Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Train your Rabbit

Training your rabbit to come when called can be a valuable tool. I use this command to get my rabbit into her cage and keep her mentally stimulated!
To teach your bunny this trick, start by crouching down a few feet away from her. Hold a treat, like a blueberry in your hand and make tsk tsk tsk sounds. If there's no response, move a little closer and let your rabbit smell the treat, making the tsk continuously. When she comes to you, continue making the sound and give her the treat. Move back and start the process over again. Your aim is to get the rabbit to associate the tsk sound with a treat. She'll likely catch on faster than you think, but the bottom line here is patience and repetition. Later on, you'll only need a treat half the time. Practice calling her over often to keep it fresh in her memory, and if your rabbit starts giving you that clueless look, increase the frequency of your practice sessions.

This sort of Pavlovian conditioning works well with rabbits. As we owners know, bunnies are intelligent creatures. Teaching them commands is an excellent way to mentally stimulate and keep them active, thinking, and happy. And teaching your rabbit to come when called can make your life easier. You'll never have to chase her into the cage at night again! She'll go in on command. This not only helps you, but since your rabbit is entering the cage seemingly at her own will, she'll view the cage as her own controlled territory, causing her to feel safer.

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