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Last Post by tanlover14 at 8/06/2012 2:05 PM (5 Replies)
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User is Offline LaylaRabbit
7 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 7:41 AM

Hey guys! So i got my two bunnies yesterday and they're doing great! One of them, (Flower) is so sweet! She likes being held and stroked. Doesn't give anyone any problems and came right up to us the first day! She gives little bunny kisses and sometimes nips, but everyone loves her! On the other hand, we have Rosie. From the moment i picked her up, i could tell she was feisty! When I try to put her back in the cage, she runs from me. After I finally chase her down and pick her up, shes fine. But when we get closer to the ground she starts kicking and flipping out! I know she probably doesn't trust me yet but do you have any tips for gaining trust? Why does she run from everyone, but purrs when we pet her? Is she just scared since shes in a new environment?

User is Offline LBJ10
Bunny Name Master
Forum Leader
12502 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 8:18 AM
Sounds like she is a pet-only bunny. Some (most) rabbits don't like being held. My Leopold will try kicking his legs when I go to set him down, like he's trying to get a running start away from the crazy lady that is messing with him. You have to be careful so they don't hurt themselves. I suggest not picking Rosie up and only pet her. That way she will learn to trust you and not think you're going to snatch her every time she comes near.

User is Offline bunnyfriend
2372 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 8:24 AM
Hi welcome to BB and congratulations on the new bunnies

I would suggest not picking up your rabbits unless you absolutely have to (like for nail clipping, etc.), most rabbits hate being picking up because they think they're about to be eaten, no matter how much they know and trust their human. Sometimes even though they don't struggle and appear to be enjoying it they are actually very scared. Even though my rabbits know me well and I can pet and cuddle with them when they are on the ground they are fearful when I need to pick them up. If I pick Wilbur up for something she will be cautious sometimes for days, thinking that I'm going to grab her again. Unfortunately rabbits are usually not the kind of pet that you can pick up and cuddle. It also can be very dangerous, it is common that when they struggle they will fall out of your arms or will kick so hard they break their backs. They like to be on the ground where they feel safe 

The best way to bond with your rabbits is to have everything be on their terms. I know this sounds silly, but at first ignore them! Let them run around outside their cage with you sitting on the floor pretending you are not paying attention to them, like reading a book or being on the computer. When your bunnies come up to you don't reach out to them at first, let them get used to you and see that you aren't scary. Eventually you can start petting them again and giving her them treats to associate you with good things (although if they are under 12 weeks it is recommended not feed veggies yet, so pellets might be a good choice). Always have somewhere available like a shelter or their cage for the rabbit to run back into if they want to be alone, if your rabbits run away don't chase after them, they need to know that they can go to a safe place if they want to be left alone for a while. They just got home yesterday so they need to adjust to their new environment, the House Rabbit Society recommends that when bringing a new rabbit home that you allow them a couple days to a week basically to themselves so that not too many scary things are happening at one time. Go very slow with them and they will love you I know it is hard because they are adorable and you just want to cuddle them, but you will have a better relationship with them if you give them time.

Hope this helps!
RIP Tigger          RIP Wilbur           RIP Totoro

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
7322 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 9:43 AM
Generally, bunnies do not like to be picked up. I'm guessing they're babies? Some babies are fine with it and grow up to decide they hate it too. Some do continue to allow it, but that's really not typical. Generally picking them up is the best way to lose their trust, so for trust building definitely work on sitting on the ground with them and letting them approach you. Offer treats (even just pellets) whenever they approach and they'll get comfortable with you in time.

It's ok to practice holding her, since you will need to at some points for nail trims and such, but otherwise try not to pick her up. When you go to put her down, if she starts flailing try to hold her still and as soon as she stops struggling, then put her down. If you put her down when she flails, she'll learn that it's successful and continue to do it. Of course, sometimes they flail so hard that you just can't hang on and have to set them down, but it's best not to get in that situation.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Skipper's Mama
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 11:12 AM
I had trouble herding my Skipper into her cage when it was time for her to go away. So I set up a routine with her that when it's time for her to go back in I give her her daily veggies.

User is Offline tanlover14
3611 posts Send Private Message
8/06/2012 2:05 PM
I definitely agree with everyone else -- pick your buns up as little as possible -- mine absolutely HATE it despite being lovey, cuddly buns. They really hate being picked up but LOVE attention.

I definitely agree with bunnyfriend, let your buns get to know you on their own terms. Just being around them and spending time with them (even if you're doing another activity) will get them to slowly become acquainted with you and let them become comfortable with knowing that you're not going to always try to constantly touch them if they don't want to be. My buns will ignore you sometimes and then as soon as I start reading a book or sit down in their play area with my laptop they are ALL over me and refuse to leave me alone like they know I'm ignoring them... Hahahah.

I would also suggest not chasing the bunny. Figure out a way to get her if you need to pick her up that can happen as quickly as possible. My boyfriend and I had trouble with this with our first bun so we had a tiny fence that we would use to herd him along or so that we could put it around him and pick him up before he even knew what was happening. The best thing for earning trust is limiting their stress to as little as possible. Chasing them around or not being able to get a good quick grip the first time you grab for them can stress them out A LOT and just make them fight you even harder.

Also, welcome to BB!
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