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Thread: How often should I pick up my rabbit? Would he hate me?

  1. #1

    Default How often should I pick up my rabbit? Would he hate me?

    Dohwa is a three month old lop. During our most recent visit to the vet, she had suggested that I practice picking him up everyday to get him used to it however due to how stressful the situation is on the bun, I am starting to doubt the everyday part of it.

    I will also like to post about how we do about picking the little guy up just so any suggestions from the community can be made.
    I come up to Dohwa. Usually he does not run away as I approach him the same way to give treats as well. As I am sliding my hand between his front legs and chest, he will sometimes start to move away and squirm, but I make a bigger attempt and scoop up his hindlegs. Most times I feel like it's these moments before the catch that is most stressful for him, therefore I would like to know how everyone else does itó do you sweet talk your rabbit before trying to hold him? Do you slowly corral him into a corner? Do you make a faster grab or do you stop immediately as he tries to move away?

    Anyhow, once Dohwa has been picked up, he may try to kick a bit, but I hold him a bit more firmly and against my abdomen/chest. Usually that is when he calms down. Then, while being held, my partner feeds him a piece of his favorite treat/fruit. I make sure that he is not struggling, and lower him to the sofa where he is immediately feed another treat. If he is being extra calm while I hold him my partner may touch his feet for a few seconds to simulate a nail-clipping session( and then another treat ).

    He is usually fine after being placed down, trying to ask for more treats and not showing any signs of stress/wariness towards us. I immediately start re-filling his hay-bag so he associates being picked up/put down with even more good things.

    Even so, as a naturally anxious over-thinker, I worry that he may begin to hate me if I continue to pick him up once everyday. Mostly as there is a bit of struggle during the 'trying to pick up' and 'after being picked up' phase...

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Welcome to RU.

    I've been contemplating this subject a lot recently. I've a relatively new bun its impossible for me to handle & I dread to think how he'll be at the vets. Prior to this I've had decades of house bunnies who I've handled easily when I need to - most vets have complimented me on it (it obviously makes their job much easier). I agree being able to handle a bunny makes life so much easier, just for vet trips, giving meds, pedicures, weighing & grooming...But I agree with you that daily stress is counterproductive . Getting him used to contact, seeing where you can stroke him & try & get him comfy with being nearer his tum & bum in time (if he allows). I did start making some progress with my boy just picking him up from the floor to my lap (whilst I'm sat on the floor) or on to the bed where a herby feast awaited him; so like you I'd reward after.

    However, overall I don't think its a big deal. Some bunnies are strictly hands off & its always good to respect that . Possibly younger & smaller bunnies are more difficult as rule which makes me think they'd all be harder to handle if they were less resigned to being caught.

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the welcome : )! Hope to surf the forums soon for more useful morsels...

    This might be too extra, but would you suggest changing the picking up sessions to every three days instead? I just hope that trying to pick him everyday isn't causing too much stress..but then go every four days or so and I'm afraid that he will forget all the previous progress made...
    Overthinking overthinking..but just to be sure!
    Thank you.

  4. #4

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    Welcome!

    I actually did this with my first buns and tbh they never really got used to it.

    What has improved it has been doing nursing care when they've been ill and spending a lot of time building trust on the floor with them so that they're comfortable hoping on and off me.

    On the other hand while I can medicate my buns and do checks I've never been confident enough to do nails myself.

    Sent from my SM-A528B using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    Thank you for the welcome and advice!

    I'm thinking perhaps rather than picking him up everyday perhaps designating one day a week to practice picking up maybe three times in a row and then leaving it for a few more days....Maybe it will be less stressful but still unsure, ahhh!

  6. #6
    Warren Veteran bunny momma's Avatar
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    Most of my bunnies hate having their feet off the floor, so I support them well. Even my well behaved bunny will lunge or nip if I come at him too fast. As prey animals they get stressed easily, yet it is good if they can get used to you stroking them on the floor. Once they have trust in you, you can sit on floor and lift bunny on your lap.
    Also, I always lift them up with their head toward me and I put them back down butt first, supporting them well.
    I handle my bunnies daily. It is beneficial when medication or grooming is needed. Some members of RU handle their bunnies to check them every week for potential issues.
    Be patient with your bunny, and respect that some bunnies do not like to cuddled.

  7. #7
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    A lot of rabbits don't like to be handled, but it does make a huge difference if you are able to pick them up. They may not 'like' it, but they do get used to it, which makes it so much easier on you and the rabbit when you really do need to pick them up. I would pick him up once or twice a day if you can - just briefly, with the feet against you and the bottom supported, so he feels secure. They really don't like it if their feet are not on something more solid. It also stops them kicking out if their feet are already against something. I pick mine up to put them in the runs and then back in the hutches daily - so they are handled for just a few seconds every day, plus grooming weekly. It means they don't freak out when I need to handle them for any other reason.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmer View Post
    A lot of rabbits don't like to be handled, but it does make a huge difference if you are able to pick them up. They may not 'like' it, but they do get used to it, which makes it so much easier on you and the rabbit when you really do need to pick them up. I would pick him up once or twice a day if you can - just briefly, with the feet against you and the bottom supported, so he feels secure. They really don't like it if their feet are not on something more solid. It also stops them kicking out if their feet are already against something. I pick mine up to put them in the runs and then back in the hutches daily - so they are handled for just a few seconds every day, plus grooming weekly. It means they don't freak out when I need to handle them for any other reason.

    Hi Shimmer, thank you for your reply! I wanted to ask if this affects your relationship with your bunnies in any way, Do-hwa isn't a fan of being handled and I don't want him to hate me for trying, or become a timid bunny..

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmer View Post
    A lot of rabbits don't like to be handled, but it does make a huge difference if you are able to pick them up. They may not 'like' it, but they do get used to it, which makes it so much easier on you and the rabbit when you really do need to pick them up. I would pick him up once or twice a day if you can - just briefly, with the feet against you and the bottom supported, so he feels secure. They really don't like it if their feet are not on something more solid. It also stops them kicking out if their feet are already against something. I pick mine up to put them in the runs and then back in the hutches daily - so they are handled for just a few seconds every day, plus grooming weekly. It means they don't freak out when I need to handle them for any other reason.
    I would also like to ask how you go about doing it, right now my little guy senses when I want to pick him up so I will need to follow him around a bit (while speaking softly to try and soothe him) and then pick him up mostly on his own terms or if he is in a bit of a corner situation and can't walk away faster than my hands scooping him up ...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunny momma View Post
    Most of my bunnies hate having their feet off the floor, so I support them well. Even my well behaved bunny will lunge or nip if I come at him too fast. As prey animals they get stressed easily, yet it is good if they can get used to you stroking them on the floor. Once they have trust in you, you can sit on floor and lift bunny on your lap.
    Also, I always lift them up with their head toward me and I put them back down butt first, supporting them well.
    I handle my bunnies daily. It is beneficial when medication or grooming is needed. Some members of RU handle their bunnies to check them every week for potential issues.
    Be patient with your bunny, and respect that some bunnies do not like to cuddled.
    Hi!Do-Hwa would come to me for strokes down the back, but does not quite like being pet on the head, so I never manage to pick him up head-first, almost always from the behind (I make sure he sees me coming from the side), with one hand holding his chest and front legs while the other supports his butt/feet. Right now, I am mostly worried about frequent handling destroying our bond, and don't want him to become a timid bunny : )...Can I have your opinion on this concern? Thank you..

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