Training bunnies not to scratch you to pieces

LadyIsabelle2011

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
286
Reaction score
2
Points
64
Hi guys,

I think I found a new training trick to keep bunnies from scratching you to pieces when they see that you are carrying them back to the cage. I know that there are a couple of good ways already, like covering their eyes or holding them so that they can't scratch but I never saw anyone mention actually training them to calm their little butts down.

I got tired of the crazy behavior and did what dog walkers do. When a dog starts pulling on the leash really crazy a dog walker will turn the dog around and go the way opposite of where dog is pulling. So, when ever the bunny starts freaking out about going back to his cage I stop what I'm doing and turn around so that he can't see it. When they calm back down I try again and I repeat this step until I can carry them to the cage with them being calm. The first time takes a bit of time but by the second round of this most of my rabbits started to figure out what was going on, although I always have that one that decides to throw a little hissy fit. :/ ...funnily enough they learned not to do this quicker than my dog learned to walk on the leash calmly :p

Oh well, Its not exactly ground breaking or fool proof but it was something that I figured out that worked for me and I thought I would share. :)

Also, by doing this I realized that rabbits are little more intelligent than I used to give them credit for. :rolleyes:
 

secuono

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 16, 2010
Messages
5,922
Reaction score
6,198
Points
503
Location
Virginia is for Pasture Farmers!
What? Are these house rabbits? I never had a rabbit be happy to go back into a cage. Mine freak out when they aren't used to being held, hate being held or when there's too much commotion and they spook.
 

LadyIsabelle2011

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
286
Reaction score
2
Points
64
No, these are hutch rabbits and my first breeding set up. I bought them young and handle them enough that they tolerate being held and worked with but would always show their wild side when I got near the cages.

I work with them enough that I got fed up with getting scratched to pieces and dealt with it.
 

Bunnylady

Herd Master
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
2,293
Reaction score
2,631
Points
333
Location
Wilmington, NC
Oh, yes, they will anticipate being put back, and some can get pretty wild. As you have discovered, just keeping them from seeing the cage is a big help. Another thing I have found helpful is carrying the rabbit cradled on its back, feet side up. A lot of rabbits are much calmer in that position. If I have one that I think is likely to freak out (and as you said, there's always one), I may tuck its head under my elbow, so it can't see the cage. When I get to the cage door, I roll the rabbit onto its feet in one smooth movement and remove my hands. It took a bit of practice, but it does make a big difference. You do get tired of being covered in scratches!
 

Prairiechick

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
75
Reaction score
1
Points
31
Try this, it always works, carry them football style back to the cage with their butt toward the cage. They don't see it and do not try jumping out of your arms and scratching you to bloody bits. Set their butt in the cage and let go. Works like a charm. Now, getting them to hold still while I do their nails, that is a whole other deal! LOL!
 

LadyIsabelle2011

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
286
Reaction score
2
Points
64
Haha, yeah, I use football style on the ones I know are crazy but with my calmer bunnies I don't always remember to switch the way I'm holding them before they can see the cage >.< Which is why I get scratched, not so much anymore but still, and then there are the ones that completely buzz out and still manage to scratch you no matter what you do, doesn't happen much but of course, there is always that one rabbit. :rolleyes:

I know what you mean by nails, I have tried several different positions for holding them still, the best two i have found is one, cradle them upside down with their head on my chest, that way their feet are all up in the air and my arms are free to work, but it isn't very stable is the bunny decides to wiggle.

Two, I just let them sit on a chair or table and pick up each foot at a time...like a horse I guess. Both have their ups and downs since no rabbit truly enjoys having their feet messed with. :/
 

Goatlover200

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Nov 6, 2013
Messages
79
Reaction score
16
Points
43
Location
south africa
well, whenever i hold my rabbits they always scrath me, and ideas on how to hodl thm so they cant reach me? i breed them so i dont handle or anythiing, just a animal breeder o i am busy.. any ideas to hold them so that they cant reach me?
 
Top