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Old 11-30-2007, 03:22 AM   #1
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Hey everyone,

I know some rabbits don't like being picked up, but is there anyway I can train Rilee to be handled? Ever since she was spayed a year ago, she darts as soon as I put two hands on her. I wish I could hold her and cuddle her, instead of cuddling on the ground, but mostly I'm concerned about when I would need to handle her. Like clipping her nails, cleaning her scent glands, checking her teeth, or moving her. Other than petting, she won't let me touch her at all, and frankly it's rather depressing to me that I love her, but she rejects me.

Is there anything I can do?? She runs at the first sign of my picking her up, I can't even pick her up with a towel to burrito her. Mostly, I wish I could just pick her up if I need too, and for her not to shread and hate me for it!

-Amanda


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Old 11-30-2007, 03:54 AM   #2
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Will she let you play with her on the floor? Will she sit on your lap (if you're on the floor)? Will she climb on you? If she climbs up on you, try holding her snuggly and stand up. Don't let her feet hang...

Most rabbits don't like it when their feet just hang and aren't touching anything solid. What happens if you pick her up very quickly and put her feet on your chest, so she's "standing" on you?

Have you ever seen the "football carry"? Most show people carry their rabbits (especially the large ones) like a football, with the bunnies head under the arm and the rest of the body cradled against the body. It's a good way to carry a rabbit so it doesn't panic. It can't see anything (cause your arm is over their eyes) and if they jump, it's into your armpit! You have control over the bunny so she can't hurt herself.

I think she has you trained to put her down everytime she kicks. LOL! She is communicating very well, telling you exactly what she wants. She has to learn that you need to be in control, for all the reasons you already stated.

I'd work with her slowly, pick her up, hold for a few seconds and put her down. Walk away. Do it again later. You have to be persistant and consistant. If she protests, hold her gently in one spot for a second or two, and try again. Don't be rough or raise your voice. Be gentle and talk softly. Give her a treat when she behaves. Make it a pleasant experience.




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Old 11-30-2007, 04:16 AM   #3
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One thing I've found helps A LOT to keep Fiver from panicking (or Trixie, for that matter) is to put my hand over his head, cupped so it covers his eyes. It helps them calm down...and keeps them from continuing to run away, especially if you take your other hand, and put it on their chest, in front of their front legs.

Another thought...be the Head Bun...the Big Kahuna! The more you are assured that you CAN do this, the more confidence you have, the more chance you'll have at doing it. They can feel if you're nervous, and will (depending on the bun's personality) either take advantage of that to know they won't be picked up if they put up a fight, or they'll be nervous, too, and you won't be able to pick up a scared bun. DON'T WORRY ABOUT HURTING THEM...they'll be fine!

Here's an idea you can try...let her out with a towel in front of her cage door on the floor, and when she steps onto the towel, take the sides of the towel and putting them over her body (kinda burrito-ish, almost like you're folding the towel to hang it up) making sure her face and eyes are covered. Then try putting your hand underneath her front (like when you hold your arm out in front of you...fingers in front...put your thumb under one of her armpits, index finger in front of her chest, and other three fingers under her other armpit). Then, as you lift her, slide your hand under her bum, supporting her bum and back legs. Do it quick, so she doesn't have a chance to struggle or get away...and hug her to your body, using one of your arms to cross over her body to kinda hug her...and she'll calm down.

Here's a picture of me holding Trixie and one of me holding Fiver. Notice how I have my arms. It's the best way I've found to keep them calm.

Trixie:


Fiver:

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Will she let you play with her on the floor?
If by play you mean pet, then yes. If she's laying around resting, she doesn't mind me petting and stroking her a getting close to her. If she's not resting, she's just to busy and only comes over if I stand up (she has a love affair with my feet and pant legs). But if my hand slips anywhere close to under her, she's off like a rocket.

Quote:
Will she sit on your lap (if you're on the floor)?
If she does, she was just curious and gets off in 2 seconds, it hardly ever happens. I've tried putting her on my lap, but the act of picking her up, she doesn't stay, she leaves before her paws touch me.

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Will she climb on you?
Not often. Mostly only to use me as a launching pad or step stool.

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What happens if you pick her up very quickly and put her feet on your chest, so she's "standing" on you?
I can't often even get to here, but once in a while. She sits there for 2 seconds, then tries to jump and climb up my face. She did this as a baby too, making it up to my shoulder before I could pull her down. The whole thing lasts 5 seconds before I put her down.


Quote:
One thing I've found helps A LOT to keep Fiver from panicking (or Trixie, for that matter) is to put my hand over his head, cupped so it covers his eyes.
I've tried this, and it seems to make her more scared....maybe because she can't see what's going on? Oh geez I got the weird one.

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Here's an idea you can try...let her out with a towel in front of her cage door on the floor, and when she steps onto the towel, take the sides of the towel and putting them over her body (kinda burrito-ish, almost like you're folding the towel to hang it up) making sure her face and eyes are covered.
She is FAST. She's comes out her cage running. I've kind of tried something like that before, and before I could close in she's halfway out and yeah... that didn't work.


She's scared to be picked up, and she's fast about running away, I think is the biggest problem. If I could catch her, I could work on the actual holding bit....but...

I guess there's nothing you guys can really help me with about that. Thanks for the tips though.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:38 AM   #5
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I have another idea for you...

Can you try putting the towel in a carrier (or try without a towel), get her to go into a carrier, then open the top of the carrier, and pick her up from there? That's how I got Fiver picked up the first time.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:57 AM   #6
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I appreciate that she is fast, but you have to be in control, so you have to be faster. Don't give up. You are being bossed around by a little bunny! LOL! Bribe her, give her treats, she has to come to your hand to get it... she has to let you pet her. Work with her slowly and take little steps.
What are you going to do when her nails need to be clipped or she needs to be cleaned? What will you do if she needs to go to the vet?
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
I have another idea for you... Can you try putting the towel in a carrier (or try without a towel), get her to go into a carrier, then open the top of the carrier, and pick her up from there? That's how I got Fiver picked up the first time.
Oh yes this is a good idea, I've thought about it too. That's how the vet did it once when she needed an x-ray. But I left her carrier with the top door at my parents' house *hits head* Maybe we can do it over the winter break.

Quote:
I appreciate that she is fast, but you have to be in control, so you have to be faster. Don't give up. You are being bossed around by a little bunny! LOL! Bribe her, give her treats, she has to come to your hand to get it... she has to let you pet her. Work with her slowly and take little steps. What are you going to do when her nails need to be clipped or she needs to be cleaned? What will you do if she needs to go to the vet?
Ahh! I know!! I'm afriad too, that she'll get so mad at me that she'll stop approaching me all together, you know? I'm scared she'll loose her trust in me. *is a sucker*



Thanks for trying to help me guys, I really appreciate it!
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:48 AM   #8
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I picked her up today!! I held on to her for a lot longer than usual too Although the slightest movement made her struggle, so we're still far from useful handling. And I've been trying for 2 days to actually pick her up too. I held her "standing" on my chest, and when I tried to shift her into my elbow, I think she thought I was putting her down, and I did end up having to then because I couldn't hold on without someone getting hurt.

I think it was a good session!!
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:22 AM   #9
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Are you able to trance her at all? Snuff lightly trances if we just pet him around his face. Snuff doesn't allow me to get him when he is out for playtime, if I get close he runs from me. So the other night, I slowly got down to the floor where he was, he didn't run off, I lightly petted his face, stopped (he stayed in the light trance) and SCOOP! It worked for me. Maybe you could try that?
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:56 PM   #10
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gwhoosh wrote:
Quote:
I picked her up today!! I held on to her for a lot longer than usual too Although the slightest movement made her struggle, so we're still far from useful handling. And I've been trying for 2 days to actually pick her up too. I held her "standing" on my chest, and when I tried to shift her into my elbow, I think she thought I was putting her down, and I did end up having to then because I couldn't hold on without someone getting hurt.

I think it was a good session!!

EXCELLENT! Good for you and her! Have patience. She has to get used to the idea that you are the alpha bunny and you're going to hold her if you want.... Keep it short, that's fine. And don't rush the "change positions". Give her time. You're doing a great job.


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