bunnies and dogs

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SnowyShiloh

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Paul and I are planning to buy a house in about 3 years. I've wanted a dog my entire life and we're thinking of getting one once we have a house with a yard. If we don't get one from the shelter (most of the dogs at the shelter here are sled dogs which tend to be very active), we like the Samoyed and American Eskimo breeds because all the ones we've met have been nice, they have good thick coats which is important since the dog would have to go outside to pee and go on walks in -30 weather, and they seem like a good fit for us based on what research we've done. Uh, also they're adorable. I read that Samoyeds do well with small animals if they're raised with them from puppyhood and they don't have much of a prey drive. Keeping our bunnies safe would be my #1 priority if we got a dog and we'd like to get a puppy so it will grow up with bunnies. We would most likely keep the rabbits' cages in a room with a door that could be closed at night and when we aren't home so the dog couldn't visit the bunnies in our absence.

I'd love to hear everyone's experience with having a dog and rabbits.
 

nermal71

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Well our golden even though she is a hunting dog could care less about our bun....but we got her as a pup and already had mopsy at the time. All of our current dogs pretty much ignore the rabbit....now the rottie that we had gotten as a rescue (she was 9y/o when we got her) HATED the rabbit and they could never be out at the same time. So I'd say like you did that if you raise the pup around them and teach them that it's a no-no they will leave the buns alone.
 

AeroGoes Thump

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My two dogs are amazing with the bunnies. Both of my dogs are quite big and the bunnies are comfortable with them, they lie down beside them and the dogs will gently sniff. The only problem I found was that my dogs would quite literally lift the buns bum off the ground.
Just first make sure that the first meeting bunny and dog is when you are holding the bunny so that the dog realizes that that creature is yours.
Best of luck!
jj
 

missyscove

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We had two golden retrievers with our rabbits. The dogs just laid around and didn't even care that the rabbits were there, although they had been raised with a cat.
 

Nancy McClelland

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Over the years we've had several dogs that were no problem and others that couldn't be trusted. Our dogs now are large in the extreme, the small one being a Great Dane, so they are kept separate and don't meet. The temperament and intelligence of the dog are the key factors and raising a puppy around small animals help. We had a Doberman that would eat any bird she could catch outside but our Cockatiels could land on her and hitch a ride all over the house.
 

Bassetluv

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I'm living with two dogs who both have high prey drives: Kaya, an Aussie Cattle Dog mix, and Izzy, a border collie. I'd had Kaya for a few years before bringing a rabbit into the household, and wasn't sure how she'd react. Well, the first time Kaya saw Rufus she literally stood outside of his cage trembling and drooling, she wanted to get to him that badly. (She once killed a young groundhog when we were out on a walk in the woods.) It took me quite some time working with her, but finally got her to a point where I could leave the rabbits with her and not worry that she'd attack. (In fact, at one point a few years ago she sort of rescued the bunnies when a feral cat attempted to enter the yard and attack the rabbits...Kaya went ballistic, barking at the cat and then running into the house to fetch me, as I'd gone inside to pour myself a drink.) Today I trust Kaya almost implicitly with the rabbits; however, I still won't leave her completely alone with them in the house because she can get snappy if there is food around. Outdoors, she won't go near them if they're running about...if one of the rabbits approaches her when she's lying down outside, she gets up and walks away.)

Izzy is now 7 months old, and he too has a high prey drive. I won't leave him alone with the bunnies, but I do make sure he has supervised exposure to them every day, just as I did with Kaya. Izzy will now walk into the rabbit room and look at the bunnies, or they will come out and hop around him, and he doesn't touch them. Doesn't mean he wouldn't, given the chance; a dog with high prey drive (imo) can never be completely trusted with a small animal. If the animal suddenly takes off in a hurry, that alone can trigger the dog to chase, and chase can trigger capture, and worse. For instance, there was an incident at my home several years ago, where my sister and other family members were visiting for dinner. My sister had brought her dog Lassie. Lassie too has a somewhat high prey drive, and while she will tolerate a cat, she is always *on the alert*, never having really been trained to not go after them. Now, Lassie had met Fritz, the cat I used to have, numerous times; Fritz even used to go up to Lassie and sometimes rub against her...but he sensed her nervousness, and he would be cautious around her. On that day my cat Fritz was sitting on the back of the sofa, and something (not sure what, I wasn't in the room) must have startled him because he leapt off the back of the sofa. Upon seeing this sudden movement Lassie jumped up and ran at Fritz, Fritz reacted by hissing, which triggered Lassie even more, and she attacked him. All of the commotion triggered my dog, Kaya, and she ran over and joined in. The two dogs had Fritz pinned against the door and both were attacking him...I ran into the room immediately and did the first thing I could think of; I opened the door so Fritz could escape. In the end Fritz wasn't hurt, just very shaken up, but had I not been there to intervene he might have been seriously injured or even killed. And as I said, one of the dogs was Kaya, who slept regularly with Fritz and would nuzzle him. Prey drive in a dog, if it's high, can be very dangerous, and always has to be kept in mind when keeping more than one species in the home.

My belief tends to be that, even if you can't get a dog to be completely trustworthy around other pets - though many are - then at least keep reinforcing the fact that it's wrong to do harm to them, and make sure they are consistently exposed to them -- in safe conditions. I do believe that this once saved Yofi's life; through a mistake of my own, one day I left the house to go shopping, but hadn't realized that the door to the rabbit room wasn't shut tight enough to latch. When I came home about an hour later there was Kaya sitting in the living room with Yofi running all around her. And back in those days he was a pest extraordinaire with Kaya, constantly trying to follow her whenever I'd let him out. So (thankfully!!) Kaya learned what she'd been taught, and didn't touch Yofi...who I'm sure must have been driving her crazy the entire time I was gone. Things could have been much different and I'm thankful every day that nothing bad happened to Yofi because of my oversight, but I really do believe that teaching a dog to respect the other pets in the family is of utmost importance. Even if there will never be a planned interaction with them, one never knows when something unexpected happens, so teaching them this is imperative.
 

myLoki

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I have two Chihuahuas, a German Shepherd mix and a Dalmatian and they're all great with small animals. They are all rescues and I have had Loki since before I rescued them. The two Chihuahuas were puppies and the two big dogs were fully grown when they met the rabbits. It just depends on the dog.

t.
 

Jaded

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we have 4 dogs, 3 Lhasa Apsos and a Blue Heeler.
the lhasa apsos get on well with the rabbits, whenever they see a cat near the cages they chase it away, they are very protective about the rabbits.

the blue heeler is a ex farm dog so he doesn't like the rabbits.
 

Jynxie

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My german shepherd has too high of a prey drive for my bunny. They're not allowed in the same room together and the bunny is always secure in another room and locked when I am not there.

My dog was also raised around a cat and a small dog - So I'm not sure what her deal is about wanting to eat my bunny, you would think she'd be used to small animals.
 

plasticbunny

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I think it depends mostly on the dog itself, and secondly on how you introduce the dog to your buns.

I have two chow chows. We adopted Leela when she was four years old, and she got excited around the rabbits at first, but now I trust her completely. She just lays there and lets Gus climb all over her.

Duke is only six months old, and was introduced to the rabbits when he was eight weeks. He still gets axcited and pants and wimpers when he sees Gus, but he knows enought to not chase. I would certainly not trust him around Gus alone.

When I introduced Leela to the rabbits, she was old enough to know basic commands and so I made her lay down at the door to the rabbit room and watch them until she relaxed completely. When she could do that without getting excited (it took about a month of doing this daily), I invited her into the room and did the same thing. Eventually, she met the rabbits through the bars of their pens, and finally face to face. When Molly, my flemish, was still with us, she would snuggle with her and groom her, and they were the best of friends.

Duke, however, was only 8 weeks and did not know commands. Thinking it would be good to introduce him to the rabbits right away, I let him in the room and he instantly got excited and was unable to calm down. It may be his personality, age, or the way I introduced him to them, I'm not sure. He may always be that way.

I love the look of samoyeds, but they're so high-energy. Based on what you're looking for in a dog, I just have to suggest chows. They're just as fluffy and beautiful, and they do well in the cold weather, but they're low energy and do fine with a house and yard and the occasional walk. Like with samoyeds and eskimos, you do need to be stern with them, and they need to be well socialized at an early age with strangers. They tend to bond very closely to their family. I do want a little dog one day, but I will always have chow chows.

I would also like to suggest that, although rescuing is admirable, I think you should get a puppy. Leela was my first dog and I didn't get her until I was 25. She is irreplacable, but I really felt like I missed out on the "puppy experience", the housebreaking and obedience training, watching them grow, all of it. When I wanted to get a second dog, I made sure I got a puppy. I think if you get an older dog, you may feel like you lost out on something special.
 

akane

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We have no problems with spitz breeds and rabbits including the dog who was a nightmare around poultry. She has chicken killing down to an art form. She barely pays any attention to the rabbits. Maybe if one got loose and was dashing about wildly we would probably not catch it before she killed it unless we managed to grab and confine her quickly before chasing the rabbit. If they are loose and calm or with cage wire between them she doesn't try anything.
 

EbunnysMum

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Our Aussie Cattle Dog (blue heeler) is great with our bun, though she is never unsupervised with her. Stevie (the dog) will groom Ebunny (the bun) when Ebunny lets her. Stevie also herds the cats away from the bun, especially when my Siamese (Mojo) is around. Stevie is way more concerned with herding the cats and the kids than anything to do with the bun....
 
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