How To Train Your Bunny To Walk On A Leash
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You might have seen some cute pictures of bunnies walking on leashes, and wondered if you could do the same with your rabbit. You can, but there are a few points that must be noted and steps that must be taken before you can do it safely.
Firstly, and most importantly: Rabbits are delicate.
A rabbit can easily be harmed through clumsy handling, or through simply bucking and twisting in it's owner's grip. The same principle applies when it comes to walking your bunny on a leash. If the rabbit starts throwing itself around like a mad thing (and some of them do) then it is best not to proceed, at least not until your rabbit has had more experience with being handled.
That leads me to my second point, which is almost as important as the first: Handling
Your rabbit MUST be used to being handled before you even think about putting a leash on it. You should be handling your rabbit anyway on a daily basis in order to check its condition, and to bond more closely with it. Rabbits are prey animals, so the act of being handled is terrifying to them if they are not used to it. Putting a harness on a rabbit feels a lot like being gripped, even more so when the bunny inevitably finds the end of the leash and it can't go any further, which is when it is likely to panic.
Third point: Proper equipment.
You cannot put a collar on a bunny. Their necks are tiny and far too delicate as a general rule. There are plenty of little harnesses made especially for bunny rabbits however, and they can be obtained at a relatively reasonable cost. A well fitted and quality harness will keep your bunny more safe.
Okay, so now you have the basics, it is time to put your bunny on the leash. It should be relatively easy to fit the harness. If it is a struggle, don't do it. A little bit of resistance is okay, but if the bunny flies into psycho bunny mode, back off and don't try it again until you have built up more trust with your bunny.
Simply clip the leash to the harness and you are ready to go.
There are a few points to note here too:
Walking a bunny on a leash isn't like walking a dog on the leash, you don't really direct them where to go, so much as follow them around.
Make sure that the area you are walking your bunny in is safe. It is not a good idea to take your rabbit out of the backyard, as it makes it very vulnerable to predators and other frights.
Let your bunny take things in its own time, and do your best to avoid jerking motions. The bunny has no comprehension that it is on a leash, at least, not at first, and may very well run off, hit the end of the leash, and panic. Introducing your bunny to the leash in a confined area first and gently letting it feel the control you have by restricting its movements before it goes into a full run is a good way to let your bunny adjust to this strange new sensation.
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