Friday, September 30, 2016

Can You Teach Your Rabbit to Walk on a Leash?

 Pet Rabbits are generally filled with natural curiosity, and letting them get outside for some supervisied exercise is a great idea, Many bunny parents ask the following question "Can I Train a Rabbit to Walk on a Leash?" The surprising answer is "Yes" - many pet rabbits can be taught to walk on a leash, especially if you start their training at a young age. 

   The following is an excerpt from a very informative article on thePetfinder website. You can read the entire article by clicking thePetfinder link. 

"  Avoid any harness of the “figure-eight” variety as they can cinch the rabbit’s neck and cause injury. You also want to avoid a simple collar for the same reason. Some rabbit harnesses come with stretchy leads, which sort of work, but a regular leash from the dog/cat section will be better if you have plans to train your pet and not just follow her around wherever she goes.
  When fitting the harness, make sure it is neither too loose (which can result in your rabbit escaping) or too snug (your bunny will be uncomfortable, won’t move and could even be injured).
  The first few times you attempt to harness your bunny, don’t expect a lot of help from her. Despite her antics, you are not hurting her or inflicting some terrible fate on her. However, if you want her to get better over time, then wearing the harness has to be a fun time for the bunny and worth the indignity of having to put the thing on.
  The Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society actually offers classes on leash-training your rabbit — you may find a rabbit group in your area that does the same. Leash training is the foundation for participating in rabbit agility. Most bunnies really love this activity, although like humans, there are a variety of degrees of aptitude. A few (maybe 5% or so) flatly refuse to have anything to do with it — including one of my pet rabbits. One loves it, the other almost failed the first level course out of pure stubbornness.
  Anytime your rabbit is leashed, there needs to be a human in attendance — don’t stake her out in the yard or leave her alone. Too many things can happen in that scenario — the rabbit can get tangled in the leash, chew through the leash, get snatched by a predator, etc.
  With or without a leash, rabbits can be trained to do all sorts of things. If you are familiar with the principles of training other animals, simply apply them to rabbits and watch them learn! I even heard recently about a rabbit that was trained to take medicine on command."
   The article was written by Joanna Campbell, President, Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society, Edina, MN. The entire article can be read here Petfinder.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why Do Rabbits Thump?

   One question that many Pet Rabbit Parents ask is "Why Do Rabbits Thump?" Now, most of the time, it is not because they are busy listening to music and just want to start dancing! 

   As you probably know, Rabbits are not very vocal. When they feel threatened, or perceive that danger may be near by, they may stand up on all four feet and Thump. Rabbit Thumping occurs when your Bunny take one or both back feet and almost looks like they are hopping, but stay in the same place. Sort of like a rapid foot tap with just their hind legs.

   Many times, they will do this with their ears standing up straight (depending on breed) but he or she might continue to have a focused or concerned look until the perceived threat is gone. I have read where it is felt that your bunny is also warning you and other humans about the possible danger to, so make sure you thank her with a big hug and treat afterwards!

   Just to be safe, don't disregard this heroic action by your Pet Bunny! Take the time to make sure that the threat is not real! It could be another pet in your home, an animal outside, or something else - just make sure your Pet Rabbit is safe (you too!)

   So next time someone asks you "Why Do Rabbits Thump?", you will be able to tell them what a hero your little Pet Bunny really is!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How To Teach a Rabbit Tricks

 Can you teach your pet rabbit to do tricks? Many people are surprised to find out that they can! Training your pet bunny to do tricks, such as to go back into their rabbit hutch or rabbit home on command can be very helpful, in addition to being a pretty neat trick to impress your family and friends! Training time also helps to keep your bunny engaged with you and is another opportunity for bonding with your pet! 

   Brook-Falls Veterinary has some great trainng trips on their blog. The tips from them below should give you some great advice to teach your rabbits tricks.!


Rabbits can definitely learn their names. To teach your pet rabbit to come when called, sit a short distance away, and hold out a treat. Call your rabbit by name. If you do this consistently, your bunny will soon learn to come to you when you call her.


We all know that rabbits love to hop, so teaching your bunny to jump on command is pretty easy. Start by holding a treat up high just enough for her to have to jump for it, and, calling your bunny by name, tell her to jump. Once she has this mastered, you can train her to jump onto your lap!


Another easy trick you can teach a rabbit is going into her cage on command. This one may be as useful as it is cute! Sit or stand beside your rabbit’s cage, holding a treat out to her. As your bunny approaches, move the treat into the cage, and tell her to go in. She has to see the treat move for this to work.


Once your bunny has these simple tricks mastered, why stop there? You can also teach rabbits to fetch, jump through hoops, slide down a little slide, walk on a leash, or even play dead. Believe it or not, rabbits can even learn to play piano!
All of these tricks can require a bit of time to sink in, so don’t expect your rabbit to get them right away. Shorter, more frequent sessions will generally work better than hour-long classes. You can also try clicker training, which is often very successful with rabbits. When training any animal, consistency, repetition, and reward are key."
   To see the full article on their blog visit
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How To Keep Your Pet Rabbit Healthy

   Now that you have opened your home to a wonderful pet rabbit, you will want to keep her healthy and happy. There are a number of things to consider in providing for your buuny's lifestyle, but many people may not realize that by providing the right environment, they can actually help to keep their pet rabbit healthier, happier and overall a better pet. This consists mostly of providing the right living quarters along with the correct diet, and by keeping your pet rabbit interested and engaged to avoid boredom. When you put it all together, everyone, including your bunny, will benefit!
   Pets 4 Homes offers the following:

  "Rabbits are a popular pet for people of all ages, and their popularity has increased over recent years as the modern phenomenon of keeping rabbits indoors as house pets has become more widespread. Whether you keep your pet rabbit indoors or outdoors, rabbits are sensitive animals that require a significant amount of thought and care spent on their welfare and daily management. If you already keep rabbits or are just researching whether or not they might make a good pet for you and your family, read on to learn about the ten most important elements of keeping pet rabbits happy, healthy and safe.

1. Provide enough room
Small, cramped hutches and living conditions are not suitable for keeping rabbits, and it is important to make sure that your rabbit has enough room in their hutch to stand upright, stretch out, turn around and move about freely. A hutch of six feet long by two feet wide and deep is the bare minimum size required to keep two rabbits happily, so make sure you have enough room in the garden or yard before planning your purchase! Rabbits also need to be able to run and hop about on a daily basis, either inside of the house or in a specially constructed rabbit run."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Is a Rabbit a Good Pet?

   There is no doubt that sharing your home with an animal that becomes part of your family is a very nice, and kind, thing to do. Pet parents enjoy many perks which range from health benefits to companionship, and many more. Adopting a pet from a shelter, or one that is in need of a home,  are the best ways to find the right pet for your family. Many people look to dogs and cats to adopt, which is wonderful, but please also consider having a pet bunny as well! Rabbits do make great pets!

   Pet Finder takes a coser look:

  "According to current data from the American Pet Products Manufacturers’ Association (APPMA), rabbit ownership has increased dramatically over the past decade. From 1992 to 2000, the percentage of “small animal households” owning rabbits jumped from 24 percent to 40 percent. There are now approximately 5.3 million companion rabbits owned by 2.2 million households in America. And while rabbits unfortunately continue to be bought as pets for children, the number of adults-only households owning rabbits among all households that own rabbits increased from 26 percent in 1996 to 39 percent in 2000.

What accounts for this increasing popularity? The single most significant factor is probably widespread access to the Internet, which makes information about rabbits more available to more people than ever before. The word is out on rabbits as house pets, and numerous rabbit-focused organizations maintain websites that attract potential owners and offer profiles of adoptable rabbits. The Internet also makes it easy for new owners to get the information and support they need to care for rabbits as house pets.

The House Rabbit
Although the rabbit’s earliest relationship with humans was as a fur-and-food commodity, people were already keeping rabbits as pets by the 18th century. British poet William Cowper kept hares in his home to help combat his severe depression, and he wrote eloquently of his love and appreciation for these creatures as companion animals."

Read the full article: Do Rabbits Make Good Pets?

Friday, September 16, 2016

How To Clip Your Bunny's Nails

   As a proud pet parent of a rabbit, one of the tasks of bunny care is to make sure that your pet rabbit's nails do not get too long. They will need to be trimmed on a regular basis. You basically have two choices. The first is to bring your bunny to the vet and have them clip her nails. Quite honestly, in our family, we feel more comfortable bringing our bunny to have the vet tech trim her nails. But for many folks, having a few basics and a nail trimmer are all they need to do it themselves. It is critical to know how to properly trim your bunny's nails and to not cut too low, or into the quick.
   My House Rabbit offers the following:

  "Clipping your rabbit’s nails may seem a daunting task. And many rabbit owners elect to let their veterinarian handle it. Frequent vet visits can get expensive, however. So here is some advice on trimming your rabbit’s nails yourself.

  It is easier to trim your rabbit’s nails quickly and effectively when the rabbit is properly restrained. If possible, ask someone to assist you and then wrap your bunny in a towel to reduce movement and to isolate each paw.

  Diagram of a rabbit nail and quickExamine the claw to locate the vein inside the nail. This vein is called the quick, and you should avoid cutting it. Cutting the quick will cause your pet to experience some pain, and he/she will bleed. Some rabbits’ nails are quite dark, so you will need a small flashlight to see it.  If you do accidentally trim the nails too short, use flour or styptic powder to stop the bleeding."

Read the full article: Clipping Your Rabbit's Nails

Here's a great video on Rabbit Nail Clipping too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Should I Name My Bunny?

   Whether you are a first time rabbit pet parent, or you have had pet bunnies before, it can be difficult to choose a good name for your pet rabbit. Often times their outward appearance could suggest a name, or their personality, but even then, it can still be difficult to choose. Having a name list to work with can certainly help with this task, and simply look over the choices to see if any would be perfect for your loving Bunz!

   Rabbit Breeds .org offers the following suggestions: 

   "Thumper, Oreo, Daisy, Bunny, Bella, Lily, Charlie, Lola, 
Molly, Oliver, Jack, Peanut, Coco, Nibbles, Hazel, Sophie, 
Ruby, Flopsy, Peter, Harley, Lulu, Shadow,Baby, Dusty, 
Midnight, Rocky, Benjamin, Smudge, Muffin, Patches, 
Hershey, Snickers, Lilly, Maggie, Mocha, Scooter, Bonnie, 
Cadbury, Cinnamon, Marley, Milo, Oscar, Panda, Alice, AngelBandit, Bugs"

To see the full list of 401 names,see: Most Popular Rabbit Names

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Do I Need a Rabbit Run?

   Rabbits benefit from exercise both mentally and physically. You must make sure that your pet rabbit has some free time out of her cage so she can run and jump and be a rabbit! It is important to make sure that your bunny is safe from harm or injury during this time, whether it be inside or outside. There are a number of different rabbit runs that you can purchase or build, but it is important that they are designed well to provide happy and protected play time!
   The Rabbit House provides the following:

   "The minimum recommended rabbit run size is 8' x 4', this is a minimum though and your rabbit will certainly appreciate being provided a larger area. The rabbit run should be tall enough for your rabbit to stand upright on its back legs, see size guide.

  Ideally your rabbit should have permanent access to the run by joining it to/combining it with their living quarters but when this is not possible a minimum of 4-6 hours per day is recommended.
Rabbit are expert diggers, so rabbit runs should be stood on something to prevent rabbits digging out, such as paving slabs or mesh buried into the grass under the run.

   Outdoor rabbit runs should always have a roof. A rabbit will jump and climb 3-4' - even higher if there is something to jump from like a box. A roof is not only to stop your rabbit escaping but also prevent predators getting in. A cat or fox (foxes are active even in urban areas) can easily clear 6'. Make sure the roof is firmly secured and cannot be blown off by strong winds.

   The wire on the run is your rabbit's protection so it is important that you use strong mesh, like weld mesh, and it is attached firmly to the frame. The mesh should be small enough to prevent your rabbit putting its head through and predators putting their paws through.

   If the run is large or not attached to your rabbits sleeping accommodation then provide a box as shelter and a secure place to retreat to if your rabbit is frightened."

Read the full article: The Rabbit Run

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What Are Some Healthy Snacks For My Pet Rabbit?

   There are many great commercially manufactured rabbit foods in the marketplace for your pet bunny. Oxbow and Kaytee both make high quality rabbit diets, and there are many others. In addition to feeding a quality rabbit diet and feeding the proper hay, you may also want to give your pet rabbit some healthy snacks as a treat, or to use when training your bunny. There are also some seeming good things to feed but in reality, they should be avoided. Some common foods really have very little nutrient value as well.

   Pet Care Tips provides the following about feeding healthy snacks for your pet rabbit:

"As a responsible and caring rabbit owner you no doubt know that the bulk of your rabbit's diet should be fresh grass hay, such as timothy, meadow, prairie, brome or oat hay.
There are also a few other items that you should add to your rabbit's diet for its good health.

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa hay is too high in calories, protein and calcium to be healthy as a major food source for adult rabbits, but you can give your adult rabbits small amounts of alfalfa hay
occasionally as a treat. Young rabbits do need some alfalfa hay as a regular part of their diets because they need more calories and protein since they are growing and are probably
also more active than their parents.

Rabbit Pellets

Rabbit pellets such as are sold at feed and pet stores are not suitable as the bulk of your rabbit's diet, but you should offer a handful or so of pellets every day.

Fresh Vegetables

Leafy greens are great for your rabbits, and you should offer them several types of leafy greens every day. Be sure to introduce new vegetables slowly and one at a time so that
you can watch for any bad reactions such as soft stools."

Read the full article:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How Does My Pet Rabbit Communicate?

   Have you ever thought about how hard it would be for us to communicate if we could not use words? The amazing way that pets communicate with other animals as well as their pet parents is certainly worth understanding. Pet rabbits cannot use words but they do indeed communicate! This communication is largely associated with both proper training and developing a higher level of trust. Your pet bunny may communicate that she does not want to be picked up, but once a higher level of trust is achieved, she may no longer find that to be a problem to communicate.

   The House Rabbit Society says the following about pet rabbit communication: 

   "Rabbits need to communicate with their companion (human)s, but of course, their communication is without words. One obvious example of such communication is struggling when they are picked up. This is simply (and obviously) saying “I don’t like being picked up! Put me down! PLEASE put me down! I don’t feel safe when you take control of my body this way!” There are few instances where it is appropriate for companion (human)s to force their will on a companion of another species in this way. Obviously, if a rabbit’s teeth must be examined or clipped because of malocclusion, it is necessary to hold her against her will. But it is inexcusable for companions of one species to force their wills on those of another just to satisfy their own desires.
   If you want a rabbit who enjoys jumping on your lap and being stroked, teach him to trust you, by never grabbing or holding him against his will when he comes to you. Use treats, nose-to-nose-touching, chin-rubbing (your chin on the rabbit’s face), rubbing around the ears, etc.–whatever he enjoys–to encourage his pleasure in being with you. And if he happens not to enjoy such activities, so be it. Respect and enjoy him for who he is. After all, you want the same for yourself.
   A rabbit who enjoys sitting on your lap and being stroked may nip you sharply if you get distracted enough to stop stroking her. She isn’t trying to hurt you, just to remind you that she expects you to get back to the job at hand. When a rabbit nips in an effort to communicate appropriately such as in this case (inappropriate nipping will be discussed later), he probably doesn’t realize how painful it is nor how severe the resulting bruise may be. SCREECH one high, loud, sudden, and short screech to let the rabbit know that he really hurt you. The squeal should be loud, sudden, and high enough to startle the rabbit slightly. The next time he nips (appropriately–i.e., for the purpose of communicating), you will be surprised at how much gentler it will be. Continue to squeal when nipped, however, until the nip is gentle enough to cause no pain or bruising. (Note: use ice on the bruise quickly.)"

Read the entire article: Training 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How To Play with Your Pet Bunny

   Most people seem to understand just how a dog would like to play. They may want to play tug of war, or fetch, or even just to chew on a toy. Cats love to roll around around  and grab toys with their paws, or pounce on a toy being waved or dragged near them. But when you think about it, do you know how to play with your pet rabbit? What types of play will involve their natural tendencies? What would your bunny like to do for fun if she could do anything that she wanted (that was safe and within reason, of course). Would your pet rabbit play with toys, or fetch, or tug? 
   My House Rabbit takes a look at how to play with your bunny:

   "Rabbits enjoy games that cater to their natural tendencies. A game of bunny bowling will appeal to their mischievous side, as they delight in knocking things over. Set up toy bowling pins and watch as your rabbit nose-bonks them all down.

   On a similar note, rabbits love to steal important papers (or apples you’re eating) out of your hand and run away with them, most likely binkying along the way. Admittedly, this is not exactly a game… or at least not one in which you’re a willing participant. But your bunny will certainly be amused.

You can also play a game of “fetch” with your bunny… except you’re the retriever and your rabbit is the one doing the throwing. Some bunnies like picking up toys with their teeth and tossing them with a flick of their head. Toys for birds are great for this activity because they can easily grip them. You can also go a less expensive route and provide cardboard tubes from paper towel or toilet paper rolls. Stuff those tubes with hay to spike their interest further."

Read the entire article: Playing With Your Pet Bunny

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Alternative Rabbit Housing Ideas

   If you would like to create a larger, more flexible living area for your pet rabbit than the sizes typically found with a rabbit hutch or rabbit cage, then consider using portable exercise pens made for puppies and dogs. These pens are wire panels that link together in different configurations to form an exercise area for a small dog or puppy, but are perfect for your bunny. This layout offers plenty of living space to run, play, hop, eat, rest and to be a bunny!
   The Rabbit Haven provides the following:

   "Portable wire exercise pens are the most versatile, the easiest to clean, and the best way to give your rabbit what they need. Space, toys and a clean environment of their own while living inside with you! For those who want a quick housing solution without spending a lot of time and money, the wire pen arrangement (X-pens also called puppy corrals) gives you the best housing for your money and helps the rabbit feel at home in their own space. Exercise pens allow for the bunny to see what is going on around them. This gives a feeling of knowing what's happening and of being included in the household activities.

   Exercise pens are made up of eight heavy-gauge wire "panels", all connected together, so that they can be stretched out and shaped into a square, rectangle, octagon, or whatever shape you want. Each panel is 24" wide. The total space when panels are made into a square is 4' x 4', or 16 square feet (for a bonded pair, we recommend two pens and a space not less than 4' x 6'). When purchasing the pens, you can choose from these heights: 24", 30", 36", 42". We recommend a 30" height, 36" for jumpers. One of the eight panels acts as a swinging door when opened, and the pen is secured shut with large dog leash clips that come with the panels. Note: the wire slats of the pen must be close enough together so that a tiny rabbit cannot walk through! When not in use, the panels fold up like an accordion and can be easily stored in a closet. They can also be easily transported by car to another location. For a larger space, many people choose a corner of a room, using the two corner walls as walls of the pen. This makes an even bigger space for the rabbit, since you have all eight panels to complete just two sides of the pen."