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Doesn’t like to be picked up

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Miva13

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Hi all
I have a 7 month old male minilop. He is the most beautiful boy and loves head rubs and cuddles on the couch (him sitting on the back of the couch snuggled into my neck - not on my lap). My problem is he hates to be picked up. I have tried the softly approach using treats as incentives but he is not interested. My partner has picked him up but I know bunny hates it and has to be chased which I don’t like. He has been castrated. I wouldn’t mind so much but he is free roaming in our house and I have let him go into our backyard for a roam as well which he loves. The problem is getting him back indoors when I have to go out as I don’t want to him outside by himself. I’ve tried to get him in using treats but he ignores me, obviously having too much fun outside. I can’t pick him up to bring him in so it’s ends up being a nightmare with me using a towel as a guide to encourage him back inside for his own safety. Sorry for rambling, I guess my question is will he get better with age on being picked up or is this just his personality and he will never change. He is my first rabbit and I love him to bits but am hoping he will calm down and let me handle him more (even if it’s just for his own safety).
Thanks
 

HalaBuns

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I read this and started giving the steps a try:


With mine though, there’s not really been many occasions where I need to pick them up and they get so stressed when I do, so I’ve given up with it really as it was just annoying them and it really isn’t necessary. I don’t think they will ever really enjoy it as I don’t think they were handled at all when they were little, so it’s an unpleasant thing for them. I also have only had them for 3 months and before that they were with a girl who found them dumped in a car park. So with 2 changes in owner and 3 house moves in the last year, plus a general distrust of humans (understandable) I want to let them settle for a few months longer before trying again.

Have you tried moving him in and out in his carrier, if he doesn’t mind going in that too much? If I have to move the girls anywhere (onto the counter top to do their nails, for example) I entice them into the carrier with treats instead of picking them up, as they find that less stressful.
 
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Hermelin

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Some bunnies are hard to train, my bunnies listen when being called 98% of the time. But I only let the one that is easy to pick up to roam free on the yard because my yard don’t have a fence.

The other bunny can get startled by things around him, so it’s always an ex-pen or harness when moving outdoors. Even though he have run away and escaped the house, I’ve only needed to call his name and do the normal routine of picking up.

But I feel a little bad over one of my bunnies, Odin gets picked up at least 10 times/day. I’m one of the guilty ones that pick him up daily, he will give you kisses and can cuddle up in your arms. Placing him on the floor and he will stand on his back leg to be picked up again. So I can’t resist it while my other bunny I only pick him up a few times during the week. I can’t resist handling my bunnies and picking them up. But I adapt after how much my bunnies like and tolerate. If they still find picking up uncomfortable I will let them avoid as often they can.

The one I pick up a few times during the week, took nearly a year to teach him to accept being picked up and handled. I never chase Toste, I often make him come to me, give a treat then do the picking up routine we have. When he’s up in my arms I will get more treats to give him and when putting him down to the floor he will turn to me because he knows he gets a treat. So I go with bribing and using treats in all the steps to be picked up.

In the beginning I got screaming and biting, Toste was too scared to eat any treats and was tensed up when being handled. Two years later and we got a cuddly bunny which my little brother can pick up and hold. I’m quite sure without training him to get used to be handled, Toste would never accept being picked up. But Toste where the hardest to teach of the five bunnies I’ve had/owns.

Train indoors with commands for example jump in, come and so one and later do it outdoors. Make sure when it’s outdoors that you have really yummy treats that your bunny go crazy for. For example banana or strawberries is a treat my bunnies totally worships.

Picking up training is better to start really slow, if your bunny is calm when being up in your arms and not tense make sure to always give treats or scratch somewhere he loves. But first step is trust and accept being touched everywhere. Then you go from there with baby steps that slowly builds into being picked up.
 

Miva13

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Thanks for your reply’s. Yes I have read that article and am trying slowly with him. I think I was just hoping for some stories that over time he will be less flighty as he is only young still. I have tried the carrier but he is really smart and knew I just wanted to move him inside. I don’t want to pick him up all the time just when he is in danger so I can protect him and bring him back inside.
 

Lucas the Bun 💕🐇

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You can practice picking him up, press your face against his cheek, that helps calm down my rabbit. Be quick likee 2 seconds (eventually work your way up), then give him a treat. Only give him a treat if he stays. If he gets treats when he wiggles out, he’ll learn that he can stay less time in your arms and then still gets a treat.

Put something soft below where your picking him up, to avoid him get hurt.

You want to support his bum and back/head area (so they feel safe, and are less
inclined to jumping.

I’ve found that puting them in a “C” shape-ish also makes them not want to jump.

Important to not put him on his back.

You can tell if a rabbit is secure they’ll drop they’re weight (usually legs).


Please be careful when picking up, theres horror story’s where their rabbit jumped out of their arms and they broke their leg !

In nature the only time rabbits are in the air, it’s when a bird lifts them and they’re about to be eaten.
Thats why he wants to jump out.


With time he’ll get more comfortable you picking him up, my rabbit HATED being picked up, but once I she built trust with me she lets me (drops her wait and sometimes even kisses) 🙃

With time you’ll learn the signs that your rabbit wants to hugest down, without them jumping down. ( my rabbit starts tensing if she wants to get down )

I can go 2 minutes, with me picking her up, but your rabbit will have a certain time he allows.
 
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NYAngela

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I read this and started giving the steps a try:


With mine though, there’s not really been many occasions where I need to pick them up and they get so stressed when I do, so I’ve given up with it really as it was just annoying them and it really isn’t necessary. I don’t think they will ever really enjoy it as I don’t think they were handled at all when they were little, so it’s an unpleasant thing for them. I also have only had them for 3 months and before that they were with a girl who found them dumped in a car park. So with 2 changes in owner and 3 house moves in the last year, plus a general distrust of humans (understandable) I want to let them settle for a few months longer before trying again.

Have you tried moving him in and out in his carrier, if he doesn’t mind going in that too much? If I have to move the girls anywhere (onto the counter top to do their nails, for example) I entice them into the carrier with treats instead of picking them up, as they find that less stressful.
Thanks for sharing this most videos I have found feature rabbits who are clearly already comfortable with being handled and it’s all just about proper support and hand placement techniques! Our bunny is young and not at all comfortable being picked up yet. I understand he may never love it, but it’s just will be a necessity at times and I don’t want to risk him hurting himself!
 

NYAngela

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Hi all
I have a 7 month old male minilop. He is the most beautiful boy and loves head rubs and cuddles on the couch (him sitting on the back of the couch snuggled into my neck - not on my lap). My problem is he hates to be picked up. I have tried the softly approach using treats as incentives but he is not interested. My partner has picked him up but I know bunny hates it and has to be chased which I don’t like. He has been castrated. I wouldn’t mind so much but he is free roaming in our house and I have let him go into our backyard for a roam as well which he loves. The problem is getting him back indoors when I have to go out as I don’t want to him outside by himself. I’ve tried to get him in using treats but he ignores me, obviously having too much fun outside. I can’t pick him up to bring him in so it’s ends up being a nightmare with me using a towel as a guide to encourage him back inside for his own safety. Sorry for rambling, I guess my question is will he get better with age on being picked up or is this just his personality and he will never change. He is my first rabbit and I love him to bits but am hoping he will calm down and let me handle him more (even if it’s just for his own safety).
Thanks
I’ve tried several ways to pick up my rabbit he starts to kick and wiggle to the point I don’t want him to hurt himself however I have found some success in moving him in his pen with a technique shared with me on a bunny parents page. Imagine your bunny in a loaf position. He’s already comfortable with me petting and rubbing him I do this with both hands from head to tail frequently. I take my two hands and scoop him still in the full loaf position so his whole body is in my two hands holding both set of paws. He’s a dwarf so that’s possible idk how big yours is. I’ll note I’m moving him quickly from one spot on the floor to another so far at most he’s been 3 inches off the ground. I’m just trying to get him used to being moved/held a bit first. I will need to take him to the vet soon so I’m hoping I can use this technique to get him into his carrier. Hoping we can work our way up to a more secure hold where I would be comfortable in a standing position.
 

Hermelin

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If you feel that your bunny is wanting to struggle, give a treat before. This will make them understand that they get treats while being held.

I would say never judge a bunny until you have tried to get them used with picking up. You might never know if they will like it or tolerate it for a short while.

My bunny Toste hated being picked up, he could turn aggressive when I picked him up. The screaming aren’t that fun hearing your bunny do because they get scared and so on. I had the struggling, biting, growling and screaming when picking him up 😒

He have sharp claws as a cat, so he drew blood easily.

He’s still a drama queen, always turn his bum towards me, when I try to pet him. So he totally tells me when he accepts something or not.
44371D05-FED4-4697-94FB-CB9A678DC108.jpeg

But he turned out to be the easiest bunny when trimming claws and handling after a few years of training. He got even praises from the vet for being a calm boy. While myself just look at the brat, it’s not like the first vet visit he attacked the vet we was at and the vet didn’t dare touching him. So I had to wrap him into a burrito just to give him a shot.

But now a vet can check his teeth, clean his ears and give a shot without getting teeth in their hands. So don’t give up too early and take it with your bunnies tempo. Many stress it and try to do it too fast. Instead of doing it in their bunny own tempo. None of my bunnies accepted being picked up from the start. But I pick them up differently with different routine and holds.

While carrier I never pick up my bunny to put them in at home. My bunnies know the routine to go into the carrier when I tell them. Because they know they will get treats, so they often crowd around the carrier when they see them and try to get into them before time 😂
 

Miva13

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Hi all, I used the carrier today to put him in his outside enclosure while we went out. I put a treat in there and it took him 10 minutes but he eventually went into it. When we got home I let him have a free roam in our backyard then used some fresh banana as a treat to get him back in the house and it worked! So I’m no nearer to picking him up but at least I can move him around without stressing him and me out! Thanks again for all your posts /advice really appreciates it. I’ll keep working with slowly handling him and I’m hoping over time we will get there.
 

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