Introducing puppy to a rabbit - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Introducing puppy to a rabbit

I have a 10-month-old female German shepherd mix named Fury. I'm considering getting a rabbit to acclimate her to small furry animals. She's very sweet (I'm obviously biased), if a little timid, and the woman who runs Fury's daycare just laughed when we asked if she ever exhibited aggressive behavior. She's done well with the few small dogs she's met, often being very submissive.

That said, Fury has a ton of energy and wants to play with everything she sees which sometimes leads to her overwhelming something that wants nothing to do with her. On walks she will often go into the sphinx stance when she sees another dog, which I'm told is not good behavior and am trying to break. She also destroys stuffed animals as soon as possible.

Assuming they meet gradually, at a distance, and with great care, is getting her a rabbit beneficial? We don't know any cats calm enough to meet her and I don't want her acting unpredictably if/when she does meet something small and furry. I feel a little guilty as I would be getting a rabbit not because I necessarily want one but to help socialize my puppy.

Thanks for any advice
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:03 PM
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If that's the only reason you want to get a rabbit, I have to say it's a silly idea and unfair to the rabbit. Your dog does not need anyone but you, and a rabbit shouldn't be treated as a toy for your dog's development.

I'm sure you can find some wild squirrels, birds, and other animals that you can expose your dog to. It sounds like your dog is doing great, so keep doing what you're doing.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I would of course love and care for the rabbit as well, I've owned a couple in the past, but I do admit it's ultimately unfair. I'm mostly worried about Fury not learning to be gentle with more vulnerable animals. Since we don't have access to any cats or children I'm afraid she won't know how to behave around them when the time comes.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:20 PM
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Instill proper obedience into her (and socialization with small dogs as far as you can), and you'll be able to control her encounters with anything you meet in the future, so you'll be able to take things slow.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:25 PM
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If you can find a friendly farmer.....that is what I did.....sat inside a chicken pen for hours with treats and toys making myself more interesting. Petshops seeing the furry animals and not allowing a reaction /distraction.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 10:44 PM
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Please don't purchase a rabbit solely as a dog enrichment item. Rabbits view canines as predators and find their presence VERY stressful. Exceptions are rare.

I've raised and bred pedigreed rabbits in the past (primarily fiber breeds, but some others as well). Rabbits are sensitive creatures and can literally die of fright. Some breeds are typically flightier/more skittish than others, much like dogs. It is possible to raise a GSD that will not kill your domestic rabbits, but only go down that road if you truly WANT rabbits. Not just a small furry learning experience.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 11:48 PM
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I have dogs and rabbits. My rabbits live on the lower level. The dogs do not interact with them. No reason to. My male rabbit, in particular does not like dogs. I would never stress my rabbits out, by having the dog around them.

Besides, I don't see how meeting a rabbit would do anything to change your dog's response to cats or small dogs. Rabbits are prey animals. Cats and dogs are not.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:24 AM
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The only thing i'd be doing with a rabbit is feeding it to my dog. Your dog is smart, it knows rabbits aren't other dogs.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:44 AM
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Through the years mine have been around all kinds of small animals, which I do think helps because they don't chase anything. They have had experience with ducks, geese, rabbits, a huge turtle, toads, birds and squirrels. Midnite is a pro at finding injured animals and alerting me. He has done so with baby birds and squirrels. Misty found a nest of baby bunnies that were drowning(all were saved). I guess it just depends on the dog.

Midnite found the two baby squirrels at about 3am. I have no clue how he knew they fell, but he woke me up and insisted on going outside. As soon as I opened the door he ran to them. All windows were shut and air was on and yet he knew.


Midnite and Apollo each found a baby bird over the summer, neither tried hurting them, both indicated. And here they are 6 months later.


Midnite and Apollo still watch over them



We used to sit outside with the ducks and even geese, sometimes 30 or more at a time-the dogs just laid there. One duck made a nest and laid eggs 3 ft from the door, obviously felt safe with the dogs around.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finndog View Post
The only thing i'd be doing with a rabbit is feeding it to my dog. Your dog is smart, it knows rabbits aren't other dogs.
Introducing puppy to a rabbit-sabs-steve.jpg

I don't think Sabi shared your sentiments. And Steve-the jackrabbit-was pretty convinced he was a German Shepherd.
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