Docile rabbits...

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by Flakes, Nov 5, 2019.

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  1. Nov 5, 2019 #1

    Flakes

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    How do I get Dortmund to be docile. Nearly every video I see of someone picking up a rabbit, or carrying it around, or clipping its nails, looks like it is relaxed and in some sort of bliss.

    Dortmund on the other hand is constantly hopping around. He will sit still if I’m not around and he tends to relax a bit during the day; so much so that I can take a nap, and he will stretch out beside me.

    But during night he is all zoomies and binkies. I try not to play with him before bed because it just riles him up.

    And forget about picking him up. I’ve been trying to learn how to do that recently. As soon as two hands get near him or I try to steady him with one hand, he starts kicking and squirming and bucking in my grip. I don’t want to hurt the little guy so I usually let him get his way. I know this is bad, but I’m just not sure what to do to calm him down.
     
  2. Nov 5, 2019 #2

    Hermelin

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    The only thing it’s for him to get used being handled. In the beginning it can just be petting and maybe lifting up a paw while giving him rewards when he’s calm.

    It can takes months to make a bunny docile and how long they can handle it’s individual.

    For example Odin my bunny can only handle few short minutes (1-2 min) while Toste can handle (30 min up to 2 hours).

    Bunnies learn things fast. Myself always struggle with my buck when it comes to trimming odins claws. Because he thinks I’m too slow and having black claws make it harder.

    For me it’s put him up on a table can help, or just laying him on the back while he snack on his treats. But then I have to be fast before he flip and jump away while making sure he have his treats
     
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  3. Nov 6, 2019 #3

    samoth

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    Videos can give a pretty biased perception of reality, as certain types of videos are way more likely to be uploaded and subsequently watched by people. (Nobody wants to see my buck lay underneath my bed and hop away when I try to pet him... it'd be a really boring video!)

    I think the super friendly, docile, lap-bunny personalities are more the exception than the norm. Rabbits by their nature aren't going to liked being picked up.

    Your rabbit sounds pretty normal to me :)
     
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  4. Nov 6, 2019 #4

    Flakes

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    Yeah. I know. Honestly I would find docile boring. I like how much he runs around and stirs up ****. That said, when it involves learning how to pick him up (which seems necessary) having him sit still would be useful.
     
  5. Nov 6, 2019 #5

    Hermelin

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    They often calmes down when they become adults. Which I have noticed among my other bunnies except Odin.

    He still zooms around the house even though he’s on the fat side. I would think with the daily binkys and playing around would make him lose weight.

    Myself also thinks Toste just need a lot more space to play around which I can’t provide him to make him play around

    But try to interact with Dortmund during the periods he’s most calmed. Those time of the day are easier to train than the time period he wants to explore and play.

    Bunnies have certain times they are more active and more calmed :)

    Also docile dosen’t always means easy to pick up. Myself have a problem picking Toste up because he will run away while Odin is the easiest to pick up. So all my bunnies have different routines when picking them up.
     
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  6. Nov 8, 2019 #6

    Flakes

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    So I’ve been picking Dortmund up and moving him around a lot more recently. Three or four times a day. And he is struggling a lot less, often not at all. I think he’s learned that nothing bad happens when I lift him except that at the end of the ride he gets a bit of dried strawberry.
     
  7. Nov 8, 2019 #7

    Hermelin

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    That’s great work ^^
     
  8. Nov 8, 2019 #8

    Imbrium

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    Harley Quinn is aptly named, lol... she arrived at our home full of attitude, formerly an "only child" (3 1/2 and had been the only pet in her former home, where I can only surmise that she was the boss of her humans).

    That doesn't fly in my house, lol. Me parent, rabbit child. Mommy is the boss. If mommy wants snuggles, she gets them. If mommy needs to trim nails or administer medication, it happens. If mommy wants bed sheets without a thousand chew-holes in them... well, then she's out of luck.

    Be confident and patient but insistent. Hold rabbits snugly so they feel secure and bribes are always welcome. I turn mine into snugglers sooner or later by laying in bed with them in my arms and loving on them while watching TV. At first, some need to be held tightly until they get the idea (or settle down, if hyper)... after a bit though, I can move my arm away and the rabbit stays. Alice would cuddle for days if I let her. Barnaby loves it too (just not as obsessively). HQ and Nala cuddle for a bit and then want some freedom.

    It took a few weeks for Harley Quinn to really accept that she couldn't boss me around and to stop being a tornado of activity when I wanted to handle her. I got a lot of scratches in the beginning if she wasn't held tightly enough, heh. Every rabbit that remains calm and patient while being handled got that way by being handled a LOT.

    I've had Nala since 7 weeks old (she's 7 years now) and I've handled her a great deal from the start. Last summer, she had to go to the vet... the vet stuck a scope in her mouth and had to keep it in there long enough to really get a good look at her rear molars (she had spurs), then palpated her hips to confirm my suspicion of mild arthritis and spent a couple minutes stretching her out a little to loosen things up. The vet was in awe of how calm, patient and tolerant Nallies was... one of the most obedient little bunnies she's treated.

    Time, patience, love and bribes! It's mostly a matter of teaching him that telling you "no" isn't an option... much like a human toddler :p.
     
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  9. Nov 8, 2019 #9

    Flakes

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    I may have spoken too soon. I was taking dortmund out of his cage and he started flailing about — he doesn’t normally do this — and me managed to get away and fell about 3 feet, hitting his head on my nightstand before falling to the floor.
     
  10. Nov 8, 2019 #10

    Hermelin

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    That must really had hurt, sometimes they do it. Have been in many situations my bunnies fall from a bit of height but never when being held. But it’s only keep on practicing, he will learn his lessons. Next time he start to struggle a lot and you feel like losing grip put him fast to the ground or just let him jump down but he shouldn’t get a treat during those times.

    Also letting him snack on a treat while being hold or scratching where he love to be scratched can calm him down. A bit of distraction, work really well ^^
     
  11. Nov 8, 2019 #11

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    My bunnies have jumped out of my arms before and been perfectly fine but because he hit his head I would just keep an eye on him. I remember one time Bugs jumped out of my arms while I was standing next to the bed but he miscalculated his jump and landed straight on the hard floor. If he had been any bigger (smaller bunnies tend to be more resistant to falls because it's not as much weight hitting the ground at once if that makes any sense) he could have potentially have broken his legs. He was stunned but fine. You'd think that after that he'd stop jumping and squirming so much but he didn't.

    I second everything @Imbrium said! Don't let him get away with everything. I let Bugs get away with everything and he got whatever he wanted for over a year and it's pretty obvious he's my first "kid" because he just cannot behave to save his life no matter what I try. He's very smart and that's part of his problem honestly. He knows that if he bites or digs at me I'll pay attention to him. He also learned recently that if he pushes my Spanish flashcards off my bed (or does anything he knows I'm going to get annoyed about) he gets attention. During snuggle time, he will be perfectly calm and before I can even register that he wants to go do bunny things he bites. Hard enough to draw blood. I've just accepted that I'm not ever going to be able to train him differently now but it's not too late for Dortmund to learn! Discipling doesn't ever have to be violent. Sometimes yelling "no" will get Bugs to realize he's not doing good boy things but whether he actually cares is a whole different story. I've been considering nipping his ear when he doesn't listen but I'm not sure if I'm going to actually try that or not. Bugs also hates being picked up and bites over that too.
     
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  12. Nov 8, 2019 #12

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    This is how I trained my puppy to not bite and she stopped about the second time but I know how hard-headed Bugs can be lol.
     
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  13. Nov 8, 2019 #13

    Imbrium

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    One way to discipline a rabbit is to firmly but gently press their head to the ground the way a mommy rabbit would. They *will* understand that you're saying to knock off what they're doing... they may or may not care though, lol. Very much doubt it would work on Bugs, for example :p.

    Nipping is part of bunny language. A nip on the rear is a way of asserting oneself as the boss... never resorted to that myself, but it might work. In my house, a rabbit who nips or bites a human gets bit back on the tip of the ear. Just hard enough to show we mean business - like a pinch. That one, I can say with confidence, is effective. Sometimes they forget and try to pull rank, but nips/bites are quite rare.

    Time outs are also helpful at times. Get a cat carrier (or a shelf high enough they won't jump down) when a rabbit is rotten and trying to get negative attention, put them there and "forget" about them. Watch a TV show or two. Let them think you're not coming back. Usually good for an attitude adjustment, lol.
     
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  14. Nov 8, 2019 #14

    Flakes

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    I mean I haven’t been entirely negligent. When Dortmund is being a pain in the butt, or a bad rabbit, he goes back into his cage. And while he doesn’t really mind being there, he definitely prefers running around outside of it more.
     
  15. Nov 8, 2019 #15

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    Oh, I got off on a tangent... rotten rabbits like Bugs... that's how HQ was when we got her, too, spoiled as heck :p. Dortmund, I think just needs the act of being handled to become "routine".
     
  16. Nov 8, 2019 #16

    Flakes

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    On a tangent, since I don’t know Bugs but can assume from his cartoon namesake that he is spirited, cleaver, and the bane of Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, and Marvin the Martian.

    How big should I expect Dortmund to get. When I went to the vet he was 3.25 Pounds. As a guess he might be 5 or 6 months old, though nobody has said anything specific - that number comes from someone here who looked at a photo.
     
  17. Nov 8, 2019 #17

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    Is he a Holland Lop? I can't remember if you said if he was or not, sorry.

    On another note, that's the first time anyone on the forum has ever pointed out the reference behind his name! Now I'm on a tangent :p
     
  18. Nov 8, 2019 #18

    Flakes

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    I think he is a Holland Lop. But again that is only from something Poopy Poo said on here. For all I knew he could be a newborn Continental Giant with weird floppy ears.

    I got him from a couple on Craigslist. He was the first rabbit I visited. When I asked how old he was they shrugged. They obviously didn't know anything about rabbits. Like I mentioned in my first post, they never cleaned his cage or litter box, just added more bedding over the layer of poop and bedding that was there before. When I got home I had to clean out about 3-4 inches of hardened ripped paper and tens of thousands of poops before his cage was clean. I used a shop vac and even so it still took me three times to empty out the vacuum chamber before the cage was empty. I'm not even sure Dortmund had ever been out of the cage at all since they had three small dogs that were constantly lunging and barking at him while we talked. I bought him a new, far bigger, cage as soon as I took him home (https://www.amazon.com/Living-World..._6?keywords=rabbit+cage&qid=1573251405&sr=8-6) and mostly only keep him in it when he's being a pain in the butt or when I need to go out.

    P.S. his original name wasn't Dortmund. I renamed him. I hope he doesn't mind.
     
  19. Nov 8, 2019 #19

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    If he's truly a Holland and 5-6 mos old, then he's a) just about full grown and b) a true dwarf. The two Hollands I've had have been false dwarves (no dwarf gene) and weigh(ed) about 4.5 lbs as an adult.

    On a side note, the name Dortmund makes me and husband giggle, is truly awesome and is somehow perfectly befitting a rabbit. And anyway, I'm absolutely certain he'd agree that having to get a new name is a worthwhile trade-off for getting an infinitely superior new home. Now that I know his backstory, I'm ecstatic about the degree to which he upgraded his humans when he went from that first home to your home. Three cheers for Dortmund, who got a second chance at an amazing life :D.

    I love when a rabbit gets their very own Cinderella story!
     
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  20. Nov 8, 2019 #20

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    Is there a meaning behind his name? I can't tell if I'm missing something or not.
     

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