Rabbit behaviour and training

Soya

Lying down with back legs stretched out (like Soya above) and eyes half open is a sign that your rabbit is very relaxed and comfortable. Some rabbits may even roll on their back. Ears back and feet tucked in is also a sign that your rabbit is relaxed and happy.

Ears pricked and big eyes are a sign that your rabbit has been startled by something or is a bit anxious.

Putting its head flat on the ground is usually a sign of submission or that your rabbit is requesting grooming.

When your rabbit circles you, it is usually a mating behaviour. They are showing excitement and interest.

Rabbits are most active first thing in the morning and in the evening. If your rabbit is running around and twisting in mid air, it is a sign that they are happy and burning off excess energy.

You can clicker train your rabbit, just like training a dog. Here is a step-by-step video to help you get started: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbxxCBIBjJc

If your rabbit growls, lunges with its feet or tries to bite you, it is a sign of aggression or fear. It may help to have them neutered to reducing mating behaviours. It will also help to give them a safe, quiet area to go to as a lot of aggressive behaviours are due to fear.

Never hit your rabbit as punishment. It will only make them more scared and more prone to biting.

When a rabbit thumps its back legs, it is generally a sign of fear or that they are annoyed.

Light grinding of the teeth when being stroked is generally a sign of happiness. However, heavier grinding may be a sign of pain or discomfort.

When a rabbit rubs its chin on something, it is marking its territory. It may even mark people.

Rabbits like to groom themselves and others, as a sign of affection. Your rabbit may even try to groom you by licking your hands.

Your rabbit may nudge you lightly to get your attention or more forcefully to move you out of the way.

Rabbits love to chew things so try to give your rabbit chew toys as an alternative to your furniture.

To prevent boredom, you can try building your rabbit an obstacle course. They especially love running through tubes. You can also give them cardboard boxes to play in. If you lie on the floor, your rabbit will probably play by jumping on you or running around you.

If you have a house rabbit, you can litter train them by placing a litter tray in the corner that they most frequently urinate in. Rabbits generally like to go in the same place each time. If you rabbit messes elsewhere, move it into the tray until they start to get the idea.

Panting is generally a sign that your rabbit is ill, overwight or too hot.

Pulling fur is a sign that your rabbit is bored or possibly experiencing a phantom pregnancy.

Sometimes behavioural problems are a sign of ill health or incorrect husbandry. If your rabbit continues to show unusual or problematic behaviour, it is a good idea to get them checked by a vet.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets.

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One response to “Rabbit behaviour and training

  1. Pingback: Caring for your rabbit | Assisi Veterinary Group

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