In nature, dogs are predators, and rabbits are prey. People who love animals love dogs and rabbits equally. Many dog owners wish to keep house bunnies, and many bunnies owners desire to have a furry friend.
Now, the question arises, Can dogs live with rabbits?
Yes, dogs and rabbits can live in harmony, but it requires a lot of effort.
Although the relationship between your dog and the rabbit slightly depends upon your dog’s breed, it is mainly centred around the personality of each animal.
How To Introduce A Dog To A Rabbit
The way you introduce your dog to your rabbit makes or breaks the harmony between both of the animals. Before introducing your dog to a rabbit, you have to make sure that they are ready for this.
Mostly, dogs of older age with calm and mature behaviour tend to be gentle around Mr. Cottontail. But this doesn’t mean that you can bring a bunny effortlessly if you have a senior dog in your house.
A proper introduction is quite necessary before allowing your bunny to jump around your canine friend.
If your dog shows the following signs, then you can consider bringing a bunny into the house:
1. If your dog is always alert and never misses whenever you call them.
2. If your dog acts well-behaved in all types of scenarios.
3. If your dog is respectful and has an understanding of basic obedience training.
4. If your dog does not get hyperactive or excited over little things and mostly stay calm.
5. If your dog is no longer a puppy, meaning that its behaviour is mature enough to have a bunny around.
If all the points of this list turn green, you may proceed towards the introduction journey.
Steps Of Introduction
The key to a successful introduction lies in patience and equal respect for both animals. You can’t deal with this matter with even an ounce of favouritism. The life of the bunny is at stake, and your minor negligence can cost a life.
Choose A Neutral Ground
Both animals, especially dogs, take their territories quite seriously. To eliminate this territorial behaviour, choose a place that does not fall under the territory of either animal. Make sure that you also have the space to control the interactions.
This place could be anywhere, ranging from a park to your backyard.
Ensure Safety Of The Rabbit
Rabbits can be easily scared of dogs which can result in chaos. It’s in the natural instinct of the rabbits to avoid predators like canines.
If you want to lower this barrier, you have to calm the rabbit before the introduction.
The best you can do is put the rabbit in a cage before taking it to the place of introduction.
Wait for the rabbit to get comfortable before you take his cage towards the blind date. Let him rest and get familiar with the environment and place before you bring in the dog. Give at least 30 minutes to the rabbit to settle with the relatively newer site.
Moreover, ensure that the enclosure you are choosing for the rabbit is dog attack-proof.
If you see signs of stress and discomfort in the rabbit, postpone or delay the introduction.
Secure The Dog
The next thing you have to do is securing the dog. For this, you can use a long leash. Also, ensure that you don’t lose the leash if the dog tends to rush towards the bunny.
Ensure Subtle Approach
Very patiently introduce both of the animals because haste makes waste. Ask for help from a family member because an extra pair of hands can help you easily manage the situation.
Any sudden move can excite your dog and scare the rabbit.
Remove The Barriers
Bring the rabbit out of the cage when you feel the situation is not tense at all for both animals.
While you bring the rabbit out, ensure that the dog is well secured. Allow the rabbit to roam freely and grab the dog’s attention by giving treats.
If you succeed in capturing your dog’s attention continuously while the rabbit is around, you have already won!
Repeat The Process
Rehearse this procedure until you are sure that your dog has accepted the rabbit as a member of the family.
Even when you see that both animals have developed signs of friendship, NEVER EVER leave them alone!
We can’t emphasize this point more because slight negligence in this scenario can cost the rabbit’s life.
Breeds Of Dogs That Can Peacefully Live With Rabbits
This isn’t a rule of thumb, and any breed can be either aggressive or gentle around rabbits. The dogs mentioned in this list either have a history of being herd dogs or are best at listening to commands.
1. Saint Bernards
2. Golden Retrievers
3. Bernese Mountain Dogs
4. Basset Hounds
5. Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels
6. Coton De Tulears
8. Japanese Chin
If your dog’s breed is not on this list, don’t worry. Observe your dog’s behaviour, and it will tell you whether he will accept a bunny in his house or not.
Despite dogs being natural predators and rabbits being natural prey, both animals will live together in harmony. To develop this consonance among both animals, you have to train your dog to behave well around rabbits.
If your dog isn’t obedient, ensure that he obeys all your commands without exception through proper training. We all love bunnies because of their endless cuteness, but huge responsibilities also come with them.
You must treat either of the animals respectfully to create a peaceful environment. It’s in the natural instinct of dogs to chase and kill small animals like rabbits. You cannot kill this instinct, but you can divert your dog’s attention towards you instead of the temptation.
Even if your dog treats the rabbit with kindness in front of you, do not make the mistake of leaving them alone. The behaviour of the rabbit or any other external element can trigger the preying instinct of the dog anytime.