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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Can I take my rabbit outside if he hates being picked up?

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    • TincanOwl
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        Hello! My freeroam indoor rabbit, age 2 is a very happy, energetic and inquisitive little lad and I think he would really appreciate the extra enrichment of going outside every once in a while on a harness if I can get him used to it so I would really love to do this for him if it/s possible. Trouble is he HATES being picked up and I can’t do it unless I fence him in first. Since he is a rescue born at the shelter he’s never been accustomed to human handling and it took half a year before he’d even let me pet him. I’ve tried training him to get used to being picked up before but he’ll dash if I so much as move my hands in the vague direction of his body so I’m not very hopeful he’ll ever tolerate it. I also live in an appartment and so some sort of transportation will have to happen even if it’s in a carrier and if I do this I intend on taking my grids with me to build a pen in a less busy park first few times around. I’m aware that I may need to pick him up if we’re outside though, would I be able to get around this by gently restricting him through the lead or could this be disastrous even if it’s a stretchy one? I guess I’m just checking in because I’ve never had rabbits before him and his companion and I wouldn’t want to do something stupid

        Thank you for any insight!


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
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          I wouldn’t recommend a harness, especially since he doesn’t like being handled. The risks of injury are very high if he spooks while wearing it. In general harnesses require a lot of training to be used. As cute as it is, it is really dangerous to have a rabbit on a lead, especially out in public. Plus, many rabbits hate it! As territorial animals, most rabbits are happiest in their home turf and can get very stressed and scared when in unfamiliar places (especially ones with dogs, hawks, cars, etc).

          It would be much safer to set up a penned area outside, and train him to go into his carrier. A lot of members have successfully been able to train their buns to go into carriers, so you could use that to go in and out.

          One thing to look for is whether any rescues in your areas have “hoppy hours”. I used to take my buns to hoppy hour and 1 of them loved it, the other three hated it and would just sulk in the corner until it was time to go home.

          . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


          • TincanOwl
            Participant
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              Lmao I can just picture your sulky buns at hoppy hour xD

              I love the penned area idea, are any further procautions needed to ensure they won’t dig their way out of a portable pen? And since, as you say, they’re happiest in their own homes, would it even be appreciated? I’ve just noticed he seems to love exploring but maybe outside just isn’t the way as I wanted to do the outside thing for him, not for me

              Anywho, really appreciate the advice! Thank you so much!


            • DanaNM
              Moderator
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                Adding hides and tunnels to the pens helps. I think you won’t really know if they like it till you try. 🙂

                As far as digging, since you will be there supervising it shouldn’t be a concern. It would be a concern if he was going to stay in the pen unattended.

                . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


            • mia
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                I used to take my buns to parks by setting up a xpens at the parks along with hidey boxes/tubes. I’ve also taken them to the beach before, which was a dream for one bun to dig the sand…

                Just be aware of dogs and hawks, or once one had a ton of bird poop and at the beach some #$%@ kids came by and threw rocks at my buns.

                I find a harness much too dangerous even for the most calm bun since the outdoors is unpredictable, but that’s just me.


                • TincanOwl
                  Participant
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                    Wtff what kind kids even do that?? Man the telling off I’d have given them…

                    Thank you for the insight tho, building pens sounds like a lovely alternative!


                • LBJ10
                  Moderator
                  16958 posts Send Private Message

                    A pet stroller may also be a safe alternative. Just make sure your bunny doesn’t chew on it since a lot of them are soft sided.

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                Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Can I take my rabbit outside if he hates being picked up?