Netherland dwarf rabbits help :)

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ksaunders

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Hi I’m 15 and Ive got 2 netherland dwarf bunnies at 8weeks old. They have just turned 6months and will be having their neutering appointments tomorrow. They are both bucks and are called Milo and Fudge. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but they seem to hate me I’ve done everything I can think of to get them to trust and like me but nothing seems to work. The only time they’ll come into my lap is if there is food there or sometimes Milo will put his paws on my leg reach up then scamper of. Both of them hate being stroked or touched. They will sometimes flop on they’re sides and relax when I’m in the room but they always seem really cause of me and will get up if I move towards them. I can’t groom them they run scratch and bite me and I really struggle to click they’re nails as they seem to literally try and break they’re backs to get away from me. They hate being picked up, (I did originally try conditioning them to like it as my vet suggested but it proved to make them hate me even more so I stopped). They will thump at me for no reason and only seem to find comfort in each other.
I’m just wondering if anyone has any tip on how to clip their claws considering how much they hate it and just how to bond with them in general none of the YouTube videos seem to help. :/
 

JBun

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I would suggest stopping trying to pick them up. Most rabbits dislike being picked up. Some can learn to tolerate it, rarely a few actually like being held, and then some hate it with such a passion that any attempt to do it will damage any way to develop a trusting relationship. For clipping, I would ask your vet to do it when they go in for their neuter, so that will give you at least 6 weeks of not having to pick them up for nail clipping. Then maybe some others here can contribute ideas for that.

So start there. Don't pick up. Use a carrier if you need to move your rabbits somewhere. And you may also find neutering helps, though it can take up to 8 weeks for the hormones to fade. Then I would also suggest to read these links on how to build a bond with your rabbit.


 

Binky

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Hi there!
Netherland Dwarves are SO cute...And notorious for acting the way yours do (in my experience, and according to our vet, who raises Netherland Dwarves). LOTS of grunting, nipping/biting. We've had three (currently one), all females, and all behaved the way you describe...EXCEPT... There's hope!
I am the one that does all the cleaning, etc for our bunny Martina. Every morning when I let her out of the (large dog) crate she follows me and twirls because she knows she's getting a treat (1 squished Craisin) 😁 Other than that, she wants nothing to do with me (but when I leave the room, she follows me to the edge of the carpet, and waits for me to come back).
Our son (20 yrs now) is the one Martina bonded with... But that didn't happen for a year and a half! He was very patient. He'd lay on the floor and wait for Martina to approach, then reach out to pet her head. For months, she'd run from him. Then she let him pet her head, then full body pets. He now always gets on his hands and knees before petting her, puts his head down by hers, gives her kisses on top of her head, and picks her up. She has gotten to the point where she sits facing the door every evening about the time he's expected home. She will run towards him and stop, waiting for some love. Her favorite place is tucked in the crook of his arm, where she naps with him. She gives him kisses. She wants to be held for hours!
I never would've believed it. Don't give up. Time and patience.

*Note: We adopted Martina at 6 wks
*Note: The post-fix hormone time is not fun
 

Niomi

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For my rabbits that don't like to be picked up, I use a small cat bed. Rabbits feel more secure with something under them. Put treats in the cat bed to get them used to it. Then pick up the cat bed with the rabbit in it. For treats, I use part of their daily portion of pellets. I like to give two kinds of pellets. I use Oxbow Essentials for their meal, and Selective Naturals for treats. Selective Naturals are bigger pellets and healthier than treats. I measure out everything so that I don't over feed my rabbits.
 

John Wick

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My perception is that rabbits naturally see us for what we are -- very large predators who eat prey. We can, just based on our size, could hurt them, so it is very normal for a rabbit not to want to be picked up or even touched by a human, especially one they do not trust them yet. I agree with those above that you actually want to distance yourself from and ignore your rabbits if you want to get closer to them. It sounds like the complete opposite of what it seems like you should do, but I think rabbits need to learn that you being there does not equal them being poked and prodded without their consent. If they can learn that being around you and feeling safe can happen at the same time, you can gradually begin to try petting more.
 

Sweet Potato rabbit

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I use the same method as Niomi when I have to move my bunny. I use a soft bunny hideout house and he probably associates that with being moved to another area and then given some Oxbow pellets or herbs after. He hasn't been resistant and will willingly get in and out of the house when being asked to. I think the post-neuter care might be a good bonding opportunity. Mine used to run from me but an episode of GI bonded us. He also became more loving after being neutered. Now he roams the house a lot more and will run around me, give more kisses and cuddles, and follows instructions a lot better.

I had difficulties clipping his nails (also cause I'm too scared to). Brought him to a groomer and found out that he actually really enjoys his nails being filed. He struggled when she attempted to clip his nails, but sat down calmly and even licked her face afterwards when she used the nail file on him. I know nail files won't work on super long nails and you'll have to trim first. But it's good enough to keep the nails maintained every few weeks instead of clipping more off at one go especially if it's easier on the bunny. You might want to try it!
 

Nancy McClelland

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I use a cardboard apple box with a pan full of shredded newspaper inside and holes at both ends--easy to herd them into box and then pick it up without getting bit--put it up to their hutch and they get right out. Cuts way down on blood loss--only had this problem with one dwarf. Had several full size that liked to be carried, including a 20 pound Checkered Giant--she'd stay on your lap all day if she was being rubbed--not very normal for a bunny, but she was just 100% sweet.
 

Cinn-a-bun

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Hi there!
Netherland Dwarves are SO cute...And notorious for acting the way yours do (in my experience, and according to our vet, who raises Netherland Dwarves). LOTS of grunting, nipping/biting. We've had three (currently one), all females, and all behaved the way you describe...EXCEPT... There's hope!
I am the one that does all the cleaning, etc for our bunny Martina. Every morning when I let her out of the (large dog) crate she follows me and twirls because she knows she's getting a treat (1 squished Craisin) 😁 Other than that, she wants nothing to do with me (but when I leave the room, she follows me to the edge of the carpet, and waits for me to come back).
Our son (20 yrs now) is the one Martina bonded with... But that didn't happen for a year and a half! He was very patient. He'd lay on the floor and wait for Martina to approach, then reach out to pet her head. For months, she'd run from him. Then she let him pet her head, then full body pets. He now always gets on his hands and knees before petting her, puts his head down by hers, gives her kisses on top of her head, and picks her up. She has gotten to the point where she sits facing the door every evening about the time he's expected home. She will run towards him and stop, waiting for some love. Her favorite place is tucked in the crook of his arm, where she naps with him. She gives him kisses. She wants to be held for hours!
I never would've believed it. Don't give up. Time and patience.

*Note: We adopted Martina at 6 wks
*Note: The post-fix hormone time is not fun
Oh my gosh that's what I do too.
 

Nancy McClelland

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Bribery worked with all of ours. Several of our rescues came to us from "death-row"--they were going to put them down as they were biters--time patience and bribery (treats) cured them all.
 

Moonshadow

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Have you ever tried bonding with them one at a time? Earning the trust of one may bring the other around. Since you are having them neutered this might be the perfect opportunity.
 

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