Updated: Feb 13, 2021
12 Ways to Motivate Even the Laziest of Bunnies
"I'm not lazy. I just ate one too many carrot sticks."
Welcome to our blog post! Here we attempt to give you a fresh perspective on everything bunny and rabbit related based on our experiences in The Rabbitry. Enjoy!
"Rabbits all have their own personalities, including being lazy!"
Before you got your bunny admit it; you probably were watching a few YouTube videos on adorable bunnies doing zoomies and binkies all over the place, delighting everyone in the room. And as you are reading this blog post now, and look over at your bunny who has been laying in the same spot for hours now, you cannot help but wonder; "Why is my bunny so lazy?"
Rabbits were made to Run
Rabbits were made to run. You can tell by the power in their back legs. They are built to escape predators fast, so being slow is not in their nature. But when a rabbit just decides to sit still or lay down in one spot and not explore, its time to become your rabbit's own personal trainer and get that rabbit moving!
Before you begin training, just like with humans who are starting a new exercise program, ensure that your rabbit is not sick or hurt. Secondly, make sure your rabbit is not scared. These two scenarios can cause you to believe that your rabbit is lazy when in reality they need help. If neither of their two scenarios applies to your rabbit, read on.
Several things can cause your rabbit to become lazy. For example, if they were never given an opportunity to get exercise outside of their cage, they may not know what to do when they are finally released out into the open. A small cage space can cause legs to weaken and lower a rabbit's stamina for running. They may also have a weight problem. If so, please seek the advice from a veterinarian that specializes in rabbit care for advice on a diet that can help. It is also possible for a rabbit to become depressed. A change in ownership or the passing of a rabbit from a bonded pair can really depress a rabbit. In this case, gentle encouragement and lots of positive attention can help cheer your rabbit up.
Below you will find 12 ideas worth trying to encourage your rabbit to get up and get moving:
Rabbits are most active during the morning and at night. Try getting your rabbit out during these times for some exercise to play up to their natural instinct. You could allow them to run while you are getting ready for the day and when you get home int eh evening,
Rabbits need space to exercise. Choose a room that you can bunny proof and allow your rabbit to run freely in. If you are home all day, consider allowing your rabbit to stay out of their enclosure for the bulk of the day. Even though rabbits are usually found napping in the afternoon, it will give them added space to stretch out, hop up, and run when the mood strikes them.
Consider free roaming your rabbit. If you have the ability to ensure your home is rabbit proof, you could choose to allow your rabbit to freely roam your home at all times similar to a cat or dog. This ensures that they are never limited to a certain time frame to exercise. This will also allow them a more natural way to follow their instincts to run and hop.
Spend time with your rabbit. Don't just ignore your rabbit or go about your day as if they are not even there. Rabbits are social and they love being with others. Isolation and no interaction can make rabbits become depressed. For example, at our Rabbitry, we spend a lot of time with our rabbits. We sit or lay on the floor, allowing them to hop all over us. We turn on music and sing to them. We share food with them, like a bowl of blueberries. We do everything possible to prove to them that we are not a threat and that we are actually pretty cool to hang out with! Kids can practice reading out loud to their rabbit or they can have their rabbit sit on their laps while browsing the Internet. The possibilities are endless.
Get your rabbit a variety of toys. Some rabbits love everything, and others may only have one toy they will show an interest in. Toys help a rabbit grow their minds, relieve stress, and are just plain fun! Multiple online businesses sell safe toys that cater to rabbits. You can also get creative and make your own.
Have you ever seen a cat person invest in multitiered platform for them? Or maybe a dog person get their little Pomeranian a step up so they can look out the window? Well rabbits love their platforms too! Think about giving them something safe they can hop up on to get a whole new view of the world. In our home, our bunnies and rabbits love getting up on a platform to look out the windows. In fact, we have rabbits that like to get on our couches and tables and anything else they can find!
Give your rabbit a variety of hideaways. Cat tunnels, old shipping boxes, even a strategically hung sheet can give the illusion of a secret hiding spot. Often times rabbits will go between the hideaways which helps to build their confidence and gets them exercising. If a rabbit knows they have a safe place to hide if they get scared, they are more likely to explore their area knowing a safe retreat is available if they need it.
Maybe it is time for a change? If your rabbit sees the same thing day after day they are bound to get bored. Try changing their free roaming area up a bit. Move some furniture around, change their toys and hideaways around, place some new items out to explore. You may even realize that your rabbit has some new favourites to enjoy!
All rabbits are bound to have a favourite treat. Try placing a few treats out for them to find. If you have a scared rabbit, try placing one treat in each hideaway to encourage them to at least go from one to another. As they become braver, expand the areas where you leave treats.
Speaking of treats, they also make an excellent way to train your rabbit. Try something simple at first, such as holding a treat out for your rabbit and calling its name. When it comes over to you, let your rabbit take the treat from your hand and praise it. You could then try to teach your rabbit to go in a circle while following a treat. Keep praising and rewarding your rabbit. As you do, you will not only bond with your rabbit, but you will also be training and exercising your rabbit all at the same time.
Get your rabbit outside! Nothing gets a rabbit more excited then tapping into their wild ancestor roots! Under supervision, and in a safe enclosed space, allow your rabbit to explore the great outdoors. Please do not forget to make sure the area has not been treated with any kind of chemicals and ensure that the vegetation they may have access to is safe to eat.
If your rabbit is comfortable outdoors, you can also try taking them for a leash walk. Start slow and ensure that your rabbit cannot wiggle out of its harness. You could take your rabbit into different parts of the yard or even to simply relax on your porch. You could also allow your rabbit to explore a neighbor's yard (with permission and if you know for sure the grass and vegetation has not been treated with any kind of chemicals and is safe to consume).