Sometimes people are surprised when they hear that Rabbits can be trained to do tricks or commands. When actually most animals can be trained, including cats. I have been working on some training with my rabbits and my cats. The methods are similar to training dogs. However, dogs can learn more and at a faster pace.
Training takes patience and consistency. You should work on it every day to see big improvements.
I've noticed that if you wait too long between training sessions, it is harder for your cat or rabbit to remember what they had learned in the previous training session.
The very first thing that you need to do, to train your rabbits is to understand what motivates your rabbit. This means finding something that your rabbit really loves. Food is usually best. Sometimes toys will work. This treat should be something that your rabbit does not regularly get. Something that is special.
Second, do training in a space where you rabbit feels very safe and comfortable. Rabbits are prey animals and if they feel frightened they will try to hide or run away instead of focusing on the training or the motivational treat you are using.
Remember that rabbits do not see that well when something is right in front of their face. They see a lot better to the sides and far away, then up close. Keep in mind that, your rabbit may use scent instead of eyesight to understand the situation.
Always keep training positive. If your rabbit isn't understanding, then stop and return to training another time. If you are frustrated, then so is your rabbit. Training should always be fun! If it isn't fun anymore, you need to stop and return at another time.
Always break down the action you want your rabbit to perform. For example, jumping over a surface or over bar can be broken down like this:
1) approach the bar
2) stand up on the bar/rest on the bar
3) jump over the bar
Have your rabbit master each step one and a time. Don't move on to the next step, until your rabbit feels comfortable and confident with the first one.
Use a treat, guiding your rabbit, until your rabbit has mastered each step. Then faze out the treat by guiding your rabbit less and less. Always reward at the end.
Always keep training short. It is more beneficial to do multiple short training sessions instead of one long one. Training for 5 - 10 minutes is a great amount of time.
Use lots of rewards
Plan out your training. Break it down into steps. Start small and start simple. Don't move on to the next step until your rabbit is confident.
Once the rabbit is performing the full task with regularity and confidence, give the command a name.
Ideas of what you could teach your rabbit:
- Jumping in to your lap when called
- Touching noses
- Go to his or her bed
- Go into his or her create
- To Come when Called
- Wear a harness
-Walk on a leash
- Jump up onto something
-Jump over something
-Go through tunnels
-Go through hoops
-Spin in a circle
Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas for things you could teach your rabbit
Here is videos on rabbit training.
Watch these two videos on teaching rabbits to jump over a bar.