Enrichment Activities

Clicker Training
Cottontail Pom Poms
Enrichment Toys for Rabbits
Foraging Games
Hay Carrots
Paper Tassels
Paper Tunnels
Pumpkin Hay Bags
Sushi Rolls

 

 

 

Clicker Training

Repeat the positive and stop the negative! This psychology principle is called operant conditioning and is the basis of clicker training for animals. Your pet will be taught to repeat the action which resulted in a treat and the treat will be associated with a clicking noise.

Getting started: You will need a clicker (or you can make a clicking sound yourself), tiny treats or kibble.

1. Click and treat. Repeat a few times so the pet is expecting the treat with the click.

2. Ask for pet to do something such as sit. As your pet sits, click and treat. Offer the click and treat immediately with the desired action.

3.
To teach a behavior, click and treat any motion towards the desired action. For example, if you are teaching “come” reward any step towards you with a click and treat. Gradually move farther away from your pet. You can also watch for the action to happen on its own, such as a sit, then click and treat.

You can learn more about clicker training for any pet at www.clickertraining.com.

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Cottontail Pom Poms

Supplies:

  • White tissue paper
  • Raffia

Directions: 

  • Layer 6 sheets of tissue paper. Cut strips 3 1/2" wide and 12" long.
  • Take one set of 6 strips of tissue paper. Stack and fold them accordion-style and crease each fold.
  • Wrap raffia securely around the center. Spread out the tissue paper on either side of the raffia.
  • Separate the layers, pulling gently towards the center. Start in the center and alternate left and right. Work slowly and methodically separating the sheets of tissue.
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Enrichment Toys for Rabbits

 

Introducing a fresh homemade toy each day keeps your rabbit’s playtime and space mentally stimulating. Remove the item from the previous day to keep the items interesting and rotate the toys regularly.

Homemade:

  • Puzzle Tube: Cut out small holes in paper towel tube. Fill with hay and a couple treats. Press in ends of tube to seal.
  • Wheat Grass Containers: Grow wheat grass in a small plastic container (lunch pack applesauce or dressing cups work very well).
  • Spoon Tosser: Bend an old spoon into a triangle.
  • Newspaper sandbox: Fill a shallow cardboard box with lots of shredded newspaper for digging and tossing.
  • Egg Carton Puzzle: Cut a cardboard egg carton in half. Fill with hay and a couple treats. Close securely.
  • Pellet Pierogi: Using the paper liner from the timothy pellet bag, cut a circle from brown craft paper or newspaper. Fold the circle in half. Place pellets, hay, or a treat along the fold. Roll the edges of the paper to seal and form a pierogi.
  • Cardboard Ball: Cut paper towel tube into rings. Insert one ring into another to make an X. Continue to add rings to create a round ball. Add hay to the center.
  • Origami: Make an paper ball or box. Easy Origami instructions can be found online
  • Oatmeal canister
  • Hardware store rattles: Thread 3 washers (¼” by 1¼” each) on a hex bolt (2½”).Secure with a lock nut (¼”).

Toys:

  • Baby blocks
  • Stacking rings
  • SlinkyRattles
  • Puzzle feeder egg
  • Baby car keys
  • Weebles
  • Wooden rabbit puzzles
  • Bandana for tossing and bunching

Always supervise your pet so you know he can play safely with a new object.

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Foraging Games

A rabbit in the wild must hunt for his food. This little game will encourage a rabbit to exercise while searching, sniff to follow the trail, and think to find the treat. Stimulating the olfactory sense stimulates the brain.

  • Show the rabbit the treat then hide it: in your hand, under your leg, behind a toy. Let them sniff out the treat.
  • Make a trail of fresh greens across the room, hiding some of the pieces. You may use a Romaine lettuce leaf, parsley leaves, or a few pinches of the dry organic botanicals in the container.
  • If the bunny makes quick work of the trail, you can take one leaf and slowly drag it along the floor to leave behind its smell.Hide the treat at the end of the line and see if the rabbit will use its nose to follow the treat. Too easy? Hide the treat in a paper lunch bag.
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Hay Carrots

This little bundle of hay shaped like a carrot provides a whimsical toy for rabbits to chew and toss.

Supplies:

  • Raffia
  • Hay

Directions:

  • Gather a bundle of hay into a log about 6” long. About 1/3 of the way down the hay log, begin to wrap the raffia. Leave a loose tail of raffia which will be used to tie off the raffia when finished.
  • Continue to wrap the hay with the raffia, tying additional lengths of raffia as needed.
  • Gradually pull the raffia tighter and to create a carrot shape. Cut excess hay to shape of carrot if too bulky at bottom.
  • Continuing to wrap the hay, work the way back to the top and tie ends of raffia together to secure.
  • Trim “leafy” carrot top.
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Paper Tassels

 

Supplies:

  • Craft paper
  • Raffia
  • Hay or treat

Directions:

  • Cut thin strips of paper about 8” long and ¼” wide. Arrange the strips like the spokes of a wheel.
  • Place hay and/or a small treat in the center and bundle the strips around the treat to form tassel.
  • Secure with a small strip of raffia.
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Paper Tunnels

  

Free form shape craft paper or newspaper into a tunnel. Roll edges of tunnel to secure. Even easier, cut the bottom out of a paper bag!

Detailed instructions for a sturdier tunnel can be found here.

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Pumpkin Hay Bags

 

Remember paper bag pumpkins from preschool? A brown lunch bag filled with hay provides an enriching way to provide a rabbit with some of his daily portion of hay.

  • Simply fill the lunch bag with hay. A treat or a few pellets can be added.
  • Twist the top of the bag into a pumpkin stem.
  • Wrap raffia around the stem. Wrap the loose end of the raffia in as you wrap. Leave loose ends as leafy tendrils!
  • A Jack-O-Lantern smiling face is optional!
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Sushi Rolls

Toss. Tear. Nibble.The rolled toy moves, is textured, and provides a challenge to reach the treat.

Supplies:

  • Corrugated paper
  • Raffia
  • Herbs such as cilantro or dill

Directions:

  • Cut a 2” by 6” piece of corrugated paper.
  • Tightly roll up the herbs or hay in the paper and secure with the raffia
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Animal Friends

Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center
562 Camp Horne Road | Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: 412.847.7000 | Fax: 412.847.7001
speak@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org
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