Quite often you’ll notice that dogs are fond of barking at rabbits, whether it’s your neighbor’s dog in the backyard or your own. This is simply because most dogs see small animals or more so bunnies as prey animals. The main question however is, are rabbits scared of dogs barking? This article answers whether a barking dog scares a rabbit and how to handle such a situation, in addition to nipping the behavior in the bud.
Are rabbits scared of dogs barking?
Yes, they are in most cases. A bunny that’s never been exposed to a barking dog is definitely going to get scared. Considering that rabbits are prey animals, they’re generally skittish with sensitive hearing. As a result, they tend to get nervous whenever a dog barks even when there’s a huge barrier between them or the dogs at a distance and out of sight. However, if you properly introduce a dog to your rabbit then the latter will be comfortable around the former let alone fear their barking.
On the other hand, if it’s a barking neighbor’s dog, then there’s no need for alarm. This is simply because your rabbit will eventually get used to it. What’s important is that they’re not in harm’s way.
How do scared rabbits behave when a barking dog is nearby?
If your bunnies aren’t used to it, they may dash off into hiding. A scared bunny may also act nervous and stay in a hunched back position with its ears flat against the body. In addition, their eyes may also bulge out as they remain motionless. In some cases, your rabbit might also tremble in fear.
How to calm a rabbit that’s afraid of a barking dog
Sometimes a barking dog may give your rabbit a panic attack especially if they’re in the same vicinity. In case both animals are in the same place, always provide your rabbit with a safe haven they can retreat to where a dog can’t access. Secondly, take the dog away from your rabbit’s presence immediately, before you gently pet your bunny and offer them a treat.
Introducing a rabbit to a dog that loves to bark
First and foremost, before introduction, you need to ensure that your dog is obedient and has a low prey drive. In other words, they shouldn’t be a hunting breed. Before the interaction ensure that your dog is calm and on a leash. Although all rabbits are generally skittish, some are more friendly than others. Therefore if you have a choice, go for a rabbit breed that’s less afraid of dogs. This is normally recommended if your intention is to pair the two species over the long haul.
Considering that rabbits are prey animals, a barking dog with no ill will may startle or give your bunny a panic attack. In other words, fear is one of the main traits that keep rabbits in the wild alive and their domestic counterpart is no exception. However, introducing a bunny to a dog that likes barking can be smooth sailing if done properly. Below is a guide on how to gradually do so.
During their first interaction place a barrier or leave your rabbit in its cage. Bring your dog near the rabbit and let them smell each other without contact. If the dog is calm, reward them with a treat. However, if they bark at the bunny, separate the two animals immediately. Repeat the process in between long breaks until your dog learns how to remain calm before your rabbit.
The next phase is to place your dog on a leash and then remove the barrier separating the two. Let them interact closely by licking or sniffing each other. Again this should be done under strict supervision. If the dog shows any form of aggression or barks at the rabbit at any given point, give both animals a breather( a couple of days), then start the process all over until they’re comfortable with each other. It’s worth pointing out that patience and consistency are key. If they finally get along, reward each pet with their favorite treat separately to encourage their interaction. Nonetheless, always be on the lookout even when your rabbit and dog seem to get along.
What noises are rabbits scared of?
Rabbits are generally scared of loud noises such as high-volume music, noisy children, fireworks, loud traffic, thunder, etc. This is mainly due to their sensitive earing and skittish nature that makes them spook easily.
Should I let my dog chase my rabbit?
Although doing so allows your dog to release pent-up energy, it’s not recommended. This is simply because rabbits are fragile creatures that can easily get injured as a result. If you’re dealing with a high-energy dog that loves chasing after small animals, try distracting them from a chase then reward them for ceasing to do so. Over time, your dog will eventually lose interest when it comes to chasing your bunny.
Dogs tend to bark at bunnies instinctively. This is mainly because they consider small fluffy rabbits as prey, more so if your dog is a hunting breed. If your efforts to tame an aggressive dog that barks at your bunny fail in the long run, a permanent separation may be necessary. Hopefully, we’ve answered the question, are rabbits scared of dogs barking?