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View Full Version : Handling a reluctant bunny - update, he bit me!



susie bun
03-04-2011, 05:37 PM
Not expecting a magic answer (I've tried everything) but need let off steam about this. :evil: Spenser will not be picked up, and his vet says I should persever so that I can check his back end, especially in the summer. Plumbs or no plumbs, Spenser considers this region none of my business.:no: Now he is not even keen on me stroking him. I know he's only been neutered just over a week, but I wasn't expecting him to get more nervy and easily upset. His eating is also worse rather than better. :roll:

Sky-O
03-04-2011, 05:42 PM
I think its natural that he will be worse at the moment. The person he trusted took him somewhere strange and scary, and left him there. When he was there they did horrible things and it hurt him. Then he had to go back there at least once (maybe twice?) more since then.

You need to win back his trust to start with. That said, it is important not to let that get in the way of handling him. Its important to be calm and positive about whatever you're doing. Don't be 'on a mission' and its really important not to be anxious about picking him up. Yes, easier said than done, but it is important. Your mindset is the most important thing when it comes to picking him up.

With regards to his eating, does his eating vary with stress levels? (either his or yours)? They will have manhandled his mouth about to check his teeth, any chance he is in pain? I knwo change of routine affects him, so could that also be causing it?

yvette
03-04-2011, 05:44 PM
If you are sat on the floor,does he come over to you???
This was a big thing with me and Mrs when I got her.

funnybunnyabc
03-04-2011, 05:48 PM
I feel your pain now...:roll:
Sox used to be fairly easy to handle though! :evil: he's suddenly went hormonal and wants nowt to do with me :( (I'm getting him neuterd, but there's far too much going on just now to bother mum and dad just now :() But with Spenser, I'm sure hell calm down soon :D just persevere as Sky-O says, win back his trust :D sit on the floor and put food on your legs, lie down and let him jump all over you , and give him lots of treats and stuff he likes :)

susie bun
03-04-2011, 05:51 PM
If you are sat on the floor,does he come over to you???
This was a big thing with me and Mrs when I got her.

Absolutely not - unless I happen to be sitting/standing in the way of something he wants. And Sky-O, Spenser's teeth weren't poked and prodded - they just xrayed his skull while he was under (as far as I know). He has actually been back three times, once for metacam, once for a POC and lastly for me to discuss his xray with his own vet (who didn't do the op) and have his wound checked (as I am unable to do it).

yvette
03-04-2011, 05:54 PM
Absolutely not - unless I happen to be sitting/standing in the way of something he wants. And Sky-O, Spenser's teeth weren't poked and prodded - they just xrayed his skull while he was under (as far as I know). He has actually been back three times, once for metacam, once for a POC and lastly for me to discuss his xray with his own vet (who didn't do the op) and have his wound checked (as I am unable to do it).

Why dont you try what Funnybunnyabc and I suggest?? It will take time.
He has trust issues, but it will all come back.Sit on the floor with noms....or read quietly.He will soon come fore a poke about.Bunnies are curious....

susie bun
03-04-2011, 06:00 PM
Don't like to keep being negative, but he won't come for treats. He will only eat them if I go away, or he will rush away to the most inaccessible corner of the room or hutch to enjoy it in peace. He is curious though, and enjoys exploring the two rooms in the house where he is allowed when I bring him indoors ... better go and see what he is up to, he's developed an alarming interest in windowsills.

Roseberry
03-04-2011, 06:06 PM
Flopsy took at least a month to be calmer when being picked up and stroked after he was neutered so, he is my first bun I have had done, but based on that I would be patient and see how he is in a few weeks. He is generally much better, hasnt weed on me on tried to chew my clothes at all since I had him done :D

How about giving him his food (whatever he likes best, I know he is fussy) after you have had a long session of contact: handling if you can or at least stroking. If it works he should associate being handled with getting fed. This is a method I used to get mine used to being handled and taken out of the hutch, now they sit by the food bowl whenever they go back in! having said that I didnt have any major problems they were relatively good in the first place.

Babsie
03-04-2011, 06:06 PM
Don't like to keep being negative, but he won't come for treats. He will only eat them if I go away, or he will rush away to the most inaccessible corner of the room or hutch to enjoy it in peace. He is curious though, and enjoys exploring the two rooms in the house where he is allowed when I bring him indoors ... better go and see what he is up to, he's developed an alarming interest in windowsills.

So he normally lives outside in a hutch and run does he? How do you manage to bring him in?

susie bun
03-04-2011, 06:09 PM
So he normally lives outside in a hutch and run does he? How do you manage to bring him in?

In his carrier! He doesn't mind travelling about in as he got so used to it last summer when I had a broken arm. His run was not attached to the hutch then, so he had to go in the carrier to get to it. It also means he doesn't associate his carrier with going to the vets, but to somewhere he will have more space, stimulation and company.

*lily*
03-04-2011, 06:11 PM
What exactly does he do when you try and pick him up? Struggle, kick?

susie bun
03-04-2011, 06:15 PM
What exactly does he do when you try and pick him up? Struggle, kick?

Wriggles and shakes himself frantically, then kicks his feet vigorously as he runs away. Even the vet (not his usual one) couldn't handle him to check his wound when I picked him up after neuter. That's how bad he is.

dizzyg
03-04-2011, 06:17 PM
Eddie HATED being handled. We didn't mind really, and largely left him to his own garden-destroying devices as, well, he was a bunny and knew it. :? Some buns just don't like people. Spenser reminds me a bit of him!

We used to just pick him up (no mean feat! gloves often needed!), wrap him up tightly in a towel and put him on the table. One person would hold him tight, stroke his nose etc, while the other lifted his bum up and had a good look. Whole process could be over and done with in 10 minutes. He hated it, so afterwards he'd get a snack and then be put out for a bit more of a run so he could feel ok again.

Spenser sounds like Eddie in that he likes his own space. I'd advise trying to hold him tightly to make him feel more secure, and maybe in one of his blankets (burrito style!) Remember that being firm with holding him isn't being cruel, it's helping him more as he'll feel safer. Try not to worry too much about the whole trust thing when trying to look at his bum, it's just a necessary evil sadly. If it helps put your mind at rest, you could always plant a load of fly-repelling plants in pots and put them around his hutch.

Sorry, I'm not sure whether that helped or not, but I wanted you to know that I've 'been there' with a reluctant bun and it's ok, you just need to be firm and in control of him.

xxx:wave:

dizzyg
03-04-2011, 06:19 PM
Wriggles and shakes himself frantically, then kicks his feet vigorously as he runs away. Even the vet (not his usual one) couldn't handle him to check his wound when I picked him up after neuter. That's how bad he is.

Eddie did this. Firm hands. You need very firm hands. Try not to panic. One hand on his back, then quickly sweep up under the bum. Once you have him, keep the hand firm. And wear a high necked, thicker top if you can so he can grip without slicing you. xxx

kayleighjennifer
03-04-2011, 06:24 PM
Charlie was the same when I got him and I have the scars to prove it, when he got ill with snuffles I was worried I wouldn't be able to pick him up for his meds.


I found if you go in, pick him up first time and be firm he will not struggle and not kick out. I always tuck his head straight under my armpit it keeps him calm and stops him from getting stressed, good luck with picking spencer up:wave:

Babsie
03-04-2011, 06:24 PM
Eddie did this. Firm hands. You need very firm hands. Try not to panic. One hand on his back, then quickly sweep up under the bum. Once you have him, keep the hand firm. And wear a high necked, thicker top if you can so he can grip without slicing you. xxx

Yes, they like to feel secure, so after doing the sweeping under the bum bit, I think the secret is to then hold them firmly against your chest.

Babsie
03-04-2011, 06:25 PM
Charlie was the same when I got him and I have the scars to prove it, when he got ill with snuffles I was worried I wouldn't be able to pick him up for his meds.


I found if you go in, pick him up first time and be firm he will not struggle and not kick out. I always tuck his head straight under my armpit it keeps him calm and stops him from getting stressed, good luck with picking spencer up:wave:

Forgot about the armpit - yes, I find this helps.

Sky-O
03-04-2011, 06:26 PM
Wriggles and shakes himself frantically, then kicks his feet vigorously as he runs away. Even the vet (not his usual one) couldn't handle him to check his wound when I picked him up after neuter. That's how bad he is.

I have a few like this. The feet flicking is digust, but, having seen complete terror at being handled, its not the same. If he was scared, I would expect him to leg it, or to slink away, no feet flicking. Which implies he just doesn't like it, as opposed to being scared of it.

We all have to deal with things in life we don't like, including rabbits (vaccinations, operations, nail clipping, medications, etc), for their own benefit.

Approach him low, and slowly. Slip a hand over his eyes, and then scoop him up from there. Once you have him he will likely flail, so I have one hand over their eyes and the other under the front end (two fingers in between his front paws), and, making sure I'm sitting down, support his back end with my stomach/thighs and where I 'bend' to sit (how weird does that make me sound), i.e. so bunny is facing outwards. When they are calm, and I am calm, I then try to do whatever I'm trying to, but if they wriggle, they go back to this position.

Sometimes it can also work (provided they are not a biter), holding their bum in one hand, having them facing sideways across you, and having their head under the crook of the arm that is holding their bum- you then have a free hand to help steady him and do whatever needs to be done.

I would suggest ensuring his eyes are covered.

Liz47
03-04-2011, 07:02 PM
He will be wary after his neuter about being handled. Beano struggles, kicks, bites, scratches, does everything she can to get me to put her down. She can tell when I'm going to pick her up to do a bottom check so will run away but I try to give her something like a treat to eat then pick her up after she's finished or pick her up whilst she's not expecting it then she won't run away. When I've got her I hold her firmly (obviously not tight) and keep her still until she stops struggling so I can check her bottom. Wear long sleeves/a hoody if he scrathches. I don't really know what to suggest as I avoiding picking Beano up when she was at her worst before her spay as it was so difficult xx

susie bun
03-04-2011, 07:06 PM
Perhaps I should leave him be for another week or so? :? He certainly thinks so, and has settled down into a fur-puddle under the couch to be sure he is totally out of reach.:roll:

Sky-O
03-04-2011, 07:10 PM
Maybe its time for you to take a bit more control, such as by blocking off those hard to reach areas, and maybe by restricting his space whilst he is inside so that he has to 'deal' with you which will hopefully help him start to feel more at ease when he's around you and you don't do anything he perceives as bad.

mini lop1
03-04-2011, 07:12 PM
my first mini lop mitzi was neutered because he got agressive with hormones raging, when i had him neutered, week later i went away and he stayed with my nan, when i came home it would of been 3weeks after the op, he seemed worse with me and went for me worse then ever :oops::shock: but one week after that, making it a month after his op, he calmed down soo much and he never bit again, he lay bu my side, he came indoors to play, he got a friend to live with :)

give spenser some time, im sure in few weeks he'll settle more, especially being a housebun :love:

susie bun
03-04-2011, 07:13 PM
Maybe its time for you to take a bit more control, such as by blocking off those hard to reach areas, and maybe by restricting his space whilst he is inside so that he has to 'deal' with you which will hopefully help him start to feel more at ease when he's around you and you don't do anything he perceives as bad.

That's a good idea. :) I actually do that to get him in his carrier after time in the conservatory. It used to take me hours to catch him, but normally I can do it in a few minutes. I wonder if putting him in his crate would help. The crate is still up in my bedroom from his post-neuter recovery. He likes it in there, and plays much more with toys etc when he is there.

Sky-O
03-04-2011, 07:18 PM
That's a good idea. :) I actually do that to get him in his carrier after time in the conservatory. It used to take me hours to catch him, but normally I can do it in a few minutes. I wonder if putting him in his crate would help. The crate is still up in my bedroom from his post-neuter recovery. He likes it in there, and plays much more with toys etc when he is there.

Maybe, if you can at some point, buy a puppy pen and then you can sit in it with him. When you do that, completely ignore him and let him explore you and the space.

BinkyBun
03-04-2011, 07:20 PM
I'm sure I read somewhere that the hormones can take another two weeks to subside after the op. Some buns don't like being picked up and fussed too much but this can change with time. Pick him up firmly and hold against your chest. If he struggles cover his eyes with your other hand. He should stop struggling then. Just wait a bit and then get on with whatever needs doing.

Another way of getting him to relax more is to adopt a very loving soft bunny. A frenchie would be perfect as they are super laid back anyway. I noticed when I adopted my girls they were keen to interact with me but were nervous about too much fussing. But when they saw me fussing Darcy so much and him licking me their little faces were like "oh" and then they liked fussing too. They even got jealous of who was getting fussed first.:roll::lol::love:

susie bun
03-04-2011, 07:40 PM
He's in the crate now, busily rearranging eveything to his liking. I will give hima while to settle then have another go at picking him up.

Liz47
03-04-2011, 07:46 PM
Let us know how you get on :wave: x

beccimarie
03-04-2011, 07:50 PM
hope you get on well :) its difficult as spenser is not food orinentated so he will not come if you had food or a reward so i do know how difficult its going to be :( remeber he has only just been neutered, takes a few months for the hormones to go ;) x

Snowberry
03-04-2011, 07:55 PM
Bungle doesnt like being handled but he doesnt get a choice. We get him backed into a corner and then grab! He needs daily grooming which he hates but its important.

angieb
03-04-2011, 07:57 PM
my 2 hate me going near them. they much prefer to be left alone......they are both having a huge malt at the moment and every evening when i feed them i am trying to get some fur from them and they HATE me for it!!! even tho they are eating it doesnt take there mind from it.
Gizzy wasnt too bad when i got him but i think now he is copying bunny as she is a little madam and they dont want me near them. :roll:
i feel for you.....

Fluffers
03-04-2011, 08:03 PM
He's in the crate now, busily rearranging eveything to his liking. I will give hima while to settle then have another go at picking him up.

My advice:

Remember to sit or kneel next to him when you try this (so he is only a foot off the ground maximum). Get inside the crate with him if you can!!

Give him lots of head/nose rubs first and talk to him. Be calm but firm & confident. Wear long sleeves & gloves to ensure you don't get scratched. Hold him for a few seconds and then gently/slowly put him back on the floor and fuss him again. Try to avoid sudden movements. Continue with this and gradually increase how long you hold him for :D

Be patient & persevere ;)

Good luck :wave:

susie bun
03-04-2011, 08:33 PM
Update 8.30pm. He bit me. :(:shock: I fussed him before and after, and gave him a crunchie (which he refused). I seem to be seriously out of favour. Perhaps it is just too soon after his neuter.

Sky-O
03-04-2011, 08:37 PM
Update 8.30pm. He bit me. :(:shock: I fussed him before and after, and gave him a crunchie (which he refused). I seem to be seriously out of favour. Perhaps it is just too soon after his neuter.

He's just telling you he didn't like it. Its nothing personal, and we know he doesn't like it. Its sensible to wear thick clothing and gloves, if he is going to bite. He needs to learn it doesn't give him the response he wants.

I think you're looking too much into the fact he has been neutered. Yes, its unsettling, and yes you need to win back his trust and kiss some serious bunny butt because you got his balls removes, but its not a huge deal. A neuter is not going to miraculously change his personality, just his hormones (which you said he had none anyway) will just die away, gradually, over time.

You either have to persevere with what you're doing, or decide that right now he is not going to be a handled bunny and whatever decision you make, you can reassess and change your mind in the future.

shadow05
03-04-2011, 08:39 PM
Not expecting a magic answer (I've tried everything) but need let off steam about this. :evil: Spenser will not be picked up, and his vet says I should persever so that I can check his back end, especially in the summer. Plumbs or no plumbs, Spenser considers this region none of my business.:no: Now he is not even keen on me stroking him. I know he's only been neutered just over a week, but I wasn't expecting him to get more nervy and easily upset. His eating is also worse rather than better. :roll:

i know how u feel i went throught this with scooter and i could not see his stichs at all and i was getting worried. no matter i did i could not get a look. the only thing i could do was leave him alone because if i struggled with him it could open his stichs, so i decided not to take the risk and just keep a good eye on him check for blood in his cage and if i saw any to take him straight to vets to be sure.

i love taking scooter to vets feel sorry for him but its only time i get a cuddle off of him lol

Liz47
03-04-2011, 09:09 PM
I don't know what to suggest really but Spenser didn't mean to bite you to hurt your feelings, just to let you know he didn't like what you were doing. Hopefully either he will get used to handling or put up with it/you can learn to do it quickly and get it over with when it's nessecary xx

susie bun
03-04-2011, 09:10 PM
Well he has just accept a long head-stroking session, then I held an apple stick for him to chew, so I am back in favour. He even did a flop in his crate. When I said before Spenser wasn't hormonal I meant he did do feet-circling, humping or spraying - I went ahead with the neuter partly because he needed an xray so was getting GA anyway, and also becuase it's supposed to make them more relaxed. I'll try again in a couple of days.

Fluffers
03-04-2011, 09:20 PM
Update 8.30pm. He bit me. :(:shock: I fussed him before and after, and gave him a crunchie (which he refused). I seem to be seriously out of favour. Perhaps it is just too soon after his neuter.

:no: Naughty Lord Spenser :roll:

I think if you really wanted to go down the route of handling him more then maybe try after he's had a good hop around and used up some energy but is looking quite relaxed?

He just needs to learn that being handled isn't going to hurt him. This could take some time, several weeks possibly. There is also the chance that he may not improve at all and you should be prepared for this.

If you're going to attempt it though then consistency & repetition is important, as is patience and confidence. Keeping a diary might help to keep track of progress.

ETA: bear in mind that his hormones are probably all over the place right now and it could take 6 weeks before you notice a difference in him :)

Snowberry
03-04-2011, 09:22 PM
Bungle is a biter too! He will run up to our feet, bite and then run off! If I put my hand near his face he lunges at you and will growl if he isn't happy! He is just a grumpy bum!

Gemmapookie
03-04-2011, 09:26 PM
Aww dont feel dispondant hun :(

Only a week after his spay he's probably feeling vulnerable and unsettled. Id give it a few more weeks before trying to get him accostomed to handling again as it sounds like you're going to need him to be in good spirits!

Good luck :wave:

BB Mommy
03-04-2011, 09:42 PM
I have a few buns like this, and they would wriggle out of their skin to get away if they could.

Jacinta is particularly bad - she doesn't even like being touched, and she even mamaged to bite Louise when she had to go back to the rescue for her vaccine:oops:.

For those buns that aren't keen, I keep handling to the minimum. But when I need to bum check, nail clip or groom, I just get it done quickly and hold them firmly so they know we're not messing about.

I think you need to give the rabbit a feeling that you're handling confidently (not hesitantly), and make sure you have them so that they cannot flail about or kick about, as they can damage themselves in the process.

As he's just been neutered he may still be a bit uncomfortable, so I'd give it a bit longer before you start to handle him, and use the time to just sit and let him come to you, or simply get used to you being about.

beccimarie
03-04-2011, 09:43 PM
Update 8.30pm. He bit me. :(:shock: I fussed him before and after, and gave him a crunchie (which he refused). I seem to be seriously out of favour. Perhaps it is just too soon after his neuter.

:shock: mr spenser :no: dont take it personally, its the only way he can tell you he doesnt like somthing :) he doesnt hate you, he is prob still a bit worried your going to take him to the vets, poppy takes weeks to get over one vet trip :roll: just slowly earn his trust back and it will get easier once his hormones settle too :) keep trying and once he knows its just a cuddle you want he will get more and more used to the idea your not taking him to the vets or doing anything nasty:) keep going your doing great :D maybe use gloves next time? just so you feel confident xx

Tamsin
03-04-2011, 09:49 PM
I would forget about picking up until your bun was happy with interacting more generally. To pick a bun up you need to be able to stroke them from head to tail without the bun minding, also put your hand under their chest. If you can't do this without your bun running off you are definitely going to have trouble picking them up successfully.

threelittlepigs
03-04-2011, 09:49 PM
My buns dislike being handled. They were handed into the PDSA at 1 year old, adopted by the vet and then surrendered to a rescue two years later when the vet moved to London so they haven't exactly had the best start in life.

My family are really keen to handle them, especially my older sister (now 50!) The bunnies have got used to being handled, although they have sometimes developed better ways of getting away! :lol:

susie bun
03-04-2011, 09:54 PM
I would forget about picking up until your bun was happy with interacting more generally. To pick a bun up you need to be able to stroke them from head to tail without the bun minding, also put your hand under their chest. If you can't do this without your bun running off you are definitely going to have trouble picking them up successfully.

He doesn't mind being stroked from head to tail as long as all four paws are very firmly on the ground. In fact he likes it and makes a sort of purring noise. He doesn't like my hand under his chest though. He lives outside, but I am giving him as much indoor time as possible as well as lots of visits to the hutch, and there have been signs he was getting more relaxed with me, eg. allowing me to share 'his' sofa on the conservatory.

bensonlola
03-04-2011, 09:56 PM
Lola and Benson hate being picked up too. I tend not to do it. I don't do it every day in the summer either (shock horror :shock::oops:) I think that the trauma of being picked up every day would stress them out too much. I keep them clean and feel underneath for fluffy butts and no matted fur and hope that thats enough. I would leave Spensers 4 feet on the ground for now until he is a bit more relaxed around you and as Sky-o says - thats not set in stone and you can reasess at a later date. I think it's better that he stays happy doing his own thing and relaxed. Give yourself a break - you've been through the mill with him too. You need to think about yourself as well as Spenser and believe it or not - please forum - don't hate me - You're more important! Give him a month and relax yourself!!!

susie bun
03-04-2011, 10:00 PM
I might treat myself to some EXTRA strong teabags. :p His lordship has now been returned to the hutch. I left him a good half hour between bite and going out, as I don't want him to think I am punishing him. He had two long stroking sessions, and apple stick and half a barley ring treat before going out. He also did two happy flops in the crate. :love:

shell1805
03-04-2011, 10:04 PM
:no: norty spenser!!!

jasper has always been a nightmare to pick up, in fact my OH cant really do it. he hears his voice and bolts. i can pick him up when i have to but he is still a little wriggler, i just have to be really firm with him.

it might just be that spenser is gonna be a bun you cant really pick up unless you have to. i would work on geting him to come to you and spend time with you,build up his trust :)

angieb
03-04-2011, 10:04 PM
Lola and Benson hate being picked up too. I tend not to do it. I don't do it every day in the summer either (shock horror :shock::oops:) I think that the trauma of being picked up every day would stress them out too much. I keep them clean and feel underneath for fluffy butts and no matted fur and hope that thats enough. I would leave Spensers 4 feet on the ground for now until he is a bit more relaxed around you and as Sky-o says - thats not set in stone and you can reasess at a later date. I think it's better that he stays happy doing his own thing and relaxed. Give yourself a break - you've been through the mill with him too. You need to think about yourself as well as Spenser and believe it or not - please forum - don't hate me - You're more important! Give him a month and relax yourself!!!

this is exactly what i do too.....:?

poppymoon
03-04-2011, 10:10 PM
Lola and Benson hate being picked up too. I tend not to do it. I don't do it every day in the summer either (shock horror :shock::oops:) I think that the trauma of being picked up every day would stress them out too much. I keep them clean and feel underneath for fluffy butts and no matted fur and hope that thats enough. I would leave Spensers 4 feet on the ground for now until he is a bit more relaxed around you and as Sky-o says - thats not set in stone and you can reasess at a later date. I think it's better that he stays happy doing his own thing and relaxed. Give yourself a break - you've been through the mill with him too. You need to think about yourself as well as Spenser and believe it or not - please forum - don't hate me - You're more important! Give him a month and relax yourself!!!

^^this.

my 2 are wrigglers and eric is a nightmare to catch - hence why i've flattened the futon tonight so his hidey holes are on MY terms then i can reach him easily if needed.

i sit or lie on the floor with both of mine as they love fuss but like all 4 paws on the ground. best bum check method for me is to lie on the floor and watch them hop around - sticky poop shows up well on white fur;)