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lilliesmomma
03-24-05, 09:59 am
I have adopted a neutered female rabbit (Samone). She is very sweet and playful. I already had a male mini rex (puppy). They are housed in different cages next to each other but are allowed to play together during floor time. It has been a few weeks now and they have really bonded nicely and love chasing each other around the house.

I knew it would take Samone a bit to get used to being with us but she seems very frightened of humans. I know that she came from a home with 3 children under the age of 15. Their comment on why they gave her away was that she was really hard for them to catch. They got her from a breeder at 8 weeks old and she is now 8mos old. I am wondering whether the three children terrorized and chased her to the point that she won't trust humans.

I try to reach into her cage - slowly- and pet her head. Sometimes She will let me do it, sometimes I think she feels cornered and she freaks out and 'growls', swipes her claws at me and nips with her teeth. If she does this I back off and just talk to her instead and tell her it's okay. No matter what I always talk to her 'sweetly'. She seems to be growling less and letting me touch the top of her head more but only for a moment and then she backs off.

I never grab her to force her in or out of her cage, I only open the door and let her come out herself and wait for her to go back in her cage and close the door once she has gone back in voluntarily. If I am in a hurry I entice both bunnies to go back into their cages by placing parsley and dandilion greens in their cages. They love this!

If anyone has some advice On this I would appreciate it. She really is a sweet bun, just seems a bit scared. I am trying to work with her on trusting me, but would appreciate some additional ideas.

Thanks for your help!

bunnyluv17
03-24-05, 11:18 am
Are you 100% sure she is spayed? I volunteer at a shelter and a lot of people lie about the condition of their animals, they will say that their animal is fixed or that they found it as a stray. If there is any doubt you can feel her stomach area for signs of scar tissue or have her stomach shaved for signs of a spay scar.

It is very possible that all of her experiences with humans have been negative and/or she could have had very little handling.

I had a rabbit, Clover, who we adopted from the shelter (the people who surrendered her said she was a stray, but who really knows). She could be aggressive and territorial at times.

When you reach into the cage to pet her, try to gently put your hand on top of her head and gently press down. This is a sign of dominance in rabbits and may help prevent her from boxing and biting.





I have adopted a neutered female rabbit (Samone). She is very sweet and playful. I already had a male mini rex (puppy). They are housed in different cages next to each other but are allowed to play together during floor time. It has been a few weeks now and they have really bonded nicely and love chasing each other around the house.

I knew it would take Samone a bit to get used to being with us but she seems very frightened of humans. I know that she came from a home with 3 children under the age of 15. Their comment on why they gave her away was that she was really hard for them to catch. They got her from a breeder at 8 weeks old and she is now 8mos old. I am wondering whether the three children terrorized and chased her to the point that she won't trust humans.

I try to reach into her cage - slowly- and pet her head. Sometimes She will let me do it, sometimes I think she feels cornered and she freaks out and 'growls', swipes her claws at me and nips with her teeth. If she does this I back off and just talk to her instead and tell her it's okay. No matter what I always talk to her 'sweetly'. She seems to be growling less and letting me touch the top of her head more but only for a moment and then she backs off.

I never grab her to force her in or out of her cage, I only open the door and let her come out herself and wait for her to go back in her cage and close the door once she has gone back in voluntarily. If I am in a hurry I entice both bunnies to go back into their cages by placing parsley and dandilion greens in their cages. They love this!

If anyone has some advice On this I would appreciate it. She really is a sweet bun, just seems a bit scared. I am trying to work with her on trusting me, but would appreciate some additional ideas.

Thanks for your help!

bunnyluv17
03-24-05, 01:51 pm
It looks like you are doing all the right things. If you just adopted her then it could take months for her to become comfortable in her new home and with her new caregiver.

lilliesmomma
03-24-05, 02:21 pm
I've had Puppy (my male bun) for the last 8 mos so his behavior is what I have as a model to go by. Her behavior just seemed a bit extreme - like she was terrified. I'm glad to hear that I'm doing the right thing. I don't mind working with her and hope she will warm up to me over time.

Perhaps I should try handfeeding her veggies to establish trust as well.

I have tried a few times to press gently on top of her head but not consistently. I will try to do it more often to see if things continue to improve. It's kinda funny, when I walk up to puppy he automatically puts his head flat onto the floor (in submission) and waits for a scritch.

bunnyluv17
03-24-05, 02:37 pm
We had to gently push Clover's head down quite frequently because she would try to lunge and box at us when we were giving her more food or changing the litter box in her cage. Try to spend some time on the floor with her, you could read or watch t.v. Rabbits seem to trust people more when you are down on their level. One thing we noticed with Clover is that she became irratated and angry whenever something moved right in front of her face, like hands or our dog's tail.

lilliesmomma
03-25-05, 09:33 am
That's a great idea. I was thinking of getting a puppy pen because otherwise they both hide during floor time. (my male bun likes to play hide-n-seek and catch me if you can, but I don't want to frighten her in doing this) I think that putting them both with me in the puppy pen would be a benefit.

I will try this. Thanks for the suggestion.


We had to gently push Clover's head down quite frequently because she would try to lunge and box at us when we were giving her more food or changing the litter box in her cage. Try to spend some time on the floor with her, you could read or watch t.v. Rabbits seem to trust people more when you are down on their level. One thing we noticed with Clover is that she became irratated and angry whenever something moved right in front of her face, like hands or our dog's tail.

lilliesmomma
03-25-05, 09:37 am
Breakthrough! I stuck my finger into the cage this morning and she allowed me to rub the top of her head for a few moments and then she rubbed the underside of her chin on my finger. I consider that a great sign that she marked my finger with her scent!

bunnyluv17
03-25-05, 12:58 pm
Yay! Clover would sometimes groom our clothes when we cuddled with her. It took her a while to get used to us, but she was a great rabbit.


Breakthrough! I stuck my finger into the cage this morning and she allowed me to rub the top of her head for a few moments and then she rubbed the underside of her chin on my finger. I consider that a great sign that she marked my finger with her scent!

lilliesmomma
03-28-05, 09:36 am
Well, My male bun was neutered at the end of the week so he is confined to his cage for a week. I have taken this time to let Samone have floor time on her own. I have spent a lot of time sitting on the floor this weekend and there is a noticable difference in her trust. She approaching me more and sometimes she will stay still long enough for me to touch her head, but more often than not she runs away. I think last night her running away was actually her playing a game though. She was racing around the room and jumping in the air - showing happiness. I just don't want to play 'chase' until our relationship is more solid.

She really is quite playful. She will acknowledge me when I call her name and make kissing noises. She likes to hide under the skirts of my dining room chair covers and peek out. She is growling less and less. Unfortunately, I tend to harbor electricity so whatever I touch gets zapped! There were a couple of times I zapped her head! Oopps!

lilliesmomma
03-28-05, 09:38 am
Thank you to all have given me some great advice on this topic!