Last Updated on October 16, 2022 by keno
If you’ve adopted a baby bunny and are probably wondering, can this adorable pet learn tricks? The short answer is Yes. Just like their adult counterparts, kittens that are at least 8 weeks old can learn basic commands. So how do you teach a baby bunny tricks? This article answers that and some of the popular tricks to teach your young rabbit.
Factors to consider before training a baby bunny
Although baby rabbits have a shorter attention span compared to older bunnies, training the former just needs a little bit of patience. It essentially boils down to earning your rabbit’s trust first, then using food as a motivator. To be specific, offer them alfalfa pellets in between training sessions. Since kittens have a sensitive digestive system, avoid offering them fruit or vegetable treats. Below are the basics you need to consider if you want to teach a baby bunny tricks, either through clicker training, conditioning, or lure technique.
First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure that your pet is properly conditioned prior to training commencing. For instance, if you want to litter train your kitten, place the litter box in its favorite toilet spot beforehand. On the other hand, if you want your baby bunny to learn how to spin or roll over, you’ll need to lure it with food. Since you’re only limited to giving them alfalfa pellets as treats, it’s hence advisable to train them before feeding time. This in turn makes cooperation much easier since they’ll be yearning to have that snack.
The other factor to consider when it comes to teaching a baby bunny tricks is the training time frame. An ideal training session is around 10 minutes tops, three times per day. However, the rule of thumb is breaking the activity into small repeated steps to allow your baby bunny to easily understand your commands.
A clicker comes in handy since it reinforces association with a specific command. In other words, the click sound simply conditions your bunny to expect a treat or reward. How it works is, every time your kitten responds positively to your cue, before rewarding them press the clicker device. It’s always advisable to click when your baby bunny performs a trick or a few seconds after the desired behavior has occurred.
Training a baby bunny to do tricks
You’ll be surprised to learn that baby rabbits are smarter contrary to what most people think. This is simply because they’re able to learn different tricks as we shall discuss below.
Teaching your baby bunny its name is one of the easiest tricks it can learn. First and foremost, place your bunny in a closed room with no barriers, or alternatively use a spacious playpen. Next is to lure your pet by letting it sniff the alfalfa pellet in your hand as you slowly back away towards the opposite end of the room or playpen. Once your kitten follows you all the way, mention its name before handing it a few pellets. After some time once your pet gets the hang of it, try calling its name at a distance and then reward it when it responds. Repeat this process in 10-minute sessions, thrice per day until you succeed. In no time your kitten will respond to its name even when you’re calling it from a different room.
This particular trick is quite impressive and will definitely leave your family and friends amazed. Teaching your rabbit to roll over entails luring it with a reward, in our case, alfalfa pellets. Simply hold the treat near your pet’s nose and slowly rotate it around its head. As a result, this allows your kitten to simultaneously roll over its back as well. Once your pet has successfully rolled over, press the clicker or simply say “Rollover” before rewarding it with alfalfa. Do this repeatedly until your pet gets the hang of it, or rather associates the term with the trick.
A spin is one of the easiest tricks to teach your kitten. Besides using a clicker, a luring technique is also ideal for this training session. With a few alfalfa pellets in your hand, lure your pet into a circular motion and then press the clicker before rewarding it. Do this repeatedly and once your rabbit gets the idea, do away with the clicker and your full hand gesture. Finally, introduce a basic command like “spin” and a small circular gesture your kitten can associate with spinning before rewarding it.
Training your baby bunny to kiss is not only adorable but it also makes your pet friendlier. For this particular trick, we recommended using the luring technique. Bring the Alfalfa pellet near your bunny’s nose to attract its attention, then proceed by bringing it close to your face. You can as well lean down to close the gap between the two of you. Once your face is close enough to your bunny’s, close your palm to hide the pellet. By default, your pet will then instinctively try to sniff closer to your face, more so around your mouth. While your kitten’s at it, give them a kiss followed by a reward. Try to find a specific cue like placing a hand on your face, that your bunny will associate with this particular trick. Do this repeatedly until your baby bunny learns how to kiss.
A young bunny that knows how to high-five on command is not only impressive but also adorable. For this trick, a clicker is necessary. Firstly, you’ll need to wait for your rabbit to lift its paw up on its own before pressing the clicker and then rewarding it. However, this might take forever, considering that you need to repeat the process in order for your bunny to understand the concept. Therefore, the best option, in this case, is using a lure, which is placing the alfalfa pellet near your bunny’s nose. The next step is lifting your hand to force your bunny to raise its head and eventually its front paws, as it tries to reach the treat. Immediately its paws are off the ground, press the clicker and let it have the pellet in your hand. Do this repeatedly until your bunny catches on.
After your baby rabbit has figured out how to lift its paw, the next step is learning to touch your hand. While your rabbit’s paw is still raised, place your hand beneath without rewarding your pet. Try placing your hand closer to one paw if you want your bunny to learn to touch your hand using a single paw. Eventually, your rabbit will return their paw down and automatically touch your hand. Immediately, it does that, press the clicker and then reward them. Once again, do this repeatedly until your kitten gets the hang of it before you experiment by placing your hand slightly further or higher. This will ensure that your bunny doesn’t touch your hand by default when it brings it down, but it does so intentionally.
Teaching your baby bunny tricks is not only a fun experience, but it’s also a wonderful way of creating a strong bond. Lastly, if you’re dealing with a skittish or shy kitten, consistency and patience during training are key.
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