Disciplining Your Bun

Rabbits tend to do whatever they want and sometimes just won't listen (much like cats), so sometimes they need to be reminded how to behave! Keep in mind that there is no need to punish your rabbit, but help steer him in the right direction with discipline. Most of the time when a rabbit is being 'naughty', it's because he is doing what is natural to him. This is where training and discipline come in! 

Here are some tips for what you can do to discipline your rabbit: 

  • Voice Training. When your bun does something he shouldn't be, use his name and say 'NO', firmly and sternly. Make eye contact with your bun when you say this. Stay calm and raise your voice, but do not yell. 
    • Example: Oliver the rabbit is digging at the carpet. You would say, "Oliver, NO." Oliver stops and stares at you. You give him a toy to play with instead of digging at the carpet (redirect his attention and train him to dig at something else instead). 
    • Rabbits are smart and can understand several words; two of the words he should be able to understand are his name and the word 'No'. 
  • Nose down. Take your index finger and firmly but gently push his nose down toward the floor while saying 'Oliver, NO'. This helps him to understand that you don't like his behavior, and you are 'dominating' him. 
  • Time out. If your bunny won't listen to "{bunny name}, NO" after a couple times, you can shut him in a bathroom or closet for 10 minutes to show him your disapproval. Rabbits are very social, so separating them for a few minutes from everyone else helps them to understand that not listening to 'NO' could lead to being separated for a few minutes. Only do this directly after he has continued to commit the crime and failed to listen - he will not understand if you discipline him after he has already moved on to the next thing.
  • Water. Use a spray bottle on the mist setting only to spray your bun if he continues to do something he shouldn't. 
    • Example: Oliver keeps going to one spot in the living room to leave a few turds. You see Oliver go to that spot and start to leave his 'marks'; you, ready with spray bottle, say, "Oliver, NO," while spraying him once with the spray bottle. 
    • Only use the mist setting and try to avoid your rabbit's eyes or ears - the mist itself will be enough to discourage him. Only 1-2 sprays max will be needed.
  • Squeal. If your rabbit nips or bites you (sometimes rabbits nip when they want something or want your attention - it's not always aggressive): give a high-pitched squeal as soon as she nips or bites you. This will let her know that she hurt you and she should not nip or bite you.

Here is what NOT to do when disciplining your rabbit (remember, punishment is not necessary and will not work with a rabbit!):

  • Do not shout, scream or clap at your rabbit; this will make your rabbit frightened of you and could lead to to timid, anti-social or even aggressive behavior.
  • Do not hit or push your rabbit. Rabbits do not understand physical correction, and they are fragile creatures, you could seriously hurt your bunny if you hit or push him. 
 

Bonding Your Buns

Not all buns get along. But they are social creatures and are happier with a friend, so it's important to find the right friend for your rabbit. 

Steps to take when introducing/bonding two rabbits: 

allthingsrabbitsdiscipline.jpeg