Last Post by AFbrat at 12/16/2006 10:53 AM (3 Replies)
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User is Offline AFbrat
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12/14/2006 1:19 PM

I just joined, mainly because i really want a rabbit, but need to know a lot more before i can convince my dad.  my mom and i both want a house-rabbit that we litter-box train and let roam. dad put his foot down. hard. however, mom thinks it's possible to convince him if i learn enough about it. do you have any tips for how i would go about training my bunny, what could go wrong, or what i could do to help out with it? anything would be much appreciated!


User is Offline wendyzski
Chicago, IL
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12/15/2006 11:21 AM
Hi there!

I think it's great that you want to learn a lot about bunnies before you get one.  They can be wonderful pets but they are also a big responsibility - they can live 10-12 years!

The best place to start learning about rabbit care is which is run by the House Rabbit Society.  They have a lot of info geared towards people looking into rabbits as house pets.  They also sell the House Rabbit Handbook.

There is also Rabbits For Dummies, which I have.  It's a pretty good overview.

But one of the best places you can learn is your local shelter.  Look on PetFinder for a rabbit shelter or rescue near you.  They always need volunteers, and working with the buns would give you a lot of practical knowledge and experience.  You didn't say how old you are, but the volunteer work could help you convince your parents that you are serious about wanting to learn about rabbits and their care.

I adopted my Pepper *points to icon* in September, and I had been reading rabbit newsgroups for a couple of years before I was in a financial place where I could take her in.  She is so much fun to be around.  I've had to spend a fair amount on medical care when she got an ear infection, but if you are in the US you can get medical insurance for your bunnies.

We're always willing to help with specific questions here too!

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
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12/16/2006 12:39 AM

Welcome AFbrat!    Wendy has give you some great advice!  The House Rabbit Society's site really is a great resource!  I also agree that  volunteering is a great way to get experience and really see if you want a rabbit.   It's also something BOTH you and your mom could do together. 

The fact that this rabbit would also be your mom's is great.  It's better to have an adult share in the love and responsibility.  Since rabbits can live to be 10 - 12 years, many times that means you kids turn into highschool students with tons of responsibilities and actives or even off to college.  

Rabbits are not easy pets, and though most can be litter trained, some don't always take to it right away, so depending on the rabbit, it can take time. You just have to limit freedom at first. You don't want to let him roam free right away.   Sometimes if a bunny gets too much freedom too fast, is when poor litterbox habits sink it, and it can make it more difficult during the training process. 

I think the best bet you would have is to find a local rescue (whether you volunteer there or not) and talk to them about their bunny's personalities and if some bunnies already show good litterbox habits. (many times they do!) . Plus, most rescue groups already have rabbits that are spayed and neutered.  That is really important in regards to litterbox habits. 

Also, note: Baby bunnies are cute, but they are a mess!  Older bunnies are easier to litter train.

Some of the things that can go wrong are destruction of wires, carpet, furniture.  So you really have to house proof your place.  Check out the House Proofing section in the Bunny Info Page.

I have three bunnies.  Two of which do not chew or cause any damage.  But one, he's a disaster if I don't use wire protectors, and put phone books, boxes, and other chews as distractions.   The moment he gets bored, he's ready to start on the carpet.  He has melllowed with age, but I still have to watch him now and then.

The other "thing that can go wrong" is that vet bills for rabbits are not cheap.  Many times people are not aware how expensive a vet visit can be - especially if it's an emergency.   Rabbitsare actually considered "exotic" in the vet world - meaning they need a special kind of care - that can run the vet bills up. 

There is pet insurance that can help with the bills though for around 12 bucks a month.

I think you are one smart cookie to learn more so you can bring any valid arguement to your dad.  Plus it'll show  you've done your research.   After you've fully looked into it, you may even say you would rather not make a commitment to a rabbit, maybe something else.  But if after you and your mom have researched and you both  still want a bunny companion, at least you'll be prepared, more prepared then many of us who got our first bunny companion.  So you're father should be proud of you.

I know you said your father put his foot down.  What are his biggest concerns about having a house rabbit?   What is he picturing in his mind?   List those, and then address each one.  And if there are negatives, don't sugar coat the answer with only positives.  It might be best to say you understand how that could be a problem or how he would be concerned with that, and your research regarding that shows....... and then say what you will do to try and prevent that "negative" from happening.

If you want help with that -  just post  the "Dad Concerns" list here, and I'm sure we can all pipe in with our experience and advice for each subject. 


User is Offline AFbrat
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12/16/2006 10:53 AM
Thanks so much for your help! I already volunteer at the Humane Society in my town, but all they have are cats and dogs (i love them too!!!) I don't know of any other rescue or care shelters, ect, but i'll check on that. The things my dad was most concerned about with having a house rabbit is that it would be in the way, make a mess, and take a lot of work. the last two, i have figured out from reading other posts on the website, are fairly true. so i have a lot of work ahead of me, but i'll keep coming back here for suggestions. this website is great! thanks again!