from hopper home...
Putting your rabbit on his back and watching him seemingly completely relax is often called “trancing” or “hypnotizing” your rabbit. Actually, it is neither one. Is your rabbit in bliss? Not really. The state you have put your rabbit in is part of a bag of instinctual tricks to escape a predator.
Should you “trance” your rabbit? Yes, but with caution. Putting a rabbit in this position makes clipping nails, checking the body and head for abscesses and other problems easy. It is a useful way to restrain the rabbit for a few minutes.
Gather everything you need such as nail clippers, etc. close by before putting the rabbit on its back. Put a towel on your lap and turn the rabbit over. Be gentle! The rabbit will struggle, but this normally doesn’t last long. Be sure the rabbit’s rump is higher than its head. Soon the rabbit will drop its head back and become immobilized. If the feet are shaking, just touch them and they should stop.
Can your rabbit wake-up while tranced? You bet and in a burst of energy just like it would if it were escaping a predator. It can feel like your rabbit just exploded to life in your lap! If I am clipping nails, sometimes I put my forearm gently in front of the rabbit in case he wakes up.Be sure the head stays lower than its hind end, but there are no guarantees.
I work fast when I have a rabbit on its back. Check for any problems with:
Teeth, Ears & Hocks (feet) Then I carefully: Clip nails and clean scent glands located on either side of the anus (just a slit in the fur). Use a moistened cotton swap or cotton ball for this. All this in less than 7 or 8 minutes…10 minutes tops!
I hold the rabbit firmly and gently turn over when finished. Once on the floor my rabbits normally hop away flipping out back legs at me. Mr. Bumble always thumps once at me! Fortunately, I am forgiven quickly. http://www.hopperhome.com/trancing_rabbits.htm