If we were all in a Disney movie, we would see many dogs, rabbits of rabbits, insects, and even chickens getting along. However, the reality is that many different dogs and rabbits that seem to grow up together, perhaps as house pets in the same house, might not be the best of friends but also not be at each other’s throats. Unless a dog and a rabbit have grown up together, there is little chance of them getting along.
And even and such a case, a dog and rabbit will only get long to a point where they are not afraid of the other. For example, a dog is more powerful and predatory than a rabbit. But if they are grown together, it will probably not kill the rabbit and ignore it. The rabbit would also be less scared of the dog it has grown up around and be much more casual than a rabbit that has not been around a dog while growing up. So, it is quite unnatural to expect the two animals to get along without reason and background knowledge.
Is It Natural for A Dog to Attack a Rabbit?
As a result of the powerful hunting instincts that dogs possess, it is quite natural for them to show predacious behavior toward rabbits. There is no need to be concerned about anything at this time. It must be recognized that it is natural and perfectly typical for dogs to hunt and eat a young or an adult rabbit.
Dogs Love to Chase Around Rabbits
Dogs are generally the most playful and energetic animals. As compared to energetic dogs, rabbits are rather timid. For a dog to be chasing a rabbit is normal as it is motivated by a strong prey drive and feels the element of fun. Dogs are often very focused when chasing or following a specific task.
You must have observed that dogs love to play fetch. When a dog is going after a frisbee or a ball in a game of fetch, it will not stop to listen to any other task or be distracted. Similarly, if a dog is in the middle of a chase, it will not stop because it is focused on catching its aim.
Not All Catches Die
A dog is often motivated out of playfulness to go after a small animal such as a rabbit or a cat, the dog doesn’t need to kill that animal. Often dogs love to chase around cats and rabbits, and other fast animals that are also much smaller than the dog itself, without any intention of eating them or killing them. So, a dog might chase after a rabbit, giving it a glimpse of death, but it is not the case that that rabbit will also lose its life. Many dogs might not even know what to do with the rabbit, so they will only let it go after sniffing it and not knowing what to do.
A Dog Must Not Be Encouraged on Chase Behaviour
You need to understand that your dog is your pet, and in your neighborhood, there might be people with other smaller animals as their pets. So, if you do not stop your dog or discourage it from this chasing behavior, it is unlikely to stop. Rather than having your neighbors complain now and then that your dog was seen chasing around their smaller animal, train your dog not to repeat this behavior in any way possible.
Even though it is natural for a dog to want to eat a baby rabbit, as a dog owner, it is your responsibility to prevent this kind of behavior. It is unpleasant for you and those around you to witness a dead baby rabbit or small baby rabbit being eaten, but it is also quite traumatic for that baby rabbit and its mother. As a house pet, your dog can get better treats and properly manufactured, or even homemade dog food for itself, rather than going after baby rabbits and scarring them for life.
You Can Train It with A Distraction
Dogs are great at getting distracted. You can use simple tricks and treats to distract your dog’s attention from a rabbit or a baby rabbit. If you have had a pet dog for a very long time but recently got yourself a baby rabbit, you can try keeping both nearby & distracting the dog actively with a treat. This way, the dog’s attention does not go toward the rabbit as a means of food.
You can hold the treat firmly in your hands and come on the dog repeatedly to look at the treat and focus on it. Instead, your dog will not be attracted to the rabbit with the right amount of repetition and focus. No, however, that it is not a one-day trick! You will need a lot of practice and multiple days of conditioning for your dog to truly ignore the habit as just another living being in its presence. Dogs are extremely smart animals, and it will be easy for you to train your dog from being attracted to rabbits.
Our Final Thoughts
Lastly, know that life is not a Disney movie and two completely different animals where one is a predator and the other the prey, it is natural for them not to get along. But it is a simple process that requires just a bit more attention from your side as the owner or the animal lover to prevent this from happening. You can train your dog for all the better traits and have a healthier and better pet situation.