Bunny Blog

Category Archives: Rabbit Training

British Rabbit Show Jumping

The Burgess Premier Small Animal Show was held over the weekend in Harrogate, Yorkshire and featured a new rabbit jumping event, which attracted newer competitors from England and veteran jumpers from Sweden. The clip above features a champion rabbit show jumper named Flora from Sweden.

Other clips showcased less elegant rounds where bunnies crouched down refusing to jump over the hurdles, ran around/away from the hurdles, or knocked the bars down with their noses.

For more info:

BBC.co.uk
YorkPress.co.uk

Pre-Holiday Sale at Wabbit Works

Wabbit Works, maker of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet, is having a pre-holiday sale of $5 off hay boxes and $5 off shipping if you order now. If you have free reign bunnies in your home, this hay box is a very good addition to your current setup. It greatly reduces mess, the hay stays dry and clean (eliminating a lot of waste), and you don’t have to keep replenishing the rabbit’s hay throughout the day.

Buy it at WabbitWorks.net »

Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet

Product Review: Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet

When we switched from store-bought timothy hay to a locally-grown timothy hay-orchard grass mix from a farm, we realized there was one disadvantage.  The hay was more tangled together than the store-bought kind, and Cos, being very greedy/possessive of her food, started running away with large clumps of hay in her mouth. The hay got all over the carpet, and it was a big pain having to constantly clean it up.

Enter the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet.  We recently acquired this durable (but lightweight) hay feeder from Wabbit Works.  It’s actually large enough to hold a substantial amount of hay, unlike the hay feeders available at the pet store.  This feeder caters to a rabbit with a proper hay-based diet.   It keeps the hay contained (so no dragging large clumps out of the litterbox anymore), and it fits next to a litterbox.  (We actually have three small litterboxes surrounding it because our rabbits seem to like having options.)  There is less waste because the hay stays more or less in the feeder rather than being sat on in the litterbox.

Cos eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet
Cosette eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet.

Coco eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet
Coco takes his turn.

Coco eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet
Cos gets jealous…

Cos and Coco eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet
and joins him.

Cos and Coco eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet

Being Top Bunny

I get a lot of emails describing the same scenario:  Bunnikins has taken to hopping on the sofa and peeing on it. It’s a frustrating situation and one that has happened in our household as well. I remember after the third time it happened with Cosette a few years back, I had picked her up and put her in her cage.  (She still had a cage back then although it was always open.)  I closed the cage door and closed the kitchen door where the cage was located.  But even in the other room I could hear her thrashing around in the cage trying to break free.  For a rabbit who detests being picked up and despises even more being cooped up in a cage, this was the greatest insult.  I felt bad locking her in – and I did let her out  again after an hour –  but after that time, she never peed on the sofa again.

I later came across an incredibly useful article on the House Rabbit Society website which helps shed light on this behavior and suggests ways to train your rabbit.  The article is called “FAQ: Training,” and under the heading “Behavior motivated by social structure,” it delves specifically into the peeing on the couch problem.

Anyone who is experiencing this issue should read the article.  The entire article is actually very enlightening as well- covering various issues that most bunny owners will come across at some point.

Cos and P.A. Smith

Thinking about Adopting a Bunny?

In our earlier post, we mentioned that February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. For those of you inspired to add a bunny to your family, here are a few basic tips before you bring your new furry friend home.

  • Finances: Be prepared to spend money up front on the adoption fee, as well as housing/food/bunny proofing supplies. Be sure you’ll be able to afford ongoing costs for your bunny on food, litter, and vet bills (including spay/neuter fees if your bunny didn’t get the surgery while at the shelter/rescue). So often I receive heartbreaking emails from people whose rabbit needs veterinary attention, but they cannot afford it. Please don’t let that happen to your bunny. Check out Petfinder’s chart of estimated yearly costs of pet ownership to give you an idea.
  • Bunny Housing: Rabbits are social animals. The location of your rabbit’s housing area (which can take the form of a cage, puppy pen, bunny condo, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if your bunny is free reign) is an extremely important consideration. Make sure your rabbit has a place to relax by himself, but make sure that he’s not completely secluded from your family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Take a look at our Housing article to learn more.
  • Bunny Proofing: If your bunny will have free reign in your house/apartment/room, you will absolutely need to bunny proof the area. Even if you keep your bunny in a cage, condo, or puppy pen, you still will need to safeguard your home when you let your rabbit out for supervised exercise. Rabbits are very curious and persistent creatures. They will find a way into your computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They will eat your most important documents. Check out our Bunny Proofing article for tips on protecting your bunny and your things.
  • Enrichment: Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house.
  • Litterbox Training: Most rabbit rescues will start the process of litter training the bunnies they take in. So your bunny should have the basics down, but sometimes rabbits forget their good habits once they move into their new home. This is natural because the drastic change in environment can be very stressful. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits. Read our article about litter training to learn more.
  • Nutrition: It’s important to have a good understanding of your rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his/her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for your rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. But for a more detailed explanation, see our article, What to Feed Your House Rabbit. Another great link is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age.
  • Bonding with Your Bunny: Give your rabbit time to adjust to his/her new setting before expecting him/her to be your new best friend. Check out our article about building a relationship so you get off on the right foot. Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. Talk with a volunteer at a local rabbit rescue to learn more about which rabbit (or pair of rabbits) has a personality that will be a good fit for you and your family.

Bottom line: Do your research first! Check out our articles under the Rabbit Care, Rabbit Behavior, Health, and General sections to learn more. There are also many other websites devoted to rabbit care education. Go to our Resources page to find other useful websites.

http://www.petfinder.com/after-pet-adoption/estimated-yearly-costs-pet.html.

Clicker Training

andrea(17)Andrea Bratt Frick has been clicker training rabbits since she adopted a bunny named Filbert who was able to jump 36 inches. She used a clicker to train Filbert to use his leaping ability to clear hurdles. She uses the clicker to signal the rabbit to do a trick, which is followed by a reward. The reward is dependent on the rabbit, some rabbits like particular veggies or pellets, while others are satisfied with a nose rub.

She also uses the clicker to help abused or neglected rabbits become comfortable around people. Clicker training helped these rabbits become less aggressive and more willing to be handled by humans. Frick works with the rabbits at Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter in Santa Barbara, CA.

Read the full article at The Examiner.

Rabbit Show Jumping in England

Inspired by rabbit show jumping videos on YouTube, two brothers, Mathew and Thomas Haslam, from Doncaster, England, have been training their two rabbits to participate in the rabbit agility competition at the Ultimate Pet Show in Birmingham. The two bunnies, Bubbles and Lilac, are a favorite to win the competition. To prep the rabbits for the contest, Mathew and Thomas set up obstacles in their backyard and initially used leashes to guide the rabbits over the fences.

For more info: The Daily Mail

February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month”

CosetteI wrote an article for the local paper here in southeastern CT about the benefits of adopting a rabbit in honor of February being “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.”

Here’s an excerpt:

If you are uninitiated to the world of bunnies, you may not realize that February is “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.” So in the spirit of spreading awareness, here are a few benefits of adopting a pet rabbit from a rescue or shelter.

But before you get too excited about getting a rabbit, it should be noted that although rabbits make wonderful indoor companions (who can be easily litter trained), they are not low maintenance pets. Rabbits require the same amount of care and attention as cats or dogs, and they can live around 10 years or more. But if you and your family are willing to make the commitment, read on!

Read the full article here >

Training (Take 1)

I quickly learned that putting the treats in the same cabinet as the paper towels used for litterbox cleaning was not a good idea. Now, every time Cosette hears the cabinet door opening, she bounds over with a crazed look in her eye. And since Cosette is excited, Coco will come running over so that he doesn’t miss out. (Even though he has no idea what’s going on.) So after I cleaned their litterboxes last night, I decided that I didn’t have the heart to withhold a treat from them since they were so excited. However, I thought that maybe I could at least make them work for it and learn some tricks.

So, I thought I’d teach them the command, “Up!” I didn’t think it would be that difficult since they enjoy jumping onto tables, boxes, beds, chairs, shelves, etc. And they usually come over if I tap my finger on the ground (only to leave immediately if they see I don’t have food.)

So, I said, “Up!” and tapped the top of the box. After about fifteen minutes of this and Cosette running around and inside the box frantically with Coco chasing her, I settled for the command, “Walk!” which entailed me holding the treat in front of them so they had to stand on their hind feet and walk. Not quite as impressive as I would have hoped…

Especially when compared to these clicker trained bunnies:

It makes me want to buy a clicker, but on the other hand, I kind of find Cosette’s sometimes surly attitude endearing.

Cosette looking surly