Labradors are likely to hunt and kill rabbits, especially when they have not been socialized, well trained or they haven’t been introduced to the animal.
These dogs were bred to hunt. So, it’s very natural to see them going after rabbits. Although they might get along with other pets, dogs were predators before becoming a man’s best friend. It’s their natural drive to ensure they survive. It is very characteristic of them to hunt small preys.
When a Labrador kills a rabbit, it doesn’t mean he’s an evil dog. They are just doing what they were bred to do, but there are ways you can stop them from chasing or showing wrong behaviors towards rabbits at home.
This breed is known to be in the top 10 of most intelligent dogs, and with a great temperament which makes them easier to train, compared to another dog breed. To stop your Labrador from chasing and killing rabbits, you may try using the following steps:
Allow your dog to socialize around the rabbit. Getting your pets to socialize, is one of the most important steps for them to get along. This process is much easier when the lab is still a puppy because the probability of kicking into aggression is very less. Allow them to spend time at the same place under your supervision.
Teach your dog a command word that will make him stop trying anything with the rabbit. As lab owners, you need to have verbal control over your dog. Your dog must understand what “stop” or “sit” words means. That way, he will understand what he’s trying to do is wrong.
Labrador like any other dog has a powerful sense of smell. They are also known for having the ability to follow long tracks through smell. Use clean clothes to rub the rabbit and expose them around the house, especially where the lab stays the most. Allow your Labrador to sniff out the rabbit’s cage, that way the dog will get used to that smell, and understand that the rabbit is part of the family as well he is. You can also hold the rabbit on your lap before you approach the dog.
When the dog remains calm or composed, and obeys your commands, while the rabbit is on your lap or somewhere near, rewarding them with a treat is always necessary. When you give them treats over and over again on doing something great, it will make them realize they are doing something positive, so they must keep doing it.
Despite being friendly dogs, hunting and killing is their natural reaction towards small preys. It is much easier for them to create a bond with rabbits when they are still puppies, compared to when they are adults. Labradors are very trainable dogs; you can avoid any unfortunate situation from happening through training.