Dog chasing rabbits is a common thing that affects most dogs and therefore many rabbits. If you have a rabbit as a pet and a dog, your dog may chase the second pet all the time. Here we will discuss what you should do, how to react, and all the rest you need to know.
Here’s why dogs chase rabbits
A dog chasing rabbits is a common thing, as we have mentioned earlier. This happens due to the fact dogs and wolves have a predator instinct. They will chase almost everything and in most cases, this is done in order to catch that animal and eat it. Yes, they are predators, period. A rabbit is a small prey and one that can be easily caught.
An interesting fact is that dogs will chase other animals and things due to the same reason. For instance, they will chase cars due to the same reason. The predator drive we can see here is stronger in some dogs while weaker in others. There is no need to tell you that this is a dangerous issue for a rabbit and he can get hurt easily.
Your dog may be easily excited. You will see him nudging the rabbit with the nose. In this case scenario, there is no need to be worried. He wants to play and there is no aggression present. On the other hand, if you notice any signs of aggressive body language such as growling, showing teeth, or anything similar, your rabbit is in danger.
You can train your dog not to chase rabbits
Yes, you can train your pet to stop chasing rabbits and to make them friends. This is more possible and more common than some of you believe. Dogs and rabbits can be friends and there are countless examples out there. They will become best friends and usually, you can see a rabbit sleeping on or next to the dog. This is something we all love to see.
The first thing you need to do (if you are introducing a rabbit to a dog or the other way around) is to do it slowly. You will place a rabbit inside a cage and let your dog see and smell the rabbit but he won’t be able to touch him.
Allow your dog to get familiar and to investigate the rabbit closely. After some time, they will start to behave differently and they will start to spend time together. Of course, this only refers to the introduction of a second pet to the existing one. It should be done with all introductions of this kind and with all animals.
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The next thing you have to do is to train your dog not to chase a rabbit
The goal here is to break the bond for chasing and to focus his attention on you instead of on the rabbit and chasing. You will have to give the ‘’look’’ command and give your dog a reward. Then you will move away from the rabbit and try to get the attention of your dog. Reward him again and repeat the process. Now, do the same and give your dog massive praise.
This is a relatively simple training that can take a lot of time. The goal is to keep your rabbit safe and sound at all times. If he starts running, your dog will definitely chase him which can make things even worse.
The training here works well in most cases. But, some rabbits are scared of dogs and they will always try to run away. If this happens to you, then you will have to keep them separated permanently.
Don’t forget that rabbits are prey and they know it. They are easily scared of other animals, birds, dogs, wolves, and almost anything that is big and can hurt them. Some even say that rabbits are scared of themselves sometimes. There is also an opposite side of the story. Some dogs will always chase rabbits and they will want to eat them. You need to do the same as in the previous case.
Some dogs will eat a rabbit
Sadly, some dogs will catch a rabbit and they will eat him. This is perfectly normal considering the rabbits are prey and dogs are predators. The most dog will not do this but some will. Believe it or not, this is known as typical behavior and there are no a lot of things you can do about it. If you want to keep a dog and a rabbit together you will have to choose a breed that has the weakest hunting instinct. Some of these are a boxer, basset hound, golden retriever, Japanese chin, and a few more. In general, these dogs are ideal for owners who want to keep more than one pet.
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What to do if you have wild rabbits in your backyard?
This is another situation we would like to discuss. In some parts of the world, wild rabbits are considered pests and they will come to your backyard on a daily basis. Yes, your dog can chase them away but some owners don’t like this.
The best thing you can do is trap the rabbits and relocate them. It is moral and a nice thing to do. You can also use vinegar and ultrasonic devices to keep them away. You can also use rabbit repellent to get the same effect. Try multiple options and see which one works for you the most.
The final word
A dog chasing rabbits is far from a rare thing to see. One is a predator while another is prey so chasing is something that will probably happen. All you have to remember is that proper training can minimize the risk and these two can live together, in many situations. But, in rare cases, there is no way you can make friends out of them. Sadly, you will have to keep them separated permanently which is complicated and can be impossible.
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