TAMING RABBITS

How do you tame a rabbit?

It is important that we remember that rabbits are not cuddly toys. Despite their cuddly and cute appearance, we have to respect that they are not teddy bears and don't enjoy being picked up and cuddled. Rabbits should only ever be picked up if required for health checks, nail trimming, vet trips and syringe feeding. Approaching rabbits from above is a bad idea as they associate this with a predator, therefore their instinct is to run away or hide, so you should always keep that in mind. It is definitely possible to bond with your rabbits and for them to gain your trust, but this takes time and patience.

 

Basic guidelines for taming:

  1. Hand feed your rabbits. This technique works very effectively and is based around positive reinforcement. The idea is that you get your rabbits to associate you with a good thing. Try this with veg, forage, pea flakes etc.

  2. Do not expect instant results. Rabbits can take months to years to gain your trust. As they are prey animals, they may see you as a threat to begin with, but over time you can develop a bond and they learn to trust. If your rabbits have been adopted, you may not know much about their past, so it is essential to work with each rabbit as an individual because a traumatic experience in the past may have an impact on the taming process, so be sure to respect each rabbit.

  3. Time and patience. Those two things are key if you want taming to be successful. Not all rabbits will respond well to human interaction in the beginning, but if you are patient with them, you have a better chance of a good outcome

  4. Let them come to you. Something I find that is very important with all animals is to let them come to you by choice rather than forcing them to be picked up or 'cuddled'. This is where the hand feeding fits in.

  5. Don't be disappointed. Not all rabbits appreciate human interaction, and you must accept this fact. It is so important if you are thinking about getting rabbits, you don't just want a cuddly pet. There is so much more to rabbits than this!