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Thread: Help with human-rabbit issues

  1. #1

    Default Help with human-rabbit issues

    So we have now had Monty for a couple of months, and I'm not sure whether things are going well or not, but we have a specific issue that I was hoping I might get some advice on. We seem to have made something of a friend in Monty - he almost always comes up and noses/sniffs/occasionally licks us when we sit on the floor, and he's been known to jump up on the sofa and actively cuddle me occasionally (usually if food is involved, or he wants it to be involved.)

    Like most rabbits, he doesn't like being handled, and will only be stroked if he's in the right mood. This is fine most of the time - I am happy with any affection I get, and watching him, particularly grooming himself, is the most delightful thing ever. But as a lionhead, he needs quite a bit of grooming, and also with nail cutting I am very much still learning to do it with him.

    For example, the other day, we had an Incident. He had a large knot that needed to be dealt with, but it took a fair bit of scratching and a few nips before we managed to groom him; in the end, we cornered him in his litter tray and one of us fed him while the other groomed. We try and keep these light and stress-free - eg a quick comb each time he comes up to play, little and often, but at times like that he ends up terrified and we feel horrendously awful for making him terrified.

    (I should say that he came and hopped around me yesterday and insisted on dancing, so I think I have been forgiven!)

    I've tried to read up and follow all of the advice, but as much as he seems (relatively) friendly most of the time, basic grooming and nail cutting are a horrid time. So is there something that we are not doing/could do better to make it easier for him? Will he learn in time to trust us enough to comb him/clip nails?

    We have also been discussing whether or not to get him neutered. We fall down on not doing so for now; he's a single male, displays (almost) no troubling behaviour already and we don't want to put him through an unnecessary operation. But is he likely to become friendlier/more docile when needed if we do?

    We've also long gone over the issue of getting a second bunny. It would be tricky - and they would have to bond with Monty, as we only have one hutch - but it might be just about do-able. I am home all day, which is why we decided on having one rabbit, but would a companion be likely to improve his behaviour? We are happy to reconsider, although we would prefer to just have Monty at the moment.

    Thank you in advance for any sage advice!

  2. #2
    Warren Scout
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    South Gloucestershire
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    271

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    He sounds lovely. I would always neuter. I have 5 rabbits and one by one they have all been neutered. I got 2 girls that live together, a male and female together and Rex is a male house bunny... not sure whether im going to bond him with one of my pairs or get another one and have 3 pairs but regardless whether you have one or more I would always neuter.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    IOW
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    12,186

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    He will probably be like this all his life as far as claws are concerned, and even grooming. One needs to hold him firmly while the other does the cutting. When rabbits are very scared they don't tend to improve a lot, even when neutered. Claws only need doing 2 or 3 times a year so it's not enough for the rabbit to get used to it. Does he need a lot of grooming?

  4. #4

    Default

    I'm sorry for not replying sooner - I posted a reply a while ago, and it looks like it didn't post for some reason. Thanks for your advice! We went through a good period for a couple of weeks, when I was able to groom/trim nails without any fuss, but last night he threw another tantrum. He is beautifully groomed, I am well-bitten. Unfortunately, he does need a lot of grooming, especially at the moment as he moults; he's long haired and knots/tangles easily, so every time I groom him I end up looking like a bunny myself. Is there any way we could help him to be less scared by the process? (Right now I can usually use kale to help keep him calm-ish - it's adorable the way he very angrily tears it from my hands, "Oh, fine, then, if I must...").

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper tulsi's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    Hampshire
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    I hold mine firmly under my arm and cut away any knots then let them go. I do it in their shed for minimum interruption of their daily routine. They all loathe it but needs must. Claws are done a couple at a time over a few days.

  6. #6

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    Thank you At the moment if he wriggles I move him to another room - I read somewhere that this helps to teach them when it's "grooming time" and they have to behave - but I will try and do more in his own environment and see if that helps. Thankfully we haven't had to trim his fur yet! He attacks the comb ferociously, I don't think I'd let him near a pair of scissors... I'll also try doing a paw every day over a few days and see if that helps. When we bought him, we were told his claws needed to be done every week, and although we've learnt to scale that back, we still try and do them once a month because now we worry about doing it less than that.

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