Rabbits are very intelligent and motivated animals. You show them a treat, and they will perform every trick they learned.
The two most popular tricks for rabbits, teach them to give a high five and letting them learn to spin around.
That is why we will talk about these two tricks, step by step, to understand them in detail.
How To Teach Your Rabbit To High Five
- Lure your rabbit in a circle with your hand. With a treat in your hand, directly lure your rabbit until they’ve spun in a full circle. Then give them a click with the clicker and let them have the treat. Do this a number of times with the treat in your hand and the click to help them understand they get the treat when they complete the circle.
- Without a treat in your hand, sweep your hand in a circle. When your rabbit easily follows the treat all the way around, start making the same circular motion with just your hand. Usually, the rabbit will have no problem following your hand. Continue giving them the click-and-treat when they complete the circle. As your rabbit gets the hang of it, make the hand gesture faster and faster.
- Move your hand in the direction you want them to spin, but don’t make the full gesture. As the hand gesture gets faster, your rabbit will start to understand what they need to do just based on the quick motion. At this point, you can start just making a motion of part of the circle and see if your rabbit will continue on their own. As they get better at it, you can start making your hand gestures smaller and eventually just start pointing in the direction you want your rabbit to spin.
The goal here is to teach your rabbit to spin in a circle when you point or make a small gesture in the desired direction. You will need to train your rabbit to spin in both directions separately.
Most rabbits won’t automatically know you want them to spin counterclockwise if you’ve only been training them to spin clockwise.
How to train your rabbit to spin around
- Using a treat, guide your rabbit to spin around in a circle. You may have to do this quite slowly so they aren’t confused. Hold the treat in front of them, circle it around their back as they follow it, and end up doing a 360o turn trying to get the treat.
- Once they have turned all the way around, give them the treat!
- You keep doing this so that they get the idea of the movement in their head, and that they link doing this to getting a treat. Fish learned this a little quicker than Chips, but they both made the link fairly quickly.
- They will start to get slightly faster at doing the movement/trick.
- Once you feel that your rabbit understands what they are doing, change your gesture with the treat slightly. For example, make your circle motion with the treat a little faster, or make a smaller circle.
- Keep altering your gesture until you are happy with the one that you want to use when you want them to do the trick.
- Then, for a few days, keep using this gesture and give them a pellet or treat when they do the trick.
- Once they are doing this regularly, and you have confidence in them, you can do the gesture without a treat in your hand. Still give one to them after they have done it, for a couple of days.
- This next step is important – don’t miss it! Next, you do the trick completely without any treatment, but occasionally give them treats anyway, so that they know it is still good to perform the movement. It will help make sure that your bunny remembers and keeps performing the trick!
Now you have taught your clever bunny a fantastic trick – they will spin around with your finger.
Remember to keep training sessions short, and don’t let your bunnies become tired or frustrated. It should always be fun.
What other tricks will this work for?
You can use the same principles to get your bunny to perform other tricks.
For example, some people train their bunnies to come when they call their name. Others train them to jump on cue (or even to jump through hoops…).
Give them treats when they perform the action you want, so they link the action and the treat. Reinforce this link. Start varying how often you reward the action.
Just make sure that the trick is fun and safe for the rabbit to perform.