Teaching Your Bunny Tricks
Updated: May 23, 2022
A common myth among many people is that rabbits are dumb. They aren’t! They can be taught many tricks - keep reading to find out how easy it really is!
Part One: Establishing a Bond With Your Bunny Before you begin training your rabbit, you must have a bond with them. A bond so strong, they’ll do anything for you. Never, never force your bunny into doing anything by slapping, shoving, or yelling at them. This will only scare them and lower the chances of a bond. To bond with your rabbit, make sure the rabbit knows you well enough to hop towards you if you stand outside his/her cage. If they bound over to you, give them a little treat to positively reinforce their coming! Next, try giving your bun a gentle stroke on their forehead/crown (their sweet spots) and make sure they are comfortable with this. If they aren’t, try feeding them a treat as you softly touch their head. Don’t make sudden moves, and don’t try to pick your bunny up, as most rabbits hate being held. Part Two: Training With Treats Once you have a strong bond with your bun, you can start with a simple trick, “come.” Since your bunny already knows to come to you, this trick shouldn’t be too hard. Call your bunny’s name (not too loudly) and look at your rabbit. Hold out a small treat close to the ground and near your body. If the bun comes quickly to investigate, reward it with the treat. If the bunny takes a minute or longer to come, don’t reward it and try again until they understand. Below is a list of tricks and how to teach them to your rabbit :) Enjoy!
Sit Pretty/Beg Start by calling your rabbit to you. Once your rabbit is nearby, hold a treat near their nose so they know you have something good. Slowly draw the treat upward, starting at your bunny’s nose. If the bunny gets confused and sniffs the ground looking for the treat, try again. Once your bunny sits on its hind legs and sniffs up for the treat, reward it!
Sit Sit is the same as Sit Pretty, but only draw the treat up until your bunny’s weight is on its hind legs in a sitting position. The bunny’s front legs should still be on the ground.
Circle/Spin Call your rabbit. Make sure there is enough room for them to turn completely around (don’t do this in a corner or near a wall.) Hold a treat in front of the bunny, then draw it slowly in a circle around your bunny (while saying the words ‘circle’ or ‘spin’) until the bunny follows it in a circle. Once they complete a whole circle, reward them. As they get the hang of it, make your hand movements shorter, more like a flick. Spin is the same as ‘circle,’ just flick your hand until your bunny spins in a few short, tight circles, then reward them!
Up ‘Up’ is the command we use to teach our buns to jump onto something. First, call your rabbit. Make sure you’re near the object you want your rabbit to jump onto, and make sure it’s not too high. Start about a foot away from the object so your bun has a running start, then draw the treat quickly in front of them so they follow your hand. Once your hand is over the platform, say ‘up!’ and wait for the bunny to jump up. If your bunny stops short and looks confused, don’t worry! Keep trying, and make sure they see your hand (and the treat) hovering over the box.
Lap This trick is a mix of ‘come’ and ‘up.’ First, sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and call your rabbit to you. Second, hold a treat in your hand and move it from your bun’s nose to your lap. Say ‘lap’ or your name to help your rabbit associate it with you. If your bunny trusts you enough to jump into your lap on the first try, good job! You have a strong bunny bond. If not, don’t take it personally. Your bunny just needs more practice, and maybe needs to spend a bit more time with you.
Find Call your rabbit to you. Hold out both your hands with the palms up in front of your bunny. Place a treat in one hand, and make sure your bunny sees it. Put your hands behind your back and quickly switch the treat from one hand to the other. Outstretch your hands again and say the word ‘find.’ If our bun sniffs at the hand holding the treat first, unfold the hand and give them the treat! If not, try again - this is a harder trick for bunnies to master.
Walk Walk is just ‘sit pretty’ with a bit of a twist. Start by calling your rabbit and doing the trick ‘sit pretty’ - but don’t give them the treat yet, just hold it between two fingers! Now, draw the treat from your bunny’s nose to the space in front of them. If they walk a step or two on their hind legs, give them the treat, and if not, keep trying. Some bunnies have a hard time getting this trick.