Bunny - Puppy Relations, Can Rabbits and Dogs be friends?
That Was Then...
Can bunnies and puppies be friends? Most certainly. Well, almost certainly. It rather depends primarily on the temperament of your dog. Some dogs are bred to hunt and kill small creatures, and if you have one of these breeds, they may very well up and kill a bunny they have happily nosed and played with right through puppy hood. Terriers and other hunting dogs such as Weimeraners are notorious for this type of behavior, so it is recommended that if you have one of these types of breeds, that you take extra caution.
Of course, any dog can get a bunnicidal notion into its head and sink its chompers into fluffy so I recommend a lengthy period of constant supervision. When I say lengthy, I mean, LENGTHY, as in months, preferably years, especially if your dog is yet young. It's the only way to ensure your rabbit's safety if you chose to have it out around your dog.
Training can play a large role in teaching your puppy or dog how to behave around your bunny. A firm NO, and redirection are essential if your dog gets too boisterous around the bunny. Rabbits are very fragile creatures, and can easily be harmed by a clumsy young dog, or even an older one that has not gained very good bite inhibition. Don't think that because your puppy is small he can't do damage. Rabbit skin is very thin and you can easily end up with an unhappy and wounded bunny if puppy is allowed to get too silly.
Another variable is the temperament of your rabbit. Some will sit and simply give a dog a haughty stare, even if the dog is bouncing around like a madman and barking furiously. This type of bunny is likely to do better with a dog than one that is timid and runs easily. Running arouses the prey drive in the dog, so this can set up an unhealthy and possibly lethal dynamic. Keep introductions slow and measured, if necessary, put your dog on the leash so that it cannot lunge at the bunny in a fit of excitement and accidentally or intentionally harm it
At the end of the day however, use your common sense. Asses your pets, is your bunny nervous and high strung? Will it take well to the introduction to a dog? Some rabbits freak out at the smell of Fido, and others will run right on up and have a sniff. Likewise, pay attention to your dog's temperament and developmental stage. Be aware that behaviors can change rapidly with sexual maturity, and a small playful puppy can become lethal to a delicate fury creature, especially if it is an inbred characteristic of the breed.
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