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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2004, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Holding a bunny

I am trying to get my bunny to be more friendly. He lets me do anything to him (petting, touching his feet, ears etc) he just doesnt like being picked up. I guess I can respect that, but Id really like to get him to warm up to me.

My question is, how am I supposed to be holding him? If i hold him in the position that you would burp a baby, he kicks his legs and jumps right off. If I hold him in my arms like cradling a baby then he doesnt move at all and keeps his eyes closed. Is that because he is scared? Or maybe doesnt like it or doesnt like his legs in the air??

Thank you in advance for your response...this is my first bunny so Im not sure if im doing things right.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-12-2004, 11:06 PM
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Many rabbits do not like to be held. I have two bunnies and only one of them lets me hold her, and its only for a brief period of time before she starts kicking. Some people (that are lucky LOL) have bunnies that love it, but most bunnies prefer to stay on the ground. Here is an article from www.rabbit.org Its long but it has a lot of good info. If after working with your bunny, he doesn't enjoy being held, I would cuddle with him while he is on the ground instead. They love being petted and snuggled with without feeling restrained. Hope the article helps!

"Rabbits can resist being lifted and carried in a number of ways. Reacting instinctively to a predator-like grasp, they may run away, hide, struggle. When caught, they may kick, or launch into space. A normally affectionate rabbit may express indignation by wriggling, stamping, or nipping you. All are attempts by the rabbit to retain solid ground and control of his own fate. Knowing your rabbit "hates to be picked up," it is up to you to teach him to accept it. Here are the basics of lifting your rabbit.
Use the environment to your advantage. The easiest starting place is a small area accessible from the top, such as a top-opening carrier or cage, pen, or small room with no hiding places. More difficult is a cage or carrier with a small side-opening door, or a room with furniture bunny can hide under. Rabbits are good at bracing themselves, and some will attack if cornered. If bunny is underneath something, try coaxing him out with food.


A Few Key Steps: 1. In a kneeling position, pet with one hand, while sliding the other hand down bunny's side.
2. With your arm at bunny's side, slide it under his torso, while your (petting) hand moves toward his rump.
3. Support bunny's chest with your hand and his torso with your arm. Lift, while the other (unseen) hand supports the rump.

Tail First

If you must pull bunny out, try the backwards method. Pet bunny firmly. Turn him around so his bottom is facing the door you must get him through. Take his chest in one hand to prevent forward movement, and with the other hand, maneuver his hind end towards you. Once you have his hind feet out, the hard part is over.

The Beginner Lift

Now that bunny is out, it's time to lift him. The following are directions (for right- handed people) if you are uncertain, or having trouble lifting your medium-to-large-sized rabbit.

Start with the rabbit on the floor, say, in the bathroom. Approach him slowly and pet him, leaving your hand on his head to discourage escape. Rabbits feel uneasy, and are most likely to struggle, when they are suspended in the air. So be prepared before you lift. Visualize how you want to hold the rabbit once you have lifted him. For example: the rabbit right side up, nose pointed to the left, left side along your midriff, supported by your right arm. Next, slide the rabbit around while he is still on the ground, until he matches this position, i.e. sideways and pointed left. Is he thinking of leaving? Keep your hand on his head, or gently grasp his shoulders. Do not lift by the scruff. If he runs, don't grab him. Follow him, using babytalk to lighten the moment. Wait until he stops, and start again.

Kneel, and keeping your left hand on his head, bend your torso close to him. Place your right arm along his right side, and put your right hand under his chest. If he accepts this, take your left hand from his head and use it to support his groin. Otherwise, lift using your hand to support the chest, and your arm to support the side and hindquarters. Scoop him to you and hold him firmly there. The key to this method is to position the rabbit within a few inches of you. That way you will shorten the suspended-in-air stage.


4. Once bunny is lifted, hug him securely against you with one arm, supporting his body and the other arm supporting his hindquarters.

Repete, s'il Vous Plait

The more you practice, the more confident you will be, and the more readily your rabbit will accept being lifted. If you repeat the above exercise several times in a row, setting bunny down immediately and rewarding him with a treat, his apprehension will decrease. (A rabbit I set down for the third time, ran back and butted me.)

Whirligigs and Welfare

Don't assume a rabbit in your arms is thinking of his own safety. If he is uncomfortable or impatient, getting dropped may seem the best escape. The trouble is, rabbits are fragile. Their skeletons are light compared to their bodies, and susceptible to trauma from falling, twisting, and kicking. If a rabbit you are lifting or carrying begins to struggle, you must overrule your impulse to let go, and hug the rabbit to you. Use your body as a splint. This will protect the rabbit and keep him from hurting you. It will also teach him his "drop me" strategy will not succeed.

Oh Boy, Freedom

When you are ready to return your rabbit to his area, he may want to hurry up the process and nose dive towards the ground or back of the cage. Prevent injury by squatting before you release him, turning him around, and setting him down facing you. Or cover his eyes with your hand. If he can't see freedom coming, he won't fly into space.

Mix and Match

The principles of lifting and handling your rabbit safely allow for several methods. The method you use will depend on the size and temperament of your rabbit, and what feels (Continued on page 11) (Continued from page 2) right. To expand your experience, volunteer at a foster home or shelter. If a knowledgeable human is available, ask permission or advice before handling a strange rabbit.

Bribes and Burrows

Rabbits are context smart. If bunny is lifted from cage to exercise area, lifting becomes a positive means to an end. On the other hand, if the only time bunny is lifted is when play time is over or he has to go to the vet, bunny may learn to flee. One solution is to reward him for traveling on his own feet. An open door, a nice stack of hay and some fresh veggies in the cage, versus a human determined to track him down and pick him up, is an easy choice for most rabbits. Rabbits can even learn to climb ramps to return to home base. In a similar way, some rabbits prefer to hop in a carrier rather than be handled. Is lifting necessary for the never confined house rabbit? For these independent individuals, lifting drills followed by treats, are the best insurance against the day grooming, travel, or medicating is needed."


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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-15-2004, 02:38 AM
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ok the reason why he closes his eyes and just stays still when he is on his back is because he is in a sort of hypnotic state....they really like it!! In the past I have been able to get my bunny's to lie on the floor in this state by themselves...they will lie there for the ages until their body moves a little and then they quickly flip around. He probably jumps straight off when you hold him the other way cause he can and he is probably a bit scared. Just work on getting him to trust you...so start holding him like that closer to the ground. I have two bunnies as well as Veggiegirl....both of my girls will let me hold them for as long as I need to....they enjoy a good snuggle too but on the days when they just don't want it I don't force them....that way when they are being forced to it's for a reason (like they are going to the vets) and they calm down again pretty quickly. Just make sure you support his back and always give his back legs something to hold on to (press your hand on them)...that way he can't kick out, flip and break his back.
www.rabbit.org is great for information....and what they say about handling is true.....but I think it's imprortant to get your rabbit to at least tolerate it for trips to the vet etc.
Good luck and keep us updated!!!

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-15-2004, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSbunny
Veggiegirl....both of my girls will let me hold them for as long as I need to....they enjoy a good snuggle too but on the days when they just don't want it I don't force them...
Carmen, I know that you have little snuggle bunnies (and I'm jealous!) Neither of mine like it no matter how much I work with them. They are very spirited bunnies, plus they came from shelters so who knows what their lives were like before I adopted them. A lot of bunnies don't like it, and the A.S.P.C.A. even had a brochure with rabbit myths, and one of the myths was that all bunnies like to be held. I guess it really depends on the rabbit's personality and how they were raised. Some bunnies may never learn to like it. I totally agree that its important to at least be able to lift them for vet trips and things like that.


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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2004, 12:57 AM
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two of my bunnies hate to be held. I can rarily even catch the one. my third is more receptive, though, and lets me cuddle him (for short periods of time). I used to have a bunny that would snuggle on my lap and lick my fingers. He was a dwarf-- I was very attached to him but lost him, unfortunately.


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2004, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggiegirl
A lot of bunnies don't like it, and the A.S.P.C.A. even had a brochure with rabbit myths, and one of the myths was that all bunnies like to be held.
I saw that brochure, or one like it. Someone had taken it and pinned it up on the community bulletin board that's outside of the local market. They did this around Easter (just before) I think in hopes of discouraging impulse bunny-buying, which happens sooo often around Easter.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 12:58 PM
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One girl at my school got a rabbit for easter, a baby one. After it grew up and resisted being held and cuddled, she made her parents take care of it, and they brought it to the pound. It's so terrible how people can just do that!

On a happier note, both of my bunnies love me to death, but will not tolerate being held. Charlie sometimes can stand it, but only for a short period of time. Caesar will do anything to get out of your arms, so I've given up on training him. Too much bunnytude!

Don't be too upset if your bunnies don't like being held, it's the way they are. And those of you that have bunnies that love being held, I'm so jealous!
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Ive been working with my bunny for a little while each day. I take him out and hold him just before recreation time, that way its a bit of a reward. He has been letting me hold him like a baby for about a minute as long as Im sitting on the floor. Thats about it, he wont let me hold him again after he gets away. He is still pretty young (about 10 months old) so I am hoping that working with him everyday will maybe make him more handlable, thats what the vet said to do as well. Has anyone here been able to get their bunny to warm up to being held? Or do they just have to be like that from the start?
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 01:16 PM
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It depends on personality, like a lot of people said, bunnies sometimes just plain don't like being held. I think that if you keep up your training it will get better and better, I mean he's letting you hold him for a minute. That's really good. Letting him know holding him will be rewarded also makes things easier. With patience and consistent training I think you'll get far!
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 02:19 PM
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I agree with Millimi. It depends on the bunny. Thats great that he lets you hold him like a baby! I wish mine would do that. I'd be torn to shreds if I tried it!


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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 04:37 PM
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cheetara I have a rabbit that used to be dropped by children when they held her so she absolutely hated being held!!! After having her for a month I could walk around the house with her. somedays she only lets me hold her for a couple of minutes but other days she will let me do it for ages and then thump at me for putting her down!! I may just be lucky but IMO you can get any rabbit (unless they have had severe trauma in their life...Veggiegirls rabbits are rescues so that is a different story) to hold you...you just need patience and a good training technique. If you run a search through the rabbit forum and look at other posts about holding rabbits you'll find what I do to get them used to it. Also try it in the middle of the day...not early morning or late night.....if you do it when they are a bit sleepy it's easier to gain their confidence cause they aren't as skittish.
A lot of people believe that you can't get rabbits to enjoy being held.....what the others are saying is not wrong, I've just never experienced it so I don't believe it....I think I'm the minority though!! Hopefully you can get your rabbit to like being held and then you join my club!

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Im just going to keep holding him every day. I think that sooner or later he will come around because he has a great temperment. He never gets aggressive, he lets me pet him forever and the only thing he gets mad about (stomping) is after i hold him. Im going to do what you said and search for what others have done and get suggestions on training techniques. Thanks!
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 05:45 PM
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No prob!!!

It's great that you're going to keep trying and not give up. You've come so far already and will surely go even further!
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 05:53 PM
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Here's a link for you

http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/showt...holding+rabbit

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 08:12 PM
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Here's some more info LOL. Your bunny sounds promising-you might be able to work with him and join Carmen's group! I have never met a bunny that liked to be held, but I know that they are out there. I've seen lots of pics of them on their backs and its sooo cute! (although I still think they are the minority ) Keep us updated!

"Keeping Company With Rabbits

Are rabbits soft and fuzzy? Most definitely. Are rabbits as cuddly as they look? Not necessarily. Is a rabbit more like a cat or a dog? Neither. A rabbit is like a rabbit.

Are you expecting your rabbit to come running when called? They seldom do. However, having a carrot in hand may help. I have learned to call my rabbits out from under the bed about 10 minutes before I need them. They seem to show up "on time" this way.

Are you expecting your rabbit to curl up on your lap and sit with you? He probably won't. He may nudge your leg while you sit on the couch, expecting you to move over or pet him. Perhaps he will jump up and sit with you, allow you to pet him, and then scamper off just moments later.

Do you want to hold your bunny for hours? Well, most don't want to be held for hours. Most prefer you to be on the floor and meet them on their level. The floor is where your rabbit will allow you to snuggle with him and show your affections. This is where he is most comfortable.

The first rule in communicating with a rabbit is to get down on the floor. The second rule is also to get down on the floor. Rabbits need to be approached at their level–the floor. Spend time getting to know him where he is comfortable. If he seems to avoid you at first, spend time just sitting quietly on the floor, not approaching him, not trying to pick him up. Rabbits are naturally wary, but also naturally curious. Eventually curiosity will win out and your rabbit will come over to investigate you.

Try snuggling close, face to face. When he feels comfortable with you, he may allow you to pick him up. Do not rush this introduction. Remember, a rabbit is an animal of prey, and it may take time for him to gain trust in you. The first time he nudges you or grooms you, the process of trust has begun and a special honor has been bestowed upon you: He is communicating with you as he would communicate with a fellow rabbit.

As with any animal, or humans for that matter, each has his or her own personality. Some are active and crave attention. Some are shy or aloof. If a rabbit is shy, you need to make the effort to interact with him. Although shy rabbits may become more sociable with time, do not expect a different personality. This seemingly reserved behavior is actually more common and "rabbit-like" than the interactive rabbit of folklore who plays with the children.

Most important, love your rabbit. Whoever he or she is, whatever the color, markings, direction of ears, habits or personality, all are of value and deserve our love and companionship. Each will enrich your life in his or her own special way."

Article from:http://www.rabbit.org/chapters/san-d...n/company.html


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