hisenthlay: your pm box is full! (rabbit training)

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by trixiwick, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

    Jun 9, 2004
    Southeastern PA
    Mine is ALMOST full, but yours is worse than mine! :p

    Anyway, here's what I was about to PM you. Other input is welcomed, since this isn't really a PM now!

    Just thought I'd pass along some accumulated wisdom about rabbit training, which is entirely doable. Take what you think might help you, and leave the rest.

    1) Rabbits will generally select a corner of their cage as a toilet. That's where the litter box goes. Do not attempt to argue with the rabbit's choice in this matter. :rolleyes:

    2) The rabbit's cage is his palace (females are significantly worse). Once he trusts and respects you, he'll be a lot less likely to nip, but be patient. Rabbits are naturally suspicious prey animals, and trust comes slowly.

    3) In the meantime, interact with him outside his cage. Let him out for "run time" and sit on the floor. You don't need to pay nonstop attention to him; you can just read a magazine (or, more likely, do some work you've brought home :nono: ). He'll seek out your company when he's ready. If you can give him 15-20 minutes a day, you'll have a devoted pet.

    4) Organic baby carrots are bunny candy, and they can be trained to do virtually anything for the promise of one. If you give him one for returning to his cage when "out time" is over, you will NEVER have a problem with that. If you give him one during "out time," you'll never get him off your lap. :p

    Most of all, you kind of have to accept who he is, whoever that happens to be. Rabbits have more individual personality than any other animal I've ever worked with (human included :rolleyes: ) and their personality is pretty much immutable. Fortunately, despite the variety, they're all good!

    Enjoy your new guy!
  2. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Richmond, BC, Canada

    I thought I'd add that mine will knock each other over for banana :)

    Here is the best rabbit nutrition site out there

    And you've probably come across it already, but if not, here's the House Rabbit Society website. They've got plenty of information.


    And if you want to get a fancy cage for a litter-trained bunny, go to

    Have fun with your new bunny!

  3. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Feb 23, 2005
    Southwestern PA
    Thanks! Yeah, I have to download my PMs on my home computer--can't do it at work, and don't want to lose any of the info on there. I keep forgetting! :eek:

    I very much appreciate the training info. I was getting a little discouraged at first, but I did find some helpful information on the HRS page, which is pretty similar to what you said. I think we have things back on track now, but it's going to be a slower process than I realized. Apparently a lot of intact male rabbits are "set free" or turned into shelters around their first birthdays, because of the personality changes that come with sexual maturity--I imagine that's what happened to this guy.

    He's using the litterbox perfectly again--I think he was just marking the new stuff. Luckily I picked the "right" corner for the litterbox the first time--beginner's luck?

    Before, we were having problems with him grunting and striking at our hands if we reached into the cage to get him. Also, after the first day, when I was grooming him on my lap, he started biting the towel that I had spread over my lap. He seemed pertty unhappy.

    Sooo, I've stopped reaching in his cage to pull him out, and I don't put him in there, either. I've set up a 16' wire exercise pen around the front of his cage, and I sit in there reading a book (or work, how did you know? :nono: ) and ignoring him. He usually comes out to investigate when I come in, and he hops right back in his cage on his own most of the time, or I can herd him in.

    He seems to like ME, just not the grooming. I can pick him up and hold him, and he likes to climb all over me and nudge me, but he does not like the grooming. He has a few raw, reddish spots on his skin--looks like the humane society might've shaved him a bit close in a few places, and he doesn't like being touched there. I think I figured him out, though. I moved him from my lap to a little platform (large overturned plastic storage bin) covered with a blanket, and I put treats on the platform, and let him nibble while I groom. He ignores everything you'd think he would want--apples, hay, pellets, banana slices, carrots, greens--BUT his one weakness appears to be Honey Nut Cheerios. He goes wild for those.

    I have almost all of his mats cut off--now that I have him figured out, I think the rest will go much quicker. :)