Training a Rabbit

How to Train a Rabbit. Learn some tips, tricks and secrets to successfully training rabbits.

Training Rabbits

Although rabbits will never be able to do the tasks and tricks that a dog can, bunnies are more trainable than many people think. They can easily learn their names, learn tricks in response to a “clicker” or spoken command, and even learn to use a litter box. Some bunnies are more responsive to training than others. Also, younger rabbits and spayed or neutered adults will be more responsive than adult bunnies that have not been fixed.

When you are training your rabbit, remember that bunnies do not have a natural obedience instinct. Wild dogs have the instinct to follow a pack leader, but wild rabbits do not. Rabbits are most responsive to learning tricks based on the rewards, but rewards are by no means limited to treats. In fact, rabbits do not have a dog’s voracious appetite, and some bunnies cannot even be tempted by treats. You can try treats with your bunny, but if that doesn’t work, don’t despair. Rabbits are friendly and curious creatures; you may find that your rabbit will do anything for a head-scratch, or simply likes to learn new tricks for the fun of it.

Rabbit Harness Training

All rabbits enjoy some exercise outside the cage. To give your pet this opportunity, you may want to harness train him. Rabbits should never wear a neck collar; a proper harness must wrap around the chest and belly, to reduce the risk of your bunny being strangled. Also make sure the harness is not too loose; there’s much less bunny under all that fluff than you think there is, and rabbits can easily slip out of a harness that is not pulled tight to its body. Start in a small enclosed area, placing your rabbit on the ground with the harness. If he starts to chew it off, say “no” sharply, and lightly tap his rump to get his attention. Once he is comfortable wearing the harness, you can attach a leash and go for a walk. Walking a bunny consists more of you following him than him following you.

Once your rabbit is used to the harness, you may want to teach him to jump hurdles. If he excels at this, you can even enter him in rabbit hopping competitions! Check out: for more information on how to teach a rabbit to jump hurdles.

Training a Rabbit: Silly Rabbit Trix?

Rabbits will quickly learn their rabbit names and can pick up a number of tricks. You can teach your bunny to stand up on his hind legs, jump up on the sofa, come at your call, or perform a number of other endearing behaviors at your command. In training a rabbit to do tricks, you may find a “clicker” to be a handy tool. Teach your rabbit to associate the clicking noise with a reward he enjoys. Then when your rabbit performs the desired task, “click” and reward him until he learns to perform even without the reward.

Rabbit House Training

One of the most useful things to teach a house rabbit is how to use a litter box. Even if you intend to give your rabbit the run of the house, you must provide a floor-level cage for him to call his home, where he may come and go at will. Your rabbit will probably select a corner of the cage as his bathroom. Simply place the box in this corner and he will probably take to it quickly. If you see him start to urinate outside of the box, yell “no” sharply and direct him back to his cage. Keep your rabbit confined to a single room of the house until he is litter trained. The House Rabbit Society has good advice on this type of training. ?