Enjoy spring with a real Easter Bunny—yours! Here's how to train your rabbit to climb into a basket and stay there, as excerpted from Getting Started: Clicking with your Rabbit by Joan Orr and Teresa Lewin.
Pretty as a picture
This is a great way to get your bunny to pose for cute photos. This trick can also be used to transport pets that do not like to be picked up, and it provides a good way for children to carry a rabbit safely. Choose a basket with low sides so your bunny can climb in easily but still be safe when being carried.
1. Place the basket on the floor of the training area near your bunny. Click him for sniffing or showing any interest in the basket. Deliver the reward near the basket to encourage him to interact with it.
2. Use a target stick to guide your rabbit into the basket. Once inside, give several small treats in a row. Your rabbit will learn that inside this basket is a great place to be!
3. Add a cue, "Basket," to get your bunny to climb in the basket. Give the cue, then present your target stick in the middle of the basket to encourage him to climb in. When he starts climbing in, remove the target stick, and click him for four paws in the basket. Again, give several small treats in a row for being inside.
4. Use the verbal cue, "Basket," but don't present the target stick. Click your bunny for four paws in the basket.
5. Teach your bunny to stay in the basket. After he climbs in, wait one second before clicking.
6. Use baby steps to teach your bunny to stay in the basket longer and longer. As you progress, vary the amount of time you ask him to stay. One great way to get longer stays is to give your rabbit something to chew on during the stay. For example, put some hay in the basket. The more comfortable the basket, the easier it is to teach your rabbit to stay there.
7. Cue your rabbit to get into the basket. With him in it, lift the basket just a quarter inch. Click if your bunny holds still, and immediately set the basket down again.
8. Use baby steps to gradually increase the height of the lift until you are comfortably standing with the basket. Click when the basket is in the air and your bunny is still. Reward by putting the basket down and giving a treat.
9. Lift your bunny in the basket and take one step. Click if your bunny remains still. Reward by putting the basket down and giving a treat.
10. Use baby steps to increase your rabbit's confidence until you can carry him around in his basket.