How To Train a Dog To Catch Rabbits

Dogs have been using for catching animal from the ancient time. The reason is that the dogs are the best companion for hunting and they make our experience more fun and enjoyable. And when it comes to catching rabbits, there is no alternative to dogs.

However, the success of catching rabbits for your dog depends much on how you train them. Do you know how to train a dog to catch rabbits? I am sure you don’t. That is why you are here reading this article.

There are many ways to train a dog for hunting rabbits. But you should choose the one that you can use and stick with.

When To Start

Basically, it depends. You should start training only after when he starts listening and paying attention when you order. In general, 5-10 weeks old puppy is good enough according to some experts. When he starts listening and paying attention, try to start obedience training. If he is not obedient to you then you will never be able to control him in the field.

Start with calling his name, then some basic command such as sit, eat, stop, look, stay, go etc. You can offer him a reward or punishment based on his performance. But it is always recommended offering a reward. However, if the reward does not work, you can use the latest bark collar to make him follow your order. Once he has learned the basic command, he is ready to go to the next step.

Test Him

Since your dog has learned some basic command, take a test if he follows your order perfectly or not. In order to do that, take a treat or toy and keep it above your head so that it is visible. It is because of drawing his attention. Now order him to be seated. If he obeys your order and be seated then give him some reward.

Now bring the treat or toy close to his chest and check if he pops up or stays in where he is now? If he pops up then snap the figure of yours and order him to remain seated. If he follows your order and does not pop up, give him the reward,

Finally, bring the treat or toy in front of him and leave it in front of him. This is the final test of him. If he does not pop up now, it is almost confirmed that he has passed the test, give him the reward. But if he pops up towards you then you can again order him or give him a simple punishment. If he passed the test, he is ready to start the main training.

Introduce The Rabbit

Since he is now ready and starts following your order, it is time to introduce him to the rabbit.

The first step of introducing the dog with the rabbit is letting the dog sniff the rabbit. You know, your dog will find the rabbit by the scent. So it is very very important to introduce the rabbit by sniffing the rabbit. In order to do that, you can hold the rabbit in front of the dog and let the dog sniff it. It is common that after sniffing the rabbit, your dog will be excited.

Tie Up Your Dog And You Run After The Rabbit

Now, tie up your dog with a chain and release the rabbit in an enclosed perimeter. Your dog should concentrate on the rabbit. Then you start running after the rabbit in that perimeter. This will help your dog understand that he should chase the rabbit as well and it will also help him to focus on the target. By this time your dog should be excited to chase the rabbit.

Release The Dog

It is time to release your puppy as well as the rabbit. I hope by this time your puppy will start chasing the rabbit. Remember, always pick a rabbit that is faster than your dog. I am sure you do not want your dog to catch the rabbit in 10 seconds. If he can hunt the rabbit, again give him a reward. A reward is a thing that will keep your dog motivated during the training.

 Change In Training

Let’s bring a change a training. You can hide the rabbit behind a bush or log. You will do this because this will enable your dog to find out the rabbit by sniffing. You know, when you will hunt, not all the rabbits will be visible. Your dog will have to find out the rabbits by sniffing.

Do It For a Few Weeks

You should train the dog at least thrice per week. Otherwise, this training will not work effectively. And also, you should train your dog for a few weeks. After a few weeks, you will see that it becomes easier for your dog to catch the rabbit.

Is that end?

Not at all.

Now, replace the rabbit with a faster rabbit. This will make your dog faster. The faster rabbit you bring in, the faster your dog will be. But remember, every time he catches the rabbit, give him his reward. Additionally, you can bring an adult as well as an expert dog to chase the rabbit with your puppy. This will help your puppy to learn new tricks as well as techniques.

Take His Final Test

It is high time to take the final test of your dog. Take your dog to an open place, such as a garden, where the rabbits will be found. The afternoon is the best time when the rabbits come out in general. Release your dog, he should get the scent of the rabbits and by sniffing, he should chase the rabbit. If he can, your dog is ready to catch the rabbit and you should end the training by giving him a final reward.


Without proper training, your dog will not be able to catch any rabbit. So train him properly by following the steps I have mentioned above. And one more thing, be patient all the time during the training. Not all the dogs learn so fast, some dogs learn slowly. So be patient and keep training your dog. I am sure he will learn and catch the rabbits. Thank you.

About the Author

I'm Rodney Heaton and I love hunting in the wild. In the past, I was in the military for over 5 years. After that I became a licensed hunter and a mountain guide.