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Thread: Using a dog crate to bond?

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    Warren Scout Nic.'s Avatar
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    Default Using a dog crate to bond?

    Hi

    I'm going to attempt bonding my rabbits together (male and female). Is it ok to use a large dog crate and leave them in it for a few days before adding a small pen? Eventually they'll be in a large pen and crate/free range depending on how destructive they prove to be haha. They're used to quite a bit of space so I'm worried it's too cruel to use the crate for the bond? I'd also be removing toys and anything they could get territorial over so don't want them to be incredibly bored and depressed

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  2. #2
    Mama Doe
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    I have used a dog crate to bond before - they are an easy option for a neutral space, and easy to extend as the bond develops.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    A lot of people use dog crates for bonding successfully. I would always put the male in first.

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    Hi, Iíve just recently bonded my male and female pair but I didnít use a dog crate, and to be completely honest I wouldnít recommend it if they are going to be housed in it 24/7 for however many days it takes to bond. I donít think that it would be fair to confine them to such a small space, especially with a new rabbit, when they are used to a much larger space. Also, the confinement and lack of stimulation may also lead to frustration which could be taken out on the other bunny. Rabbits need lots of space to express their energy. As well as this, rabbits should be given the opportunity to have a safe space (eg: hidey-house) to go to in the event that they become scared; a small dog cage used when bonding would not allow this (you should be able to see the bunnies at all times when bonding). Not to mention that you would have to consider whether or not the crate provides easy access in the event that one bunny attacks the other as delayed intervention to break up the fight could lead to serious injury. Iím not saying donít use the crate at all, and I would actually recommend using it in the early stages of bonding (if easily accessible due to the reasons I mentioned above) as it is a neutral small space which may prove useful for bonding. However, I definitely wouldnít advice leaving them in it for anything more than a few hours at a time like I said without any extension to the area (eg: x-pen added etc once fighting is minimal/non-existent). Hope your bond works out well!

  5. #5
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    I think a dog crate is fine for space for early bonding but I find a puppy pen much better as you can intervene much more easily if there are any issues. I have used both

    Binky free at the bridge Boots, you will never be forgotten xxxx

  6. #6
    Warren Veteran keletkezes's Avatar
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    I would have used the dog crate if I wasn't so confident when I brought Lopsy and Chibbs home, but I agree with Zoobec it's hard to intervene!
    The geeky one...



    Often available for bunny runs: PM for details.

  7. #7
    Warren Scout Nic.'s Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Now rethinking the dog crate idea because of the access issue. Didn't really consider that. If I use a pen instead would it be ok to take down their current set up and put a bonding pen up in its place? Or will that mean it's not neutral enough? I'd put matts down instead of the carpet that's there now and no litter tray/toys etc. Or is it better to set it up in a completely different area of the flat? Just trying to find some space! Maybe I'll get one of those pop up pet pens, has anyone tried those for bonding?

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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nic. View Post
    Thanks everyone. Now rethinking the dog crate idea because of the access issue. Didn't really consider that. If I use a pen instead would it be ok to take down their current set up and put a bonding pen up in its place? Or will that mean it's not neutral enough? I'd put matts down instead of the carpet that's there now and no litter tray/toys etc. Or is it better to set it up in a completely different area of the flat? Just trying to find some space! Maybe I'll get one of those pop up pet pens, has anyone tried those for bonding?

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    I think youíve made the right decision; an x-pen would definitely be a better option. As for setting it up in the same place, I wouldn't recommend it, but Iím not saying it couldnít work either if the area is cleaned properly (although you probably wonít be able to remove all scents from the area). Also I guess it would depend on how observant your bunny is about their surroundings as many rabbits will be able to tell if it is their area even without their usual toys/litter tray etc. I personally would set them up in a different place altogether if you can as it should hopefully reduce the amount of territorial behaviour and make it easier for the bond to form initially. However, once you feel the bond is strong enough then you may want to move the pen into the original bunnyís set up (still with neutral blankets and other items etc) in order to gradually introduce the new area where they will be living, but only do this once you feel the bond is secure enough. Hope it helps!

  9. #9
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mismatchbunnies View Post
    I think you’ve made the right decision; an x-pen would definitely be a better option. As for setting it up in the same place, I wouldn't recommend it, but I’m not saying it couldn’t work either if the area is cleaned properly (although you probably won’t be able to remove all scents from the area). Also I guess it would depend on how observant your bunny is about their surroundings as many rabbits will be able to tell if it is their area even without their usual toys/litter tray etc. I personally would set them up in a different place altogether if you can as it should hopefully reduce the amount of territorial behaviour and make it easier for the bond to form initially. However, once you feel the bond is strong enough then you may want to move the pen into the original bunny’s set up (still with neutral blankets and other items etc) in order to gradually introduce the new area where they will be living, but only do this once you feel the bond is secure enough. Hope it helps!
    This is what I did, set up the pen in a room where no bun had been before, then expanded the space gradually and then moved them into the cleaned and neutralised bunny room where Frosty had lived previously, in the bonding pen set up in the room, before finally giving them the whole room and gradually more furniture.

    Binky free at the bridge Boots, you will never be forgotten xxxx

  10. #10
    Warren Scout Nic.'s Avatar
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    Thank you for the advice everyone. I've started the bond in a pen in my bedroom. To start off with my boy (white) was obsessively grooming my girl but he doesn't do it on demand. She seems a bit annoyed by him and has bitten him (lightly) and tried to chase him away a couple of times. They're now sitting apart pretending eachother don't exist haha. I tried 2 hours last night but I was anxious about leaving them together over night and it's been about 90 minutes today. Might have to split up again tomorrow evening as I'll have to leave the house then but I'll see how it goes. This is very nerve wrecking! Managed to bond a trio in the past but think I just have been lucky as I just placed them in the bath tub for half an hour and then put them all back in one pen haha

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