There is a lot of controversy about putting rabbits on a leash. The truth is that some rabbits love it because it gives them the ticket to get out of their hutch and roam around as much in the outdoors. As for some, they simply hate it and will not tolerate one under any circumstance. You should not force your rabbit if it hates the leash because that would be animal abuse. Safety should always come first no matter what.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LEASH
Normally, the stretch leash will accommodate any sudden binkies and also their tendency to race away suddenly. These types of leash will come with a soft and wide harness which will cover the whole part of the belly including a large portion of the neck or chest. This is a healthy leash because even when the rabbit tries to run away, it will get restrained suddenly but the wide harness works to evenly distribute the force across the entire body.
Try as much to avoid the stringy and thin leashes. It could potentially break your rabbit’s delicate bones and even strangle them in some unfortunate cases.
UNDERSTANDING RABBITS AND LEASH
First of all, you should consider getting a leash only if the rabbit is tame and it trusts you. You need to keep in mind that rabbits are different from dogs and you will not be able to take them for walks like with dogs – with or without a leash. A rabbit stands at the lower levels of the food chain and is vulnerable to attacks. Also, do not let them out of your sight because it will expose them to dangers.
Leashing your rabbit can be fun for them only if you follow their lead. That means if they suddenly start running, run with them and if it suddenly sits for 30 minutes, you do the same.
It is a good idea to get the rabbit to be accustomed to your harness slowly before you actually attach a leash on them. Practice patience and stay indoors until your rabbit grows absolutely comfortable with it. You will have to make a lot of attempts or in some cases, it will probably never happen. To increase your chances of success, help your rabbit to associate happy feelings with the harness. Give them extra cuddles, create fun games and their favorite treats.
Once you have progressed to going outdoors with the leash, always pick safe spots so it is less stressful for them. You can start by just letting them play around in your backyard with the kids. No dogs or cats, please!
DO NT FORCE THEM TO DO ANYTHING AGAINST THEIR WILL
This includes dragging them along, forcing them to jump over obstacles just so you can get entertainment out of it, etc. This is why it is better not to let the kids hold the harness unless you have trained them also. Let them decide what they want to do and you follow suit. Rabbits are defenceless creatures and it is your job to understand that what doesn’t scare you will probably scare the daylights out of them.