Hop to it! How to teach agility jumping to rabbits

by | Interesting |

Did you know that rabbits can be trained to learn skills and cues, just like dogs and cats? Today we’d like to share with you tips for teaching your rabbit agility jumping.

Before starting agility jumping, you’ll first need to train the rabbit to walk on a leash with a harness (see “Teaching a Rabbit to Wear a Harness and Leash”). After the rabbit is comfortable walking on the leash, you can start training for jumping. 

You will need: 

  • Harness and 6-8ft leash 
  • Treats (training treats, cut up vegetables, or fruit) 
  • A few objects to jump over (2”x4” board, broom stick, agility jump) 

Start by having the rabbit walk up to a low, short jump (e.g. 2”x4” board lying on the ground): 

  1. Allow the rabbit to investigate the jump at his own pace, place a treat on or near the jump to entice him. 
  2. Say the word “jump” and give the rabbit a slight gentle boost over the jump … praise and give him or her a little piece of treat. 
  3. Repeat this stage of training until the rabbit will walk up to and jump over the jump. 
  4. After the rabbit is doing well at a low jump, add another jump placed about five feet behind the first jump. 
  5. Make the second jump a bit higher but made to resemble the first jump. 
  6. Take the rabbit over the first jump and up to the second jump. Say “jump” to the rabbit as he or she approaches the second jump. If the rabbit jumps it, praise and treat the rabbit. If the rabbit does not jump the second jump, give him or her a slight boost as you say “jump.” 
At what age should you start training for agility or hopping? 

Rabbits of any age can learn, but they should be about four months of age before being taught to jump, as they are still growing and learning to jump on their own. Spending time with the rabbit and being consistent with your training is the key. If the rabbit has not been handled regularly, then start with basic handling and socialization before moving on to other training.

For more resources on socialization, enrichment, and training for your rabbit, visit shelterhealthpro.com

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