How To Train A Rabbit

rabbit training

Did you know that rabbits can be trained to respond to you and even to use a litter tray? Rabbits tend to be quick learners and once you’ve successfully taught him or her how to behave, this will quickly become an ingrained habit.

Here are our tips for training your rabbit:

Using Clicker Training

Dogs will respond to verbal commands but these are a lot harder for a rabbit to understand. Using clicker training will encourage your pet to make a connection between the clicking noise and treat time. Introduce your rabbit to the training by offering them a treat shortly after each click. After a few repetitions, your rabbit should start to anticipate a treat on hearing the click. You can test this by using the clicker when your rabbit is otherwise engaged and seeing whether he or she asks for a treat. If it works, don’t forget to offer the expected reward.

1)    Training Your Rabbit to Come to You

Once your rabbit has learnt how to do this, you’ll be able to call him or her for situations such as mealtimes and to coax out of a hiding spot. Kneel down directly in front of your rabbit and hold out their favourite treat. As you do this, encourage them to move towards you and use the clicker. After repeated practice, your rabbit will begin to make an association between the clicker and receiving a treat. Once they have mastered coming to you from a short distance, repeat the process from further away.

2)    Teaching Your Rabbit to Enter a Travel Carrier

Even the healthiest rabbit will need to visit the vets every now and again. Depending on the breed, this could be a fairly regular occurrence. Your rabbit will probably be very reluctant to get into a travel carrier initially but you can train them to make this a far less traumatic experience.

Again, use your rabbit’s favourite treat as an incentive. Place the treat inside the travel carrier and encourage your rabbit to follow it in via the clicker. If they don’t make any move to do this, don’t be heavy-handed. Forcing your rabbit into the travel carrier will mean that they associates it with punishment and fear, which will make it even more difficult to entice them inside. Gentle persuasion will be key in this scenario; keep repeating the training until the treat does the trick. Once they venture inside, give a treat as a reward.

3)    Training Your Rabbit to Use a Litter Tray

Believe it or not, rabbits can be trained to use a litter tray in similar fashion to cats. It’s generally easier to toilet train older rabbits compared to babies, especially after they’ve been neutered or spayed.

Rabbits are naturally inclined to do their business in particular places. This makes it relatively easy to know where to position the litter tray, although you will probably need more than one in the early days.

Begin with a litter tray in their cage and at least one more outside of this. Your rabbit may well dodge the litter tray in favour of urinating elsewhere, in which case you may want to experiment with moving the litter tray around to press home the point that he or she should be using it.

Rabbits are quick learners so you’ll probably find that the hardest part is persuading them to use the litter tray at all. Once they get into the habit of using the litter tray, reward with a treat to encourage them to keep on doing it.

Have you been able to train your rabbit? Share your stories in the comments section below!