can be nervous about pottying in areas where they can’t see around them. That means a box with high sides and only one way in and out may not be a good choice.

2. Provide Litter Box Options

When litter training rabbits, you may need to try more than one type of litter box before you find the right one. In the end, your pet bunny gets to decide what they like. Once you find the right fit, get several litter boxes of that type. You will need more than one litter box so your rabbit has at least one option in every room (and more than one box per room can be a good idea too). Also, having backup boxes means you can put a fresh box down while you are cleaning a dirty one.

3. Place the Box in a Convenient Location

Now that you have your litter box, you need to decide where to put it. Begin by thinking about where your pet rabbit already tends to potty. If you’re very lucky, potty training your pet bunny will be as simple as putting the litter boxes in the right place. If there isn’t an obvious spot already, choose somewhere that is easy for your rabbit to get to, but not right in the middle of the action. Most pet bunnies prefer a place where they won’t be disturbed while pottying, but the litter box also has to be in a convenient location. This can be a bit of a balancing act. Be creative, and make sure to leave the box in place for at least a few days before deciding if you’ve picked the right spot.

4. Choose the Right Litter

Now that the box is down and available to your pet rabbit, it’s time to fill it with the right litter. You’ll also want to put a large mat or piece of bunny-safe paper under the litter box to help catch any scattered litter. Start with about an inch of rabbit-safe litter. Choose litter carefully! Paper-based litter or untreated aspen chips can be a good choice. Avoid clay-based and clumping cat litters, which can create serious health problems if eaten. On top of that inch of litter, add some of your rabbit’s pellets of poop and some urine-soaked paper, if you have it. This will help point your rabbit to the right potty spot. Finally, scatter some fresh timothy hay over the litter. Make sure the hay is fresh. Mold or spoiled hay can harm or even kill your bunny! Don’t be surprised to find your rabbit munching on the hay in the litter box—it’s normal for bunnies to eat a snack while pottying.

5. If All Else Fails, Get a Cage

If your pet rabbit doesn’t magically start using the box thanks to lucky placement, get a cage that is about four to six times the length of your pet bunny, and place the litter box (and your bunny) in there while your bunny is learning the new routine. Put your rabbit’s food, water and hideout at one end of the cage and the litter box at the other. The restricted space will help your bunny learn to potty in the right place. Another option is to place the litter box in a small bathroom or utility room and confine your pet rabbit to that area during the training period.

6. Treat Your Rabbit for a Job Well Done

Now that everything is set up, confine your rabbit to the right area, and reinforce them for using the litter box. Anytime you see them use the litter box, offer them a small treat to reward them for going in the right place. If you see your pet rabbit going in the wrong place, do not scold or get upset! Rabbits are prey animals. Getting angry won’t teach your bunny anything useful; it will only teach your rabbit that you are scary and should be avoided. If you want your rabbit to be comfortable around you, make sure you remain calm and kind, even if your pet bunny has an accident. Once they’re using it consistently—usually within a day or two—you can start to give them short periods of 10 minutes or so outside the confinement area. Watch to see if they go back to the box to potty (or holds it for those 10 minutes). Supervise closely! If you see your pet bunny starting to potty, gently pick them up and put them in the litter box—and then feed them a treat for going in the right place.

7. Clean the Box Regularly

Make sure to scoop out dirty litter at least once daily with a potty scoop. You can leave a few rabbit pellets in place for a day or two to help your rabbit remember that the box is a potty area. At least once a week, empty the tray and clean it with a disinfectant. Wait for the box to dry before refilling it and putting it out for your rabbit again.

Most rabbits will quickly learn to use a litter box. After they’ve learned to use one litter box, you can repeat the steps above to teach them to use other litter boxes around your home. And once your pet bunny is litter box trained, you can start to do fun rabbit training without having to worry about inappropriate pottying.

By: Irith Bloom
Irith Bloom is on the faculty at Victoria Stilwell Academy and a certified animal trainer with multiple certifications, including CPDT-KSA, CDBC, VSPDT, KPA, CTP and CBATI. She’s also certified in TAGteach, a positive reinforcement method for coaching humans. Her company, The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, offers training on the west side of Los Angeles for a variety of pet animal species. She presents at conferences and seminars worldwide, and her writing has been published in print and online. In her free time she volunteers for the Los Angeles County 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families Coalition, Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, and National English Shepherd Rescue. She shares her home with a rescued English Shepherd named Franklin and her husband Aaron (not a rescue).

How to train a rabbit

By Katherine Milligan on October 9, 2019

We totally believe in rabbit free roam. We’re also zero percent judgey and one hundred percent understand if the idea of finding little poo poo pellets around the house doesn’t thrill you. You want to let your rabbit safely explore (after rabbit-proofing, of course), but you’re cringing about cleanup time. We’ve got a secret. Rabbits really can use litter boxes very nicely. ​ It’s true; pinky promise with a nose bump… if you’re wondering how to litter train a rabbit, you’ve found the right place.

GET YOUR LITTER BOX SUPPLIES

1. Litter Box. Make Sure It’s Big Enough.

Litter boxes for rabbits are designed especially for them, with a raised back and low front, to make it easier for them to hop right in. We recommend buying a few so you can place them around the house.

Make sure the box(es) are roomy. They’ve gotta be. Rabbits don’t like squeezing into litter boxes that are too small, or backing a rear end into one of those corner boxes. Give your rabbit a nice big rectangular box. They’ll definitely appreciate it.

Side note: It’s not necessary to use a special rabbit box. A litter tray with sides low enough for them to get in is just fine.

2. Litter/Bedding

First things first, choose a rabbit-safe product. There really are some great options. Paper based bedding is soft and absorbent. Our paper bedding is made with unbleached virgin fiber, sludge free, and never recycled print. Kiln dried pine pellets are another choice; they’re more dense with more fiber packed into each pellet, which helps with absorbency and keeps storage space to a minimum.

It can seem like an impossible task when you have an unspayed rabbit that is peeing/pooping all over the house! You may assume this is going to become a lifelong issue that isn’t going to go away. However, this is the wrong mindset to have as a rabbit owner! It is essential to ask the right question beginning with, can you litter train an unspayed rabbit?

An unspayed rabbit can be litter trained and the best approach is to set up multiple litter boxes around the area. This will help the rabbit easily access a clean litter box whenever it needs to.

There is nothing wrong with an unspayed rabbit when it comes to relieving itself. You just have to take the time to litter train the unspayed rabbit.

As long as you do this, the results will come!

Key details include:

  • Number of Litter Boxes
  • Food/Water Intake
  • Your Effort

It is not going to happen overnight and that is not the approach to take when asking, Can you litter train an unspayed rabbit?”

Instead, you want to stay patient and learn more about what your options are. This is the only way you are going to feel confident in training the unspayed rabbit not to pee around the house.

If you are worried about those messes at home, it is time to work on training your unspayed rabbit the right way.

This guide is going to help answer the question, “Can you litter train an unspayed rabbit?” for frustrated rabbit owners that want to reel their rabbit in as soon as possible. You will also learn what to use during the process.

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits aren’t dirty animals at all. Our much-maligned, cotton-tailed friends are fantastic pets partially because they can be trained to use a litter box. As rabbits tend to use the same area of their enclosure as a potty, mostly sticking to corners, potty training your bunny is a relatively simple process.

Older rabbits are easier to potty-train than a younger rabbit, as their ability to learn — and their attention span — increases with age. Babies are hardest to train, but with persistence and patience, you’ll be able to make the training stick. Curious about how to train a rabbit to use a litter box? We’ll walk you through what you’ll need, and we’ll share four useful training tips.

Supplies you’ll need

Figuring out how to potty-train your rabbit doesn’t have to be difficult. First, you’ll need a cage of some kind to limit your rabbit’s ability to roam during litter training. You can let your bunny roam freely once she’s properly trained, but keeping your rabbit confined during the early stages of training helps her learn faster, and it drastically cuts down on messes you’ll have to clean up if you leave your furry friend unchecked.

While you can buy litter boxes specially made for rabbits, they’re often too small for your furry friend to use comfortably, especially if you’re training an older rabbit. Your bunny should have plenty of room to move around, but the sides of the container shouldn’t be too tall for her to hop over. (You can always cut out a doorway if needed.)

Next on the list is litter. Wood shavings, clay-based litter, and clumping litter should be avoided: They can harm your rabbit’s respiratory tract. Recycled-newspaper litter is a wonderful option for bunnies, and it helps cut down on odor. Unlike cats, bunnies don’t bury their poop under the litter, so you’ll need to fill the box with only a thin layer of shredded newspaper to absorb urine.

(You’ll have to empty the litter box fully each time you clean it, so using a thin layer stops you from going through it so quickly, saving you money in the long run.)

Step one: Encourage your rabbit to use the litter box

Rabbits are funny little creatures in that they prefer to eat while they poop. If you’d like your rabbit to stop using the bathroom in the corner of her cage, place a bundle of hay inside the litter box on top of the litter. The scent of one of their favorite noshes will be irresistible, and your bunny will be much more likely to use the litter box. You can also put hay in a separate box near the litter box as long as your bunny can reach the hay from her box.

How to train a rabbitPiya Nimityongskul from Pexels

Step two: Teach your rabbit to use the box

If your bunny insists on going potty outside her litter box, try absorbing the urine with a paper napkin or paper towel, picking up the poop, and placing both items in the litter box. This helps your bunny accept the idea that the box is where she should potty from now on. Even the best-trained rabbit can have accidents, so we recommend lining the floor beneath the box. This will make cleanup easier, not to mention protect your flooring from stains.

Step three: Box placement matters

Does your rabbit insist on going potty in the same corner? Try setting the litter box there. Sometimes it’s better to let your rabbit tell you where she wants to go rather than try to force the issue. If your rabbit urinates and leaves droppings throughout your home, spaying or neutering is the best way to stop it. Spraying is territorial behavior, and spaying or neutering rabbits curbs the instinctive desire to mark their territory.

How to train a rabbitFrancesco Ungaro from Pexels

Step four: Give your rabbit a helping hand

Learn your rabbit’s “I’m about to use the bathroom” body language. If she lifts her tail or shifts into a seated position before going potty, scoop her up and put her in the litter box. Accidents may happen, but it’s one of the fastest ways to train any animal to use their designated potty space.

Litter training rabbits can take time, especially if you’ve adopted an older rabbit who was never trained to use a designated space to go to the bathroom. Fortunately, rabbits are clever creatures, and with time, patience, and effort, they can be taught to use a litter box.