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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When i first got benji ( 9 1/2 weeks old) he didn't mind being picked up and for the first month or so he tolerated it and would let me pick him up to put him on the bed or to put him in the play pen etc.. But now (4 months) he HATES it, he wiggles and kicks, I try to support his back legs as much as possible but he just starts kicking and scratching. I tried putting him in the nook of my arm like the vet does and that worked for a couple days, and now he wont tolerate that either!

Any advice on how to pick up a rabbit and how to get them use to being picked up? I know it's in rabbits nature to like staying on the ground and not like being lifted, but its getting almost impossible to pick him up. (he does love being pet and jumping in my lap on his own terms, so he is friendly, just does not tolerate being picked up!). Help:confused:

thanks!
 

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Unfortunately this is something that's very common and something that leads to a lot of rabbits ending up in shelters or abandoned.

Usually it's just how rabbits are. When they are babies they sometimes tolerate things that they don't enjoy as adults. As they age, their personalities develop more and rabbits in general do not enjoy being picked up. They are a prey species, so in the wild the only time they would be picked up is by a predator. They feel most comfortable with their feet on the ground.

Some people just keep picking them up a lot to get them more use to it. I tend to think that usually that's pretty stressful for them and I've worked with rabbits who have been picked up often for their whole lives and they still hate it each time.

I very very rarely pick up my own rabbits. They don't enjoy it, and I don't usually need to do it, so I don't. If I have to do it for some reason, like to groom them or whatever, I make it as short as possible.

Whenever possible, I interact with them on the floor on their own terms and transport them by means other than picking them up. I can sometimes get them to follow me where I want them to go (especially if I use a treat). I also have a basket that they fit inside, and they'll jump inside the basket for me then I transport them inside that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
people who abandon pets for reasons like that make me so mad! If you are going to have a pet you keep them thru the good and bad, poor things.

The basket is a very good idea for if i need to transport him further places!

Benji will stand at the bed begging to get up but its too high for him so i usually pick him up to put him up with me, but he starts squirming, luckily its not far!

thanks for the info/ tips!

How long did it take for your rabbits to learn their names? Benji hardly even turns an ear when i say his name, i try to use it a lot and practice him coming with a treat, but his name does not seem to be sticking!
 

· Betta Bomb
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Hm, as Dragon said, as Benji grows up he's developing a personality that just does not tolerate what he used to. Acacia hates being picked up, so I only pick her up when I want her on the bed for socializing(mostly Matt's idea), nail clipping and when its time to go outside (harness). Anyway, he's almost old enough to be neutered which might calm him down a bit.. I don't know how it works with males but the removal of sex organs makes females calm at least :D
Bunnies do not like their sides touched, for the most part, its a sensitive spot. So when Benji is standing up and you pick him up like a dog (that's the image I got in your last post) it might just freak him out. I always pick up Acacia from her own sitting position I cover her eyes with one hand and transport her quickly to my chest and support her so she doesn't have a chance to kick out. Covering their eyes makes them motionless bc they won't want to move if they cannot see where they're going! It's helped my shy girl!

As for names. Bunnies may not recognize distinct words but they respond to your voice and body language. (I'm still perplexed as to how clicker trainer gets their bunnies to do hurdles!!:p) When Akina was healthy I had her trained to come when called. I started it with treats but she was a rex and gained weight like a Labrador Retreiver!! lol So once she got used to coming to the other side of the room when I called her I would then just pet her. That was her second vice, coming previously from a home who ignored her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the covering of the eyes tip i will definitely try that! I plan on getting him neutered as soon as he is old enough, so hopefully that will help calm him down a bit. I have tried bringing benji to my chest but he kicks before i can get him safely snuggled, im just scared of freaking him out too much, and never want to hurt him!

I cant imagine clicker training a bunny! Geez most have a lot of time / patience to do that! I guess practice makes perfect for having them come when called!

Thanks!
 

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I have a foster rabbit I can't adopt out for the same reason. I am making some progress, but it is taking a long time. I sit on the floor with him and try to hold him close to the floor. I do my best to hold him stable while he squirms. I don't let him go until he calms down. When I stand up while holding him, I don't put him down until he stops squirming. If I am standing with him, I gently lower to the ground and let him go. If he starts squirming as I am lowering, I stand up again. It is taking forever and I practice with him every day, but I am making some progress. It took 2 weeks to get him to stop biting me. I had to wear an old winter coat to save my arms.
 

· Betta Bomb
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As part of a dominance thing I read once you shouldn't let them jump out of your arms until YOU'RE ready. Bc you are the Big Bunny and they are subordinates. So, Moonchild, what you are doing is correct method! ^^ I would give in though and let bunny go on being bad. I'm a sucker for sad bunny faces :p
 

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Smudge is pretty tolerant of being picked up (I was 8 or 9 years old when I got him, so I was always carrying him around and snuggling him LOL) and he practically melts into a bunny puddle when you carry him, but he hates sitting on my lap for grooming and nails. You can tell he just wants to leap down and run away. I alwasy interact with him on the ground though, I only pick him up if necessary.


Hehe, I clicker trained Smudge a while ago! :p I had wanted to do agility, but he was getting too old. He still remembers his tricks, but I don't ask him to do them anymore. His attention span is practically non-existant. He knows his name, but he ignores me unless I have food for him.
 

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I clicker trained my bunnies too. :) It actually wasn't very hard. It can depend on the rabbit though...one of my rabbits is very shy and not very food motivated so working with him is hard, but I was still able to teach him a few of the easier tricks. My two lops are much friendlier and would do anything for food, so training them was pretty easy.

Personality can really be so different from rabbit to rabbit. My female Berry is so friendly, she actually comes running when I call her and loves to follow me around.

I don't know if I understand why holding them would be considered a dominance thing? It's not like another rabbit could/would pick them up to show dominance. I believe they squirm because being picked up really is a pretty stressful/uncomfortable thing for them.
 

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I think it's just that they would learn that they won't be put down everytime the scratch/squirm, and putting them down when hey are calm is like a reward for their behavior.


Not that I'm saying it's the right or wrong way to "train" them.
 

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You seem to be picking him up the right way. When I first got Kodo he wouldn't let me pick him up so I put him in a corner,sat down with him, and picked him up then put him back down five seconds later. I just repeatedly did that and gave him a small treat everytime he did no bite, kick,etc. Eventually i started taking him on short trips around the house. When they start biting try not to give in, hold on to him unless you are about to drop him. Eventually your bunny will get it.
 

· It's all for them
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Really interesting thread. I don't know much about buns, but this comment by Dragonrain made an impression on me

Usually it's just how rabbits are. When they are babies they sometimes tolerate things that they don't enjoy as adults. As they age, their personalities develop more and rabbits in general do not enjoy being picked up. They are a prey species, so in the wild the only time they would be picked up is by a predator. They feel most comfortable with their feet on the ground.

Some people just keep picking them up a lot to get them more use to it. I tend to think that usually that's pretty stressful for them and I've worked with rabbits who have been picked up often for their whole lives and they still hate it each time.
It does sound to me like it is instinctive for buns to fear being picked up, and trying to train them to get used to it may add more stress than it is worth.

When they need things done to them like nail trims, perhaps allowing them to come to you, by sitting on the floor and holding them in your lap....

When transport or holding is needed, putting them in a basket, so their feet are still touching something solid, and they don't feel a grip holding onto their body might help reduce stress.

My two cents. :)
 

· is a little "special"
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When they need things done to them like nail trims, perhaps allowing them to come to you, by sitting on the floor and holding them in your lap...
It doesn't work to do anything they don't like (meds, nail clippings, ect) on the ground with them. They'll just bite/scratch you and make a run for it, LOL! It works better to sit up on a chair or something and have them in your lap, so they know that they can't get away. Plus, you don't want them to associate hopping into your lap with a bad thing.
 

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Rabbits don't have a concept of pack dominance. They try to jump down because they're scared. This insane dominance crap is leaking from Cesar Milan's uneducated dog choking show. Your rabbit is not trying to be dominant. They don't even have a hierarchical pack structure.
 
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· It's all for them
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It doesn't work to do anything they don't like (meds, nail clippings, ect) on the ground with them. They'll just bite/scratch you and make a run for it, LOL! It works better to sit up on a chair or something and have them in your lap, so they know that they can't get away. Plus, you don't want them to associate hopping into your lap with a bad thing.
Oh yeah, that makes sense. :) So, to prevent the stress of feeling like prey, put the bun in a little basket to transport her/him to your lap? Or, use a shallow type basket and keep the bun in that the whole time you are doing the yucky things?
 

· Betta Bomb
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Woah, nobody mentioned Cesar Milan! And it offends me that you blantantly call my opinion "insane crap"... I never insinuated bunnies have a "pack stucture" because obviously they don't live in packs. Call me "uneducated", because I did mention I read it in a book and never once tried to apply my belief as knowledge. I do know, however, that when bunnies live together they do have somewhat of a pecking order and sometimes try to challenge each other for top bunny. The little skiffs they have? Oh yeah, silly me, I guess I don't really know because I only have 1 bunny. Hmm, and when I did have 2 bunnies they constantly fought and had to be separated at all times because of the hormones of the unspayed bunny. Territorial or not but that's my experience. I believe someone here mentioned having a couple scraps here and there as the bunnies re-establish themselves.

Also, Cesar Milan does not choke dogs to my knowledge. Brad Pattison does. But I have never seen Milan choke a dog. I also don't watch that anyway.

** I apologize if I come off as defensive and rude but I think you could have come about that in a calmer, less ignorant way. Instead of explaining the difference or where I went wrong you just blindly called me out. I do not appreciate it.
 

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Yeah, I thought rabbits do have a bit of a pecking order? If there was no dominance what so ever among rabbits, that why are they so hard to bond?


@Somebody: Yup, a basket would work, but that might be a tad difficult to clip toes in! Smudge doesn't freak out or anything when I pick him up, so I don't do anything specal for him. He always lets me know how much he disaproves of it though, LOL. I get "flicked off" and shivered at. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have no idea but it seems no matter what animal they are all going to have a 'pecking order' per say, some just may not be as obvious and as strong in their nature etc.. Still doesnt help my squirmy bunny tho lol.

Benji just woke up from a bun nap and i picked him up to put him on the bed with me and he let me hold him against my chest without wiggling, guess if i need to pick him up i will do it when he is still sleepy :p But i have been using the basket idea and it has been working very well!

How often do bunnies need toenails clipped?
 
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