Rabbits are, without a doubt, excellent pets. They are naturally warm-hearted. Since rabbits are endearing creatures, they need a best friend with whom they can share a deep and unbreakable connection. That is why bonding is essential for these little boo bears.
However, because rabbits have a high prey instinct and are territorial by nature, the bonding process is challenging for pet parents. Read the tips below and start getting your rabbit bond with you.
1. Stay Still
Rabbits are social creatures. It is beneficial for them to have a companion with whom they can share beautiful friendships for a lifetime. To have a wonderful and satisfying life, rabbits need to socialize and interact with humans or other rabbits.
Bonding stimulates friendly behavior and a loving relationship with your rabbits. However, while it is delightful and enchanting to cuddle and kiss your bunnies, this is not the usual scenario. You can see your bunnies timid and cower.
So, before having a bond with your rabbits, your rabbit needs to develop trust in you. The first step to bonding your rabbit is staying still and being calm. Let your bunny come to you and never force them to cuddle with you. Remember that bunnies will take some time to warm up with you.
Waiting for your bunny to approach you is an effective way of earning their trust. To do this, start sitting somewhere near your rabbit. By allowing them to come to you of their own volition, they will realize that you are not terrifying. You can use bites and treats to make them sniff and curious about you.
2. Establish a Routine
Since rabbits have a high prey drive, they are reactive to stimulants such as new environments, strangers, and other animals. Any random and unexpected movements will instantly make them wary and alert. To make rabbits feel safe and settle in your house comfortably, it will be helpful if you establish a routine.
A daily schedule will create patterns. At first, you can take them out for a walk at a specific time of the day rather than randomly hanging out with them. Doing this gradually over time will make your bunnies excited and happy in bonding with you.
On top of that, setting a regular eating schedule where you will feed them at the same time every day would help in creating predictability. Plus, a steady feeding time would not make them anxious about the next meal.
3. Teach Your Bunny
Rabbits are incredibly clever and intelligent pets. They can quickly learn new commands and cool tricks. In addition, training your rabbit will make these boo bears develop an unbreakable and long-lasting bond with you.
Teaching your bunny is another way to devote quality time to your rabbit. In addition, training will make your bunnies excited since they know that they will be having fun with you. Further, by using treats as a reward, your bunny will come to like and trust you.
4. Find an Ideal Pair for Your Bunny
Rabbits are naturally sweet and clingy. To make them happy, they need to have a fantastic companion. However, you need to find an excellent match for them to create a wonderful and adorable duo.
The ideal pair would be male and female rabbits that are both spayed or neutered, same-sex rabbits if possible, rabbits having the same size and age, and rabbits who have their dose of vaccines and wormed.
· Provide a Neutral Area
Having a neutral area where two rabbits will bond would be pleasant since, by nature, rabbits have high territorial instincts. So, fur parents should find introductory enclosures different from one rabbit’s territorial space to prevent the risk of aggressive behavior. Neutral areas can include the bathroom, garage, bathtub, and a friend’s house.
· Introduce the Rabbits
Start introducing your rabbits slowly through constant sniffs and scents. A side-by-side space will make this much more manageable. Pet parents should provide a barrier between the areas so the two rabbits can get acquainted at a safe distance. On top of that, a hurdle will still allow them to see and sniff each other.
Owners should supervise the rabbits during introductions. At the onset, the bunnies will have different reactions. If you notice any tensions or fights between them, you need to separate them and try again later.
Although usual nipping and chasing are normal, owners should always check if the interaction turns sour. When this happens, owners should instantly stop them. Bear in mind that the bunnies should not be left unattended during their first exposure.
The process of bonding, called “rabbit dating,” will take time. Owners should be patient and never force the rabbits to go along with each other. The bond is said to be successful once the bunnies can be seen for an hour or two daily without causing any problems. During this time, once the rabbits exhibit positive behaviors, you can leave them safely.
· Maintain the Bond
It is essential to maintain bonded rabbits with each other all the time. Once your bunnies develop a strong bond and wonderful friendship, you should not keep them apart. The separation will be a frightening and traumatic experience for them.
If the situation demands that the other rabbit needs to go for a vet check-up, professionals recommend that you take both of them. Letting them go together will help them feel less stress and anxiety.
5. Reward Your Rabbit
Treats and bites are another powerful way to earn the favor and heart of your bunnies. While rabbits are adaptable and easy to train, positive reinforcement is still necessary. Rewarding them with tasty snacks can make them come and approach you again in the future.
With this, your bunnies will not hesitate and will no longer doubt you. Because of this, pet parents should find treats that their bunny will surely love. Nonetheless, owners should not give the rabbits too many treats to prevent health issues and upset stomachs.
6. Give Space
Rabbits need a vast space to make them feel safer and more comfortable. In general, the ideal size of a rabbit cage should be four times its size. A wide enclosure will give your rabbits sufficient space to wander and roam around. A vast place where they can explore will also make rabbits feel in control.
A bunny always kept and left in a small area will feel bored and restless. Because of this, rabbits also need to spend ample time outdoors, such as in a fenced yard where they can run and exercise freely. A massive area will make them feel less cornered too.
Further, since there will be times that rabbits may feel scared of things such as the smell and sight of predators, it would be better if you provided them with a hideout. They need easy access to hiding platforms where they will feel a sense of warmth and safety.
7. Hold Your Bunny the Right Way
Holding and cuddling your rabbits are tempting because of their fluffiness and cuteness. However, these tiny bunnies are not used to being picked up and smothered endlessly. They may resist and bite to express their dislike.
To pick rabbits the right way, you should hold them up tightly but slowly and gently at the same time. Also, you need to ensure that your hand supports their hindquarters and back. Further, remember to avoid picking up your rabbits on their back since this would be stressful.
8. Play with Your Bunny
Rabbits are active and high-spirited. They need constant physical and mental stimulation where they can expend their energy. If left alone for an extended period, they will become distressed and anxious. Daily interactions and playing sessions with their pet parents can keep them well-rounded and enthusiastic. To better bond with your bunnies, allocate specific time to hang out.
9. Mimic Your Rabbit
To develop a beautiful friendship with your rabbit, you need to be a bunny. Pet parents should take the time to understand the body language of rabbits. Remember that the body language of bunnies is not the same as kittens or puppies. It would be best if you observed first their reactions to new environments.
Pet parents can also communicate to these chubby bunnies by mimicking them and seeing if rabbits get what they are trying to say. Some practical ways can be twitching the nose, shaking the head, and jumping up and down. Doing this would also make the rabbit recognize the voice of their fur parents.
10. Be Quiet
Owners may overlook this tip, but this is still crucial. Rabbits are by nature reactive to stimulants. Erratic movements and noises can quickly make them startled and cause them stress. To avoid this, fur parents should always keep their voice in a quiet and moderate tone. On top of that, avoid sudden and unexpected movements when you are playing and bonding around your bunnies.
Having a pet rabbit is relaxing and fun. These adorable bunnies will fill your home with so much cuteness and love. But rabbits are great pets with complex needs. It will take an enormous responsibility and solid commitment to appropriately take good care of these little boo bears. Are you ready for the challenge?