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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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I'm traumatized.

So I've been spending the better part of the evening conducting youtube research. I find youtube videos to be pretty helpful when it comes to rabbit care. For example, I learned that you can actually pretty much fix stained feet simply by changing the litter more often (seems obvious to me now, but I wasn't thinking about it before!)

I just got my paycheck, so I'm planning on getting some things for Linus including wood pellets to use as his bedding, feline pine for his litter, and a few toys and things from binkybunny.com -- I'm going to be (gradually) switching over his food soon, so I need to look into that too (of course, after his vet appointment Monday).

Anyway, onto the real point of this post -- I think I have BHSD -- Bunny Handling Stress Disorder.

I know it's important to pick up your bun at least once a month to do a quick health check, check teeth, and trim nails, but I am beyond traumatized by the horror stories I've heard about squirming bunnies, broken backs, and emergency trips to the vet ending in that horrible phrase, "we had to put him down."

I've picked Linus up a few times, but obviously, he hates it, and he usually manages to squirm away before I can even get him secure. I know how to pick him up properly (front end first, then immediately supporting the back end, and hold firmly to chest), but I'm just so frightened of something going wrong -- which I know probably doesn't help anything at all.

How have you guys handled this? Please tell me it gets way easier, or at least less scary? Also -- I've heard of people routinely picking up their rabbits in order to get them used to being handled... recommended or not?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 11:24 PM
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Linus is still pretty young, right? From my experience at least, they do get better about tolerating it, the older they get and the more they are handled. Smudge doesn't enjoy being picked up or set down, but he doesn't mind being carried around.
To keep him calm while you pick him up, firmly cover his eyes with one hand while you are lifting him. A dominant rabbit will lie over the face of a submissive rabbit, so covering his face with your hand will encourage him not to put up a fuss.



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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 #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Linus is still pretty young, right? From my experience at least, they do get better about tolerating it, the older they get and the more they are handled. Smudge doesn't enjoy being picked up or set down, but he doesn't mind being carried around.
To keep him calm while you pick him up, firmly cover his eyes with one hand while you are lifting him. A dominant rabbit will lie over the face of a submissive rabbit, so covering his face with your hand will encourage him not to put up a fuss.
Yeah, he's only 4 months old. I'll definitely try covering his eyes next time!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 08:03 AM
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Jack and Millie are a year old now, both spayed and neutered (HUGE difference in temperament now--Millie doesn't growl at me anymore!!)...anyway-to start off getting used to picking up your bunn (and to get him used to it) sit on the floor and pick him up--i started with making them let me pet them for a min (give a treat as they run away and then gradually pick them up and set them on your lap (on the floor--so if they squirm no biggie) and pet them--give a treat...If you are scared-and he doesn't just jump right on top of you (maybe he will!) then I would def. just start with grooming sessions on the floor (like another bunn would treat him (though the special treat you give him during these grooming sessions may having him doing another trick--begging!!) If you read up on the way a rabbits eyes 'work' it will help you understand better why they fidget and freak out when you lift them (it isn't bc he doesn't love ya!)
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 01:40 PM
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I felt like this when I first got Speckle, and when I adopted Simon it sorta came back, but it isn't as bad as they make it out to be, my buns both dislike being picked up, but Simon is better at being held, Speckle really dislikes it and she often scratches me, Speckle is really really bad at being held, I can't even cut her nails, poor girl is walking with huge nails she's just way too wild and I'm scared if I try and she bites me I'm gonna drop her. I still haven't figured out how to work with her. Accidents can happen, as with anything else in life, but you just need to be comfortable with what you're doing. If Speckle doesn't wanna be held she doesn't need to be as long as she can come when called and sit still and let me do what I need to do, which is why I'm really going to try and do the clicker training stuff.

good luck!


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jovie View Post
I felt like this when I first got Speckle, and when I adopted Simon it sorta came back, but it isn't as bad as they make it out to be, my buns both dislike being picked up, but Simon is better at being held, Speckle really dislikes it and she often scratches me, Speckle is really really bad at being held, I can't even cut her nails, poor girl is walking with huge nails she's just way too wild and I'm scared if I try and she bites me I'm gonna drop her. I still haven't figured out how to work with her. Accidents can happen, as with anything else in life, but you just need to be comfortable with what you're doing. If Speckle doesn't wanna be held she doesn't need to be as long as she can come when called and sit still and let me do what I need to do, which is why I'm really going to try and do the clicker training stuff.

good luck!
Thanks! In my internet research, I came across this video. I think it might help you (and me too if I never get the hang of this picking up Linus thing!) if you haven't seen it already. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEFrHZbw6tQ

It seems like she doesn't even have a clicker either, she just makes the sound with her tongue, but it seems to work!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 02:15 PM
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It's normal to be nervous about what you've read... Bunnies are fragile but they're actually somewhat hardy in handling. As long as you support their bum and legs (to prevent kicking) and as Jess mentioned cover the eyes of the submissive bunny (trust me, when you cover their eyes they freeze bc they don't know where they're going). These should help. But most importantly, and I didn't see it mentioned, is to try to assert yourself. Try you'r best to not be nervous. I know it's easier said than done but if you're tense and nervous you cannot consciously judge your movements and these uncertain movements freak bunnies out. Take a few deep breaths and imagine it's an infant. If that helps
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 02:49 PM
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I agree with Puple-Hoops, confidence is key, the other day I picked up Simon and accidently gave him a litte bump on the head, it wasn't too bad though, he was fine. lol


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 11:57 PM
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another thing you can do is sit on the floor and scoop instead of trying to hold while standing, then if they do jump out of your hands they have a food instead of 3-4 feet fall.

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