REPOST: Bunny Bonding Woes -- HELP

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by Allen Wrider, Oct 23, 2019.

Help Support Rabbits Online by donating:

  1. Oct 29, 2019 #21

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    Poops are no big deal. Hell bring your vacuum and increase the anxiety training. You could also bring a cheap tarp and lay it over one of the beds.
     
    Imbrium likes this.
  2. Oct 29, 2019 #22

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    UPDATE:

    So, I've discovered that Quinn is not afraid of the vacuum. She attributes it to a cleaner cage and thus permits the hose to be in her space, even touching it with her nose when I moved it by her box (where she was calmly eating). Skippy, however, is terrified of it, and even thumps at it when it's near her. I don't know how this will affect an attempt at stress bonding with the vacuum as a factor?
     
    Alyssa and Bugs♡ likes this.
  3. Oct 29, 2019 #23

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    Have you considered renting a bear costume?
     
    Imbrium likes this.
  4. Oct 29, 2019 #24

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    I'm crying omg :'D Quinn would bite me
     
  5. Oct 29, 2019 #25

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    I tried my first stress bonding session, as suggested, and it went really well! They sat together on top of the dryer in a basket while it was running, huddled up at one another's side. A couple times, they tried to climb out using the other as a stepping stone, but neither harbored ill intent. They stayed like that for roughly 15 minutes before I attempted a regular bond... using the bathtub for the first time I put a towel at one end and them at the other, so that they had to slip and slide their way over to the towel. They cuddled together once there, and Skippy even gave Quinn a few licks -- HER FIRST GROOM.

    As they calmed down and sought safety in each other, I was able to add a small handful of fresh lettuce. At first, only Skippy ate, but when she was "done" and walked away, Quinn began to eat. They ended up having a few nibbles together.

    It did get a bit dicey at the end. Once Skippy found her courage again, she gave Quin a single nip and they ended up face to face a couple times with ears back.... but overall, it was positive and they didn't truly fight. I'm really excited for this breakthrough! IMG_20191028_185736.jpg IMG_20191028_192800.jpg IMG_20191028_192940.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Oct 29, 2019 #26

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    which is which? And so no bear costume?
     
    Imbrium likes this.
  7. Oct 29, 2019 #27

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    Skippy is the brown and white one, and Quinn is the pure white. Quinn is about a year and a half old, and I've had her since she was barely old enough to eat. Skippy is only about 6-7 months I think, and has thus far been the aggressor in their problems.
     
  8. Oct 29, 2019 #28

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    They are both adorable, though not quite as suave and debonaire as my Dortmund.
     
  9. Oct 29, 2019 #29

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    He's a dashing lad. I love his coloring :)
     
    Flakes likes this.
  10. Oct 29, 2019 #30

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6,158
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Wow, been busy at work and this thread really took off while I was away! Bear with me while I catch up...

    @Flakes omg, I'm laughing my butt off at all your posts! I love your attitude... a sense of humor really helps when bonding bunnies! That, and sometimes there's a good bit of truth to be found in seeming absurdity :p.

    @K1marie If putting them together is like spontaneous combustion, then things have gotten very far off on the wrong track. It sounds like they're harboring grudges and animosity from all their previous altercations and it's gotten them to the point of "attack on sight".

    Where things seem to be at with your pair, it is... let's just say 'statistically improbable' that you can get from where you are to a happily bonded pair without a full reboot. This means different rooms and zero interaction (not even seeing each other from across a room) for about a month. That's about how long it takes for them to forget all those negative feelings they have towards each other. After that, you'd start the entire bonding process over from scratch as though they'd never even met before.

    There's definitely no harm in trying stress bonding before resorting to a reboot, of course... just giving you my blunt opinion that I wouldn't get too hopeful about it in your case (after rebooting them, it can be a great way to restart the process though).

    With the primary aggressor more willing to bond to the vacuum than the other bunny, I'm thinking you should disregard everything I've said about vacuum cleaners ;). I wonder if a hair dryer would have a different effect (near but not on the bunnies, I mean)?

    I'm thrilled to hear that your bunns seem to have turned a corner! Make sure to end every session on a positive note, especially if there was any minor scuffle or nip. I usually press the bunns together, pet them simultaneously and give a treat or two before everyone gets put up.

    I realize these questions weren't directed at me, but I'm gonna give my answers anyway :p.

    I've never been comfortable putting them inside a carrier for stress bonding, because they're trapped together in a way that can make human intervention both difficult and dangerous (though type of carrier can make a big difference here). Not only that, but if they're fully confined, it's hard to see their body language and catch/redirect negative expressions before they lead to actual nipping or fighting. The exception is we've sometimes allowed bunnies to get into an open-topped carrier together under strict supervision when the trip was going well.

    When hubby and I go for a stress-bonding drive, we haul all rabbits to the car in cat carriers (or cardboard carriers leftover from adoptions) - Harley and Barnaby in one together because they're a bonded pair, and then Alice and Nala by themselves.

    Husband sits to one side in the backseat (as opposed to the center seat). Towel goes down over the back seat (for both pee and traction purposes) and then four rabbits get plopped down in the seat together. Carriers go up front and on the floorboard (closed) so that they're out of the way and inaccessible (and block the rabbits from getting on the floor in the backseat or, worse, under the seats). Hubby's job is - hopefully - minimal. He'll nudge rabbits together and pet them a bit to get the party started and then sit back and watch. If someone (*cough* Alice) starts instigating fights, they go into the front seat with me for a time out.

    Usually we drive around for a little bit and then end up at Petsmart, Petco and/or Tractor Supply. The towel from the back seat gets folded in half and lines the shopping cart (to cushion their little feet from the bottom of the cart)... and then in go four rabbits. We take some laps around the store and the bunnies get attention here and there but also get to just interact with each other in the semi-stressful environment of a moving cart and a strange store that smells like unknown animals (and sometimes involves an adoptable cat staring at them in fascination from their cage, lol).

    I dunno how the pet stores slipped my mind when I was making stress-bonding suggestions - they're perfect if you don't have a second person to ride in the backseat with the bunnies. Just keep them in separate carriers in the car and combine them in the cart where you can give them your full attention.

    We take bunnies on outings to the store one (or bonded pair) at a time sometimes, too... in particular, when someone starts getting too big for their britches. A brief excursion to remind them that the outside world exists provides a very effective 'attitude adjustment' when someone gets too entitled and demandsing (yes, I did spell that wrong on purpose... inside joke and a hard habit to break, lol).
     
  11. Oct 29, 2019 #31

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    Glad you're back and got to see all the fun additions to my thread! I stuck tonight's bonding videos in their own Google folder, so you can see the progress they made. It's looking good!

    As a side note, it's actually the rabbit less likely to instigate who gives no care toward the vacuum. The one who seems to be nippy and chase-y hates it
    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=194aQTC__kyFcr5JSDhfoyegIpJ5uXlz-
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  12. Oct 29, 2019 #32

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6,158
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Oh, whoops, I got them mixed up! In that case, that actually really works to your benefit - you can unsettle the fire-starter without upsetting the more nervous bunny.

    Just got done watching the videos... couldn't hear much of what you were saying on the long one because hubby's asleep in the same room as me and I don't wanna turn it up too much or pause the rain sounds 'cause either option will wake him up. I got the gist of it, though... the way you were talking (both to them and to yourself/the camera) reminded me SO much of myself when filming bonding sessions in the past :p. Also, I melted when I realized you had one red-eyed bunny and one blue-eyed (don't know how I overlooked the blue eyes last week)! Our bonded pair has that combo - Barnaby (Californian, so mostly white w/red eyes and sable tips) and Harley Quinn (mismarked Dutch with blue eyes) and after nearly 8 months with them, I still can't get enough.

    Here's my evaluation of the videos:

    I like the way you're within arm's reach to play a role without putting yourself in the middle of things - I saw a great balance between being involved and staying out of the way (basically being a chaperone without being a third wheel). The small space + mildly stressful environment of the tub definitely seems to be doing the trick. Their body language towards each other is improving greatly and you did an *excellent* job of spotting and redirecting those naughty impulses with a gentle pet so that they didn't have a chance to escalate. They're unsure about each other and haven't worked out dominance yet (like when they're both putting their head down and asking for grooming at times) but they both have an open mind about the other rabbit - that's the momentum you want to build on.

    Later on, you'll have to give them more space and let them work out minor issues on their own... but for now, I would stick with a slow-track bonding style and continue to do short-to-medium length (15 mins to an hour) bathtub sessions at least 2-3 days a week. As sessions go more smoothly, you can lengthen them. When it gets to the point where you feel comfortable leaving them unattended in the bathroom for a few minutes at a time (while you're still near enough to hear if something starts to happen), it's time to figure out a way to set up a larger but still neutral bonding area (back to the kitchen or a portion of it, perhaps) and try introducing a litter box, hay supply, etc. again.

    All-in-all, the videos from today look significantly more promising than the ones from last week :D. I think you guys are really on the right track now.
     
    Allen Wrider likes this.
  13. Oct 29, 2019 #33

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

    Lionel and Murphy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2018
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Saratoga , NY
    @Imbrium I am absolutely going to try your suggestion of a "reboot" if what I am doing now doesn't pan out. Your desciption of "spontaneous combustion" is very accurate. Since I have started all this and run into such difficulties - I have kept 2 rooms in my house (upstairs bedrooms completely excluded from the buns) They go up my wood stairs (which I find very funny) bc after 10 yrs with my other buns NEVER tried the stairs - though my whole house had wood floors) But I have kept the doors closed to those rooms and they would definitely be neutral for both of them. I feel terrible they would be so excluded - behind a closed door with no foot traffic, but I will definitely spend as much mommy time with them a possible. Should I keep a robe in each room - and just throw on that robe when I go in and visit them? Otherwise they will keep smelling the other one on me. I know may people its cruel to try to bond these two, but know neither has suffered ANY injury - I am very cautious. I will eventually have to throw in the towel if it doesn't work after I have exhausted every option, but I would have to re-home one - and I know they would both have an amazing home if I they could stay with me.
     
  14. Oct 29, 2019 #34

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    Funnily enough, they actually both have blue eyes like me. It's just that the flash reflects off their pupils. But wouldn't that have been a cool coincidence?

    Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the prospect of housing them together. Quinn is still very unsure of Skippy, since this was the first session where she wasn't being bitten or chased, but hopefully I can get more sessions in like that, and they can get on a better track. It's relieving that I didn't have to give up on them, because I spent a lot of time working Skippy back up to "human touch friendly". To give her up now would kill me.
     
  15. Oct 29, 2019 #35

    krbshappy71

    krbshappy71

    krbshappy71

    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2019
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    USA
    Maybe put down newspapers, and potty pads under the newspapers (if supervising them, wouldn't leave them alone in the room with potty pads down) around the hotel room? I don't worry so much about the poop but the pee will get into the carpets. Bring a few baby gates you may be able to have them in the bathroom which is usually tile, and maybe the foyer of the hotel room will be tile as well.
     
  16. Oct 29, 2019 #36

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
    Dang, all the progress from last night is gone y'all. Skippy bit Quinn on the head twice while they were visiting at the fence this morning, which in turn caused Quinn to pull out Tufts of fur when Skippy turned her butt to the fence. I threw some fresh hay at them to get them to separate, but that's really discouraging....
     
  17. Oct 29, 2019 #37

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    I think you might have to anxiety bond them every day for a little while. Other than that no contact should be had between the two. But I should also stress that I don't know what I'm talking about.
     
  18. Oct 29, 2019 #38

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Flakes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2019
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Iowa
    bear.png
     
    Redrabbit and Imbrium like this.
  19. Oct 29, 2019 #39

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    California
  20. Oct 29, 2019 #40

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6,158
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, USA
    I did go back and forth trying to decide if I was seeing blue or red, lol! Is it a lighter blue on her? On red eyes, they're red on the pupil but when the iris contracts in brighter environments, it's actually whitish/light pink... I couldn't tell on camera if I was seeing that or another blue eyed rabbit (since pure white rabbits can have either color). Regardless, blue eyed bunnies make me melt!

    They need to be separated by more than a single fence between bonding sessions right now. Either their fences an inch or two apart or line the bottom foot or so with something to stop noses from getting through (coroplast, a couple layers of cardboard (though that may not work if someone chews a lot), hardware cloth, chicken wire, boards, whatever you can come up with). As you saw this morning, access to nip through fencing can swiftly undo any progress you're making. Fix the fence situation and go back to stress bonding (at least 15 min per session and at least every other day) and you should be able to regain the lost ground.
     

Share This Page