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Thread: Building trust with the rabbits

  1. #1

    Default Building trust with the rabbits

    Hey all,

    So, we have two new rabbits - we're only a day in but they really don't like being touched.

    Our plan is to keep trying to hand feed them and drop a stroke in and hopefully they will begin to trust us more.

    At the moment I guess they have only had 'traumatic' experiences with us (being picked up, put in a crate, bought home, and put in a hutch)... We also have had to handle them to show them the run (down a ramp) as they seemed to be unaware of how the ramp worked and I don't think they realised there was a run underneath - their previous owner had a separate run/hutch so they were always picked up and moved from hutch to run. I know they don't like being picked up for obvious reasons (and don't intend to).

    Anyway - I think we need to do a little work to make them happy with us again . Any tips on building trust would be great!

  2. #2
    Warren Veteran
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    Hi, your rabbits are gorgeous (saw your other thread)

    As you've realised it takes a while to gain the trust of a rabbit and with some rabbits it will take longer than others. As far as they are concerned, until they are reassured otherwise, you are a potential predator and each time you pick them up you are reinforcing that thought. I, like you, have outside rabbits and I think it's harder for outside rabbits to become confident around us as they are not with us all the time. I have had my rabbits over 5 years and they still do not like being picked up, so whatever I need to do to them I try to do with their feet on the ground. I respect this and take pleasure in trying to give them a good life while I have them. I also sit in their shed with them for some time each evening and I know they accept me in there as they carry on doing their rabbity things, but I don't pick them up unless necessary.

    In your case I would do the same. You're right in trying to hand feed them as much as possible, but I wouldn't try to stroke them while you're doing it yet. If it's possible I would try to just sit with them in their run, possibly with some food in your pocket and wait for them to come to you. Or just sit with them and read a book. Rabbits are naturally inquisitive and will in time investigate you and something like the ramp in their hutch.

    Don't try to rush it. It will take time. They are clearly happy rabbits to be binkying around

  3. #3
    Warren Veteran cpayne's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Yes food is the way to go. I would like on the floor and let them get to know you, feeding them in between. Rabbits are very nosy so they will probably come over to see what you're doing. Just keep showing them your open hands, sometimes with a treat on it. I would maybe try a little nose rub as I know Doughnut prefers nose rubs to stroking, she puts her chin on the ground for me to keep doing it! Good luck.

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys - we'll do that - they'll get there eventually unfortunately the rainy british summer stopped us spending as much time outside with them as we would have liked to have this weekend. Hopefully some sun returns so we can be with them a little longer!

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