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Thread: my male bun got nervous on Gentle Bonding

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    Default my male bun got nervous on Gentle Bonding

    I was doing stress bonding for 3 sessions. i.e., I put both buns (male + female) on my bath tub. It's quite smooth, they both get nervous, but I did put a piece of plastic board between them most of the time

    Then just today, I read about Gentle Bonding on both buns. So I put a big towel in the kitchen, as the kitchen is a neutral territory. I then put a big plate w/ carrot + leaves + 4 slice of banana coins.

    Take Andi to the area, she starts eating the treats. Take Fudgie to the same area, and he got quite nervous. He takes a few bites on the carrot leaves, but he just want to get out of there. I have to hold him from leaving. The other one is very naturally adopting to the kitchen area. She eats her 2 banana coin, and want to jump over to the other side of the plate to eat the other 2 coins.

    In the end, I took Fudgie back upstair. And he's eating the same carrot leaves that was just now in the kitchen area. I don't know what to try next. Any suggestion?

    the only good news is, neither one try to jump on the other, Andi eats the treats, and Fudgie eats a bit of the treats if I hold it just in front of him
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    I wonder if there was something about the kitchen that was making him nervous? Do you have any other neutral areas you can try them in?

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    it's actual that 54 page guide that tells me to use the kitchen, which is an indoor neutral area. I can do the bath tub, but that's stress bonding.

    The only other netutral area that he never been to, would be the backyard.
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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    It may be worth trying the kitchen again, but put Fudgie in first. It sounds like it was the presence of Andi that made him nervous. Nothing bad actually happened there, and if neither rabbit has been there on their own, it is still neutral. They need time to get used to each other properly. Rabbits don't read books on bonding, unfortunately, so there isn't a precise method. Some chasing and scuffles are normal as they get to know each other. They need to have somewhere they can get away from each other if they need to, and you need to be prepared to separate them if there is more action than a bit of fur pulling.

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    that's an interesting idea. Tomorrow night, I'll put Fudgie there by himself for a few min., see how he reacts, and let him eat the treats first. thanks for the tips
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    so I make some progress tonight. My male bun was stressed just by himself in the kitchen. But after 1/2 hr. or so, he calms down and the 2 buns stays at the kitchen for a while. So what I did is "False Grooming"

    All I need to know is: Does "False Grooming" works? from that guide I read, what I did is I groom 1 bun w/ my hand, then I use that same hand to groom the other bun, and vice versa. And I keep doing this back and forth to trick each bun thinking that the other one is grooming him. Can each one of them really smell the scent from my hand and think it's from the other bun grooming him/her?
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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    Wise Old Thumper BattleKat's Avatar
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    I'd agree with putting fudge in first and having another go.
    It's important to note that some nervousness is perfectly normal - he's going in to a brand new situation with a rabbit he doesn't know and, as far as he's concerned, could hurt him. He needs to stay with her long enough to learn that it's going to be alright. It doesn't matter if she eats his half of the food or mounts him or anything, as long as neither one is actually hurting the other.
    I'm in the process of bonding my pair at the moment and my girl started off incredibly nervous, putting as much distance between the two of them as possible. As unpleasant as it was to watch, we made the area smaller to force them together. Over time she's gone from sitting frozen to the spot terrified, to hopping around completely unconcerned by him - it just takes time for a more nervous rabbit to gain confidence but that won't happen without forcing them in to an uncomfortable situation.

    For what it's worth, I'm only doing mine in sessions because the buck is still a bit hormonal and I don't feel confident leaving them together. If both your rabbits were spayed/neutered more than about 8 weeks ago then I'd try bonding all in one go. If you have two days off together then start early on the first day and don't leave them until you have to go to work again.

    ETA: I haven't ever tried false grooming but I've heard good things about putting a little pureed banana on each rabbit's forehead to encourage them to actually groom each other. Generally though I think if the bonding is going smoothly (ie, no fighting) then it's best to leave them to do things in their own time with a true understanding of what's happening.

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    they did try to come really close to each other at a somewhat fast speed, so I stop it. As I don't know what would happen if they try to fight or not. So my plan for now is for them to smell and get to know ea. other for at least 7 sessions, then take them outside and if they get along
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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    Trying lots of different things in different settings may just be unsettling both rabbits and making bonding impossible. They do need to be able to sort it out between them, and that means they have to be together at some point and on their own terms. Sometimes you just have to sit and watch while they do their thing. Just be there to intervene if they start to draw blood. Some chasing, running away, mounting and fur pulling is quite normal. It takes time to sort out any relationship, and rabbits are no different.

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    Wise Old Thumper Happy Hopping's Avatar
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    I agree. IN the past many years, since 2007, that's how I bond them. Let them chase each other w/ some fur pulling all over the backyard. This bonding, I have decided to reduce fur pulling or fighting. To that end, I want them to smell each other and get to know ea. other. Both buns are tame

    In the last bonding w/ my male bun to his senior girlfriend last year, it only takes 3 sessions to bond, she just passed away the other month, so I adopt this new bun. So for now, if they can smell each other and spend some time together in small space at least for 1 week, then let them chase each other in the backyard should make things easier. What do you think?
    "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Gandhi

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