Need bonding advice

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BethM

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Benjamin and Opal have been doing REALLY well at their bonding sessions. They were up to an hour, sometimes more, in a pen in the living room. I was putting Benjamin's litter box and house in with them, as those will be the ones they will share.
They were grooming each other, with no signs of aggression. Eventually, Opal would get nervous (she doesn't like the living room), so the sessions would end there. (Still no aggression.)

Some of my bunny friends said they were good to go, so I picked a day to put them together. Last night, they had a session in the living room, while I re-did the pen. (Took the divider out, cleaned it well, made a lid to cover the whole thing, as Opal can and will jump out, clean rugs.)

I put them together, and they were fine for awhile. Then Benjamin decided he needed to mount Opal. She ran away, he chased her. I squirted him with water from a spray bottle. He would cool off for awhile, and they would groom each other. Then, he'd start up again. Sometimes she would just run away, other times she would circle him, or happy hop over the top of him. He tried getting on the wrong side, and she just darts out from under him.

I thought they'd be fine, so I left them together for the night. I did sleep on the sofa so I'd be able to hear if things got crazy. I woke up a few times to them chasing, but they calmed down themselves. Until 5:30am, I had to go in and spray him with the water again. And then at 6:00am, I had to separate them. He was chasing her and she was starting to nip at him. I broke them up and put the divider back in for the rest of the night. He was not hurt. Now they are both pouting.

How do I proceed from here?
 

BethM

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jujub793 wrote:
are they "fixed"? because even if they are bonded that behavior will continue
Yes, they are both "fixed." Benjamin was neutered a few years ago, Opal was spayed in September. There is still mounting behavior in my pair that has been bonded for years, but he doesn't chase her until she bites at him.

I need to know if I have to go back to short bonding sessions, or just put them together and let them figure it out. I don't want anyone getting hurt.

When they are not chasing each other, they do groom each other. They also ate hay next to each other, and lounged (though not together). The problems start when he starts to mount her.
 

farmerchick

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i ran into similar issues bonding my pair, seemed like they'd get so far then they'd chase and fight and be agressive... i left it for a few days then went back to consistant short bonding times and made them WANT to spend more time with each other... the first night with them together is always the scariest eh? lol
 

fuzz16

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have you tried forced submission with both of them to one another? holding their heads down when you notice there might become a scrabble between them?

ive never dealt with mounting with any of my bondings...so no other useful advice
 

Korr_and_Sophie

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They may need more time together in the area where they will be living. When I have done bonding, I leave the one cage open so both can go in and out as they please. This allows the current rabbit to get used to the new rabbit in his cage and allows the other rabbit to get used to the cage/area. Once they are fine with this arrangement, you can shut the cage door while you are around, and increase the amount of them they are in there together. If they can do fine during the day and evening, it would be a better indication about them being fine overnight. Benjamin might feel that he needs to establish the area as 'his' and that he is the boss. Hopefully it will go down as he gets used to her living with him.

I would get them used to being in the cage for short periods and gradually increase the amount of time they are there. You can work up to leaving the area with them together and leaving them overnight. I usually find that once I trust them to be together overnight, they are fine and can work out any scuffles on their own.
 

Luluznewz

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I encountered similar problems with my pair. It was surprising, Lulu had always been the dominant/nippy one, then once she decided to stop and be nice Zeppelin started mounting.

At first I went back to short bonding sessions, but I eventually sort of just needed to let them figure it out. Yeah, he would chase Lulu around, and yeah she would sometimes nip him, but they didn't actually ever fight, so I figured they were going to be okay. It didn't take long for them to figure it out, and now there really isn't any "boss bunny".
 

Luvmyzoocrew

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What i did for my Benny and Belle, was put them in a box and turn on the spin on my dryer and stand there for a cycle, or two or three with them and just keep petting them. They would cuddle with each other for the comfort cause they were scared, and i would pet them and kind of squish them together while i petted them, then i would have a bonding session. Even after that we would have some mounting times and a few time Belle got nippy but i would just stop them or seperate them.

Since you have been at it for a while maybe try the washer thing to get them a little more "together" and trusting of each other, or the car ride trick, just to reassure them of each other?

good luck bonding is sssssoooooo strressful, i swear it was more stressful on me then them,lol
 

BethM

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I did do a 30-minute bonding session (shorter than I've been doing) this evening. They were both very calm throughout. Benjamin looked a little frisky at one point, I just started petting them both for a minute or so until he calmed down, then I stepped back out of the bonding pen. They groomed each other. So, basically like all of the other bonding dates.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try a short session in the pen they will share. Maybe I'll try the spin-cycle thing before hand, tomorrow is laundry day.

I have tried the trick of switching pens, so both sides will smell of both of them, but Benjamin gets super stressed out when he's on the other side of the divider. I can't leave them that way for long, he gets very frantic and just runs and looks freaked out.

I think it's especially frustrating because they have done SO well before last night. Every indication was that there would be much less fuss than there was.
 

hartleybun

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:)I did similar to Kate when i was bonding Roxy to HartleyThe Second. The Bunnery still had the scent of his late predecessor which, i know, gave him the impression that there was another buck around somewhere. Things settled down about 2 weeks after Hartley 2 had been neutered.

I've had a look at my diary for that time and things were pretty much as it is with your two. It took about a month for Hartley 2 to settle in and get used to his position in the household. He is an ex show bun who was not let out of his hutch at home.When he came to us he had to get used to Roxy, us and dogs. All of which were strange to him. I still wonder what he thought of Roxy rubbing noses with our dogs!

If Benjamin is getting stressed this could upset the other bunnies. Perhaps you are going to have to go at his speed.:pray:


 

BethM

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We're still working on this, but it's going slowly. We had two bonding sessions by removing the divider in the pen. Benjamin got frisky, and Opal got a little aggressive with him. (She always starts out by just running away, but eventually gets fed up and starts nipping.)

This past Saturday was the bunny meeting, so we loaded them into the laundry basket and took them in. Great session there. When we got home, I switched sides. They'll have another date tonight and switch back. Benjamin did very well with not getting stressed out by being on the "wrong" side of the divider.
 

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