Bonding - 1 bun wants it , 1 bun doesn't - At wits end.

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K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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Again, I ask for any new schools of thought on this. Yup , STILL trying! Both males, both neutered, 10 and 12 months old. If I have them together for a session, Murphy ignores Lionel unless Lionel makes his way over - and usually tries to get a nip in before it turns into a tornado. There is no charging however. Rarely they have come come face to face for a very quick sniff and turn around without an issue....but on the next approach, something breaks out. Murphy seems like he could care less that Lionel is there until that point. I guess I am going to separate their cages....since Murphy is fine - can I just move Lionel into another room and totally keep separate? I have tried EVERY other thing - even a bit of stress bonding - though that didn't seem to work & I am not comfortable with that approach as well as it appears to be a temporary fix any ways. Its really a shame there is no organization or shelter around me that will do "dates". I had to get a "random" second bun without a prior date - and it appears it was NOT a match !!
 

hunnybunny254367819364

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So sorry to hear that bonding isn’t going well. Do you have your sessions in a neutral territory? I had sessions in the bathroom instead of the room where they lived because then neither bunny had “claimed” the bathroom. You can try false grooming which just means that you pet each bunny at the same time when they are near each other. It’ll make them feel as if the other rabbit is grooming them. Also try feeding them together rabbits can bond over food and feel comfortable around each other once they safely eat together. Unfortunately male/male bonds are difficult and some rabbits just don’t get along. Female/male bonds are usually the best and easiest if you try again in the future. As for separating them it will be totally fine since they aren’t bonded yet they won’t miss each other. You could always then try bonding again in the future. I’ve heard stories of rabbits who fought at the beginning but later became inseparable. Best of luck!!!
 

K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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Thank you - I really appreciate the encouragement (as opposed to how I didn't do my research ahead !) I actually DID, there was just conflicting info - I had 2 males bond before. I never saw they COULDN'T bond -,just that it took longer. They WERE diff ages though and maybe that helped rather than two stubborn teens. I have done EVERY thing ever suggested other than separating - which is going to be my LAST resort bc I know they do find comfort that there is a bunny in the cage next to each of them . I feed them all their greens wedged between the two cages and their shelves are next to each other and they completely relax and crash on them with just that few inches between them. I have been focusing on controlling the aggressor(Lionel) while letting Murphy - the "could care less" one eat food from under his chin around his back end - to try to show Lionel that Murph isn't a threat and see he doesn't need to be proactive and bite at him. Controlling Lionel has certainly released Murhpy from feeling defensive and biting first. Maybe after a week or two of this - Lionel will get the idea. He seems to be less stressed around Murphy - but I guess more time will tell.
 

John Wick

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Have you tried doing only veggie dates for a while? Its important for more difficult pairs to "rack up" as many neutral/positive interactions as possible, in my opinion, even if that means 5 minute food dates twice a day for a while. Mixing in negative interactions may tamper it.

It's important to remember we can't actually talk to rabbits, so knowledge online and from experienced bonders may do wonders to some pairings, but I think your read on situations is important, while keeping in mind the fundamentals.

Bonding difficulties aside, you can always choose to house two rabbits completely separately. It just means you need to remember to give both attention.
 

K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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Yes - I love both buns very much! Lionel isn't interested in eating if Murphy is too close, but maybe I can keep working towards that approach if Lionel relaxes enough. And right now, we can't let him eat next to Murph bc that would mean he could bite. Murphy on the other hand could care less as long as he gets the food. Yes, the last resort is to have them completely separate - but they won't have near the setup I could offer them as a pair and it would drastically limit their free roaming. Last buns had the whole house which was bunny proofed . Both these two LOVE to be out. Also, its pitiful to see Murphy practically begging to be groomed when hes out and free to go visit Lionel cage side. He really wants a friend. I would consider getting a partner for Murph but no one allows "dates" around me - frustrating (else I wouldnt be in the situation I am) I appreciate the suggestions and support - I am going to continue trying for a few more months . No one is getting harmed and they are both getting as much attention as I can provide them on an individual basis, they would have it that much better if they could live together!
 

hunnybunny254367819364

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I understand the frustration. Maybe the age is the issue here. My rabbit is 3 and I’m not sure how old the one I adopted but I assume she’s about the same age. Food dating might help and like the other said just short positive/neutral interactions here and there. If you do decide to get a female friend for Murphy, it may not be possible to bond Lionel because I heard males may fight over a female but I’ve had no experience of this. Not sure where you feed them but maybe feed them in a different area than where their cages are. Lionel might feel territorial and that’s the reason he’s reluctant to relax and eat. If it’s comforting, I find your persistence and commitment really admirable!
 

Blue eyes

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If nothing else is working, totally separating them can be a positive. It is a last resort measure to see if, by keeping them totally separate for a couple weeks (minimum) that they will forget that they don't like each other (or in this case, that Lionel will forget that he isn't so keen on Murphy).

After the allotted time, try to re-introduce as if they were meeting for the first time. Neutral location is key!

Please know that if they don't get along, it doesn't mean you failed. Sometimes 2 rabbits simply refuse to get along. I have had that happen on more than one occasion.
 

K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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I understand the frustration. Maybe the age is the issue here. My rabbit is 3 and I’m not sure how old the one I adopted but I assume she’s about the same age. Food dating might help and like the other said just short positive/neutral interactions here and there. If you do decide to get a female friend for Murphy, it may not be possible to bond Lionel because I heard males may fight over a female but I’ve had no experience of this. Not sure where you feed them but maybe feed them in a different area than where their cages are. Lionel might feel territorial and that’s the reason he’s reluctant to relax and eat. If it’s comforting, I find your persistence and commitment really admirable!
THANK you! Its too late to hear how I messed up - so I appreciate the input how to proceed. I really am trying. I think I will be a good long term study on an unlikely bondable pair - we will see where I am in the next several months. I will certainly post any progress.
 

K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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If nothing else is working, totally separating them can be a positive. It is a last resort measure to see if, by keeping them totally separate for a couple weeks (minimum) that they will forget that they don't like each other (or in this case, that Lionel will forget that he isn't so keen on Murphy).

After the allotted time, try to re-introduce as if they were meeting for the first time. Neutral location is key!

Please know that if they don't get along, it doesn't mean you failed. Sometimes 2 rabbits simply refuse to get along. I have had that happen on more than one occasion.
Thank you for the link. I will certainly check back if I end up looking for a female (I wouldn't try bonding the (3) - Lionel will have to be a loner while I try to bond Murphy. He seems to be the one that REALLY WANTS a companion. When does a neutral territory become NOT "neutral" I'm running out of bonding places. Started out in the bathroom, then on the deck outside, two places in the basement..... After a week or two of the same place - it doesn't seem so unfamiliar to them any longer - so I am trying to mix it up. I am comletely game with trying a total separation after all else. I will also get a feel for how each would do on their own at that point. I know not all buns NEED a companion, but I'm pretty sure Murph does. Thanks again.
 

hunnybunny254367819364

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THANK you! Its too late to hear how I messed up - so I appreciate the input how to proceed. I really am trying. I think I will be a good long term study on an unlikely bondable pair - we will see where I am in the next several months. I will certainly post any progress.
Don’t blame yourself! Updates would be great. Worst case scenario you have 2 separated bunnies- which in my opinion isn’t bad at all!
 

Blue eyes

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When does a neutral territory become NOT "neutral" After a week or two of the same place - it doesn't seem so unfamiliar to them any longer - so I am trying to mix it up.
Once you start bonding in a neutral space, it is imperative that you keep the bonding in that particular space. The idea is that the whole bonding process takes place in the same neutral space. If you have been switching it, that may be part of the difficulty.

Once a pair has been consistently showing great progress in that initial neutral space, they are to continue in that space for a while longer to try to 'cement' the bond. The bond needs to be strong before they are then moved to whatever will be their permanent housing because the final test of the bond (so to speak) is that move to their permanent location. That is the risky time of the bonding process. Moving them too early can cause a setback (or worse). So the entire bonding process should be in one location and that location should be one in which neither has ever been before. That then becomes their bonding place for however long it takes for them to bond. They should not move to another location until they are ready for that final move to their permanent area.
 
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