My bunny doesn’t like to be touched?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Zoe Franchino

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
North Dakota
Hi everyone! I got my first bunny about a week ago, so I’m pretty new to this rabbit business. He’s a two year old Netherland Dwarf buck. I adopted him from a breeder (I was friends with the breeder, she passed away and her daughter is liquidating her bunny barn, and offered me a bunny. I know many don’t support breeders, but I wanted to clarify my situation.) He was raised by a show breeder, and so he was kept in a small square cage, and traveled to shows. Now that I have him home, I have him as a free roaming bunny in my room only. He’s very comfortable with me being around, as he’ll come up and smell me or won’t flinch when I go sit by him or walk past him. He’s also very happy! All he does is binky and run around and chew on all of his toys. He even comes when I whistle. However, I can’t touch him or pick him up, or he runs away. This is difficult because I’d like to get him to the vet to be fixed, and later in the year I’d like to show him in 4H. I was hoping since he’d been shown before he’d be a little more tolerant of it, but he wants nothing to do with being touched.

Is there a way that you can train bunnies to enjoy being touched? I know that sounds silly, but I mostly work with horses and have gotten unhandled horses to the point where they pretty much beg for attention and being petted. However now that I’m in this boat with a bunny, I have no clue where to start. Any help is appreciated, thank you!

Picture of my boy!
 

Attachments

Popsicles

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
456
Location
England
Hello,
Firstly, I don’t know a huge amount about showing, but I think I’m right in saying you can’t show if you have them neutered? So might be worth looking into more.
As for bonding together, a week is a very short time so I wouldn’t expect too much. It’s good that he is happy to come and sniff you - keep up with that, and just sitting on the floor so he can be around you and maybe with a treat in your lap to teach him that you are good news. Maybe try offering his pellets or greens while you are on the floor with him and try gently petting his head while he muches. Don’t go for picking him up yet - most rabbits don’t like to be picked up, and it will just take away from the bonding process if he thinks you touching him is a negative thing. Don’t start training him to tolerate being picked up until you have a solid bond with him and he isn’t scared to be touched by you. Some bunnies just don’t really liked being petted at all, and it might be the case that he never really likes to sit still and be touched - time will tell!
 

Tinto

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
47
Reaction score
10
Location
Nagoya, Japan
Hi, I have a Netherland Dwarf Buck too. I understand you. Maybe you could think about whether you don't have some smell on your hands (foods, perfume etc.). It seems good to wash one's hands before touching the bun, and let him first smell the hand before you touch him.
 

Lauren Kiernan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
128
Reaction score
74
Location
Connecticut
He's adorable. Give him time to get to know you. Everything else you mentioned he does indicates a happy rabbit.
 

Kinley

Active Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
36
Reaction score
11
Location
Florida
Keep doing what you’re doing, sitting in the cage and letting him sniff you. My rabbit, Sasha, was like this when I first got her. I just sat in her cage with her and when she was running around, and I also fed her treats and pellets out of my hand, to show her that hands meant a positive thing. She is still timid when being held, but she loves to cuddle with me now. Sometimes rabbits just like to know your their, and will let you pet them in their own time. And, like Jbun said above, he could associate hands with being stuck in a cage. Maybe try feeding him treats with your hands and just putting your hand next to him, to show him your not going to force him into a cage anymore. He looks adorable, and I bet he’ll be a great companion for you soon. Hope I helped!
 

Latest posts

Top