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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Last Post by Snowytoshi at 8/27/2012 10:17 AM (4 Replies)
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User is Offline Snowytoshi
263 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 5:31 AM

Hello! One of my bunnies Joshua overreacts to food. Toshi and Paige run over to me when I have treats and take them calmly. Joshua charges over, grunting and snorting, and starts attacking my legs until I bend down. Once I'm sitting he starts attacking my hands; grunting and boxing them. I know he's not scared of me, I think that he's just over eager and feels the need to have his food RIGHT NOW!

At the shelter he was very cage territorial and aggresive, but he has gotten quite a bit better. However I'd like to try to calm him down when it comes to food. Any suggestions?

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
11073 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 6:40 AM
This would take a while, but you could try clicker training him, or the equivalent by using a special command. Here's the idea: he does NOT get the treat when he acts this way. You say a command like "sit" or "Calm". A word you never use any other time so it's special. Be still until he stops being crazy. As soon as he is calm, say the word and give him the treat, saying "Good boy!" Do this every time for his treat. He will see that the other 2 get their treats by behaving calmly. He will NOT get his when he acts out, but he will when he behaves calmly, or the way they do. Bunnies learn fast.

You do not need to use any negatives. Simply do nothing until he does something you like, and give him a positive. It works when negatives don't and he will learn that it's what gets him a treat. The command word is a signal so he doesn't learn that every time he is calm a treat is coming.
This is calm + command = treat.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline Snowytoshi
263 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 6:47 AM

Forgot to mention that he wasn't bonded to the other two.

Also he was clicker trained when we got him, but we kind of let it slide so he's forgotten. I tried to work with him a little bit on it last night and my reward for doing nothing was a bitten finger! I'll keep trying though

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
7322 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 9:46 AM
I would just to be very calm and not give him the treat until he can be polite. Since he escalates to biting, I would wear some heavy clothes/gloves and stick it out. You could also walk away and ignore (hopefully somewhere he can still see, like outside his pen or the other side of a baby gate), then come back once he's calm. It might take him a while to put it together, but he should learn that only polite bunnies get treats.

I agree with Pam that you could also try training an incompatible behavior, like standing up, or spinning around or something else positive he could be taught to do instead of mugging you for treats.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Snowytoshi
263 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 10:17 AM
I will be working with him more on the clicker training and training him to stand up for treats.

I can't really walk away as he's loose in my bedroom. We use to have an x-pen but he was really good at getting out and he gets really mad and frustrated when he's in a cage.
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