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DIFFICULT BONDING (so far failed)...... 2 questions , address either if you can!!......

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K1marie

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I have a long bonding story if you've followed the posts. Anyhow 2 questions. After a reboot apart...(still too aggressive together when I tried )... They are back together in pens directly next to each other, sharing "house" time, switching cages (which they seem to be (a little) calmer at the borders when they are in each others...they are busy eating the others hay and chew toys) Q1) I have a 3rd brand new cage, I could put in the "house" area and leave open for when either is out & let go in there as a "common" cage with a litter box, food and treats. They will both be new to it and equally establish their smells in it. Would you suggest trying that or you don't think it would matter. I actually think I may have put more effort into bonding these two than anyone I've read on yet LOL. Q2) Also, I have a 3rd bun I am fostering - in a completely different area. If I put some of his smells in "THEIR area", could it make them "band together" against this new stranger's smells? Is it something to try to see what they do - or is that just a bad move that will likely make them aggressive? Would posting a video of how they are acting help anyone decipher what their (and my) future is? @Blue eyes @zuppa @Abi :)
 

Blue eyes

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Save the third (new) house until after they are completely bonded. Don't let either of them in there as it won't make them see it as shared space but as a potential personal space to claim (defend) as "their own." Having a brand new cage available to place them in together after they are completely bonded is the ideal! So save it for later and, in the meantime, keep it away from any rabbits.

AAaah....how long have you been fostering? Any other rabbit in the household can cause a disruption in even established bonded pairs. He may be in a different part of the house, but rabbits have a good sense of smell. If they can smell him (or if you have been handling him or his things and then touch their stuff) then that would be a potential for serious disruption in any bonding -- whether or not that bond is already established. Allowing any of his smells will not make them "band together." It would (and may already) have the opposite effect. :confused:
 

K1marie

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Uh Oh . Thank you so much for the info . Def will keep the new cage out of the pict for now . Not sure what I can do about the foster bun .... guess I just complicated things a lot more , huh!! These certainly are complicated creatures. So that may help explain the lack of success SECOND time around . At least I am giving them all a loving home . Not sure of my next move now ... !!!! I really appreciate you following me in this though .
 

zuppa

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Hi, I remember you've made so many attempts bonding them just went back to August 2019 and found my comment, after nearly one year I can say that again.

You know what, I think if they don't want to get bonded why force them? Just because you want to experiment or something? I think it is simply not fair. Sorry if that's not what would you like to hear, just giving my honest opinion.
For the new cage I've also already said in your previous thread that it would be best to leave it untouched so you can use it when/if they will bond and will need their completely new housing without any smell or reminding of other rabbit.

Adding the third rabbit would only complicate things, especially if it's just your foster so just temporary, I think that would be unfair to them and to the third rabbit since you're obviously not thinking about their wants and feelings but just got involved into experimenting and I think this is very selfish. Sorry again if it is not what you wanted to hear, I am just being honest.

I am not a bonding expert I have some experience but if I see that two rabbits are not going to be happy together I'd never force. I had a bonded pair of mother and daughter and I've separated them because daughter wasn't acting as when she was alone, she was passive and unhappy. The reason why you bond is you want them to be happy. Well cleaning is easier and you can save some space, but it shouldn't be your main reason I believe.
 
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K1marie

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Hi, I remember you've made so many attempts bonding them just went back to August 2019 and found my comment, after nearly one year I can say that again.



For the new cage I've also already said in your previous thread that it would be best to leave it untouched so you can use it when/if they will bond and will need their completely new housing without any smell or reminding of other rabbit.

Adding the third rabbit would only complicate things, especially if it's just your foster so just temporary, I think that would be unfair to them and to the third rabbit since you're obviously not thinking about their wants and feelings but just got involved into experimenting and I think this is very selfish. Sorry again if it is not what you wanted to hear, I am just being honest.

I am not a bonding expert I have some experience but if I see that two rabbits are not going to be happy together I'd never force. I had a bonded pair of mother and daughter and I've separated them because daughter wasn't acting as when she was alone, she was passive and unhappy. The reason why you bond is you want them to be happy. Well cleaning is easier and you can save some space, but it shouldn't be your main reason I believe.
The reason I am trying to bond them is so they can both have free reign . I’m not forcing” them to do anything ... and am not using any “stress” tactics ,( though I did try a car ride) That’s why I asking so many questions . In regards to a 3rd bun’s scent... I’m not putting the actual rabbit in with them . I was wondering if it would be helpful , but the answer seems to be a resounding no ,( so I won’t ) Thank you for the input . Same with the newer cage . I thought as long as they equally had their own scent in it , it might be okay ( like switching cages so they familiarize with the scents ) .... but also , seems a no on that too. Trust me, If I knew what I know now about “bonding” - I wouldn’t have gotten two buns unless I knew they would get along. My last two were fine after I got them neutered and after a little jumping and chasing . I am not being cruel to them .... I’m simply trying different approaches based on whatever experienced advise I can get . What seems more more cruel is having to keep one rabbit confined for 1/2 it’s life and get 1/2 the attention bc only 1 can be out at time. I love my rabbits , They are family members and I certainly would not them to anything I consider cruel .
 

K1marie

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Just updating a little at the 2 week mark of being back next to each other I know I have received a little flak from @zuppa for my continuing attempt to bond my two. Though keep in mind, It has been a long time bc I have basically stop fairly quickly after an unsuccessful attempt to either allow more time or avoid a dangerous encounter. I am being extremely careful and patient. ( Its not like I have let them battle it out for a year.) I started too soon which put me off to a real disadvantage from the get go. And I am in this situation, so I am trying to make the best of it. Hindsight is a great thing. Any how, if you are willing, I would accept thoughts (please hold the criticism) on what is happening currently. Their 2 pens are next to each other. I have allowed a small section of the gate to be close enough they can reach each other through it. I pet them both at the same time through there. When left alone, I have observed them laying next to each other (no biggie I know), Sticking their nose through at the same time... and sometimes just ignore and walk away. Lion head will occasionally groom lop (who LOOOOOVES it) Haven’t seen Lop groom Lionhead, though Lionhead isn't "begging" for it as much. He definitely exposes his nose and his whole body to the lop as he lies pushed up against the pen. They paw at each other sometimes, usually one at a time, and not a lot. They sniff and walk away , sometimes one will sniff the other’s side and once in a while give a quick nip. Is this (as a whole picture ) positive at all? I am thinking a few more weeks like this before any actual contact. They both love when I switch their cages. They like exploring the “better “ hay and toys the other has! As for my feeling on them, the lop so badly WANTS a buddy, the lion head , “eh” I can live by myself. So I’m screwed either way…..No matter how I configure them, one will be happy and one not as much. And neither is happy with being penned in. Is there something else I should also be doing? @Dayle @Blue eyes
 

Black Otter's Mom

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Hi, I have had successful bonding many times but use a different method. Also, I would hold off on fostering right now. If your buns are having issues bonding, yet another newbie would be traumatic. Bunnies are hyper aware of each other and just the smell of a foster bun makes things way worse for all.

I attached a pic of 5 of my past bunnies, all different but a unit. The way I did it involves a fair amount of hands on work though.

I would sit in the floor and put the picked on bunny between my knees so just snout sticking out. Let the other bun out too. The aggressive one zoom over and possibly lunge. Except you are in control. If the aggressive one comes over with bad intent, I would put my hand on his forehead and quietly say no. The other bun is usually now pulled his head back and is hiding between my knees.

My hand still on aggressive bunny's forehead. Now I am petting his bangs and telling him good boy. Very soothing, defuse things.

Allow the bunny with you to poke his nose or snout out. The other bun may do the fake out cammo sniff and then try to dive in. Since you are there, control it once more. Then put each back in their individual cages. In pm do it all over again. Then put them in cage. They are relearning to be in each others space minus the ag
 

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Black Otter's Mom

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Minus the aggression. You have to be patient and be the moderator, babysitting safe space. I would not be making them near the others things. You cant force bonding, it has to be taught sometimes. Bunnies hate sharing their stuff with an unwelcome bun. This method always works for me with persnickety buns but its labor intensive. Letting them be free range together is only after they tolerate each other. As you add more time and they are in same room, you are there too so your presence means you are the safety net. And you can put them apart if needed. Always speak to the aggressive one soothing, you have to deliberately create safe space with no one feeling hes in trouble. Hope it helps
 

K1marie

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Your herd is precious. Thanks for the approach . I am willing to put in the time , and have put in so much already. I could try introducing again like this . Im a little hesitant cuz I did something similar early on and the one bit the one I was holding ( NOT serious) but face to face - and still , what’s worse holding one bun and allowing the other to bite him. I can foresee some signs , the raised tail and certain body language , but I can’t always predict a nip is coming . Do you do this in the neutral
only space or can it be “common “
ground ? Also , I didn’t catch the “
one last thing” comment . Thanks
for laying out how you’ve have reached success .
 

Black Otter's Mom

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Oh sorry, I have a fused thumb from RA surgery and my thumb hit the post reply. What I was going to add is to really try to not let anxious buns feel your worry because right now they are on high alert.

Yep, I know what you mean, the aggressive one sometimes will do the faux touching-noses-we-are-pals and then sneak in a hit and run jab. Just put the protected bunny between your knees, kneeling down. It gives you free hands.

The white bunny in that pic was picked on. Her name was Lyric. She was a white fluff ball and shy. It was the does who had to make sure she knew she was bottom of the ladder. Eventually it stopped and she did great. She had really long ears and I thought she would most likely grow into those ears, she was a big girl. She stayed shy but learned to be part of the gang.

I got a baby girl otter on Wednesday and she instantly bonded with my senior black otter. I think it was her initial hello. They sniffed and she put her nose under his chin and stayed like that. Very submissive gesture and strangely enough they are pals. Look at her face, all lounging on the couch.. she looks like she knew what would work! She has girlie girl face.

Hang in there, its a lot of work but worth it. Mine are free range too, I get where you are coming from.
 

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K1marie

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Oh sorry, I have a fused thumb from RA surgery and my thumb hit the post reply. What I was going to add is to really try to not let anxious buns feel your worry because right now they are on high alert.

Yep, I know what you mean, the aggressive one sometimes will do the faux touching-noses-we-are-pals and then sneak in a hit and run jab. Just put the protected bunny between your knees, kneeling down. It gives you free hands.

The white bunny in that pic was picked on. Her name was Lyric. She was a white fluff ball and shy. It was the does who had to make sure she knew she was bottom of the ladder. Eventually it stopped and she did great. She had really long ears and I thought she would most likely grow into those ears, she was a big girl. She stayed shy but learned to be part of the gang.

I got a baby girl otter on Wednesday and she instantly bonded with my senior black otter. I think it was her initial hello. They sniffed and she put her nose under his chin and stayed like that. Very submissive gesture and strangely enough they are pals. Look at her face, all lounging on the couch.. she looks like she knew what would work! She has girlie girl face.

Hang in there, its a lot of work but worth it. Mine are free range too, I get where you are coming from.
OMG Stop it!!! Too adorable! JUST saw that picture hahahaha !!!!!!! Guess I didn't scroll enough the first time ! I came back to ask you another followup question if thats okay.
So wondering WHICH bun you would choose to put between your legs. I know I have to use MY judgement of course, but just clarifying what YOU would do. My Lop begs to be groomed, My lion WILL groom him, but when HE asks for grooming the Lop ignores it. Usually the Lion will end up with a tiny nip to the Lop and they can end up pawing at eachother.
 

Black Otter's Mom

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Put the one that is picked on between your knees. Not in a vise but where he can pull his head back if he is not comfortable. The more assertive bunny will come over to check it out and usually will resort to a sniff 'n lunge. But you are present, you are the alpha, you can put hand on that bunny and say no or clap your hands. After a pattern of not getting along has been established it takes time to redo that interaction, to re-learn how they relate. When they are ok enough for you not to hold the bun, make sure you are present sitting with them. If the aggressor starts doing drive by's, circling or acting phony non-chalant, say no or clap your hands once so he knows you see it.
My little kid new bun Lenore has been trying to eat my books in my bookshelf. Yesterday she found a hole where 2 books were smaller and she tried the dive. When it caught my eye the top half of her body was in and her legs were dangling, trying to climb in a spot too shallow. I use the one clap method and she knows she's busted. She will be a poseur and look around like that was not her. Then do busted guilty moves like instantly requiring full grooming, checking her feet, licking her fur, anything to not be in trouble. I will see her 'just happen' to be lounging near said books, innocently of course, just minding her business and I will do one clap and she scampers away. Pray for me ehen shes a teenager!
 

K1marie

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Put the one that is picked on between your knees. Not in a vise but where he can pull his head back if he is not comfortable. The more assertive bunny will come over to check it out and usually will resort to a sniff 'n lunge. But you are present, you are the alpha, you can put hand on that bunny and say no or clap your hands. After a pattern of not getting along has been established it takes time to redo that interaction, to re-learn how they relate. When they are ok enough for you not to hold the bun, make sure you are present sitting with them. If the aggressor starts doing drive by's, circling or acting phony non-chalant, say no or clap your hands once so he knows you see it.
My little kid new bun Lenore has been trying to eat my books in my bookshelf. Yesterday she found a hole where 2 books were smaller and she tried the dive. When it caught my eye the top half of her body was in and her legs were dangling, trying to climb in a spot too shallow. I use the one clap method and she kno'ws she's busted. She will be a poseur and look around like that was not her. Then do busted guilty moves like instantly requiring full grooming, checking her feet, licking her fur, anything to not be in trouble. I will see her 'just happen' to be lounging near said books, innocently of course, just minding her business and I will do one clap and she scampers away. Pray for me ehen shes a teenager!
How is the thumb coming along ?!! Heres the latest. (There is a question at the end). I wanted to wait a little longer and observe my two buns along their common pen wall and make sure I thought they were ready for this next step (your method) which I want to try. This will be my last effort to try and see if they have worked anything out between themselves having been so close and a little nose access each other now for several weeks. It really looks likes they want to be together (but I am well aware this could all only " appear" that way) Each in their own cage next to each other they poke their noses thru to each other, will sniff and groom and rarely get feisty. Now if one is "outside" the pen (free roaming) My Lop will sometimes run after the Lion for the length of the pen....Not constantly , but definitely acting different than when Lions in his own cage next to him rather than out. When the lop is out he doesn't pay much attention to the Lions pen, but he will go up and put his nose thru and the Lion will sniff and either just hang there or give little nips (so minor the Lop doesn't freak out , and even keep putting his nose through asking for grooming) Can I do their little controlled into in their free roam "common" area maybe gating in part of it? I could see if I don't enclose it, the free one will just run around and ignore the one I am holding. Or do I want to stick with the total neutral territory thing? I know f I pick them up and take them to a "neutral" place they will both already be a little stressed from having picked them up. If I pen an area in their common area - maybe I can lure them in there on their own and they won't be all weird already. Now that they take turns getting let out, they are kind of bad about us approaching them to get picked up (they are used to running away from us now)
 

Abi :)

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Hi! I just saw this thread, good luck with bonding :) On a side note, shelters and rescues often do bonding so if you feel it isn't working with you try a bonding service offered by shelters. <3
 

Blue eyes

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Hi! I just saw this thread, good luck with bonding :) On a side note, shelters and rescues often do bonding so if you feel it isn't working with you try a bonding service offered by shelters. <3
In the UK they do. It is very rare to find a rescue in the US that will bond someone's rabbit with one of theirs. :(
 

K1marie

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Yeah, I couldn't even find a shelter near me that would allow a "date" or a pre-meet.. I would never get (2) that aren't already bonded or that I couldn't "test" them together first. My very first bun I ever had I got at a pet store and when I got a 2nd male- had no problems. Had 'em neutered and that was that. Never expected this. I had seen so many videos of happy couples, I never realized the complexity !!
 

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