Last Post by BB at 1/04/2007 10:53 AM (10 Replies)
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User is Offline poopy
Orange County, CA
694 posts Send Private Message
12/21/2006 8:42 PM
So I was thinking of getting one because I need a way to transport Medusa from upstairs to downstairs without her running off. I've been using the carrier which she hates. I'm worried she may also hate a harness/leash. What's everyone's experiences with them?

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
8990 posts Send Private Message
12/21/2006 9:53 PM

I have tried two types of harness. 

  The comfort harness - this is a picture of one on ebay
I personally did not like this for my bunnies because for some reason they could slip out of it, and I had a harder time securing.   Maybe it was just me.

The 2nd kind, I got was the Deluxe harness - it looks like the same kind for cats and dogs, and you could probably use ones made for cats, but just be sure the bands are as wide as this one.   Rabbits will go where they want, and the thicker bands are more comfortable, and won't cut, rub, or burn.  Anyway, this one they did fine on, but there is some technique in getting them used to it.

Here are some more options and reviews  There are tips there too about how to loose or tight it should be.

Whatever you do, don't put it on and go with the leash  as some will freak out, because it may make them feel as they are caught, and they can seriously injure themselves.

The approach I took worked well for my bunnies.  Some bunnies may never take to it.  But this is what I did.

The first couple of days, I let them sniff  the harness, I petted them with it, basically let them just get used to its presence.

Then the next few days, I put just the harness on them. (short sessions once a day until they got used to it) Bailey didn't even notice it was on, (she was just glad the ordeal of putting it on was over - but that got easier with time), and Rucy didn't like it and tried to get it off, but after a few minutes, she forgot it was on. 

Once I could put it on them, and they no longer cared, I then added the leash element to it.  Tip - make the leash long enough that he can go on his merry way exploring (in the beginning), and you can just very gently tug. VERY GENTLY - this is when you will find out if your bunny is okay, or will need more time to get used to it.    (of course do this inside or at least in an enclosed area, so you can be sure the harness if fitted appropriately.)

As my bunnies got used to the gently tug, and didn't freak out, then I could exercise a little more control with the leash.  But even then, I never really controlled.   It was more of a coercion.    I learned their behavior and how to work the leash with their personality.  

If you take your bunnies to a new outside area, just be sure it's pesticide free.  And of course, you can never be sure there are not any parasites. So when I a bunny is allowed outside, you'll need to keep a close eye on his poops, and his health.

There are dangers with any harness because if a bunny is startled, and bolts, and runs full blast with tons of lead, once he hits the end, he can flip up and around and cause serious injury - like a broken back.   

I ended up choosing to keep the leash no longer than 10 feet, and keeping close by, (just letting him walk me)  and if I felt he was getting nervous, or if I saw his head bolt up, I would, keep the leash somewhat taught, to prevent that bolt.  He might tug against it or try to wriggle out.  But it prevented him from a full bolt. 

I can tell you that my bunnies loved exploring this way.    Not all bunnies will and of course, you just have to be careful.   I actually just saw a book on the net about how to use a bunny harness, but now I can’t find it!

I haven't used any harness lately because  we moved, and we don't have a safe outdoor place for them to be.   Plus, I never did use one on Jack.  He's such a nervous big bunny, that I'd be too nervous.

Let us know how it goes.

User is Offline dmh426
Syracuse, New York
435 posts Send Private Message
12/22/2006 6:18 AM
Sophie uses the Deluxe harness and I did EXACTLY what Binky Bunny did to get Sophie into using the harness. It was funny, the first few days when she was smelling it, she would drag it into her cardboard castle. She's a clepto!

Walking a bunny on a leash isn't like walking a dog or cat. It's more like letting the bunny hop around and do their thing while you stand there and watch them sniff everything out.

User is Offline poopy
Orange County, CA
694 posts Send Private Message
12/22/2006 7:45 AM
GREAT! Thank you! Excellent suggestions. I shall try it out. This is only for indoor use....we'll see how it goes!

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
2443 posts Send Private Message
12/27/2006 11:47 PM
my kids have them and all three HATE them, so i don't ever really use them. I tried both kinds too and personally liked the Deluxe harness better since the strappy kind seemed like they could eat through it too easily.
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline poopy
Orange County, CA
694 posts Send Private Message
12/28/2006 7:44 PM
yes....i am struggling with medusa. she wears the harness but she gets mad at me when i put it on. when i put add the leash, she looks like a rearing horse trying to be reigned in

Levadeia, Greece
60 posts Send Private Message
12/29/2006 2:30 AM
I use the 8-figure, one-piece lharness for Aftias and it works lovely! Although he resists toughly while i try to put it on him he doesn't mind wearing it! First i tried an H-shaped one, but Aftias would always get his feet tangled in it! He is still very young (4 months old) and not completely leash-trained yet, but i found a way to get him used to the leash! Every night he likes hanging around my feet, when i watch tv and do nothing but groom himself and me! At first he would freak out every time he felt he couldn't move around freely, but now he has got used to the idea! Anyway, i love the harness i yse now because it securely holds the rabbit, and is comfortable at the same time!
Aftias: baby bunny
Trrreli, Estia, Mira: hammy girls

User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
1/01/2007 6:39 PM
I use a small dog leash harness for Lilly. She is really good with me putting it on her, sits so quiet! When it is on at first she is angry with me and flattens out onto the floor and won't move!! When she chills a bit she will run around like usual . She is a smart one though and because mommy is to scared to put the leash on tight (unlike daddy) she moves her butt backwards a few times and slips out. hehe. I don't use it outdoors, only in the house, so its not a big deal.
Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline poopy
Orange County, CA
694 posts Send Private Message
1/02/2007 8:37 AM
ya i got a cat one that fits pretty good. she still throws a tantrum when i put it on her....i am really hoping she gets used to it so that i can start training her to jump over things

User is Offline Cuddles_Momma
59 posts Send Private Message
1/03/2007 2:28 PM
I use the harness they have at PetsMart, the deluxe type, my baby Cuddles took to it immediatly and enjoyed the new freedom of being allowed outdoors. She found comfort hiding behind me or underneath my legs if I was sitting down with her. She doesn't like it much indoors but as long as we are going out, she doesn't mind.
Mom to 7 month old Dutch bun Cuddles

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
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1/04/2007 10:53 AM
Posted By LillyBear on 01/01/2007 8:39 PM
mommy is to scared to put the leash on tight (unlike daddy) she moves her butt backwards a few times and slips out. hehe. I don't use it outdoors, only in the house, so its not a big deal.

I know I had the same worry when I first started.  My understanding is to leave just enough room that you can slip one  finger underneath the harness without a struggle.  Where the harness will be gently taught against your finger when you do this.  If it's tight against your finger, then it's too tight.  If there is room to put two finger vertical then it may be too loose.