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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Holding a rabbit? Am I the only one who is having a hard time trying to hold a rabbit?
Last Post by DutchBunniesFtw at 11/07/2012 11:41 AM (8 Replies)
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User is Offline DutchBunniesFtw
273 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 5:48 AM

I am aware that rabbit's are prey animals, and being off the ground is unnatural and often resembles them being caught by a predator. I've actually researched on rabbits 3 and 1/2 years before I got my rabbit! Because my parent's wouldn't let me get one until earlier this year (January 16) anyyyyway, so before i actually adopted Milo i went to a BUNCH of petco's for weeks to find the rabbit for me (i adopted from a rescue; so yes my rabbit and all the rabbit's i've encountered have been spayed/ neutered) 

At the petco's i would ask to hold the rabbit's i was interested in, most of them were very willing to be picked up and held, which at first i thought was normal BUT some of the rabbits did put up a little struggle and i associated that struggle with aloofness and unfriendliness - which i NOW know is NOT the case. but anyway, so since MOST of the rabbits had no struggle and were able to be picked up within oh the first 3 grabs and i was able to hold them with no trouble, i was very "disappointed" when i got my rabbit. before i got milo, i met up with his foster mom (because he had not gotten neutered yet as he was only 5-6 months old) and i held him and he seemed very willing to be held/ picked up. MAYBE because he was in an unfamiliar place? but the other rabbit's (at petco) probably were there for a couple of weeks and they didnt put up much of a fight and they weren't really "scared"? or didn't seem it anyway cause they werent stiff/ rigid 

so i do clip milo's nails but i have to lure him into his carrier and take him to this table in the dining room and he's kinda scared so he will let me kind of herd him on to the towel so i can put him in a burrito and clip his nails but if he manages to flip over onto his feet he will try to escape and if he doesn't flip over and i am able to clip his nails then i will put him on the table but he will run away? even though he was scared like 5 minutes before when i first put him on the table? and there is NO way i could ever pick him up if he's in his cage/ in my room. if i attempt to pick him up (which i ever rarely do) he will try to run away. he is EXTREMELY sweet and friendly and is in no way scared of me or my dog (he doesnt care about my rabbit) is this normal? are all rabbits like this? i feel like if there is an emergency (fire, burglar, tornado etc) then i wouldn't be able to get my rabbit in time? he will NOT allow let me even TRY to pick him up, he will run away as soon as my hands go around his body and its obvious im not trying to pet him

User is Offline Stickerbunny
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11/07/2012 6:14 AM
Mine would run away if I let them once my hands were on their body, but I do it in one quick motion - pet pet pet... scoop and pull to me. It helps a lot to pet them first so they relax, especially if your bun will kinda sink to the floor when you pet him like my Powder does. They have no time to react. And they are not stiff/rigid, but they are scared to be held. They breath quickly, heart rate increases and their eyes go wide. Stickers can be a bit more of a hassle, since she's against being pet most the time as well, so with her I walk up like I am handing her a treat, she stops to see if I have anything, then I scoop her up into my arms before she figures out the difference. And mine ALWAYS get a craisin after they've been handled, so they don't mind as much at the end, Stickers will even climb further up in my boyfriends arms looking for more craisins.

If you do it slowly with grab hold then try to sneak the pick up, they know whats up and will struggle. Just be sure to support the back / back legs so they can't struggle and hurt themselves and if they fight too much, let go.

User is Offline tanlover14
3611 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 6:53 AM
If you are willing to put in the time, I would suggest clicker training with Milo!

If he doesn't want to be picked up (which he obviously doesn't) don't push the issue by attempting more. This will only stress him out more and the more stressed out he gets about it, the less likely he's ever going to be able to deal with the situation.

With clicker training, you can easily teach him stuff such as getting in the carrier, letting him trim his nails without as big of a fight, and to even climb into your lap for a treat! We actually got our girl into our lap by doing the same thing. None of mine like to be held, but doing things such as this will teach them they get a reward for doing something you want! It's a very effective way to teach your bun good behaviors and even tricks in a non-stressful or frightening way. I think you'll have a lot more success using this. If you're interested, I've done a lot of research on the topic and have used it for one of my buns and his bad litter habits (which by the way, it worked!) and I can give you any advice or beginner training help you need!
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User is Offline tanlover14
3611 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 6:56 AM
Also, you don't necessarily need to buy a clicker. Anything that makes a clicking noise will work. Such as a clicky pen.
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User is Offline DutchBunniesFtw
273 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 8:04 AM
thanks! i always try to do it in a quick swift movement but my rabbit is fast and realizes what im doing before i actually lift him up and sometimes (he missed his litter box) i'll quickly pick him up but i'll do it without thinking cause i dont want him to step in the puddle and he will stay calm but like 3 seconds later i will realize what im doing and then he'll scratch and kick until he's on the ground, which isnt that much of a struggle cause im not holding tightly and he is literally around 4-5 inches off the ground LOL and @tan lover, thanks i have considered clicker training! i have one that i used on my dog before she passed and i will consider that! and thanks for the offer i just might have to accept! he is a great rabbit, i just feel like IN CASE if there is an emergency then i wont be able to get him out, i dont mind the extra struggle when cutting nails as long as i get it done and he is not hurt, frightened maybe but as long as i get the job done!

User is Offline LBJ10
Bunny Name Master
Forum Leader
12493 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 8:46 AM
Bribe bunny with treat.
- Yum yum yum.
Scoop up quickly, pulling them toward you.
- Hey, what the heck are you doing?
Offer another treat.
- Oh, okay, you're giving me another treat.

Seriously though, have you tried having another person help you? One person hold and the other clip?

User is Offline DutchBunniesFtw
273 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 10:29 AM
i have not! but the bunny burrito + trance works quite well when clipping nails! but i doknow that the rabbit is very scared when in a trance!

User is Offline lmais
272 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 11:23 AM
It's normal for them to be scared when tranced, getting stuck like that is a reaction to stress. I get my rabbits nails done at the vet because I'm too scared to hurt her (She will NOT stay put when I try to trance her, and she kicks like crazy). The vet told me if I were to try again to do the nails at home (of course you do need to get a way to pick him up first...) to have someone hold him facing away from them and hold under their bums with your fingers around their feet so that they can't kick as much, and having them firm with their back against the persons stomach/chest prevents them from hurting their back. While the rabbit is like that clip his nails and then offer him a treat.

That may not make as much sense as when my vet explained it to me lol, sorry if it's too confusing to be helpful!

User is Offline DutchBunniesFtw
273 posts Send Private Message
11/07/2012 11:41 AM
thanks it was helpful! thanks for the tips!
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Holding a rabbit? Am I the only one who is having a hard time trying to hold a rabbit?

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