Petting is also a way of mimicking grooming behavior, telling your rabbit that you love them and see them as part of the family. Maybe sit near the rabbit and stay close to him but do not pick the rabbit up. Read more about the reasons for this here. They are often more calm when they are eating, so this might be the most appropriate time to approach them. A happy bunny will be a more affectionate bunny, so ensuring their basic needs are met well is imperative you want them to show you some love. Wait until they are finished with their solitary activity and then see if they’re interested in spending time with you. Many rabbits will very readily accept being pet and will quickly learn to settle down while you give them a nice massage. 3. Bunnies have different personalities, just like people, and do best when they are allowed to choose their own friends. While you are providing for their essential care needs, you should be have in a relaxed manner. For example, when you clip their nails, give them a health check, or remove them from a dangerous situation. Steps in Rabbit Bonding. The Answer. Posted on January 28, 2015 November 14, 2018 by Best4Bunny. Before attempting an introduction, the rabbits should be spayed or neutered, and you should wait for a full two weeks after the surgery before proceeding with the introduction. If you’re a little stuck on how to start understanding your rabbit, check out my article that goes into all the behaviors you can expect to see from your pet rabbit (with pictures!). So, if you want to build up the bond with your rabbit, don’t corner her or pick them whenever possible. This way you are learning about the rabbit’s personality and letting him comfortably check out … While you give your rabbit a treat, slowly move your hand toward your rabbit. This is especially true of toys that are puzzles with treats hidden inside for your rabbit to find. Give them another piece of food if necessary and try again a few more times, petting gently and then removing your hand. It is time to take a few steps back in the bonding process and let the rabbit alone and give him some space. Getting a rabbit spayed or neutered also solves many health issues that are common in unaltered rabbits. Most of the time when rabbits are eating, pooping, sleeping, or grooming themselves they won’t want to interact with people. Or you can try giving your head a little shake or jumping up and down to mimic a binky and tell your rabbit that you’re happy. Different types of rabbits may have some specific needs, but these guidelines should generally apply to all rabbit breeds. He will feel less intimidated by your size because you’re not moving him for your comfort, but you're making sure he feels comfortable. You do want to be careful with the amount of treats you give your rabbit, though. What Does It Mean When a Dog Lifts a Front Paw? Do they get immediately startled by new sounds, or are they more interested in checking it out? Jan 6, 2021 - Rabbits can be great companion pets, but their behavior and body language is very different from cats and dogs. Check out my newest video for a guaranteed method! Some even enjoy getting a good massage more than they like to get treats! If your rabbit leaves in the middle of an interaction, let them. I am a lifelong rabbit lover and have been specializing with rabbits at my local animal shelter. This means that anything you do that makes a rabbit feel trapped will instantly make them trust you less. This will give them space to zoom around and explore without feeling cornered and unsafe. They’ll be so excited trying to find the treat in the toy that they’ll happily play, even when you’re sitting right next to them. Young rabbits seem to be the exception to this, but not because they don’t enjoy being pet. If the rabbit is eating in front of you, then you can raise your hand slowly in front of their face so they can see you approach. We think of growling as a behavior only exhibited by wolves or dogs, but this is not the case. They’ll know that if something happens, there will always be someplace nearby they can bolt to. Check out our video below for more signs your rabbit loves you. In fact, there are videos online of rabbits thumping and growling because their human friends have stopped petting them. (Use the code BUNNYLADY to get 15% off your first purchase at Small Pet Select). This is great for the rabbit, because they’ll be able to be their happy, bouncy self without fear or stress. But don’t force your rabbit into an interaction if it’s only for your own entertainment. Wait for them to approach and nibble on the food. Instead, put aside the time to simply hang out with your rabbit. I am here to make sure all of you rabbit lovers have everything you need to care for your fluffy little bundle of joy. Giving a shy rabbit a treat when they approach you is a form of reward training. Even if you are not directly interacting with your rabbit, giving them fun toys to play with will make them happy and excited. In the end, the two of you will have a deep and unbreakable bond. If they run away, don’t chase them, wait for them to come back for another treat. To start with, just spend some time watching your rabbit. To bond with your rabbit, you want to avoid cornering them or picking them up whenever possible. You can also try laying on the ground instead of sitting. To make your rabbit feel safe, you’ll want to make sure they feel that they own this territory. They will be less likely to trust you and any bond you have will be weakened. Training also encourages a rabbit to readily approach you without expecting a treat right off the bat. Almost every rabbit I’ve interacted with had some kind of treat that they loved. This goes for the space in their enclosure and outside of it for exercise time. As much as you can, interact with them when they are outside the enclosure and leave them alone when they retreat back to their home. Rabbits are prey animals, which means they survived in the wild by being ready to run and hide at any second. So your rabbit may not appreciate being picked up and held. Anything that you do where the rabbit feels trapped will make them trust you less. Your rabbit's personality is their own and not everyone will relate the same way. Make sure your rabbit’s enclosure is large enough for them. It gives your rabbit lots of space and it’s a lot easier to clean! When you approach your rabbits, they learn that something nice appears – like a dandelion leaf or a handful of watercress. Letting your rabbit come to you, rather than you going to them allows the rabbit learn on their own that you're a safe person and you're not going to hurt them. If your rabbit has Pasteurella or a heart condition, I would only consider this if it were to be a very easy bond. If this is your first time having a rabbit as a pet, you may wonder how you can develop a bond with it. Grooming gives us quality interactive time and also gives us a chance to spend a few minutes checking our bunnies to make sure they are healthy. Training your rabbit will teach them to slow down and earn their treats, while also keeping them from losing interest in you just because you don’t have any treats on hand. Forcing your rabbit to interact with you, or chasing them until they have nowhere to run, are quick ways to make a rabbit scared and distrustful. Don’t chase them or force them to come back. Once you have ensured all your rabbit's needs are well cared for and interact with your bunny in the appropriate ways, you will see they will start to show you love. To teach a rabbit that they don’t have to be afraid of your hands: During the whole process keep an eye on your rabbit’s body language to make sure you are not stressing them out. They will bite you and think you are trying to assert a state of dominance over you. When you’re standing, or even sitting up on a chair, your rabbit will only have contact with your legs. Once you know what your rabbit likes, you can use it to teach them to associate you with good and yummy things. Rabbits can be easily startled by loud noises. Try not to talk in a loud voice. Reading a book can be a great quiet activity. Bonding with your bunny is not always easy. “Bonding With Your Rabbit.”. Doing so might only cause fear and agitation. De-Sensitisation Bonding Method - developed by Kim Cooney. You give them positive reinforcement for their curious and brave behavior. Rabbits will be more likely to confidently approach you and bond with you if they feel they have a choice in the interaction. Rabbits are near impossible to train, although you can teach them some basic tricks with a lot of patience. You can also make a number of hidden treat DIY toys. Rabbits are animals and their animal instinct is more acute than we sometimes give them credit for. How to Detect and Prevent GI Stasis in Rabbits. Rabbits will avoid anyone who comes and tries to pick them up all the time. A hutch is not enough for your rabbit. Too many sugary treats are not good for a rabbit’s health and can lead to a gut slow-down or dental problems. You give them food, they love you more. You can try twitching your nose at your rabbit, to tell them that you are interested and curious in them. If your rabbit is very shy, they might not come up to you at all the first couple of times you hang out with them, and that’s okay. Their hutch, cage or enclosure needs to be big enough for your rabbit. Instead it’s because they just have too much energy to sit still. It means they’ll have more places to run or hide if they start to feel scared. For this reason, gaining the trust of your rabbit can be a little more difficult than with a cat or dog. Not least of these is your bunny's personality. While it’s good to give a shy rabbit a treat for approaching you (coming up to you is the first trick that they learn! Getting a rabbit is a huge responsibility. Most rabbits really enjoy being pet. Hold your rabbit properly. Don’t chase them or force them to come back. If you try to force affection on your bunny, then it will be counterproductive. Training is a really fun way to spend time with your little furry friend and bond with them. This brings you even closer to the rabbit’s level and will be less frightening. Understanding rabbits’ unique language is helpful when building a bond with your pet rabbit for the long term. Once you have bonded with your bunny, you will see that instead of growling, they will purr contentedly. Start with some tasty veggies that he just can’t resist (his bunny DNA just won’t let him!) Even if they never actually run for it, having places to hide will help your rabbit feel more confident. When rabbits are held in someone’s arms, they no longer have the ability to run away. Try and keep your pairs to roughly the same age or at the very least the same life stages. According to the RSPCA, Rabbit that is happy and relaxed will jump around with all four paws off the ground and twists in mid-air before landing. As rabbits are prey animals, they will think you are a predator and lose trust in you. Rabbit body language is not the same as a cat or dog. To bond with your rabbit, you will want to make sure they always have places they can run to and hide. By training your rabbit you are not only teaching them cool tricks, but you’re also teaching them to trust you. You will also need to have a run for your rabbit to exercise. When feeding a rabbit that you are keen to build a bond with you should first try to get the rabbit used to hand feeding. They can be particularly timid in new situations with people they do not know. Even the notification beeps can be enough to startle a rabbit sometimes. There are so many different factors which lead to how secure your rabbit feels and how much affection they are willing to show you. Doing so will help you know if they love and care for you back. I’ll spend an hour on the floor reading to give her a chance to come up to me if she wants to. Learn the best ways to bond with your bunny by learning about what makes a rabbit happy, how to pet your rabbit and how to win the trust of a shy or aggressive rabbit. 2. As he gets braver and more comfortable with you (remember the bunny body language you studied), then you can begin interacting more. If your rabbit was adopted, it could be from a more serious trauma from your rabbit’s past. And it’s great for you because you get to have a beautiful friendship with your rabbit. But if you’ve recently adopted your bunny, you may not even know how to start the bonding process. Watch your rabbit to try to get a feel for what scares them and what makes them happy, so you can be ready to meet them where they are. Your rabbit is using their brain to get a yummy treat and trusting that you will eventually give it to them. Others might come right up to you and even jump in your lap quite happily. Female rabbits, for example, have a very high chance of developing uterine cancer by the time they are 6 years old. You should not keep two unneutered male rabbits or unneutered male and female rabbits together. How to bond your rabbits. However, you should avoid picking your rabbit up most of the time if you want to have a happy relationship with your rabbit. Rabbits are incredibly social animals. Want to know how to gain your rabbit's trust in 1 step?! Rabbits are a prey species, and their default action is to hide if they feel threatened. I always recommend getting a rabbit exercise pen to use as their enclosure (such as this one!). Before I share the article in its entirety, here is a quick overview of the steps you will take to properly bond your rabbits. Rabbits can be wonderful, social pets if you give them the chance to come up and interact with you on their own terms. But now she’s turned into a bunny who demands petting all day long. There will be times when you have to pick up your rabbit for their own health and safety. They are also easily frightened by loud noises, sudden movement or being handled against their will. You can sit with a book or your phone and just hang out on the floor with your rabbit. You can lay down near your rabbit to let them know that you trust them. If you’re having trouble finding a treat your rabbit loves, try this sampler pack from my friends at Small Pet Select. Getting to know the personality of your rabbit is one of the most rewarding experiences a pet caregiver can have. Some ways to develop a daily routine that your rabbit can depend on: It can be really adorable to teach a rabbit some cute tricks, but the real value of training a bunny is in the bond it creates between you and your rabbit. Having some small treats with you to reward your rabbit’s curiosity can also help reinforce the behavior. However, the idea of bonding your pet rabbits sounds... My name is Amy and I am the Bunny Lady! Rabbit bite, scratch and play post. You can let them run around indoors, but ensure they are monitored constantly and remove any stressors in their environment. Speak in a soft and gentle voice. Eating is a social activity for rabbits and eating together builds trust. Neuter or spay your rabbit. This will solve many of the behavioral issues that cause a rabbit to act out, making it much easier for you and your rabbit to bond. Bring yourself down to their level so that you’re no longer towering over your rabbit. If they still prefer to be left alone, then respect that and give your rabbit their space. Rabbits are prey animals, and that means they’ll start to feel very scared if they feel cornered. How to bond rabbits safely. The previous pet rabbit may attack or show signs of aggression towards the new rabbit. They will show you affection when they feel completely comfortable and secure in your company. A cornered rabbit might even lash out aggressively by biting or scratching. You can spend some quality time with your rabbit to help them feel safe and learn how to trust. Ensuring their diet is correct is also imperative in having a happy bunny. Resist touching the rabbit this way your rabbit will grow more comfortable with you. Trying to bond a new rabbit with your existing pet rabbit can be difficult. Your rabbit will learn that you are not so scary. Rabbits tend to keep their claws and teeth in good condition by gnawing and scratching at roots and other vegetation in the wild. They may even feel that they have been caught by a big predator. If you’re not using a noisy app, it’s still a good idea to turn the volume on your phone off. Avoid making your rabbit feel cornered; Rabbits have this innate habit of running away from bigger animals and hiding at any moment. This means remaining calm, not doing anything to intimidate them and to exert your own sense of reassurance. 5 Common Mistakes You Make when Scolding a Dog. 1. At AnimalWised, we show you how to make a rabbit more affectionate. You can feed a little bit, then walk away, then come back with another piece, and so on. If you notice that your rabbit is feeling more comfortable in your presence you can try another thing. This will give your rabbit enough space to hop around and feel confident in their own home. Some ideas to make the perfect environment for your rabbit full of hiding places: If you want to bond with your rabbit and teach them to trust you, above all you have to remember to respect your rabbit’s boundaries. This is most likely due to some past trauma that causes the rabbit to be fearful of people’s hands. Get on their level: Getting down on the ground to pet and talk to your bunny will help greatly. If you pick your rabbit up all the time, they will start to associate you with that feeling of being trapped and scared. This includes other pets, loud noises and even strong smells. Right after you sign up, you’ll receive a FREE pdf rabbit care guidebook. Either way, it is always best to advise caution. When sitting with your rabbit, you’ll also want to pick quiet activities to keep you occupied while they decide whether or not to approach you. We suggest: Don't force interaction or escalate too quickly. This should be a safe enclosure which allow them to move in a larger space and ideally is on a patch of grass. They are unlikely to approach anyone who is making a lot of noise, and will continue to hide away until the loud noise goes away. When the rabbit doesn’t flinch away from your hand coming toward them, gently touch them on the forehead while you give them the treat. They will need to be able to run around freely, to have somewhere to hide when they feel threatened and to have enough room for accessories. One of the things we can do to bond with our rabbits is grooming. Our first tip is that you cannot force your rabbit to love you. Unlike other pets, rabbits are prey animals and can be extremely timid and easily frightened. As we are trying to assert, strengthening your bond with a rabbit relies on earning trust. In general, rabbits hate to be picked up off the ground. You will know the difference between the two once you have bonded well. It was just a matter of finding their special treat that will motivate them. Krempels, Dana Ph.D. “Winning Over a Shy Bunny.”, Ramnaraine, Amy. They definitely have preferences and bonding will be easier if you listen to them. The most important way to ensure your rabbit is not afraid of you is to not be scary. My favorite toy for bonding with my rabbit is a ball food dispenser (check it out here). Rabbits are grazers and eat throughout the day. Keep coming back and increase the amount of interaction incrementally. Give Your Rabbit Plenty of Affection: They may not be dogs, but they still love to play. Whenever you are interacting with your rabbit, you want to make sure that they have an escape route. However, sometimes rabbits will be afraid of hands at first and flinch away from any hands that come toward them. Introducing rabbit “strangers” so that they become friends is called ... Not only will your rabbit be happier living in a bonded pair or group, you’ll get so much satisfaction and enjoyment from watching them snuggling together. But as prey animals, rabbits are often scared to interact with new people. You might be tempted to pet your rabbit, which is ok (but see its reaction, don’t do it if your rabbit back away). Teaching your rabbit to not be afraid of hands and petting them is an excellent way to bond with your rabbit. 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