A little background, for the past 3 months-ish they've been living together in a cube condo. When I say together it's that inside the condo there's one smaller sectioned off area that they take turns spending the night in and then there's the rest of the cage. They get along fine in the cage though, they've never tried to bite each other through the bars or anything like that. Occasionally they'll lick each other though. During the day they've taken turns running around the bedroom. We recently had to move and we're currently renting out the basement floor of our friends house so we only have access to a couple rooms.
I've been bonding Abigail & Rorschach for the past 2 weeks since it had been about 3-weeks since Rorschach had been fixed. I started it small, with 15-30min shower dates, since it was going well I had them have 2 bonding sessions a day in there for about a week. It was going great, no fights, lots of grooming and general snuggling. Didn't really get many bunny flops but it's slippery in there and most of the time when one of them would try they'd always be up against the wall (which curves inwards some) and ultimately get right back up because they'd wind up sliding. (Posting some pictures of their shower dates)
Now, because it was going so well, I set up an enclosure in the livingroom (also neutral territory). They'd be in there for hours without any problems at all, grooming each other pretty frequently, snuggling, etc. It's been great for like 5 days of that. And it was going great up until not yesterday, but the night before when we were going to bed, That particular night when I was putting them back in the cage Rorschach managed to get away from me and him and Abigail got into a fight. It didn't last long, but fur was pulled. The next day we took them for a car ride, which went fine. Later on when I went to put them both in the neutral section in the livingroom it didn't take long until Rorschach started lunging at Abigail and trying to nip at her butt, they wound up having a fight again. It also didn't last long, just the 5-10 seconds it took me to walk across the room and get in there. I separated them for the afternoon and then later that night I did a short bonding session in the shower again. It seemed perfectly fine, some grooming occurred and the usual shower date behavior, so I figured maybe I could put them back into the livingroom enclosure again. Now, while they didn't really fight, Rorschach would every now and again charge at Abigail stopping just in front of her. I'd spray him with the water bottle any time he tried it, which seemed to make him a lot angrier but he would stop. Abigail has been really nice, she mostly sits herself in a corner where he can't get at her behind to nip her, and when Rorschach lunges at her she doesn't act on it and just ignores him. I'm starting to feel like she's only being allowed to be in the corner though really. If she goes elsewhere it typically doesn't take him too long (maybe 5-15min) before he winds up nipping at her butt again and chasing her back into the corner. The only reason it hasn't broken out into another fight is because Abigail acts polite about it and doesn't do anything back. This isn't ALL the time though, he'll sit there and mind his own business as well, eat hay, wash himself etc, occasionally he'll sit next to her, and he still gives a couple quick licks now and again.
I don't know what has caused this sudden change in behavior though, and I'm not sure what to do with it. The only thing that changed when the night of the original fight/the next day was I used a new pet cleaner/odor eliminator on both the carpet in their cage as well as in their sectioned off livingroom area the next day. But that was all dry etc by the time they went in there, though I was able to smell it still, so I don't know if it matters, I just figured I'd mention it. Even still I doubt it still smells that way in there now so if I was to speculate that maybe the new cleaner stuff somehow masked her smell to him or something that shouldn't be an issue anymore. Should I start over with the shower dates again? Or should I continue with their livingroom dates and hope he gets over whatever it is that's going on and stops being a grouch? I'd venture a guess and say it seems as if he's trying to show he's boss with the lunges that don't go anywhere but I'm not sure what that means in that case/if that will pass or what.
I figured I'd post on here since there's tons of people here that have done bonding before, and while I know every bonding experience differs I'm sure there's people with similar experiences or insight. I know it's only been 2 weeks of bonding so it's still early, but they were doing so great. I realize it's a process and all, and set-backs are bound to happen, but since I've never done this before I'm not sure what to do now. Any suggestions would be greatly helpful!