Tips To Train a Dog Not to Attack Rabbits

Tips To Train a Dog Not to Attack Rabbits

Tips To Train a Dog Not to Attack Rabbits

Dogs are known to naturally have a high prey drive especially for small pets or animals and that can become a problem especially if you have pet rabbits or live in an area with wild rabbits because of this you are worried whether or not your dog might attack rabbits. If that is your thought then you are not alone, so many dog owners struggle with the same challenge but the exciting part is that there are tips you can use to train a dog not to attack a rabbit although it requires a lot of patience, consistency and the right efforts but I am certain with the right tips you can train your dog to coexist with rabbits successfully. Read on to find out more!

Tips To Train a Dog Not to Attack Rabbits

Training a dog to coexist with a rabbit successfully may not be easy but it is achievable with the right effort and techniques like the ones mentioned below.

Socialize your dog with rabbits: The first tip to achieving a peaceful coexistence of your dog and rabbit is to socialize them together especially from a very young age so they would get used to each other and learn to behave calmly around each other. You can do this by introducing your dog to rabbits in a positive and controlled environment.

Use positive reinforcement: Just like humans love appraisal so do animals, using positive reinforcement like rewarding them with treats, praise, and affection is a powerful tool that can teach your dog to behave well. How this helps is that whenever your dog displays calm and non-threatening behavior around rabbits you reward them and by so doing, it helps to associate rabbits with positive experiences and good behavior.

Leash and muzzle your dog: What this means is that your dog should always be on a leash when you are introducing them to rabbits, especially during the first few meetings. This method helps to prevent any potential attacks in case things go out of hand and this is important for dogs with a history of aggression towards small animals.

Teach basic obedience commands: Teaching your dog some basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and leave is very helpful when training them not to attack rabbits. What these commands do is help control your dog and shift their focus from rabbits when needed.

Supervise all interactions: One mistake that so many pet owners make is to leave their dog unsupervised with rabbits most especially during the first few meetings. It is important to always keep an eye on them during interactions so you can be able to intervene on time in case your dog shows any sign of aggression towards the rabbit.

Create a safe and secure environment: Creating a safe and enclosed environment for your rabbit that is tall enough so your dog won’t jump in or dig under it will help keep your rabbit safe when you are not watching. This safe space prevents any accidental interactions and gives the rabbit a safe place to retreat in case the dog becomes aggressive or curious.

Desensitize your dog to the presence of rabbits: This tip often takes time but it would be good to gradually expose your dog to rabbits starting from a distance and with time moving closer. What this tip does is help your dog get used to the presence of rabbits without feeling threatened or overwhelmed.

Seek professional help: Finally, it is important to seek professional help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist especially if your dog has a history of aggression towards small animals or has attacked a rabbit before. These professionals can help you assess the situation and provide you with a suitable plan or technique that would help your dog overcome their aggressive behaviors.

In all is important to remember that patience is key as it may take some time but with patience and consistent training your dog can learn to successfully coexist with a rabbit.

SEE ALSO: Do Pomeranians and Chihuahuas Get Along?

Are Dogs A Danger to Rabbits?

I would say yes, an overly excited dog can harm a rabbit even when they don’t mean it. Dogs are natural predators and so might not be aware of their strengths while rabbits are physically delicate. Both animals may have the best intentions but it would be a deadly combination, especially for an untrained dog.

What Do Dogs Do When They Catch A Rabbit?

What a dog does when they catch a rabbit will depend solely on the individual instinct of the dog and the training given. Usually, a dog would want to either kill or play with the rabbit but often it is to kill because dogs are natural predators. We sometimes see an example of this when a dog plays with an injured animal, the dog might unknowingly injure the rabbit while trying to catch it by inflicting a single puncture wound, or he might get the animal in his mouth and instinctively shake it. All these depend on the dog and the training given.

Dog Breeds That Kill Rabbits

There are several dog breeds known to naturally have a high prey drive for rabbits, you can read our article on Common Dog Breeds That Kill Rabbits to get a better understanding of these dog breeds and why they function the way they do. Below is a list of dog breeds with a born instinct to kill rabbits:

  • Greyhound
  • Saluki
  • Whippet
  • Beagle
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Basenji
  • Basset Hound
  • Otterhound
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Dachshund
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • American Foxhound
  • Airedale Terrier

Why Do Dogs Attack Rabbits?rab 1 1

It has always seemed like a mystery why dogs attack rabbits. Well, if you are having this though it is understandable because human beings naturally want to be informed about almost everything. Here are some of the top reasons why a dog would attack a rabbit:

  • Prey Instinct: Dogs are natural predators with a strong instinct to chase and capture small animals like rabbits. This hunting behavior is rooted in their instinct and can be difficult to train out of them.
  • Protective Instinct: Some dogs like German Shepherds or Rottweilers are also known to have great protective instincts and as such might view a small animal like a rabbit as a threat to their territory giving them reason to want to do away with the threat and secure their territory.
  • Lack of Socialization: Poor socialization of dogs with rabbits will increase their chances of seeing small animals like rabbits as unfamiliar and potential creatures thereby giving room to them wanting to defend their territory.
  • Playfulness: Some dogs might not see rabbits as potential threats but rather as playmates but because rabbits are physically delicate, their rough play can quickly turn into an attack and harm the rabbit due to their size and strength. This is especially true for young and energetic dogs.
  • Aggressive Behavior: Dogs with a history of aggression towards rabbits or have attacked a rabbit before may have a higher tendency to attack a rabbit if left alone with it.

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Q. Can I stop my dog from killing rabbits?

A. Yes, you can stop your dog from killing rabbits with the right training, socialization, and techniques like the ones mentioned in this article above.

Q. What to do if a dog attacks a rabbit?

A. If a dog attacks a rabbit, the first thing to do is to check if the rabbit is injured. If it is, then you might want to clean the bite with soap and water and apply some first aid treatment so the wound doesn’t get infected and if that doesn’t help then it might be time to visit a vet.

Q. How do I get my dog used to my rabbit?

A. To get your dog used to your rabbit, it is wise not to put the two animals together too fast as this might throw both of them off. Start by exposing the dog to the rabbit from a distance and with time move closer, while doing this the dog should be on a leash to prevent any attack.


In conclusion, training your dog not to attack rabbits is an important responsibility for you as a pet owner. With patience, consistent training, and positive reinforcement you can get your dog to peacefully coexist with rabbits. Always keep in mind that each dog is different in their personality and temperament and may require a different approach so it is important to consult a professional trainer to assess the situation and tell you the best approach to use. By following the techniques or tips mentioned in this article, you can help your dog see rabbits as friends rather than prey or threats.

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