One little problem- catching them outdoors

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FuzzyWabbit

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Hi all,

I have 2 rabbits. Every morning, I let them out in big backyard to play and when the sky gets dark, I bring them back inside. However, there is a problem. When I want to bring them back inside, they won’t let me carry them and I would often gave to chase them. One time, I had to chase them for 2 hours! When they finally were in their cage, it was already 9:00 pm. When I chase them, they sometimes run into a huge bush. I would have to use a stick to try to nudge them out. But they won’t come out! And they make aggressive noises when I use the stick. when I manage to get them out of the bush, they will keep on running. This occurs almost everyday. I know there are not a lot of solutions but if anyone has any advice, please tell me!
 

peanutdabunny

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Maybe set up a puppy pen around the bushes, block them off. Put a carrier on the ground and hopefully they would run into it. Also just sit on the ground, if your bond is strong with your rabbits they should come to you. Get some treats and sit on the ground. Hope that helps
 

Blue eyes

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Rabbits are smart. It wasn't your intention, but you've basically trained them to fear/avoid you. Chasing them to catch them and then bring them somewhere they don't want to go is -- in the eyes of your rabbits -- teaching them that you are the enemy. It is the opposite of what should be done.

Right now RHVD2 is out and rabbits in California should be kept indoors. (See here for more on that.)
If you still want to let them out in your yard, then get an ex-pen (or 2 or 3) and set those up outside (linked together) for them to play in. This way they are confined to an area. When it comes time to get them inside, the pen(s) can be shrunk in on themselves. Put the carrier in the pen area and gradually shrink the pen until they have no choice but to hop inside the carrier. Jouilla! By doing this, you'll have 'tricked' your rabbits into thinking that they were the ones to choose to go in the carrier. They hopped in it themselves. It wasn't your hands putting them in. So in their minds, it was their choice. That means you are not the bad guy.

This same tactic can be used for herding a rabbit that is roaming indoors, back into his cage. There are other ways to outsmart a rabbit and coax him back in (from indoor roaming to his cage). You can read about those on the bottom of this page of my website.

In the meantime, take a read about the current outbreak and then you can decide whether or not you want them going outside.
 

JBun

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You can also work on training them using their usual treats or pellets, to load up in their carrier when called.
 

Preitler

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First, train them to a sound, like shaking the pellet box, and give them those as treats when they come.
Carrying them to and fro is not ideal, if it isn't possible for them to get there by themself I would set up a base in the garden, a pen with hidey house or hutch, keep them in there for some days and let them in the garden from there. Or at least use a big carrier to move them, always set in the same corner, always give them a treat once inside.

Never chase a rabbit to catch it unless absolutly necessary. They will never go where you want them. I would say this is a reflex to protect the warren, and to keep as many options as possible. Once you get agitated or hectic they pick that up and get nervous, then you'll need a lot of patience. You don't chase rabbits, you nag them home. Get slowly closer, and stop, after some thinking they hop to their comfortable distance, repeat. Two long sticks help a lot to get them to the right direction. If they circumvent you, relax, start again. Patience. It can be a wiered Zen lesson sometimes, or one in anger management.

My favorite methode is the pellet box though. Sometimes they need to think about it for five minutes but come eventually. When out on the meadow, I stand among them for a few minutes, then jog slowly home, calling them and shaking the box at their hutch. They think if I go there they might miss something, and when one moves all come. Herd dynamics. Works with just 2 too. I guess sometimes it's a funny sight, a guy running home with five bunnys at his heels :D
 
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LizzyMayHarvey

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My rabbit also hates being caught and put away so instead I just put her pellets in her hutch at night and she comes running. Shes always hungry for pellets even though she has breakfast and lots of greens for lunch but as soon as she hears the pellets in the bowl she is in the hutch in seconds. Since doing it this way we have a much stronger bond and she doesn't hold a grudge at me everytime I touch her with two hands.😂 If their hutch isn't close by then just give them dinner in a crate and then they will associate being put away with food and should come running.
 

FuzzyWabbit

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All of you seem to be suggesting the pellet strategy. Their pellet bowl is in the cage. The cage is in the house and far away from my backyard. When they are near the cage and hear the sound of pellets pouring into the bowl, they would come. However when they are outside, they don’t seem to know what the sound is.
 

FuzzyWabbit

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Rabbits are smart. It wasn't your intention, but you've basically trained them to fear/avoid you. Chasing them to catch them and then bring them somewhere they don't want to go is -- in the eyes of your rabbits -- teaching them that you are the enemy. It is the opposite of what should be done.
If only I knew this earlier. Right now, one of my rabbits already doesn’t really trust me in my backyard because I chased her a lot before 🙁. She would make aggressive noises every time she is in the bush while I’m near her. Even when it’s daytime. Is there anyway for us to have a strong bond again?
 

peanutdabunny

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If only I knew this earlier. Right now, one of my rabbits already doesn’t really trust me in my backyard because I chased her a lot before 🙁. She would make aggressive noises every time she is in the bush while I’m near her. Even when it’s daytime. Is there anyway for us to have a strong bond again?
Just lay on the ground, always have treats with you. DO NOT pet or stick your hand into the cage unless neccessary. Just do your work on the ground and open the cage. Hand feed them pellets. This will associate you with good things like food. It will take awhile, but DO NOT force anything. I hope that helps :))
 

LizzyMayHarvey

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All of you seem to be suggesting the pellet strategy. Their pellet bowl is in the cage. The cage is in the house and far away from my backyard. When they are near the cage and hear the sound of pellets pouring into the bowl, they would come. However when they are outside, they don’t seem to know what the sound is.
You can still use the pellet strategy by putting their food bowl in a transport cage (like an airline crate) and feeding them dinner in there. When they are munching away close the cage door and transport them to finish their dinner inside.☺ Worth a try and will be less stressful then chasing.
 

Catlyn

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What we do with the pellet strategy, aside from the carrier method, is just rattling the can of food.
We never had ''food bowls'' for our boys as i like to scatter feed when the chance arises. And since the ''resealable bags'' aren't resealable at all, i hold a portion of their food in a glass jar, and when it is 20.00 (usual time for pellets) they will make a ruckus and come over even before i've held the can.
If you train your buns that way whenever there's rattling pellets, they will come near and get somethng, they will soon enough learn to follow/come to you whenever they hear the rattle. It worked with calling our passed bun from whereever the heck he went, and also works with the skittish Storm that would much rather be anywhere else causing mayhem than near me. It has also proven effective on relocating a lost bunny boy back to me.
Another option might be doing a similar thing with a toy they absolutely love, and that's individual, so no more help on that part though, may be a hit or miss.
 

BunMomDelux

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Chasing is always a bad idea. Luring is definitely better. I keep dry treats in a cardboard cup & my guys all know the shaking means come get your goodies. Train your babies to recognize when treats are available & they’ll run towards you not away :p
 

Miva13

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I trained Ben that every time he came inside from the backyard he would get a treat, now he comes inside every afternoon just before dark by himself - sure beats chasing them as I did too in the beginning 🤣🙄
 

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