Saturday, 23 February 2013

rabbits and dogs

Some people may own more than one pet. I have rabbits, dogs, and cats yet the rabbits are in an outdoor hutch. Some people may be interested in if they can have a house rabbit and a dog living together in a calm environment.

The truth is you can. It's best if you introduce them at a younger age as then they will be not as scared as they will be more accepting and if they are brought up around each other they will be fine.

Like all animals, to have rabbits and dogs living happily together, you will have to bond them. Generally its best to have the rabbit first, then introduce a puppy to the rabbit, as most dog's instincts once they are older is to kill or hunt them. Although you can get them to be friends when they are older, its just more of a challenge.

The best place to introduce them to each other is in what is called a 'neutral' area. All this has to be is a place where both of them have never been before. You do this so neither of them can be the dominant one and be in charge (which normally leads to aggression and a fight which isn't nice).

You want to start with both of them on leads and possible introduce food which they can each snack on, which normally relax's the situation making it more comfortable for both of them. Mainly, you are trying to make your bunny trust the dog not to eat him, as dog's are generally not shy and are quite confident.

Another way is to have your bunny in their cage or run and your dog on the outside on a lead. Sometimes they feel more secure in a cage and will come up and sniff them. This would mean the rabbit will be in their familiar surroundings which can work out to be fine.

I have heard what you want to dog to do is associate the small fragile bunny with the word 'gentle' and you want to use words along this line when they meet each other, and when the he is being gentle, you want to praise him for this. The use of positive reinforcement is very effective so you need to try to do this.

If the dog becomes wound up, pull him away and let him calm down before taking him near again. Make sure you have taught your dogs some of the basic obedience words as this is good for keeping him under control.

I have heard of another method which is having you dog lying down, and having the rabbit freely run around him.

Make sure to repeat this everyday as this will help to bond them. You should be able to see the changes in them overtime and eventually you may be able to have them nose to nose. By the end of this you may be able to have them in the same room as each other, but probably not what you may call 'best friends' which would be how two dogs, or two bunnies would be.

I hope you found this post useful on rabbits and dogs.

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