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Can Dogs Live with House Rabbits?
Bunnies are some of the most adorable, heart-warming pets you could ever have, but what if you already have a dog? While your dog may literally jump at the sight of a rabbit in the wild, the good news is they can coexist under one roof. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is not a simple "yes or no" answer to this question.
Every dog and every rabbit are different, and it is important you take the time to make sure this is a good move for everyone involved. The last thing you want is for Peter Cottontail to get injured or even killed by your family dog, which is why it is important to determine if a rabbit and your dog would be a good fit.
In order for it to be successful, be sure and talk to your vet about bringing both a rabbit and a dog into your house. With some obedience training and careful socialization, the two could become inseparable in no time.
Signs a Dog Can Live with a House Rabbit
To have a multi-species home, it will depend on each individual animal. You will need to take your time in bringing the two together to avoid any aggressive behavior - on either end. Over time, there's a good chance your furry friends will love having one another around. While each situation is different, generally speaking, older, more mature dogs will do better with house rabbits. An overzealous dog can scare the bunny, even sending them into shock.
There are several, critical elements that must be considered before a dog and house rabbit can be introduced. For one, your dog must be obedient. You must have control over your dog and they must always listen to you. If this is not the case, your dog is not ready to meet your bunny.
Secondly, you should be able to teach your dog that the rabbit is part of the family and not a threat or prey. If your dog exhibits signs of obedience, they may be ready to meet Thumper.
History of Dogs Living with House Rabbits
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there regarding the history of dogs living with rabbits. While there are many instances of this working, there are also a handful of not-so-successful cases.
For this reason, it is imperative you discuss the notion of bringing both a dog and a rabbit into your home with your vet. If done properly, you can definitely successfully have both a dog and a rabbit as a pet, but it will take time and commitment.
Remember that some breeds of dogs have been specifically bred to hunt rodents over centuries. Any dog with a high prey-drive is going to have a struggle with a smaller, furry animal bouncing around the home.
Science Behind Dogs Living with House Rabbits
When many people think of a dog and rabbit co-existing, they are confused because aren't these two animals natural enemies? While chasing rabbits in the yard may be a favorite past-time of Fido, there are many situations where dogs and rabbits can live happily together under one roof.
Scientifically speaking, dogs can be trained to consider a house rabbit a companion rather than a fun thing to chase. If you are able to establish that the rabbit is part of the family pack, they will learn to view them as a fellow family member just like the rest of you!
We've mentioned this several times, but it is important for your dog to be calm and obedient. The right mindset is a must for this to be a successful relationship.
Once again, remember that in nature, the rabbit would indeed be prey for a canine. This means that even in the best bunny-pooch relationship, you should NEVER leave them alone together.
Training Your Dog to Live with a Rabbit
Make sure your dog is as calm as possible when you finally introduce the two. It may be a good idea to take Fido out for a long walk or rousing game of catch in the park in order to wear them out first.
Start by leaving Thumper in the cage and slowly introducing your dog. The cage should serve as a safe space and help ease both into the relationship. A dog that has basic obedience training will be best, as you will be able to command them to sit and stay while they are warming up to one another. It is also a good idea to keep your dog leashed during the first few interactions.
Allow the animals to sniff each other out, but if your dog starts to show preditory behavior, it is time to end the meet-and-greet.
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 04/06/2020
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