Handling Your Rabbit

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Troller

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This is something I've read about extensively but want to reassure myself a bit by hearing actual opinions here on it. Most say you should pick up your rabbit about once a day, to get them used to the feeling and for when the time comes for a real emergency to be able to get it done. That, and for check ups. Now I have Flemish, and they're not the easiest and I'm not the best at it but I've been able to do it confidently enough and I always give the rabbits a treat afterwards.

My wife thinks I'm plain wrong. She say's I'm affecting the behavior of our newest since she was so friendly and would come up for pets and the last two days hasn't done so. I don't see the difference, but then Xena wouldn't really come to me like that anyways. Even last night, I pick up Xena, then Conan, and of course they didn't like it but then we had these long petting sessions afterwards where I felt they we're pretty freindly to their tormentor. Just wanted to hear from others because I feel like I am doing right, but starting to have doubts.
 

agnesthelion

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I handle and hold mine daily. Agnes, she of course is fine. I have yet to find something that upsets her ;)

Archie, he doesn't like it but I didn't give up and he is completely fine with being held.

I agree with oakridge rabbits, I couldn't imagine being able to NOT handle mine. Trimming nails isn't a challenge, I can carry them from room to room, they don't run from me if I need to get them put away in a hurry for whatever reason, grooming is a cinch with never a fight or stress to either bun. Vet trips are easy. And lastly, if me personally I need a good snuggle and hug and kiss I can get one if I want ;) Agan, I'm not saying Archie looooves being picked up but me not giving up he has learned to tolerate it very well and he knows nothing *bad* will happen when I do.

Just my 2 cents.....
 

Nancy McClelland

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All of ours get handled daily. Makes it so much easier to do things when they get used to being handled. Some like it, some don't, but they all know that they have to tolerate us pesty humans if they want rubs and treats.
 

Shmoo06

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I don't handle mine on a regular basis(although I'm going to have to for a while to give medicine). I guess I just don't know how because I know you're not supposed to chase them. Every time they come up to me and I pet them, I'll try to pick them up, but they bolt away before I can get a grip.

Once I finally have them in my arms, they're fine, it's the getting to that position that's so hard.
 

wendymac

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I handle mine daily, and can't imagine not handling them, either. As for them running away... put your head lightly in front of/on top of their head, then scoop them up. I have some that don't particularly like it (French Lops aren't exactly easy to lug around, either. lol), but they all tolerate it. When I'm done brushing/grooming/checking them, I give them a frosted shredded mini wheat when I put them back. So even those that don't care to be picked up, they know there's a goodie at the end. :)
 

indianavex

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Cas hates it. I probably hoist her up every couple of days or so if I need to move her or want to snuggle for a bit. She'd rather I didn't, but she tolerates it well enough. :)
 

Bobtail

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My Mushroom likes a fuss, he will happily come and play around you and all over you but as soon as you try and pick him up he goes mental kicking, he used to love being picked up, then he got older and now hates it but he isnt scared of us so goodness knows why. Im not sure whether we should keep trying to get him used to it or not.
 

Loopsy

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We gave ours a short adjustment period and then started handling them. At first it seemed to make them nervous to be picked up, but now just a month in they don't mind being handled in moderation. I think it's good to get them used to it, as long as you're being gentle but firm.
 

Chrisdoc

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I would say that it´s to handle them and you should get them used to it. I can now handle all three so much more easily that I could a few months ago and I make a point of picking them up each day to stroke and cuddle to they get used to it and they are much better with it now. It also means that when I need to groom or cut nails, it´s not a big issue as it used to be where it was near impossible to get them to keep still. Now, they know that it´s something that has to be done and they just let me. I always try and reward them at the end so they remember it as a positive thing.
 

lyndym

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When my original pair were babies, I would try to not handle them as much as a part of my litter box training. Once that was set, I picked them up whenever I needed to handle them. Doc has always been no problem, but Dora hated to be held. I learned to deal with her squirmy-ness and would always hold her as securely and firmly as possible - usually she would try and jump only if her handler was more cautious with holding her because they felt her resisting. This did not help her deal with things like giving medication (unless she found it tasty!) or nail trimmings, but we did have an "emergency" of sorts where I was able to grab both buns quickly. Funny story, my building was running a test of the fire alarm system, but the email alert went to my spam, so I thought it was real. I already had an emergency plan, so I was able to test it! Grabbed both buns and put them in a tupperware file box that I emptied of papers, and made for the door! They were difficult to get into their carrier, since it's the kind where the top can be removed and one always jumps out easily while the other one is making their way in, so I highly recommend having an emergency box like my file box, which they both fit into and has handles on either side for me to carry.
 

LakeCondo

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I guess it depends what's meant by handle. Touching should be daily, but picking up daily when they don't like it doesn't seem as good as picking up weekly, then slowly make it more often.
 

roxyllsk

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Mac doesn't mind being picked up and snuggled with. He loves having his cheeks rubbed so I always give him a good scratch when I pick him up so he relaxes immediately.

Molly doesn't like being picked up. I try to pick him up frequently but he knows when I am going to pick him up and he scoots away. I don't think it's a good idea to start chasing him so I just wait then try again later. Once I catch him he is okay with me petting him while he sits on my lap.
 

LoveMochi

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Lately I've been trying to handle my buns once a day. One of my buns used to shake when I carry him when he was a baby but he is tolerating it and he doesn't shake anymore. So sad my hubby and friend dropped him I wanted to cry
 

Troller

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I try to pick them up once a day, though I slack on that often enough. I cradle them, take a quick glance and then give them a treat. They don't like it. Xena contorts to take a bite (never had that problem with the bigger Conan) then snorts and thumps when I put her down. Conan takes it a bit better but snaps at the treat I give him afterwards. I'm not expecting joy here just wondering if I'm doing right. Plus I can't help but jealously look at pics of folks hugging their Flemish to their chests with their little heads over their shoulders. Heh, I can only wish...
 

PaGal

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I sooooo get your jealousy. before getting my flemmie I spent hours looking at photos trying to make up my mind on which color was my favorite. I saw so many pics of people snuggled up with or cradling their flemmies.
:tears2:
Thumper doesn't like to be held. I need to start working on it with him using treats. Maybe that will do the trick since he's a pretty calm bun.
 

Cirlin-rah

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Don't doubt yourself.

Handling is one of those things. When you need it to happen, it had better happen & fast. I would go so far as to say that, special cases such as hyper-aggressive rabbits excluded, it should be mandatory to have confidence in handling your rabbit. When a situation arises where you HAVE to handle your rabbit, what will you do?

Your darlins may have been irritated these past two days-- so? Harrow was irritated at me over the weekend because I worked a lot. He eased out of it. Yours will too. I think your wife is being too sensitive to it.

I handle Harrow multiple times a day, always. There's 'ok, you're going back in your cage, I gotta leave', but also I like to work on the floor to be with him so sometimes it's a quick 'dude you're in my way, could you please move' thing. I've carried him from room to room to get him used to that, too. He wasn't too keen on it at first, but then he learned how to hope downstairs by himself & it's not a hassle to carry him back up.

...I'm pretty much just adding support to what Agnusthelion said. That point about picking them up when you need to hold something dear & fluffy is an important one too.

I am curious about Flemishes-- have long admired the breed & told myself I would get one when circumstances permitted it. What are your darlins like?
 

Cirlin-rah

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Would like to add that Harrow doesn't get a reward for this, nor does he care much. I'm surprised to see that it is apparently a treat-worthy activity... it just is what it is. But if he doesn't want to be picked up & hops away from me sometimes, that's fine too. I'm not gunna insist on getting my way all the time.
 

Troller

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Hey Cirlin-rah. I don't always treat when I handle them, its an occasional thing and I'm trying to teach them its not so bad being picked up. Conan has gotten better with it, fights me less, though I almost have to chase him to do it. Xena I don't have to chase as much but she struggles more, but then she's also only been with me two weeks.

My Flemishes, well I have a blog but I'll answer briefly here. Now I'm sure their great behavior is based on the breeders who sold me them, both at 16 weeks old, but I think me being so informed also benifited. They litter trained day one. I thought Conan was quick but Xena took to it faster and all I did was place the box and they did the rest. Personality wise, Conan is laid back, not super friendly but cordial and easy to deal with. Xena is more active and friendier but she also gets more easily annoyed, thumping and snorting to let you know. Both are chewers but not so much that I constantly worry and only a little damage here and there to things I expected and don't stress over. All in all I get more frustrated by my two Cockatiels and how messy they are then I do my rabbits.
 
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