Bunnies On Leashes: Can I Take My Rabbit Walkies?
Here's how to do it....
- Rabbit Agility
Learn your bunny some tricks here!
There have been quite a few revolutions in the rabbit keeping arena in the past few years. It seems almost as if all of a sudden people realized that rabbits weren't simply dullard animals good for keeping the grass down a little patch of lawn at a time, but that they were quite intelligent, playful animals who enjoyed interacting with their human keepers and were quite capable of being toilet trained and living indoors.
People went wild with their new found knowledge, and a new wave of bunny keeping emerged. More toys were produced, bunny related literature became more prominent, and one day, a bright spark suggested that maybe bunnies could be put on a leash and harness and taken for walks.
Can it be done? Certainly, in some cases, however simply because something can be done, doesn't necessarily mean that it should be. When I got my little baby bunny, I was warned very sternly by the breeder not to use leashes, on account of the fact that rabbits can harm themselves quite severely thrashing around and fighting the harness and leash.
You see, in some strange fit of weird evolution, rabbits developed as a species that can easily hurt themselves through their own movements. This is why you have to be rather careful when handing bunnies, especially skittish ones, and the same rule applies when trying to get a leash and harness on your rabbit.
Larger, more solid framed rabbits are probably better candidates for leash walking, however you should keep in mind that a rabbit will never learn to heel or walk with you per se. Most of the time the best result you can hope for is chasing around after your bunny as it hops willy nilly where it pleases. Problems can arise when the rabbit feels itself being restrained, or when it tries to do the Bunny 500 sprint race, only to be yanked off its feet.
Having said all of this, some people have had some success with putting their rabbits on leashes. If you are going to try it with your rabbit, wait until you have already established a good rapport with your bunny. This is not something to spring on it suddenly at the beginning of your relationship. Your rabbit's temperament and personality will play a large role in whether or not leash and harness walking is a possibility. If you have a particularly calm wee chappie or chapette, by all means try it out. Just be prepared to abandon the idea if it looks as though your bunny's reaction will be violent. As cute as the idea of a bunny on a leash is, it is not worth potentially harming your pet.