Is it "torture" to train a rabbit tricks?

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thetwobunnies

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I taught my rabbit a few tricks, and surprisingly he picks it up incredibly quickly. I taught him how to grab a small block (safe for rabbits, of course) and lift it and place it into a small dish, in a few hours. He knows how to lift the block on command but sometimes has trouble placing it in the dish, but 85% of the time he does it properly. I also taught him to nudge a ball on command - I'm trying to teach him to nudge it into a small box and - like with the dish - he is successful 85% of the time, and he learned this in a day as well.
He can also spin, and comes when called (but I think this isn't really a "trick")

I am interested in teaching him more tricks, but my mom says it seems a little harsh to always make him work and teach him things like a "circus" animal. I NEVER punish him, I ONLY use positive reinforcements with single timothy pellets as rewards.

And I have to wonder, is it really hurting him? Perhaps mentally? Or is this good mental stimulation? I have 2 rabbits, but I only train one of them as it's too hard to train 2 at the same time. I might train the other one later, but so far I am only focusing on one.

Are there any harms with teaching rabbits tricks?
 

ladysown

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Nothing wrong with teaching an animal to use it's brain. That's all you are doing. Stimulating a rabbit to think.

It gives the bunny something to do.
Makes for a more enjoyable pet.
Means you are spending good time with him.

Keep up the good work. :)
 

MikeScone

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Keep up working with your bunny - they really enjoy interacting with their humans. Natasha's got me trained very well. When she comes in to the kitchen and stands on her hind legs, I say "UP UP" and give her a treat. We both enjoy it.
 

Bri

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I train my rabbit. She knows up ( stand on hind legs), spin and we are working on jumping over objects. She seems to really enjoy it. She catches on really quick and is always excited after our sessions ( she does binkies and runs around) keep up the good work! Rabbits are smarter than most people realize!


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Kipcha

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Providing mental stimulation is not a bad thing. If you don't punish the rabbit and it is doing these things with positive reinforcement, I do not see how it could be possibly taken as cruel.
 

Korr_and_Sophie

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Many animals, rabbits included, do benefit from training and mental stimulation. Even if the trick isn't really useful, it is still bonding time with them and gets them to think. Any trick can be used to show that rabbits can be trained (many people think they can't be), are intelligent, and are willing to learn. If the methods are positive and you stop when the rabbit is tired, there should be no issue with training.

People don't understand that you can't make a rabbit do something they don't want to do. Doing agility, if a rabbit is not in the mood, they won't hop. If they do want to do it, you have trouble stopping them.
 

thetwobunnies

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Thanks for all the replies! I agree it is better than not interacting with them at all. I hope you all who are training your rabbit(s) luck, and thanks for all the replies
 

Tauntz

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I, too am a firm believer in using positive reinforcement training is good mental stimulation as well as another way to increase a good bond. I think most all animals including humans like to learn if taught properly. I, myself love to learn new things all the time. As a matter of fact there is not enough time in a day or within my lifetime to learn all of the things that I'm interested in! My bunnies & birds enjoy our training time. I try to watch them to see what they do & how it can become a fun learning time &/or "trick" for them to do. As one person said you really can't make a rabbit do anything it doesn't want to do but you can encourage it to want to do what you want it to do. My bunnies love balls & I am teaching them bunny soccer & bunny basketball! They enjoy it & when they are tired or don't want to train/play we stop. Keep it fun & positive & your bunnies will LOVE to learn new tricks!
 

thetwobunnies

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Thanks that's great relief! I actually made a short video :p [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUcJyk0cVlc[/ame] if you wish to see, I only included the one where he lifts a block and places it into a dish, I sure am not a tech person LOL just that short video alone was way too much work
 

DogCatMom

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I watched up until the "Bloopers!" frame. You're using good positive reinforcement technique (I've trained several Bernese Mtn Dogs and a couple of my cats and have started with my first-ever bunny). There's nothing cruel about giving an animal fun things to do; what's cruel is making them live a boring life without interaction with their people or, at least, others of their own kind.
 

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