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When to start petting him?

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Auggie+Snowball+Belle

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Hey everyone! I got a new bunny 6 days ago! His name is Tux and he’s a Dutch. A little bit of his background. He came from a 4H breeder. He was the smallest bunny of his litter and they were worried about him getting food but he was a little fighter. He’s about 11 weeks. The old owners held him and pet him all the time and they said he was the sweetest of all of the litter.

As some may recall, I did have another bunny named Auggie who did sadly end up passing away. I was having trouble knowing when to get him out of his cage and pet him. in the end, he loved me petting him but honestly I didn’t really do anything. Anyways, the getting out of the cage thing isn’t the problem. The first day we got him, he jumped out of his cage and was very curious. He’s absolutely crazy and adorable. The problem is I don’t know if I should pet him. He isn’t scared of me but seems completely oblivious to me petting him. He just sits there for a second and carries on. He licks and nips my toes, jumps on top of me to get over to the other side of me (instead of going around) and sometimes nudges my hand but when I pet him, he doesn’t seem to notice. What should I do? Thanks!555C44F0-7D40-4437-BD71-3C99CC29C51B.jpegD81419E0-24DC-49F0-94BC-A86F640995F1.jpeg
 

Mariam+Theo

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Sorry, no one got back to you. I love the name! I would go ahead and start petting him for short amounts of time, but don't hold him until he is completely comfortable around you.
 

Diane R

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Don't pick him up, let him come to you, hand feed him. Start gently petting the top of his head but always let him run away whenever he wants. He'll trust you in no time.
 

john.thorpe1952

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The use of your voice is as important as anything,and can soothe him if he's nervous or wary.Talk to him lots,even if you feel you're in danger of being certified! Rabbits are so sensitive to movement and sounds,and the repetition of his name will get him used to it and more responsive to you.Of course food works wonders,and another trick is to use something soft and non threatening like a feather fixed on the end of a little stick.You can use this to touch him softly without alarming him and gradually shorten the distance between you until he's happy with you touching him.Just a suggestion you might try.Good luck and have patience.
 

Auggie+Snowball+Belle

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Thanks everyone, I let him come to me but it seems he’s completely oblivious to me petting him. Oh well better than being scared. He climbs all over me and sits in my lap (not sure if it’s because he wants to eat my hair and phone or just because lol. Does anybody else’s rabbit try to eat your hair?) but doesn’t react to petting. Sometimes it’s necessary to pick him up because he gets into stuff he shouldn’t but I just put him back down right away. Why does it seem like all rabbits know when they shouldn’t get into something and that makes them want to even more? Also, when he needs to go in his cage sometimes I will put him in there or else I’ll be late to school, etc. (I’m trying to figure out a way to free roam him but I have cats. Any experience with that?).

He won’t really eat from my hand since he’s a little less than 3 months-not really any treats I can give him. He doesn’t love his pellets so much that he gets excited about them. I’m probably going to bring him a hay cube, see if he likes those. I’ll try to talk to him more often!
 

Auggie+Snowball+Belle

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So I haven’t been petting him because he doesn’t seem like he wants me to. But he did eat a bunch of pellets out of my hand and then lied down with his feet all the way behind him🥰. I didn’t get up to pet him though because last time I tried and he got up and hasn’t lied down again since today. How do I know when it’s the right time to pet him? He seems comfortable around me but doesn’t seem to want to be pet. Whenever I try, he just continues on. It doesn’t seem to make him scared but maybe annoys him?
 

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Hermelin

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Myself pet my new bunny when she eats and letting her listen to music. Still not a fan of rock music but it helps her get use to sounds, so metal aren’t her cup of tea 🤣😊

But my girl is 5 months old and I feed all her pellets when I spend time with her. I will stop petting if she back away, otherwise I will let my hand rest on her and petting her. She no longer struggle when being up in my arms but the picking up part need a bit of working on. But I’ll wait until bonded with her. I have still not built a solid bond with her.

I don’t think it’s wrong testing the limits and learn how much your bunny can handle. Often my girl don’t want to be petted but have been more often that she want to be petted. But it comes from reading signals and learning the boundaries she have.

I’ve never putted my girl into the cage, because I lure her into the cage with food. Because I can’t let her free roam without me being in the room 😊
 

Diane R

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So I haven’t been petting him because he doesn’t seem like he wants me to. But he did eat a bunch of pellets out of my hand and then lied down with his feet all the way behind him🥰. I didn’t get up to pet him though because last time I tried and he got up and hasn’t lied down again since today. How do I know when it’s the right time to pet him? He seems comfortable around me but doesn’t seem to want to be pet. Whenever I try, he just continues on. It doesn’t seem to make him scared but maybe annoys him?
You're doing great with the hand feeding. Just be patient, it will happen, try touching him gently when he is eating, let him run away whenever he wants, he needs to learn you're not a threat. The more time you spend sitting or lying on the floor near him, the faster he will come around.
 

Cloverhouse

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Animals aren't like people. They don't sit around and analyze everything we say and do and try to figure out what we mean by it. So just be yourself. If you are doing something your rabbit doesn't like, they'll let you know. It's a relationship and the two of you will work it out over time. If the rabbit does something you don't like, you can let him know. If they scratch at you or bite you or chew your hair, it's fine to say no, give a gentle flick to the nose or shake a can with some coins in it to redirect their attention.

Think of how two animals deal with each other, they work it out, they recognize a growl, hiss, smack in the face, etc and then get on with things, they don't tiptoe around each other. If you treat your rabbit well, spend time interacting and offering him nice things to eat then the two of you will work out nice relationship. Bunnies each have very different personalities, there is no way to know if a bunny will be a lover, or more aloof, except to live with him. He's a cutie! Have fun with each other.
 

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