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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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how should i dicipline?

We have been having a bit of a bitting problem with Oliver. We are trying to get him used to being handled but he tends to bite whoever is carrying him. Yesterday he bit my wife really hard about 4 times. She let out a screech and said "no" to him like ive read we should do. but he keeps doing it. What should we do? Should we put him in a cage? i dont know. i need help.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 06:43 PM
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Depends on why he is biting. Does he just not like being held? Is he wanting to go back in enclosure? Does he just not like your wife?

You need to understand what he wants. If, for instance, he is wanting back in his enclosure, putting him back there would be rewarding the behavior. He'll learn to bite whenever he wants back.

If he wants to be put down, putting him down when he bites is rewarding that behavior.

I'm not a fan of negative reinforcement, but I would suggest that he get a "time out" when he does it. Maybe put him IMMEDIATELY (so that he associates the biting with the time out) in a travel kennel for five minutes.

In addition, whenever you hold him, have a couple of small treats you can give him when you first pick him up, and then every minute or so (eventually lengthening the time between treats) that he is focused on the positive reward of being held.

Just a couple of suggestions..

Bob



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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 09:28 PM
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Leave him be. He's telling you he doesnt want to be held. I agree that letting him down when he bites is rewarding the behavior if, in fact , that is why he is biting.Maybe your wife doesnt know the proper way to pick up a bunny?
Bunnies dont like to be handled. Hence, why there are so many in shelters.Kids want a pet they can hug and pick up and cuddle: bunny bites kid,bunny winds up in shelter due to "being bad" and seeing as you rescued Oliver you dont know his past. Some well-meaning kid probably made him fearful of being handled. You need to work on making handling a positive thing for him instead of a threatening I'm-gonna-discipline-you-when-you-bite experience.

My bunny Acacia hates being handled but she wont bite.I taught her that when she performs an un-satisfactory behavior(nibbling,chewing carpet,chewing walls,chewing litterbox etc...)and I snap my fingers and say "NO!" at the same time she'll stop and she gets praised. Your voice will be the best way to train Oliver IMO.Treats will make them dependant and fat.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 10:35 PM
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Even bunnies who haven't had bad experiences often times hate being picked up. They are a prey species - in the wild the only time they would be picked up would be if they were in a predators mouth/talons.

I understand that sometimes it's necessary to pick them up, but I don't use negative reinforcement with my rabbits either. In my opinion they really don't respond to it very well.

I don't pick up my bunnies unless I have too (to cut nails, for health check ups, stuff like that). Instead I sit on the floor with them. They will run up to me and hop up on my lap for attention, which I think is just as good if not better than being able to carry them around.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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Yeah normally my time with Holly I'm sitting on the floor. He doesn't often even jump into my lap, but he sits next to me and will put his front feet on my leg so he can poke his head up for treats (small amount of vegetables, I refuse to give him commercial treats) or head scratches. I'm trying to get him to stop chewing on the carpet at the moment by going NO and gently lifting his head up, I might try the fingersnap+NO and praising when he stops because I don't want to resort to spraying him with water. I need to get some cardboard boxes out of the garage to cover up his favourite patches, too...

Luckily it only took five minutes to get him to stop biting, but I'm careful not to pick him up unless I have to, because if it's for longer than a second or two (how long it takes to put him in the cage if he's right next to it) he starts to struggle. Don't want him hurting himself.

The longer I have him the more annoyed I get at people who think rabbits are pets so easy they might as well be objects, sort of like goldfish. Sure he is easier than a dog or cat, but he still takes work!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 02:18 PM
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Like everyone else said, negative punishment is NOT a good way to go when it comes to handling buns... If he hates being handled already, punishing him definatly wont make him feel better about being picked up.
When ever Im going to pick Smudge up, I always pet him and love him first. If you just grab your bun, it could be scaring him. So try letting him know that your his friend and that he can trust you before you pick him up. Smudge always runs right over to me when he sees me now, because he knows he'll get plenty of pats and attention! Sometimes he even follows me around, and "stalks" me LOL!
Oliver just might not like the way he is being held too.Some rabbits are more comfortable in one position that another, and if your rabbit is comfortable in the position your holding him, he'll probably respond better to being held. I know Smudge hates being held some ways, but he LOVES being carried around in this one position thats kinda hard to explain... He falls asleep, and I always have to wake him up because his limp-ness makes him so hard to hold LOL!
Good luck with Oliver!



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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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Checking in again, I have been not pushing with Holly on the handling issue but recently he's been more and more coming up to me for cuddles and earlier today I picked him up to get him out of somewhere and then sat down with him on my lap for about thirty seconds or so and he was totally calm until I went to lower him to the ground again. So hopefully Oliver will calm down with some more patience too.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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My bunny doesn't like to be pick up as well, I guess because I don't always pick him up. He is my first bunny, and at the beginning I don't know how to handle him, so I didn't want to force him. but now he just doesn't like it at all. Like Jess said, I did pet him before I want to pick him up, but as soon as I put put both hand on him, he walk backwards. and look like scared of being handle. as soon as I pick him up, he would try to escape, which he always could, because i don't held him tight. I tried to pick him up and sit on the sofa and put him on my laps, but as soon as I set him down, he fleed. Can someone please tell me what can I do?? I understand that they are not the type of animal like to be handle, but at least I don't want him to escape as soon as I pick him up. Thank-you!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 06:42 PM
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Heres a little tip to get him to stay still- When you are petting him and about him pick him up, put her hand firmly across his ears and shoulders, and your other hand under his ribcage. When you scoop him up, put the hand than was on his shoulders under his feet and hug him really snuggly against you.
Putting your hand across his shoulders should natutally make him be still and calm him down... When a rabbit lays down across another rabbits shoulder like that, its a sign of dominance, and the rabbit thats being laid down on tends to keep still. It acually works pretty well IMO.



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 08:06 PM
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Yup! Well put Jess! I found that really helps picking up Akina since she started hating getting picked up since her last vet visit :O
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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thanks alot everyone for your advice. We have tried different things to get him used to being handled. What seems to work is giving him a treat when i pick him up. if he does bite (which he doesnt do as much anymore) he gets a time out in a cage for 5 minutes. after that, he is really well behaved. he now jumps up on the bed in the mornings when he wants to cuddle. and every night he spends half-hour to 45 min on my lap w his head craddled on my arm while i pet him. He is huge on getting petted. and licking too. although he doesnt do that with my wife. he does the same thing when he jumps on to my bed. so with everyones help, ive got a rabbit that is getting used to being handled and cuddling.

thanks for that
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