The Omlet Blog

How to teach your guinea pigs and rabbits new tricks

Wondering how to teach your guinea pigs and rabbits new tricks? One of the most rewarding experiences you can have with your pets is through teaching them tricks— and it’s a lot easier than you might think. Rabbits and guinea pigs are social animals that benefit from spending time with their owners through learning and playing. Discover how teaching your pets new tricks is a fun way to build their trust and confidence. 

Girl feeding a rabbit in the run of the Eglu Go

How to start training your guinea pigs and rabbits

Training rabbits or guinea pigs is most effective when you can repeat it every day – even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. Not only will your pets appreciate the extra attention, but having a repeated routine will help them remember the tricks you’ve taught them. 

To teach your guinea pigs and rabbits tricks, the first thing you’ll need is a quiet space free from distractions. Zippi Rabbit Runs and Playpens are ideal, giving you a secure and familiar space where you and your pets can focus. You will also need some of your rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ favorite treats to encourage them and reinforce their learning. 

It can be helpful to separate your pets when training them, but some pets can benefit from learning from each other. For example, if you have an older trained rabbit and a young, untrained one, the young rabbit can learn tricks easier by copying their more experienced friend. And don’t worry about old dogs and new tricks – your pets are never too old to pick up new things.     

Rabbit and guinea pig tricks for beginners

When you start to train your guinea pig or rabbit, it’s all about patience and perseverance. Your pet might not seem interested in learning initially, but as you continue to reinforce their learning with treats, you will find them routinely coming back for more. Start with something simple, such as “circling” — a perfect trick for both rabbits and guinea pigs.

Training your rabbit or guinea pig to circle

To teach your pet how to perform a circle, grip a treat tightly between your fingers and hold it close to your pet’s mouth. Then lead your pet around in a circle with the treat, so that it spins in a tight circle. Repeat this until your pet spins around without you leading them, occasionally reinforcing them with the treat. It’s important that you only give them a reinforcement treat when they successfully do the trick. Eventually, the flick of your wrist will be all the encouragement that your pet needs to perform this trick — provided that there’s a treat in store for them after their performance. 

Don’t worry if this takes some time to learn – the first trick can be the hardest for your rabbit or guinea pig, but once they have mastered a circle, you’ll both have the confidence to learn even more tricks. If your pet is struggling learning how to circle on command, try encouraging them to turn in the other direction. Like us, our pets are either left or right-footed, so the direction you ask of them needs to be in line with their natural inclination.

How to make rabbits or guinea pigs come when called

Another great first trick is teaching your rabbits or guinea pigs to come when they’re called. Not only is it endearing and impressive, but it’s also practical for your pet to approach you on command. 

As with many tricks, the key to teaching your rabbit or guinea pig to come when called is food. Offer a treat when you are close to your pet while saying their name. Eventually, they will come to associate their name with the treat. The next step is to call your pet from farther away, showing them the treat. Repeat their name as they take their reward. After two weeks of this regular exercise of calling and treating, try calling your rabbit or guinea pig’s name without showing them a treat. 

Moving on to more advanced tricks

Once you and your guinea pigs or rabbits have mastered a first trick, it’s time to move on to more advanced feats. The more tricks your pet learns, the more confident they will become — and the closer your bond will be. 

How to teach rabbits and guinea pigs a figure eight

Challenge yourself and your pets by encouraging them to walk in a figure eight between your legs. As with teaching them to circle, hold a treat in front of your rabbit or guinea pig while encouraging them to follow a figure eight pattern through your legs. Reward them with the treat as soon as the pattern is complete. Some pets may need a treat halfway through their pattern to maintain their focus — but eventually they’ll learn to complete the figure eight before expecting their reward. 

How to make rabbits and guinea pigs jump through hoops

To teach your rabbit or guinea pig to jump through a hoop, you’ll need a stick and some treats. Begin this method of stick-training, hold the tip of the stick near your rabbit or guinea pig. When they turn to investigate it, offer them a treat. This will reinforce the idea that the stick is associated with treats.

Once they’re familiar with this routine, hold a hoop close to your rabbit or guinea pig, slightly off the ground. Hold the stick on the opposite side of the hoop, and wait for your pet to hop through to the stick. Offer a treat as soon as they’ve completed the hop.  Once your rabbit or guinea pig is hopping through the hoop toward the stick, you can offer the hoop without the stick. Reward them with a treat as soon as they hop through.

You can slowly increase the height of the hoop for rabbits, but keep in mind that guinea pigs will only be able to perform a slight hop. Rabbits can reach impressive heights thanks to their acrobatic prowess, so be sure to offer a challenge to them. 

Remember: treats are in moderation

Don’t forget that the treats given to your pets are a part of their diet — and if you’re sticking to your daily training, you may need to incorporate healthier snacks as training-treats to make sure their diet remains balanced. Leafy greens, green beans, carrot tops, or herbs are all great treats that are both healthy and satisfying for your guinea pigs and rabbits. 

Omlet and your guinea pigs and rabbits 

Help your rabbits and guinea pigs reach their full potential and amaze yourself in the process. With Zippi Tunnels and Zippi Run Platforms, you’ll be able to teach your pets new tricks with ease, and give them the elements they crave in their environment between training sessions. And, with our outdoor rabbit and guinea pig runs, you’ll have the space you need to achieve all of your trick-teaching goals. 

Boy and girl playing with guinea pigs around the Eglu Go

This entry was posted in Guinea Pigs

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