Why would you force someone to do something when you can just ask them politely?
This is what many animal trainers have been trying to teach the public (and our fellow “old school” trainers and colleagues for years). Thankfully, now we are seeing it happen in almost every species!
Rabbits are one of the many species to benefit from force-free training. Rabbits can be trained to do amazing things! They are incredibly intelligent, clever, and engaging companion animals. They are often underestimated. As their guardians, it’s necessary to provide them with proper medical care, a proper diet, and daily exercise. Some even exercise their rabbits with rabbit agility! You can watch these Agility Rabbits in action here!
It’s also important that we teach our rabbits how to safely interact with you and the other animals in the house, and how to be trusting and well behaved. Force-free training is the answer to all of these goals. However, as frisky and as playful as rabbits are, most do not enjoy being picked up or restrained. Where do you think the phrase “Rabbit Kick” came from? In order to maintain a relationship based on mutual trust, it’s important to train your bunny buddy with positive reinforcement.
Check out this video from Barbara Heidenreich at Bunny Training. It’s a wonderful presentation of a relaxed rabbit getting her nails trimmed, willingly! No force is needed! These simple, effective training techniques can help you to maintain your bond, increase trust, and make simple tasks like nail trims fast, effortless, painless, and easy!
Training Tip: The video demonstrated that by pairing one of the rabbit’s favorite things (head petting) with touching her back toenails, the guardian was able to make nail trimming a pleasant experience for everyone!
This same technique is how I conditioned our 4 cats, turtle, and dog to allow me to trim their nails. They are never restrained. They do it willingly. I ask, and they give! Positive reinforcement training is all about making the process easy and enjoyable for the animal. This helps to maintain a wonderful, trusting relationship between you and your companion animals. And it makes your job easier as their guardian!
Why force an animal to do something when you can ask? Why break the bond and lose their trust by using force? If a rabbit can be taught to offer her nails for trimming, you can teach your cat, dog, parrot, or pig to do the same!
Do you have any medical or behavioral success stories or training techniques that you would like to share? Please post your positive success stories in the comments below!
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ― Albert Einstein
Many cherished Easter traditions, from the Easter bunny to decorating and hunting for eggs, have been around for centuries. Let’s begin with the infamous Easter Bunny. The exact origin of this mythical mammal is unclear. There’s no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature. Nor is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with delicious Easter goodies. And real rabbits certainly don’t lay eggs. However rabbits, because they are prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Easter eggs are linked back to centuries of traditions. The egg, also an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection.
Fast forward to this century. So many parents buy rabbits for their children for Easter, many of whom do not even know the history behind these long eared lagomorphs. Our culture is filled with images of children and rabbits, so most parents see rabbits as low-maintenance starter pets for kids.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Before you fill your Easter basket with a live bunny, find out what is involved with caring for this complicated animal companion.
Did you know?
Is your family ready to commit to all of this??
Our family has always had rabbits. Ever since I can remember my mother and father raised rabbits, and I loved them dearly, but they were the caregivers. When I was old enough to have my first rabbit my parents made sure we had the space, finances, and the dedication to a rabbit. They made sure I was mature enough to take on 100% responsibility. And let me tell you, rabbits are amazing companion animals, but they are a LOT of work. They are wicked smart, very clever, very sensitive to heat and humidity, and sometimes very awnry! They get into everything; plants, wires, shoes, etc. They are prey animals, so sometimes it’s very dangerous to have them in a home with cats and/or dogs.
You really need to consider the risks before you go out and buy that cute bunny.
If your family member has their mind set on getting a rabbit, and you have discussed all of the facts listed above, get a book on rabbit care. Do your research and homework first. Then you can make an informed and well educated decision. If children know what is involved and how high maintenance rabbits or bunnies really are, but are still begging you for a rabbit after the holiday has passed, hop over to the House Rabbit Society for information on bunny rescue groups to find out how to adopt the rabbit (or even better, a bonded pair) of their furry dreams.
Learn more about what is involved with companion rabbit care HERE.