I receive many questions about my harness and how best to train a bunny to wear one. If you’re interested in harness training your bunny, I highly recommend this article by Bunny Approved.
When considering a harness, I believe it is important to know that not all bunny parents recommend using one. This video describes the risks with using a rabbit harness, including accidents and even death.
My personal opinion is that it is ok to use a harness as long as:
- You find the right one for your bunny
- Your bunny is suited for outdoor harness use
- You have access to a safe outdoor environment
FIND THE RIGHT HARNESS FOR YOUR BUNNY
My harness was manufactured by Trixie Pet Products. Years ago, I bought my harness from Bunny Approved. I’ve heard that this harness is no longer available but there may still be some left in stock. That said, the H-harness is also popular for rabbits. I don’t have any direct experience with it but you can read more about it here.
IS YOUR BUNNY SUITED FOR OUTDOOR HARNESS USE?
Does your bunny like the outdoors? Some bunnies thrive outside. Others are terrified. If your bunny doesn’t like the outdoors, a harness is not appropriate for your bunny.
Does your bunny trust you and will your bunny allow you to handle him or her? If I didn’t trust mom and allow her to handle me, I would not be a good candidate for a harness. Also, please listen to bunny. If bunny doesn’t want to wear the harness, she will tell you right away! Trust me!
If you think your bunny will do well on a harness, please test it indoors first. Once you both feel comfortable, I would then suggest taking your harnessed bunny outside but stay within x-pens. When you are both ready, you can try exploring but please, let bunny lead. It will be much less stressful for both of you if bunny leads. Of course, if bunny tries to go somewhere unsafe, you’ll have to stop her.
DO YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A SAFE OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT?
If your bunny likes the outdoors, the next thing to ask is where will you take your bunny? I have my own yard in a quiet neighborhood. All of my neighbors know me so they won’t bring their dogs out if they see me in the yard. My neighbors are also very respectful of my space and will only come over to greet me if invited. (I’m lucky to have such thoughtful neighbors). Based on my personality, mom would never take me to a public park. Having too many strangers around frightens me but some bunnies are more social so a public park might be ok. Again, this is a decision that should be based on what both bunny and human are comfortable doing.
When you are ready to take bunny outside in her harness, ask a friend or family member that bunny knows to come along with you. Having two people around will make the outing safer and a better experience for everybun!