How to Teach Your Bunny Simple Tricks!

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Intro: How to Teach Your Bunny Simple Tricks!

Rabbits need to be educated. They eat, they flop around and poop a lot, but they really should do something more useful, like spinning in circles around our feet on command!

Like humans, rabbits are extremely motivated by treats. My rabbit, whose name is Abungadi, has a fondness for raisins and apples, which I will use in this video to trick him into doing tricks :)

The video shows you what training a rabbit looks like, and how to gradually reduce the level of prompting needed to get your bunny to do tricks. The following steps in this Instructable will help you understand what the levels of prompting are and some basic tips for how to begin training your rabbit. Enjoy!



Learning objective:
By following the training technique outlined in this Instructable, you're rabbit will be able to perform simple tricks like spinning in circles, running around your feet, or moving in a figure eight pattern. Training your rabbit will also keep his body active, sharpen his ability to comprehend and follow tasks, and strengthen the loving bond between both of you.

Step 1: Hierarchy of Prompts

So here's what you need to know - there's something called the hierarchy of prompts. For rabbit training, here's how it looks:

At the bottom are the most hands-on prompts, like physically picking up your rabbit and spinning him in a circle.
Next comes putting a treat right in front of your bun's nose and using the sweet smell of a raisin to lure him into running around in a circle.
After that you can use a gesture without a treat, like making a circular motion with your hand.
And finally, with enough training and more than a handful of treats, your rabbit will be able to perform a trick with just the verbal prompt.

Your goal is to gradually reduce the amount of prompting needed for your bunny to complete a trick, from excessive pointing and grunting to a simple one-word command.

Step 2: Begin Training

Start by using a combination of lead-with-treat, gesture and verbal. Use a strong tone of voice, but not shouting. Lead-with-treat and gesture can be combined in one hand movement for now. If you need to physically push your bun, you probably need a better treat ;)

I like to begin each trick by calling my rabbit's name, positioning him in front of me by leading-with-treat, and then issuing the command + prompts.

Each time your rabbit completes the trick, click the clicker and give him a treat with a lot of verbal praise. If your bun doesn't, firmly say No and start again.

As your bunny understands what to do, gradually remove the prompts at the bottom of the hierarchy. Use a gesture, but don't have the treat in hand. Then minimize the gestural prompt further and further until a single word is all that's needed!

Step 3: Learning Multiple Tricks and Beyond

My rabbit had some funny ideas about tricks. He would often spin in circles without any prompting, assuming that the act of spinning in itself somehow magically produced raisins which fell from the sky. Like a rain dance of sorts. You'll need to be patient with your bun if he does this by not reacting to his self-prompted tricks.

Learning a second trick was a bit tricky, too. My bunny thought that any combination of words and gestures means Spin. So when I taught him Around Me, I had to start all over from the beginning with full gestural, lead-with-treat, and verbal prompting with a lot of corrections. Then to reinforce the idea of two separate commands, I would mix up the tricks, randomly switching between Spin and Around Me.

And of course, be sure to give your rabbit plenty of breaks and verbal praise. If you use raisins to motivate your bunny, keep your training sessions fairly short - it's not good for a rabbit to have lots of sugars in one sitting.

My bunny was able to learn Spin, Around Me, Figure Eight, Walk, Come Here, and Up Here (jump onto a piece of furniture). What can you get your bunny to learn? I'd love to see someone teach a bun how to fetch or roll over!

Thanks for taking a look. Be sure to vote for me in the education contest :)

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    33 Discussions

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    Jordan982002

    Question 6 weeks ago on Step 2

    What are good treats to give to your rabbit when they do the command right

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    RainW4

    Question 7 months ago on Introduction

    What type of rabbit is Abungadi? Our Tuli looks just like him!

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    wanstrath11

    1 year ago

    do you haft to use a clicker? can you snap or use your mouth?

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    JacobN31Ladybugfan4

    Reply 1 year ago

    It teaches the rabbit to associate the sound of the clicker with a reward, so when they hear the clicker they will do what you want.

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    tamikajadeeLadybugfan4

    Reply 1 year ago

    Using the clicker relates the click sound with receiving a treat, so each time the rabbit hears the clicker they know that they've done something good and will be getting a treat

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    MusicSpeaks

    2 years ago

    My bunny is a lion head mix and her name is Zuri, shes 3 almost 4 months old. When can I feed her carrots and celery and such cause i read that baby bunnies shouldnt have those for a while but it didn't say when or how old to be when they can have them

    2 replies
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    simply_nikkyMusicSpeaks

    Reply 2 years ago

    hey, don't feed her much carrot because it has a lot of sugar (for rabbits at least) and celery is fine- it won't hurt her. (I know I'm probably too late because your rabbit is 7 months old. But hopefully my reply will help someone else)

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    MusicSpeakssimply_nikky

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. I havent fed her much carrots. Just 1 or 2 and I haven't given her any in weeks so far caus she seems to prefer her pellets

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    ConnerC4

    2 years ago

    Does this work best with an older bun or younger bun? My sister has a baby Rex rabbit who is quite stubborn but loves her..please help!

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    AmmarZ4

    2 years ago

    This really works, but the clicker can be replaced with gentle strokes on the head. My rabbit knows: come here, leave the cage, return to the cage, walk on 2 legs, hop on 2 legs, stand upright, get into running position, sit down, jump here, eat that and hide.

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    parisusa

    2 years ago

    Buns are SO smart...give them attention and you will see!

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    benm104

    2 years ago

    what breed of rabbit is this.

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    Mike32gr

    2 years ago

    Our rabbit could walk all the way to our house from our store without guidance. Its not a joke https://youtu.be/2utN3QFbkys

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    CristianC31

    2 years ago

    This is Sugar and alby, Sugar is 2 and white, brown and black spots, and idk Alby's age I found him and no one claimed him.

    image.jpegimage.jpeg
    1 reply
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    KatK6

    2 years ago

    Thanks! Time for some fun learning. This is Måns :)

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    bunbuns17

    3 years ago

    his name is bunbuns

    image.jpg
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    bunnylover17

    3 years ago

    Ha my phone changed the name he's called ollie

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    bunnylover17

    3 years ago

    Ha my phone changed the name he's called ollie