Dog Meets Bunny

A while back Ed and I were considering adopting a dog. Our biggest concern, of course, is for the safety of our two bunnies throughout the whole process. Can it be done? And
are we prepared to do it? Well, we finally made a decision! We just adopted a 6+ year old German Shepherd a few days ago. Over the coming months we are going to be slowly integrating our new dog and two bunnies into one peaceful, happy multi-species household. : )

This blog is for those of you who are interested in a sort of ongoing reportage as we go about how we are doing it and how it is going at various stages. I thought it might be a good learning experience for us to share, especially if there are others considering bringing a dog or cat into their bunny household.

Amy in Santa Monica


THE CAST


Rose: The Unsuspecting Dog


Mouse: A Rabbit with Attitude


Amy & Ed: Along for the Ride

10 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for doing this! I've been trying to do bunny/dog research and this is perfect. Good luck!

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  2. I have two bunnies and will very soon adopt a 14 month old chocolate lab. Two weeks ago we had an unfortunate situation happen when a friend's beagle visited our home. The beagle very calmly approached our bunnies cage without barking or being aggressive simply being curious; however; our bunnies immediatley felt threatened and completely lost control. I initally feared that they would die of heart failure. I immediately separated the bunnies from the dog. As a result of this encounter; one of the two bunnies has injured herself resulting in a completely shattered leg and knee beyond repair. I feel terrible and worry that she may hurt herself again due basically being traumatized. How would anyone suggest I begin the process?

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  3. I have 2 bunnies and I recently brought home a 6 month old whippet dog. The first week was fine, the dog didn't really have much curiosity and the most that he did was eat the rabbits' droppings and some of their food! Unfortunately, the dog became ill (contagious skin disease) and I had to leave my bunnies with a friend while the dog recovered so as not to spread the disease to the bunnies. After 3 weeks of medication and separation, I brought the bunnies home. Unfortunately, the dog had become so accustomed to being the 'only pet' he became immensely jealous everytime I went to pet the bunnies or even got close to them. He doesn't bark at them or chase them (as I have a fence separting them) but when he does bark (for other reasons), one of my bunnies became extremely frightened and kept on wetting himself out of fear. I am in despair as to what I can do to make my bunny regain his confidence again and live in his comfort zone. Any suggestions on how I can re-introduce them again?

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  4. I have 2 bunnies and recently brought home a whippet puppy boy. The first week was fine and both parties got along fine. However, my puppy then developed a contagious skin disease which meant I had to leave my bunnies with a friend. After a 3 week separation, I brougth the bunnies home after the pup had recovered. To my despair, the puppy became immensely jealous of the bunnies and one of the bunnies became very scared of the barking and the puppy. The bun would wet himself uncontrollably everytime the puppy barked, even if it was not barking at him and the bun looks totally stressed out and in fear ALL the time. How do you suppose I can over come this? ANy suggestion from your experience with Rose and the bun?

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  5. For the person with the whippet dog w/ a skin disease:

    For the comfort and safety of the bunnies I would recommend that you house the bunnies in a separate room at this time. I would work really hard on establishing the bunnies (and yourself) as being in dominant positions relative to your new dog. You can do this by:
    1. Always feeding the bunnies first
    2. Training your dog until he has a Ph.d in basic obedience commands - especially Sit, Down, Stay
    3. Bring towels or blankets or litter boxes that the bunnies have used and put them in the dogs "territory". This will help him adjust to their smells being omnipresent without endangering them.
    4. Once things have settled down, do short daily bonding sessions with the animals. Keep your dog on leash and in an extended "Down" while you have him join you in the bunny room and let the bunnies freely roam around the dog.
    5. Don't ever let your dog chase or bully the bunnies. I even discourage Rose from following Mouse around because I think having this big beast always on his trail makes him less interested in coming out of his house.
    6. Go slowly. Don't rush a bonding. If you have patience I think it will pay off for you.
    These are just my suggestions. Keep in mind that I only have my one experience to go on - I'm no expert! Good luck with everything!

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  6. For Dawn,

    I am very sorry that it has taken me this long to respond to your comment. I hope that your injured bunny is doing okay. If you would like to have a dialog about your situation, please leave another comment on my blog and include your email addy. I won't publish your comment. I'll just use your addy to send you a private response.

    For now, I would recommend that you read my entire blog to get an idea of what we have experienced bringing a dog into our bunnies lives. I would stress that you go slowly and have patience. I would also stress that you keep the safety of the bunny as your top priority. You can introduce the animals with just smells (combed fur, litter box, bedding, etc.) before they meet face to face. When my bunnies first smelled dog fur they were super freaked out. Now they don't think anything of it. Safe exposure will help make everyone more comfortable and well adjusted.

    Again, I apologize for the late reply. Please let me know where you are at in your process and I will try to give you some advice. I hope everything is well.

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  7. Wow! This website is a great resource. Does anyone have any comments on bringing a beagle mix into a home with a rabbit? Can it be done with this breed? Thanks!

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  8. For the person wondering about bonding bunnies with hunting breed dogs such as beagles:
    I don't know, but would also love to know. I'll bet that there are people on Yahoo Bunny chat groups such as MNRabbits@yahoogroups.com who could share some stories.

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  9. Heloo,,

    i have a Jack Russel called Ben. He has killed some random birds etc in the past (i live on a farm). I am getting two rabbits for my birthday and i was wondering if anyone had any tips on introducing him to them. I don't want my rabbits to die or fright on the first day they meet in person. Hes not a very obidient dog and i think he wil bark terribly when he meets them. But they will be somewhere he goes everyday -- in our garage. HELP ME what do i do???

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  10. Hello Ben's owner!

    Dogs and rabbits CAN get along, but it takes a lot of patience on the part of their humans. One of the most important things you can do from the very start is show your dog that the rabbits are a part of the family, and that they actually rank higher than he does in the pecking order.

    For example, think about putting the rabbits in the house instead of the garage. If they're spayed and neutered, rabbits can be easily litter trained just like a cat. Every evening when I come home, I let my rabbit out of his cage to play ... he hops up on the couch with me and gets petted while I watch TV.

    For more on living with a house rabbit, see the House Rabbit Society's website at rabbit.org

    Good luck!

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