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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Any advice on leash training?

I'd like to be able to take Hagrid outside but I don't want to just let him run free in the backyard because I'm afraid he'll fall into the swimming pool. I bought a medium sized dog leash (which is what the people at petco recommended due to his size). The first time I tried to put it on him he flipped out. He ran all over the kitchen trying to get it off.

I don't want to traumatize him, and I don't know if that's a pretty typical reaction to being in a harness for the first time. I just don't know if I should keep trying or give it up. My friend has her rabbit completely harness trained, but she's had him since he was a baby and has always put a harness on him. Plus he's a regular sized rabbit (as oppossed to my 20 lb flemish giant!) and easier to handle.

Any first hand experience, advice, anything?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:36 AM
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My only experience was a long time ago with my sister's two rabbits who did ok with the harnesses the first time, so I don't remember if we did anything special to introduce them to the harnesses.

I'd recommend introducing him to the harness slowly, especially if he had such a bad reaction the first time. Maybe just show him the harness and let him sniff it next time, without putting it on him. Perhaps drape it over him without attaching it, to get him a little used to it. Do that a few times and slowly build up to putting it on him.

Something else you might want to consider is getting him outside immediately once the harness is on. Get him into an environment where he's likely to want to explore instead of being in his home, and it might distract him enough to forget the harness. Just be careful that he doesn't panic, chew through it, and get loose.

--Fromper
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:46 AM
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Actually I think what you described is a pretty common first reaction. When I put a harness on Zeus for the first time he hated it and just kept trying to get it off.

Try putting it on him, then distracting him. Feed him treats or pet him if he likes that so he has something to concentrate on other than the harness. Don't attach the leash yet. Let him wear the harness for a little while each day inside the house, maybe just for a few minutes at first, but as he gets more use to it he can wear it for longer and longer. Just make sure to neve leave it on him when your not around, in case it gets stuck on something and he can't escape. Once he's use to just the harness, you can attach the leash and at this point you should be able to take him outside with it.

With all that being said, I do think there are some bunnies that never get use to walking on a harness. I decided that I'm not going to take my Barnaby outside on a harness anymore because when he feels the leash pull, he gets really frightened.

If your rabbits is one of the ones who just can seem to get use to a harness and/or leash, you can let him have time outside by building him an outside cage, or using a pen. I built my rabbits an outside pen with NIC's and put them outside in that, so they can get fresh air and eat the grass.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 09:21 AM
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sorry, i have no idea but i had the same problem with my jirds. On another website is told me that jirds were easy to train on a leash... yeh right.. i never actually got it on them =] I'm hoping to try leash training with my new baby but she is tooo small for it at the moment =[ cute though =]

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia163 View Post
sorry, i have no idea but i had the same problem with my jirds. On another website is told me that jirds were easy to train on a leash... yeh right.. i never actually got it on them =] I'm hoping to try leash training with my new baby but she is tooo small for it at the moment =[ cute though =]

What is a jird?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:32 PM
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It is kinda like a big girbil.. here.. http://photobucket.com/georgiasjird thats my new baby she is called minnie and is only about 1'' long =]

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-09-2008, 09:43 AM
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my 2 didnt like the harness idea at first either,i tried getting them used to the harnesses in the winter so theyd be ready by summer but in the house in theyre normal playing room they didnt want anything to do with the harnesses....so i waited till the summer and put the harnesses on and put them right in the yard,and thats how they tolerate it,if they want outsies they get harness...simple,now-mine are small..a flemish giant? i dont know,what size harness does he wear? acacia gets really spooked when the leash goes taught so i just follow her around and shes fine,they love the fresh air and Akina not spooked by noises at all,Acacia will cover herself in the grass but is otherwise fine.


good luck,i hope you succeed in getting that giant out and about!!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2008, 08:20 PM
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Perhaps you could try getting Hagrid to a room he has never been in before and put it on him there. Whenever we have to work on our bunnies we head to the bathroom. We clip nails in there and give medications and they seem to know when they are in there that they will handled and just let us do our thing. Molly gets freaked out when the leash gets under her tummy while walking and Lucky....well he gets freaked out just being outside so we don't even bother trying with him anymore. Good luck. BTW we layed the harness and leash on the floor among all the other toys. Molly eventually started chewing it and dragging it around. Like other's suggested start with it just flopped on top of him without doing it up.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 06:46 PM
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listen to dragonrain! that's what I did and it worked! i have an 8-10 lb. mini lop.
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