Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Bunny harness training in 6 easy steps

With their plush fur, adorable faces, and playful personalities, bunnies are wonderful companions for many people. In fact, over 1,500 families in the United States alone have decided that bunnies make the perfect family pet. Bunnies are clever creatures. You can teach them a variety of tricks, from the cute (jumping and fetching on command) to the practical (did you know bunnies can be litter box trained?).

But does bunny harness training work? In actuality, it’s more like rabbit owners get bunny harness trained. That’s as it should be — allowing your rabbit to lead you until she’s comfortable is an important step. 

Related Videos
Two brown rabbits eating grass.
Pixabay from Pexels

Why harness-train a bunny?

Rabbits are prey animals, which means their instinct is to run and hide when they feel frightened. Unfortunately, rabbits startle pretty easily. You don’t want to take your bunny into your backyard only to have her hop through a loose board in the fence. The solution? Harness training your bunny. 

How to harness-train your bunny

It’s no secret that bunnies love being outside in the sunshine. You want your bunny to be happy, but you also want to keep your furry baby safe from harm. With a good bit of patience — and a little work — you’ll be able to harness-train a rabbit of any age. Here are a few tips to get you started. 

1. Befriend your bunny

Earning your bunny’s trust is not only essential for training her, but it’s also important for building a strong relationship with your rabbit. Some bunnies are skittish and prone to anxiety, but you can teach them to associate training with snuggle time and tasty treats. Make sure your bunny trusts you and feels safe with you before you even attempt harness training. 

2. Start off slowly

Because rabbits can be anxious, it’s best to ease them into training. Instead of immediately putting the harness on your bunny, try placing it on your lap while you hold your bunny. Give her something to snack on and lots of love, and she’ll soon think nothing of the harness. Once she’s comfortable being near it, try using the harness to pet her. This works her scent into the fabric, and she’ll come to think of it as something that belongs to her. 

3. Introduce the harness carefully

Bunnies are squirmy little critters when they’re anxious. They’re also prone to back injuries if they twist around too much. To keep your bunny safe, we recommend that you start your training sessions inside. Try putting on the harness while your bunny is calmly sitting in your lap. If she starts to wriggle too much, set it aside for another day. It might take a couple of days, but it could also take a couple of weeks before your bunny adjusts to the harness.

4. Let your bunny walk you

Once your bunny is comfortable wearing her harness, it’s time to clip on the leash and let her explore the house. It could take some getting used to, but your rabbit will eventually want to hop around. Follow her at first, and once she’s adjusted to wearing a harness and leash, use treats to lure her into following you. 

5. Don’t do too much at once

If your bunny is just starting to adjust to the harness, make sure you keep training sessions short, around 10–15 minutes at a time. Overwhelming your bunny leads to associating negative emotions with wearing the harness, which is the opposite of what you want. You should also give your bunny plenty of treats and cuddles during training sessions. Wearing the harness should be an enjoyable experience for her. 

6. Move your training sessions outside

After your rabbit has mastered the art of following you, it’s time to move the party outside. It’s best to start out in your backyard. Being surrounded by so many different sights and smells can be stressful for a little bunny, so be prepared to go back inside if she begins showing signs of stress like jumpiness, restlessness, or unexpected aggression. 

A chubby brown rabbit sitting in the grass.
Mike from Pexels

Which harness should I get?

Your bunny’s harness needs to be snug enough that she can’t wriggle out of it, but it shouldn’t be tight. Ideally, the harness should be loose enough for you to slip two fingers between the fabric and your rabbit. Here are a couple of our favorite models. 

  • Pettom: This breathable, padded mesh harness from Pettom comes in only four colors, but it makes up for the narrow palette with its affordable price point. 
  • Niteangel: In addition to a harness, you’ll need a leash to walk your rabbit. This mesh rabbit harness comes in seven colors, and you’ll also get a fully elastic leash that stretches from 47 to 98 inches. 

With time and dedication, most bunnies will adjust to wearing a harness. However, not all rabbits tolerate harnesses, and that’s okay. Your bunny can still enjoy spending time outdoors in her cage or playpen, and you’ll be able to put her leash and harness training to good use when it’s time for a trip to the vet. 

Editors' Recommendations

Expert tips for taking your puppy on their first walk
Is it time for puppy's first walk? Prepare with this expert advice
A brown puppy wearing a neon orange harness looks up

Bringing home a new puppy can be one of the most exciting times in a person's life, but that doesn't mean you'll have picture-perfect moments every time. In fact, helping your four-legged bundle of joy reach their milestones can be downright frustrating at times! It happens to the best of us, but we're happy to tell you that some of those milestones -- like walking your puppy for the first time -- can be reached with a shortcut or two. And that's where Lorna Winter comes in.

Winter is a veteran dog trainer and the co-founder of Zigzag, which is a puppyhood training app that you can customize to help you and your dog succeed. Since she's such an expert when it comes to all of a puppy's "firsts," we asked her for her best advice when taking a puppy on their first walk. As you might have guessed, it's a lot more complicated than simply putting on a leash and going for a stroll!

Read more
Can huskies be aggressive? It depends on the circumstances
Huskies can be hyperactive, but are they aggressive? Experts weigh in
A blue-eyed Siberian husky puppy sitting on grass

With their luxurious coats and striking blue eyes, huskies are an immediately recognizable breed. Given their size and stubborn personalities, many prospective husky parents wonder, "Are huskies aggressive?" According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, "The characteristic temperament of the Siberian husky is friendly and gentle [...] he does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs."

That being said, just because the AKC breed standard claims huskies aren't an aggressive breed doesn't mean they can't become aggressive in certain circumstances. We'll go over the different types of aggression in dogs, how to deal with your pup if he becomes aggressive, and -- most importantly -- we'll walk you through the warning signs of aggression, so you can nip it in the bud before it starts.

Read more
New Year’s resolutions that can make you a better pet parent in 2023
5 ways you can become the best pet parent this year
A woman strokes a blue-eyed white dog while outside

We all kick off the new year with resolutions, but for pet lovers, the goal to be a better pet parent is a resolution worth keeping. From teaching your fur babies to get along to helping your cat kick a treat addiction, there are plenty of things we can do to improve our four-legged friends' quality of life. We'll take a deep dive into the top New Year's resolutions pet parents should make to ensure their furry companions stay happy and healthy throughout 2023.

How to set a New Year's resolution you'll keep
We all start off the new year with the best of intentions, vowing to eat healthier, get more exercise, and spend less time doomscrolling on social media. However, by the end of January, the vast majority of people have already started to backslide -- or have given up on their resolutions altogether. But when you're setting resolutions with your fur babies in mind, keeping them is more important than ever. Try:

Read more