Dog With Rabbits: How to Help Them Get Along!

Can you have a dog with rabbits in the same household peacefully? In this article, we’ll teach you step-by-step how to help your pets get along and live together in harmony. If they haven’t yet met, we’ll tell you exactly how to introduce your rabbit and dogs the right way, ensuring they get off to a great start.

Once we’ve covered the question of do dogs and rabbits get along, we’ll also have to go over some information that’s unfortunate but important to know, like the dog breeds that kill rabbits. Of course, we’ll also let you know about the rabbit friendly dogs, before we finish by explaining why do dogs chase rabbits. Keep reading for all this and more!

Dog With Rabbits: How to Keep the Peace

Dog With Rabbits

To keep things happy and peaceful between a rabbit and dogs, supervision, proper introductions, and training are vital. Dogs should be introduced to rabbits slowly and under controlled conditions. Training your dog to respond to commands like “stay” can also be beneficial. Always remember that interactions should be closely supervised for the safety of both animals.

Introducing a Dog With Rabbits

First impressions matter a lot. When introducing your dog with a rabbit, make sure it’s a calm and controlled environment. Initially, keep your dog on a leash and allow them to observe the rabbit from a safe distance. Gradually decrease the distance over time as they get accustomed to each other’s presence.

Training Your Dog

Training your dog to behave around rabbits is crucial. Commands such as “leave it” or “stay” can be particularly useful. Remember to reward your dog when they respond positively to the command. This not only teaches them to respect boundaries but also helps in managing their prey drive.

Supervised Interactions

Never leave an unsupervised dog with rabbits. Regardless of the size or breed of the dog, or how well they seem to get along, there is always a risk of harm due to their inherent predator-prey relationship. Always ensure that their interactions are closely monitored for signs of stress or aggression.

Safe Spaces for Your Rabbit

Ensure that your rabbit has a safe and secure space that is inaccessible to your dog. This could be a sturdy cage or a separate room. This gives your rabbit a place to retreat to when they feel threatened or stressed, ensuring their safety and comfort.

How to Get My Dog to Leave My Rabbit Alone

Training your dog to leave your rabbit alone involves reinforcing positive behavior. Commands like “leave it” can be instrumental. Start training by using the command when they show interest in the rabbit. When they move away, reward them with a treat or praise. Over time, your dog will associate leaving the rabbit alone with positive outcomes.

But while these steps will get your dog to get along with your rabbits, it’s important to remember that the underlying behavioral issues (prey drive, anxiety, overexcitement, etc.) that were causing all of this to begin with will still be present. And until you address those, any positive changes you see are only going to be temporary.

“Well, how do I make these changes last?”

By getting your dog to truly choose to follow your direction, that’s how. I tried many times to write out how you can do this before deciding it made more sense to just link you to the free video series that explains it better than I’d ever be able to.

The series is by a man named Dan who is one of the world’s leading dog obedience trainers. In it, he teaches you how to put an end to things like when your dog isn’t getting along with your rabbits and all other misbehavior using his fast and easy-to-follow methods.

In the first video, Dan will reveal to you why the two most common methods of dog training only doom you to failure. You can watch the video now by clicking here. Follow the proven system he’ll show you in his series and you’ll never have to spend another second worrying about your dog not getting along with your rabbits ever again!

Rabbit and Dogs: How to Introduce

Rabbits and Dogs

Introducing a rabbit and dogs safely involves careful preparation, gradual exposure, supervised interactions, and reward-based training. Understand that it’s crucial to consider the specific personalities and temperaments of your pets to ensure a successful introduction.

  1. Prepare Your Pets: Before you initiate the introduction, it is imperative to ensure that both of your pets are in a calm state of mind. For your dog, this might mean indulging in a long walk or an exhaustive play session. This is to ensure that their excess energy is drained and that they are more likely to be calm and composed. For your rabbit, establish a secure, familiar environment where they are comfortable and can feel safe. This will help in reducing their anxiety levels.
  2. First Introduction: The initial meeting should be conducted with the dog being securely held on a leash and the rabbit in a secure enclosure or in your arms, as long as you can hold the rabbit securely without any fear of dropping them. This ensures that they can sniff and observe each other, and understand the other’s presence but without any direct physical contact.
  3. Gradual Exposure: The key is not to rush the process. Gradually increase their exposure to each other over a period of time. Initially, the interactions should be brief, always supervised, and shouldn’t involve any physical contact.
  4. Supervised Interactions: As you proceed with subsequent introductions, let your rabbit roam freely while the dog is kept on a leash. This ensures the rabbit has its freedom of movement and can gain confidence while the dog’s movements are still under control.
  5. Reward-Based Training: Employ the principles of positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. If the dog manages to remain calm and collected during the interaction, they should be given a treat or a word of praise. This will encourage such behavior in future interactions as well.

Remember, patience and consistency are crucial during the introduction process. It’s important to prioritize your pets’ safety and comfort at all times. It can take time for a rabbit and dogs to become comfortable with each other. If you have ongoing issues, your dog may have an underlying behavioral problem that is complicating things. Learn what to do in the first section.

It’s important that you handle this with your dog now, as it will make their interactions with your other pets go more smoothly. Imagine knowing you could have a home where you have your guineas and dogs, hamsters and dogs, ferrets and dogs, chinchillas and dogs, and even iguanas and dogs all living together safely without any problems.

Dog Breeds That Kill Rabbits

Dog breeds that kill rabbits with a greater likelihood than others include the Jack Russell Terrier, Beagle, and Greyhound. These all have a high prey drive and might be more likely to chase and potentially harm rabbits. Remember, individual dogs within a breed can differ greatly, and much more depends on each dog’s training and socialization.

  1. Jack Russell Terrier: These energetic dogs were bred for hunting foxes and rodents and may view rabbits as prey.
  2. Beagle: Known as scent hounds, Beagles were traditionally used for rabbit hunting, and their instincts may lead them to chase rabbits.
  3. Greyhound: Greyhounds, known for their speed, were used for chasing small game, including rabbits.
  4. Siberian Husky: These dogs have a strong prey drive and may chase smaller animals, including rabbits.
  5. Border Collie: While primarily herding dogs, their instinct to chase and herd could potentially be a risk around rabbits.
  6. Basenji: Known as “barkless dogs,” this independent breed may view rabbits as potential prey due to their hunting history.
  7. Fox Terrier: Bred to flush out foxes and other small game, Fox Terriers could potentially harm rabbits due to their innate hunting instincts.
  8. Dachshund: Originally bred for hunting badgers, their instinct may lead them to chase rabbits.
  9. Alaskan Malamute: These dogs have a strong prey drive, and their large size could pose a threat to small animals like rabbits.
  10. Airedale Terrier: Known as the King of Terriers, these dogs were bred for hunting and might show interest in chasing rabbits.

Keep in mind that individual temperament, training, and socialization play crucial roles in how a dog behaves around rabbits. Proper training and monitoring can allow peaceful coexistence between dogs and rabbits. Learn how to do this step-by-step in the first section.

Do Dogs and Rabbits Get Along?

Dogs and rabbits can get along, but it largely depends on the individual animals, their personalities, and the environment they live in. Ensuring this coexistence involves proper introduction, consistent training, and supervised interactions. However, it’s important to remember that dogs are natural predators and rabbits are prey animals, so caution is always necessary.

Can Dogs and Rabbits Get Along?

Yes, dogs and rabbits can get along peacefully. This largely depends on factors such as the dog’s breed, temperament, and how they are introduced and socialized with the rabbit. Generally, a dog that is gentle, calm, and well-trained is more likely to get along with a rabbit. However, always remember to closely supervise their interactions to ensure the safety of both animals.

Are Rabbits Scared of Dogs?

Rabbits are scared of dogs in most cases. As prey animals, rabbits have a natural instinct to be wary of predators, including dogs. Large dogs or those with high prey drives can particularly be intimidating to rabbits. It’s important to introduce the animals slowly and provide the rabbit with a secure space where they feel safe.

Training Your Dog With Rabbits

Training your dog with rabbits is crucial. Basic obedience commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “leave it” can help manage your dog’s behavior when they are around the rabbit. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praises, should be used when your dog responds well to these commands.

How to Stop Dog Barking at Rabbits

To stop your dog from barking at rabbits, the “quiet” command can be very useful. Start by issuing the command when your dog begins barking. Once they stop, reward them with a treat or praise. Over time, they will associate stopping barking with the positive reward. This technique requires patience and consistency but can significantly improve your dog’s behavior around rabbits.

While dogs and rabbits can coexist peacefully, it requires careful handling, gradual introduction, and continuous supervision. Training your dog to behave around the rabbit and providing a safe space for your rabbit can significantly enhance their relationship. We explain more you should know in the first section.

Rabbit Friendly Dogs

Rabbit friendly dogs known for their gentle and patient nature include the Basset Hound, Golden Retriever, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. However, individual temperament and training are key factors, regardless of breed.

  1. Basset Hound: Basset Hounds are typically very laid-back dogs. They tend to be a good dog with rabbits due to their calm demeanor.
  2. Golden Retriever: Known for their gentle and patient nature, Golden Retrievers can be trained to behave around rabbits.
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: These dogs are generally friendly and gentle, which makes them good companions for rabbits.
  4. Maltese: Maltese dogs are generally calm and not prone to chasing, which could make them suitable companions for rabbits.
  5. Shih Tzu: Known for their friendly and less-aggressive nature, Shih Tzus can be good companions for bunny rabbits when properly socialized.
  6. Pug: Pugs are generally sociable and peaceful dogs that can get along well with rabbits.
  7. Great Pyrenees: Despite their large size, they are usually very gentle and protective, qualities that could be beneficial around rabbits.
  8. Boxer: Boxers are known to be patient and protective, which might make them suitable for a home with bunnies.
  9. Old English Sheepdog: These dogs are usually good-natured and adaptable, qualities that could help them get along with rabbits.
  10. Collie: Collies are known to be gentle and easy to train, making them a potentially good match for households with rabbits.

Remember, even breeds known to be rabbit-friendly require proper introduction and consistent training to ensure peaceful cohabitation. Learn everything you should know, including how to treat any underlying behavioral issues, in the first section of this article.

Dogs Killing Rabbits: How to Respond

When you have dogs killing rabbits, it’s vital to stay calm and assess the situation. Dogs have a natural predatory instinct, and smaller animals like rabbits can trigger this behavior. To prevent future incidents, it’s important to ensure the dog’s environment is rabbit-proof and that the dog is adequately trained. It’s also recommended to a rabbit and dogs separate unless under strict supervision.

Why Do Dogs Kill Rabbits?

Dogs kill rabbits usually due to their innate predatory instincts. These instincts can be stronger in certain breeds or individual dogs. The sight, smell, or movement of a rabbit can trigger a chase instinct in dogs, and unfortunately, this can sometimes result in the dog killing the rabbit.

What to Do if Your Dog Kills a Rabbit

If your dog kills a rabbit, the first step is to remove your dog from the situation to prevent further harm or potential ingestion of the rabbit. Keep calm and ensure you handle the situation appropriately to avoid instilling fear or anxiety in your dog. Remember, it’s a result of their instinct and not necessarily a sign of disobedience.

Preventing Future Incidents

To prevent future incidents, it’s important to control your dog’s environment and interactions with rabbits. This includes securing your yard to prevent rabbits from entering, supervising interactions between your dog and rabbits, and investing in appropriate training to manage your dog’s predatory instincts.

Training Your Dog With Rabbits

Training your dog with rabbits is key to preventing a recurrence of such an incident. Teaching your dog the “leave it” command is especially useful. This command instructs your dog to ignore or walk away from various distractions, including rabbits. Obedience training should be consistent and reinforced with positive rewards for the best outcome.

It’s important that you understand that dogs have inherent instincts that can result in them killing rabbits. However, with adequate control of their environment and proper training, it’s possible to manage these instincts and prevent such incidents in the future. Learn about dealing with underlying issues that may stop your progress in the first section.

Why Do Dogs Chase Rabbits?

Dogs chase rabbits due to their innate predatory instincts. Dogs, being descendants of wolves, have a built-in drive to hunt smaller animals, including rabbits. This behavior is often intensified by the rabbit’s movement, as running stimulates the dog’s chase instinct. However, with proper training and management, this behavior can be controlled.

Can a Dog Catch a Rabbit?

While it’s possible for a dog to catch a rabbit, most rabbits are very agile and have evolved to evade predators effectively. They can often outrun dogs with their zig-zagging escape pattern. However, some dogs, particularly those bred for hunting, might be able to catch a rabbit, especially if they catch the rabbit by surprise or corner it.

The Predatory Instinct in a Dog with Rabbits

Dogs have inherited their predatory instincts from their ancestors, the wolves. This includes a sequence of behaviors such as orienting, stalking, chasing, grabbing, killing, and consuming. When a dog sees a rabbit, it might engage in the initial steps of this sequence (orienting, stalking, and chasing), but often, domestic dogs do not carry through the full sequence.

Managing Your Dog’s Chasing Behaviour

To manage your dog’s instinct to chase rabbits, focus on training methods that instill impulse control, such as the ‘leave it’ or ‘stay’ commands. Using a leash or a long line can also help manage this behavior during walks. Creating a safe and secure outdoor environment for your dog can also prevent encounters with rabbits.

Redirecting Your Dog’s Chase Instinct

Another effective approach is to redirect your dog’s chase instinct towards toys or other forms of play. Fetch games, tug-of-war, or agility training can provide a healthy outlet for your dog’s natural drive to chase.

While a dog chasing rabbits is innate and deeply rooted in their nature, it can be managed with training and redirection. Understanding this behavior is key to keeping both your dog and local wildlife safe. If you’re having problems getting your dog to listen, go back to the first section where we’ll help you deal with any underlying issues that remain.

I’m sure you’re ready to not stress out so much about whether or not your rabbit and dogs can get along and live together, so I’ll let you get started on things now. Good luck, and thanks for reading this article “Dog With Rabbits: How to Help Them Get Along!”

The Author

KB Williams

KB Williams

Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.