Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pet Rabbit Training - Chewing & Digging

   Welcome to the wonderful world of having a pet rabbit! Pet bunnies make great and loving pets, but it is important to help train them like you would other pets, so they know what is acceptable behavior inside your home. When it comes to chewing and digging, both of which are natural bunny behaviors, it is important that they are trained for two main reasons. The first one is danger. If a pet rabbit chewed on an electrical cord, the result could be very bad. The second reason is damage. Naturally, you do not want your pet rabbit to damage carpeting, furniture, or anything else in your home!

   The House Rabbit Society offers the following:

   "During the training time, do nothing but concentrate on the rabbit. Open the door to her home and let her (or them) come out when she chooses. You may offer toys or treats from your hand, but don’t interfere with her if she wants to explore. And watch her carefully throughout the time she is out of her cage. If the rabbit starts to chew on something you don’t want chewed, immediately offer him as many other things that are okay to chew on as you can. Block whatever he was chewing on so it ceases to be a temptation (block it well, so you aren’t simply challenging the rabbit to break through).

   If possible, provide something with a similar (or better) taste and texture to what is being chewed. For example, a piece of untreated, unfinished baseboard (screwed into something so it doesn’t move) instead of the real baseboard; or a piece of scrap carpet instead of the real carpet (as long as the rabbit isn’t ingesting the pieces he pulls out); or a piece of apple branch instead of chair legs.

   The same thing applies to digging. If the rabbit loves to dig in the carpet, build a small “corner” or “tunnel” with carpeting on the bottom (frequently replaced) and give this to him to distract him. Or make a digging box by blocking the end-opening of a covered litter box and cutting a hole in the side. The rabbit will go in, turn so her body runs the length of the box (providing she is large enough that her body doesn’t fit cross- wise). The digging material will be flung against the sealed end of the litter box and remain contained. Use something totally dust-free and safe in the digging box (see the litter faq). Rabbits, being the incredibly intelligent little creatures that they are, quickly learn."

Read the entire article here: Training

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