Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I ran into two little girls that were about to leave their pet rabbit in a small plastic box on the sidewalk. They told me they didn't like him as much as they thought they would, and that their parents had agreed they got rid of it.

I then offered, quite impulsively, to take the rabbit with me. I was worried a dog would get to it. Me and my boyfriend would like to keep it, but we're afraid Oscar will hurt it.
Do you think it will be possible to teach him that the bunny is a pet, and not a toy? How should we do this?

The rabbit can live outside in our (very small) garden, in a proper weatherproof cage of course. He could run free there. But I would still like to be able to let him in the living room with us so he can run around there (never unsupervised of course!). Do you think it's perhaps more realistic to give the rabbit up? Oscar seems quite stressed by this all...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,220 Posts
Good on you for taking the little guy(girl?) in.

If it were me, I'd buy an ex-pen for now. You can also buy Neat Idea Cubes(or something similar) and use zip ties to make your own ex-pen. It's cheaper to make your own but I was practically pulling my hair out to get the darn thing to stay upright on my first try. Set it up in your living room and give the bunny a nice little place to hide. Put the bunny in the pen, then bring Oscar out on leash. Have high value treats and a clicker(or verbal reward marker) ready to reward calmly investigating, observing, or downright ignoring the bunny. If he loses his cool, give him a no reward marker("Too bad", "Nope", etc.) and lead him to a time out in the most boring room possible. 20 seconds alone in the bathroom should be more than enough. Ask him to sit, and then lead him back to the living room. Repeat as needed.

As for the cage in your garden, be very very careful. It needs to be dig proof. It needs to protect the bunny from stray dogs, cats, coyotes, hawks, etc.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,839 Posts
My daughter and her boyfriend had a rabbit, along with their two dogs.

Dante, the bigger and more formidable-looking dog wanted to be friends with the bunny. He wants to be friends with everybody and everything.

Zeke, the miniature schnauzer who is not much bigger than a large rabbit himself, has killed a wild rabbit, a red squirrel, several mice and we're not sure what else. He could never be trusted with a pet rabbit.

It depends on the dog, but it's tricky to train a dog into ignoring his prey drive and hazardous to the prey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
I am "rabbit sitting" my sisters rabbit for the last two months and I have a samoyed mix, a golden retriever, a german shepherd and 5 cats...they all get along really well...the german shepherd is a 7 month old puppy and since she is used to the rabbit inside she doesn't chase the rabbits outside:) The rabbit hops out of the cage and rubs up against the cats and vice versa. The first night they all surrounded the cage and stared the rabbit down, but the rabbit showed no fear and its been good every since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts










I have 2 free run rabbits with my 8 dogs. its not hard to teach dogs to be ok with rabbits, I have done it with a number of dogs, and rescues of all ages, and types like Terriers and Lurchers. HOW you do it depends on the dog, I have not trained 2 dogs the same way for this because each dog has different reaction levels and prey drives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies! I would love it if Oscar and the rabbit were able to hang out in the same room. I am willing to train for this, but on the other hand, his prey drive seems to be really high. Should I still start the entire training procedure, or should I call it quits if I think his prey drive is too strong? We don't have a rabbit cage yet, so the rabbit is either in the garden or upstairs in our bedroom. Oscar never lets the rabbit out of sight: yesterday he spent the entire day in front of the door to the garden, today he spent the entire morning at the stairs to our bedroom. He even interrupts his dinner time (something that he never does under other circumstances) to run up to where the rabbit is to check on it. I tried training a couple of times already with the tips I got here, but Oscar is soooooo tense. He's shivering all over when the bunny is in the same room and never, ever, not even for high value treats (turkey hot dog pieces) does he let his eyes off the rabbit. Is this still fixable? I want them both to be comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
depnds on what you are comfortable doing. I had to go aversion with Gem because no amount of postive training was overcoming her prey drive and the last straw was one she bolted away from me and nearly chomped the bunny. for her I walked her up to the bunny and as she looked at the bunny I gave her a severe correction, I did this repeatedly until she refused to go near the bunny no matter how much she was encouraged too(which was like twice for her). she is still obbessed and follows them everywhere, but its no longer in a way that I am afraid for the rabbits lives. I found that with Gem, trying to postivily teach her to not touch the rabbits just pent up her prey drive, building up till she was just quivering with exitment and she snapped. her sister Gypsy OTH mever cared as much from the outset, she was curious, but saw the rest of the dogs ignoring bunnys, so she was like.."ok guess they arent that interesting" lol. have you allwed them together in controled sitations to gage the dogs reaction? sometimes the desire is not to eat the bunny but to follow and stare..Happy starts quivering in exitment in the car when we are almost home from work, this exitement is for the bunnys, but it is not to eat them, she is just obbessive about staring at them, they are so used to her following them everywhere that if she goes elsewhere they follow her lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,391 Posts
I don't have much to add, but... a stationary rabbit may be easier to socialize with Oscar. But don't let your guard down, b/c a moving rabbit is prey! So, you'll have to teach Oscar not to bite the rabbit when moving. ... and maybe not even to chase the rabbit... depends on the Dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
so here's what I've done so far: I've had Oscar on the leash close to the rabbit while it was in a box. He seems to be able to shift his attention from it now, though only for a few seconds. He has a really hard look in his eyes and can't relax, eventhough I always ask him to stay down when he is near the rabbit. I have tried the other situation as well: the rabbit is free in the room and Oscar on the leash and tied to something, with me close to him to guide his reactions. This went quite well, untill I decided it had been enough training. I wanted to pick the bunny up, but it ran up to Oscar instead, who immediately tried to grab it. He nearly bit the rabbit! I corrected him very strictly at that point. It does seem to work better for him with the rabbit stationary, but what should I allow him to do? Get close to the rabbit? Sniff it? I'm not sure if I trust him to do so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
The best way is for the rabbit to be in a cage and let the dog smell the rabbit through the cage for a couple weeks. Then go on from there depending on the dogs reaction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
but what should I allow him to do? Get close to the rabbit? Sniff it? I'm not sure if I trust him to do so
at this point no. have him leashed to you with some treats, dont try to distract him, you want him to look away from the rabbit on his own, then reward him, if he makes a move toward the rabbit, correct him. so sitting there staring equals nothing from you, the second he breaks concentration from the rabbit even breifly, reward him, if he makes a move to the rabbit, give a warning command(I use "no rabbit") and correct him. for now just work on that, building up the length of time that he can not look at the rabbit. if he goes toward the rabbit and you say "no rabbit" and correct him, if he stops and looks at you, reward him immedietly!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
The best way is for the rabbit to be in a cage and let the dog smell the rabbit through the cage for a couple weeks. Then go on from there depending on the dogs reaction.
I would not reccomend this for a high prey drive dog, it will just build up the drive and make it worse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,391 Posts
One thing that I've seen work is two people - one person holds the rabbit in her arms, so that it is calm. You don't want a struggling rabbit making fast jerky movements. Then, the other person approaches with the dog on the leash, both people watching carefully. If you can control the dog to get a non-predator sniff, then simply ask the dog to Sit (praise and treat), then let him sniff from a sitting (non-predatory) position. Socialize the dog in many different and controlled situations... with the rabbit stationary. After a few weeks, if you can control the rabbit to crawl or walk, that's a good next step... But a running or hopping rabbit (even small hops) is almost a genetic trigger for a snack :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Depends on the dog and the rabbit. I own both, and though they seem fine with each other I never allow them together unsupervised. NIC panels are your friend. Super adaptable.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
I would not reccomend this for a high prey drive dog, it will just build up the drive and make it worse.
I have a golden retriever that chases rabbits for a living:) and a very high prey drive german shepherd puppy that did nothing but smell through the cage...the shepherd kisses the rabbit all the time and the golden retriever pretty much ignores it, so in my case it worked...I also have cats and they are great with the rabbit too... I also did this with a huge turtle.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
964 Posts
I ran into two little girls that were about to leave their pet rabbit in a small plastic box on the sidewalk. They told me they didn't like him as much as they thought they would, and that their parents had agreed they got rid of it.
Wow...I wonder what kinda Women these Little Girls will grow up to be like.?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
both my rabbits have NIC cages, they are great :p mine are nothing fancy though since my girls are free run, the cages are just "home base" and there if I need to lock em up..not that is helps much, jeenys is just a pen, and while its 3 grids high and she is only 4.5lbs, if she doesnt feel like staying locked in, she will just jump over lol
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top