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Hello! :wavey:

First I'll start with a little background, since this is my first post.

My boyfriend (of 3 yrs) and I will be picking up our 8-week old Golden Retriever puppy in two weeks. We'll both be attending engineering graduate school (getting paid a hefty annual stipend to do so, comparable to entry-level-degreed-job), starting in the fall. Because of this, we're financially stable and prepared for the monetary responsibilities that come with a pup. We decided that our first year of graduate school would be the optimal time to get our new little guy because our uni starts us at 9 credit hours (3 classes) a week - research is gradually introduced in the second year - leaving ample scheduling flexibility and time for us to be home with our puppy. Since we're getting him in the summer, when we have even more time off, we'll be able to train him before we have to leave him for spaced-out 1-4 hour, max, intervals in the fall - when he'll be older and better able to handle longer periods in the crate - although, usually someone will always be home. We use our second bedroom as an office, so we'll be doing most of our work from home and can play with our pup. We figured this was better than if we were working 40-hour week, FT jobs - he'll get abundant attention in the puppy years.

We're currently living in a spacious 2-bedroom, dog-friendly apartment - with direct stair access to the outside, and a deck. The place is great - they even provide us with poopy bags - and there are dogs everywhere! There are a bunch of nature trails on property, a creek for playtime, and we live close to my parents (yard for zoomies!) and a beach (for more water fun). We're very active, and we'll be taking him on longgggg walks and hikes once he's older and equipped to handle them. We're also aware that, since we DO live in a dog-heavy apartment without our own yard, we'll have to indoor pee-pad train him (to avoid Parvo) and transition to outdoor potty training once he's fully vaccinated and the vet clears us. Of course, we'll be carrying him everywhere to start with some socializing.

Basically, we've done our research and think we're pretty well-prepared.

The one area that we're less read-up on is bunny/puppy introductions.

We have a 1.5 year old, spunky dwarf rabbit. He typically stays in his cage throughout the day, and comes out to play for 1.5-2 hours at the end of every evening. (He likes to lounge and nap during the day, so even if we leave the cage open, he just ends up lounging around.) He's refined to our bedroom - door open when in the cage, door closed when he's romping. He lived with me in a relatively rowdy college-apartment setting before I ditched the party-hardy roommates (not my scene) and we got our own place, so he's used to loud/atypical settings. Also, when I stayed with my parents for a few weeks, he got along relatively well with their two cats. Never out of the cage, mind you, but not scared and often sniffing each other through the wire without aggression/fear. However, I'm not sure how he'd handle a new dog - as they're drastically bigger than cats. We're really not looking to have them romp together (seems risky), but get along well enough so that the bunny doesn't panic if we leave the door open and the dog sniffs him through the cage.

Looking online, there are some guides for introducing bunnies to dogs - but most of them address older dogs, who have completed obedience training. Does anyone have experience bonding a bunny with a new GR puppy?

We know the socialization period between 8-12 weeks could be critical for exposing the puppy to the bunny, and accepting him in the pack. But we're wondering how the bunny might take his puppy rambunctiousness. Bunnies can get sick from stress easily, so we're looking for some good puppy-bunny gradual intro tips from people with firsthand experience!

Also, any other general tips/anecdotal advice for the new puppy weeks in general are welcome too! :)
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum.
Glad you've joined us.

Congratulations on your new puppy, looking forward to seeing pictures of your little one.

I had domestic rabbits many years ago with dogs. However, my dogs were not Goldens at the time. I had three, none of them ever bothered the domestic rabbits, but would go after wild rabbits.

I think you're pup will do fine with your rabbit since it's so young. Most pups when introduced to cats or kittens at a young age do alright also. I would introduce them slowly and always supervise your pup when it's around the rabbit.

Best of luck with Grad School to you both.
 

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Puppy and bunny introductions are tricky. Has your rabbit ever been around dogs before? Unfortunately most rabbits completely freak out around dogs (like completely lose their head, spazz out, run into walls and potentially seriously hurt themselves freak out). In a puppy eyes, spazzing rabbit is the funnest toy they have ever had. Neither is cool. I would start getting you rabbit prepped for a puppy now by getting rags with your puppies scent on them and showing them to the rabbit. Maybe even leave them in the cage with the rabbit.

When you do get your puppy go very slow with the introductions. Try and find a time when the bunny is super relaxed and the puppy is sleeping. Let him check the puppy out while he is sleeping and see how the rabbit does. Have cuddle sessions side by side with them (your bf holds one and you hold the other). Let them sniff each others faces while you hold them. Slowly slowly give them more contact as the meetings continue to go well. You need to not let the puppy chase/bite the bunny as this will traumatize him and the rabbit is likely to kick the puppy. Rabbits kick hard and could potentially injure a puppy.

In all honesty there are a lot of dogs that I would never trust with a rabbit. I have had some that are great with the rabbits and I have had some that I never even tried. Even with the dogs I trust they aren't allowed to play with the rabbits unsupervised, it is just too risky.
 

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I know it is not the same, but I have had guinea pigs with most my dogs so far. My goldens and lab mix were all great around them. My dachshund I kept from them. He could only watch through the cage. And he actually learned to totally ignore the piggy and the cage.
When I brought my pup Ben home in January, I showed him the piggy through the cage, he was interested but just looked. I even held the piggy to him to sniff one time and he tried to grab the piggy foot - well he was a teething baby. I told him not to hurt the piggy and put piggy back into the cage and he lost interest. Sadly, my piggy died not long ago - not due to anything the dogs did - I think he had cancer.

Anyway, it is possible to get a pup used to little critters or an adult used to little critters. Most goldens are great with any kinds of animals in my experience anyway. Just make sure you never leave bunny out where prying puppy paws and teeth can get to them. Wait with face to face introductions till puppy is not so snappy from teething.
Pup will get used to seeing the cage and bunny and it will eventually be no big deal. But, you may want to keep puppy totally out of the room where the cage is when he is unsupervised.
 

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I had a cranky old bunny named AJ. We brought home the puppy, Chelsea. And when I say home, I mean a 45' sailboat that we all lived on. AJ Bunny had his own stateroom. He did not live in a cage. He had run of the boat below decks. He slept in the forward cabin, where his litter box, toys and food were, but otherwise had run of the boat.

And then comes Chelsea.

Chelsea was a lost little 8 week old puppy on her first night away from her litter. We introduced them slowly, and gave AJ plenty of space. But within a couple hours they were nose-to-nose and working it out.

It was pretty easy for Chelsea. She just saw AJ as a peer. A littermate substitute. So, when Chelsea went to sleep that night, she tried to curl up next to AJ.

But AJ, the cranky old b*stard, wasn't having it. As Chelsea slept in "his" bedroom, AJ did his best to kill her. He did everything his little bunny brain could think of. He dropped his wooden carrot on her head, over and over. And when that didn't work he tried to bury her under his blanket. Eventually he gave up and went to sleep in his bedroom, as far from Chelsea as he could. But then Chelsea woke up and moved over to cuddle with AJ. He didn't move, whether from resignation or fright I don't know. But they slept a good part of that evening together. And the next day they were friends.

I did discover one thing to watch out for: licking the bunny. Bunnies have very delicate, paper mache skin. One day when we weren't there, Chelsea licked AJ, apparently trying to groom him in a loving way. And it must have been a lot, because when we got home AJ's ear had been licked raw, with a hole clean through. :( (We were young and stupid back then.) Although we immediately took AJ to the emergency vet, we did consider that it was a perfect opportunity to put a pirate earring on AJ's ear. We didn't, though, and learned then not to leave them together when we left.

But the good news (unless you're getting your Golden for hunting) is that growing up those formative weeks with AJ made Chelsea a friend to all animals. On walks in the trails in the coastal Santa Monica mountains, Chelsea was somehow able to actually make friends with wild bunnies! She would get really low and patiently work her way toward the rabbit, and occasionally the rabbit would let her get right up next to him, at which point Chelsea would just hang out with the wild bunny for as long as we would let her. She also leaped out of the dinghy one day, and swam to rescue a great blue heron that had been caught up in fishing line. We didn't notice it, but Chelsea did.

The bad news is that AJ never did really come to like Chelsea. They hung out together, but he was always kind of a dick to her. :)
 

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Thank you!

Ah thank you all so much for your quick advice! GRs are typically quite gentle with small animals, as you said, which was one of our initial draws to the breed (before we fell head over heels for our little guy). I'll take it nice and slow like you suggested though - maybe I'll get buns used to the scent by throwing some of the puppies stuff in the room first, and then do the through-cage face to face!

I'm glad to see that the pups and pigs got along - bunnies aren't the same but quite similar (at least in a dogs eyes!) Sorry to hear your piggy passed though :(

Of course, I'll also monitor their temperament near each other, but hopefully it works out! Definitely wouldn't trust them unsupervised though.

I'll also post pictures when we bring him home!
 

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Awesome!

Haha that's an awesome experience. We were hoping the bunny would help to ease Charlie's transition from litter-to-alone too. Although I can definitely see Bailey (the bunny) being a little dick to the pup, but eventually resigning himself to the friendship, much like your bun. I'll keep an eye out for licking, too - I never even thought of that! Though it would be cool to have a pirate rabbit.

Your dog sounds awesome though - she must give off that friendly, gentle vibe in order to make friends with wild bunnies! Hopefully my pup grows up to be like her :D
 

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I think you got a handle on things.
I had guinea pigs since 1997 - so most my dogs grew up with them. The piggies got used to the dogs and were not afraid of them at all. I suspect your bunny will get used to the puppy as well.
My second golden was around a bunny for a while - they were best buds, he was also best buds with the piggy I had at the time. They were actually comfortable running around him and pulling on his fur and he loved it :)

I think it will work out for you :)
 

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I had cats dogs and a bunny when I was younger. The bunny was blind too, which made him even more suspicious sometimes. Like you our bunny was well socialized also.
We only had issues when the puppy (before he grew up) tried to play with the bunny. We would have to monitor closely and immediately pull him away when he wanted to play. Our dog wasn't a golden, he was some kind of hunting dog lol (bad one at that). We got him a few months old already.

Anyway, bunny would go outside and Hobo (our dog) would go with him and lay by his cage. Hobo was very upset when our bunny passed away. He'd frequently visit the empty cage (you know, we couldn't bring ourself to put it away for a while. We were too heartbroken).
Now, we never left them out together when we weren't in the same room... But they really got along great.

Oh, cats and bunny did too. Cats would bring up dead bunnies to the porch for us, but with Cotton (our bunny) they didn't see him as anything different than another pet. Odd isn't it?

You'll do fine. You're thinking it through wonderfully.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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I had a lab one time that carried a chicken around in her mouth. She loved her pet chicken and the chicken didn't mind having her as a friend either. I also had a dog that loved pulling on my horses tail and a goat that would rub my horses butt with his horns. The horse loved it..
 

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Haha that's an awesome experience. We were hoping the bunny would help to ease Charlie's transition from litter-to-alone too. Although I can definitely see Bailey (the bunny) being a little dick to the pup, but eventually resigning himself to the friendship, much like your bun. I'll keep an eye out for licking, too - I never even thought of that! Though it would be cool to have a pirate rabbit.

Your dog sounds awesome though - she must give off that friendly, gentle vibe in order to make friends with wild bunnies! Hopefully my pup grows up to be like her :D
That dog died of old age several years ago. But for the rest of my life, those first few days with Chelsea and AJ together will be among my most special memories. I hope your puppy + bunny experience is as memorable. :)

(Chelsea was an amazing dog, though. She went on to become a marine rescue dog, working with the Coast Guard to save lives.)
 
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Congrats! As for the bunny thing, we have bunnies that live under my shed and my pup has always tried to catch one. She has come close several times but not sure at this point what she would do if she does catch one. She's a typical golden and enjoys hunting and chasing stuff. Good luck.
 
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