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Kait88

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hey y’all! I have a 2 year old Harlequin Dutch Mix rescue male named Sox that I adopted a year ago now & recently decided to bond him. I adopted a female Hotot de Blanc that was born at a rescue on the 30th of June. Her name is Tulip & she is almost 8 months old now. All of their dates have gone pretty well! We have gotten in a few small tiffs with no injuries & still ended on good notes. There was very monor mounting on the second & third dates from Sox, Tulip was okay with it the first couple times & not so much after that, but hasn’t been any since. Ever since I’ve had Sox he loves to be loved on & is always grooming he’s stuffies & himself! Tulip is still young (which the rescue told me could be a potential issue with grooming). She grew up with a bunch of brothers & her mom. They were all adopted because they are all so sweet & she was the only one left. The problem I’m having is that Sox desperately wants to be groomed by her but she doesn’t quite get it. She grooms herself, but I haven’t really seen her groom any of her stuffies or blankets like Sox does.

On their second date we tried the banana on the head trick & that’s what got Sox grooming Tulip & he has on every date since without any food help. Tulip though wasn’t so sure. I have tried to give her different fruits as treats & she won’t touch them. The only treat she seems to like is those made with hay or the kind you can buy that look like a cat or dog treat from the shelters. I’ve tried these on his head as well as hay & pellets & still nothing. I honestly think we would be golden & officially bonded if I can get her to groom him. Does anyone have any other tips or tricks that I can try?
 

Blue eyes

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I assume you meant she was born the 30th of January (not June) if she is almost 8 months old. ;) And I also assume she is already spayed if you got her from a rescue. It sounds like you are familiar with the process.

At 8 months of age, she is considered an adult rabbit. Her refusal to groom Sox indicates that she wants to be top bun. How many bonding sessions have they had? If she continues to refuse to groom him, he may get frustrated and lash out. (Not all rabbits lick blankets, etc., so I wouldn't read anything into the fact that Tulip doesn't do that.)

You may just need to give it more time and see if she will decide to groom him too. That is a valid option. I wouldn't worry about the treats-on-the-head trick. It only works some of the time anyway.

The other option is to change the method of bonding. You've been doing the short but frequent bonding "sessions." That is one method that is often used successfully. But there is another way to bond that I found out about when working with a difficult bond myself. It involves putting the rabbits together in an area that is set up a certain way. Then the rabbits remain together 24/7 (being constantly monitored) until they bond or it is determined that they cannot bond. This can be a quicker way to bond them (depends, of course, on the rabbits).

You can compare these two methods here.
 

Kait88

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Haha oops! Yes I meant I adopted her on the 30th of June, she was born at the rescue on the 3rd of January. She is loving being groomed by him but isn’t returning it. He did seem to be sort of frustrated in the beginning when she wouldn’t groom him but he doesn’t seem as adamant about it now. He still tries to nudge his nose up under hers but usually gives in & starts grooming her. I think she just doesn’t quite understand that she can groom him too lol.

& yes they are both fixed. She was fixed a month or so before I adopted her & he was a few weeks before I got him.

I have been doing a session every day since the adoption aside from 3 days where I worked too late & after their free roam time I didn’t have the energy to try & stay awake for a date. The dates are usually a few hours long, just depending on the day & their moods. The first date was about 20 mins & that has been the only one that was less than an hour. I think I am going to try the 24 hour idea today! We’ve been at it for 2 hours already & they are doing really well so we might as well make a day of it!

Thanks for the tips!!
 

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