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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > first time with rabbits!! help plz
Last Post by ASG at 12/14/2006 6:12 AM (27 Replies)
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User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2006 1:41 PM
ive now got 2 rabbits who r both 3 years of age and female .... is it too late to train them.... i hope its not.. ney way if i still can....... can i get them to repond to their new names is it possible because the previous owner did not really call them by name ....i also need help in instructing them to get in the hutch.....................MOST IMPORTANTLY HOW DO I PRAISE THEM  im not sure were to stroke them behind the ears ??? belly???  also they seem to be scared when i come close they run away is it normal for them to run away???? i need help plz its my first pet............     thnx...................

User is Offline dmh426
Syracuse, New York
435 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2006 5:23 PM
Run out and buy Rabbits for Dummies and The Rabbit Handbook, FAST. You asked so many questions I don't know where to start! It isn't too late to train them. Are they bonded? Do they share a cage? Soon, you will find which corner of the cage is being used as the bathroom. Simply put a litterbox in that corner with some litter. I prefer Yesterday's News. Most bunnies won't let you rub their bellies. Try in between the ears. Most buns like that. Most bunnies will run away when you approach them. Some are scared and others are playing a game. How was the last owner with them? Was the previous owner affectionate with them? You can teach them their names simply by saying it to them constantly. That should get you started. GET THOSE BOOKS!

User is Offline ea hurse
108 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2006 1:52 AM
hi ASG! this is the place to be for a first time pet/ bunny parent- i was one not too long ago and this is the first place i came for advice- its great! i agree with dmh426- i have had Blue now for just over 3 months and when i first got her she was so shy and wary she wouldnt even come out her cardboard box. gradually she is coming out her shell- she still runs away from me to some extent but its becoming less instant. she will sit by my feet when she thinks ive got something for her and she will happily wander past my legs when im sitting still but sometimes when im walking around also.

i think its a trust thing, perhaps (she's a rescue bunny) she has good reason to be scared of feet, i dont know where she came from so i dont know what has made her the bunny she is. maybe time is teaching her that i'm not going to harm her and that's why she is getting more relaxed. so just keep doing what you're doing and hopefully they'll learn that your approach is not threatening.

as for learning names- when i got Blue she didnt respond at all. Now, and really only within the last week or so, with repetition she is really responding. She learnt the word 'no' quite quickly, she's certainly not stupid! but i have been able to replace 'no' with her name in a stern voice and she stops eating whatever it is she shouldnt be. Also now when i call her she will poke her head out of her hidey place to see if its worthwhile her coming over!

and she is getting far better with the litter training, its more hit than miss nowadays- i think some bunnies are just more stubborn/set in their ways than others, and i do know that the lady who was fostering Blue after she was found just let her do it anywhere in her hutch so she was used to that (my baby Chino took to her litterbox straight away with no help needed!)

soooo after all that, good luck! just be patient and methodical and your babies will learn in time that you're a fab parent!

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2006 9:28 AM
thnx for the help appreciate it

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2006 9:30 AM
thanx alot for the help

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2006 9:47 AM
hello loppy-lop
1)  the thing is theyre both 3 years of age and theve had 2 owners b4 me !! and they didnt respond to their names soo im not sure how to make them respond????

2) also one of my rabbits keeps on goin in my bushes and the bushes are very big and i cant get in im scared that she mite run away out of the garden because theres a small opening how do i stop her from goin ther??/ everytime time i open the hatch door she runs straight for the bushes an walks around in them...

3}how do i exercise them?? im really not sure how to because they dont run much till i try to get her out of the bushes.

4) How often  do u feed ure rabbits??

5} will my rabbits learn to love me ??since theve had 2 owners b4

THANX FOR URE HELP  

User is Offline dmh426
Syracuse, New York
435 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2006 7:42 PM

Hi ASG. I take it from your post that the bunnies are outside rabbits. I am a strong supporter of making them house rabbits, it makes the bonding process easier to be honest.  They will learn to love you but it sounds like these poor guys have been shifted around alot and migh be emotinally confused.  If they were always kept outside, they missed really and truly bonding with their humans and if they have been moved from inside to outside, their whole world has been turned upside down. Rabbits are creatures of habit. They don't really like change.  It takes time to get them to trust you. Get them on a routine and all will be well. With having them outside, just make sure you watch them.Rabbits are prey animals for almost every other animal above them on the food chain. You have to think of them as foster kids who have been shifted around between houses. they are not going to open right up and call you mom. It will take time. Any chace you could move them inside??


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
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11/18/2006 10:56 PM



Welcome ASG!!  You've gotten some good advice.   The fact you are asking all these questions means you care and want your bunnies to be happy.   So I also echo other posters who encourage having bunnies inside.   Check out the our "cool habitats" section to see how people have their bunny's inside. Is there any particular reason you wouldn't want to bring them inside.  Do you think they would be messy or destructive, smelly??? Let us know, because those of us who have them inside can help you with your concerns.  

Are your bunnies spayed/neutered?

EXERCISE: The first thing I want to say is to find a way to make sure they can't escape by getting a pen or two (to make it bigger) and putting them in there for exercise time - like an xpen and use that for exercise right now.   Giving too much freedom to fast may ruin their litterbox habits - if they are good at that, and if they aren't this is  a way to train them.   Slowly allow more freedom in time, and once they are able to have full run again, use the xpen or something to block off the area they can escape.   

WHEN TO FEED: Rabbits can eat once a day or twice or day or three times - of course the portions are then split if you feed them more than once.  Rabbits typically eat in the am and pm.  Whatever you decide, try to keep a schedule on time as it does help a rabbit, which a creature of habit, feel secure.  This predictability will also help them warm up to you.

 It's very important though for them to have unlimited timothy hay throughout the day.   They need hay to keep their digestive system moving.  A rabbits digestive tract should always be working, otherwise if it slows down or stops it can actually be fatal.  So that is why the hay should be available to them all the time.

DIET:  I follow the HRS (House Rabbit Society Guidelines at http://rabbit.org/faq/sections/diet.html)

  • High fiber timothy hay based pellet -  1/4 to 1/2 cup pellets per 6 lbs.
  • Dark Leafy greens like Parsley, Dandelion, Cilantro, Romaine Lettuce - Minimum 2 cups (chopped) per 6 lbs
  • Timothy based Hay (unlimited - available all the time usually in a hay rack of some sort)
  • Unlimited Water of course
  • Fruit - very very small amounts - no more than 2 tablespoons per 6 lbs.  Fruit is high in sugar (so are some veggies like carrots), so this can cause digestive problems if given too  much.

Regarding Training.  It's not to late at all. It's actually better that they are older.  Babies take much longer! 

TRAIN TO KNOW THEIR NAME:  Many bunnies know just begin to know their name just from us saying their name, but one way to concrete that in is to say their name when you pet them, when you feed them, when you scold them.  So for example, I say, "Jack..Treat Treat!"  "Jack...No!"    "Jack...I love you"    There are formal ways to train through clicker training, but right now you have just the basics to get down

TRAIN THEM TO GO BACK TO THEIR SPACE: Every single time you put them back in their space, use a term like "home".     Also, if you can herd them back to their space while saying the word "home", they will EVENTUALLY understand what that word means.  

 If part of the problem is that you have to basically spend forever getting them out of the yard, then surround their hutch with an xpen so  they don't have so far to go, and as soon as they get in their hutch, you stop saying the word, and say "good" and/or offer a treat, OR if they are nervous bunnies, then the reward is to leave the alone.  They will soon associate being left alone with "home"  and know to go there.   Just remember, don't chase, don't scare, just gently walk behind them while saying the word.  They will find this annoying, but not terrifying, and they will find peace in their space.  

Bunnies can learn and do understand.   Many people don't give them credit because they don't have the open expressiveness that cats and dogs do, and so maybe the people before them just didn't know much about training rabbits.

Just warn everyone around you, you are going to look like a kook and sound like a broken record.  But it should work.

BONDING WITH YOUR BUNNY:  This takes time with shy bunnies.   IF you get an xpen.  Just get a book and sit with them.  Ignoring in bunny language means "I mean no harm"    So ignore them at first.  Don't try and pick them up, don't even try to pet them if they shy away from you right now.   Just let them sniff and explore you.  Do this for a week. 

Then the next week, bring some treats and when you reach for them offer a treat.   Then the next week, once they've been in with you for 10 minutes, reach to pet them on their head.  Bunnies have poor eyesight and a blind spot right in the front of their face, so it's best to approach them from the side and slightly above.  If you go to low, you may be actually asking them to groom you in bunny language, which can be interpreted as a challenge - which then will make them turn away or be aggressive.  Once they trust you, you can usually approach in any way.  I actually scratch the floor in front of my bunnies nose and they come over to get groomed.  But if I did that with another bunny I didn't know, I could get bit or get rejected. (bunny turns his back toward you)

You can speed up this process if you sense they are trusting you, but if not, don't worry, just take your time.

 

 


User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2006 6:13 AM
hi dmh426 thanks for the reply.  theres no chance of me moving them inside as my parents arent much of animal people. they absolutely detest animals and i am the only one looking after them.
thanks again

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2006 11:44 AM
thanx for the help appreciate it

User is Offline ea hurse
108 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2006 11:40 AM
ASG, with Blue she had been given the name by her foster carer but she was 'looked after' rather than 'loved' i would say so she didnt associate herself with her name when i got her. the recognition thing has come with her associating me saying her name with something happening, and like i say has taken a good 3 cxalendar months to start clicking. so for example i say 'treat, Blue' or 'no, Blue' or 'even saying her name whilst stroking her, telling her that Blue is such a good girl in a patronisingly cute voice (i cant help it, if you cant sweet-talk a bunny then...!) - same as you teach a child to respond i guess. just repeat, repeat, repeat. and then some. !!

i have found that once they begin to trust you they will start to go where you ask them to (99% of the time), again i guess word recognition through repetition. the reward/ bribery method comes highly recommended, and you can combine the name repetition with teaching the word 'treat' or 'din-dins' (the neighbours must think i'm crazy!) whilst guiding them, for example, back into the hutch to eat. after a while the word 'hutch' alone should get the desired result. Lollo learned that when i say 'upstairs' he has to do just that before his food bowl is put down. that didnt take too long, and i encouraged it by putting a few pellets upstairs for a while until he got the hang, now he just does it. and, having recently switched Lollo and Chino round in their homes so they can get the scent of each other properly, Chino goes upstairs when i tell her - i assume she's watched Lollo doing it and has learnt the routine, theyre so CLEVER!

when i first got Lollo he started purely outside as i was decorating. i got a high sided pen and put it around the hutch (one of the ones that comes in panels you tag together into the configuration you need) and thats where he played/ exercised until i trusted him and he knew who i was. my back yard is totally enclosed though so even when outside now he cant escape- i'm lucky because its sort of a court yard and pretty inpenetrable. i'm guessing the bushes are a fab hidey-place for a nervous bunny and i think the only way round that is to put some sort of boundary between them. garden centres sell a plastic mesh that the bush will grow through/ round so you cant see it, but that should prevent her from getting in there. try offering plenty of other hiding places instead like those bendy-log things (thats the technical name), make some cardboard/ plywood boxes or create some areas she can safely retreat to until the trust is built up - she'll probably retreat less as she bonds to you but will ALWAYS need a safe hiding area.

Blue was pretty static, again until a few weeks ago, now she runs round my living room like a March hare- when she's in the mood. i think again once the trust comes they'll be happy in themselves and with you- think about toddlers/ small children, most are reserved if not shy with people they dont know very well, then once the trust's there you just cant stop them!!! i feed my 3 twice a day, before and after work with mounds of hay for them to pick at during the day. then they get a mound of dark greens and about an inch of carrot for supper. this works for my routine but i think fits in with their body-clocks too.

and as for love- if bunnies can indeed love then i say treat them as they deserve and there's no reason why not! all bunnies are different so will show their love differently; my friend's bunny licks her constantly whereas my 3 are more reserved. Chino asks for cuddles, Lollo asks (make that demands) for his head to be rubbed and Blue noses my feet as she's passing and nudges me. none of them did these things until we bonded though, so persevere and they'll start to show you how they'll love you!!!!

right, going for my tea now.......

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/23/2006 1:46 PM
thanks alot u seem to be really helping me out thanks soz for the late reply jus saw it now ..

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8682 posts Send Private Message
11/25/2006 11:28 PM
Posted By ASG on 11/19/2006 8:13 AM
hi dmh426 thanks for the reply.  theres no chance of me moving them inside as my parents arent much of animal people. they absolutely detest animals and i am the only one looking after them.
thanks again



You must be one persuasive kid if you were able to convince your parents, who detest animals, to allow you to have rabbits.  Sounds like you are on your way to becoming either a lawyer or a manager in sales 

Just keep learning, and maybe one day, once your bunnies are littertrained, you'll be able to talk 'em into it.    

 


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8682 posts Send Private Message
11/25/2006 11:48 PM

Loopy-Lop,

Great Advice!  Your bunnies are very lucky to have you.

FYI: We are still trying to figure out why you can't post a new thread - such an enigma!


User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/26/2006 4:02 PM
hi binky bunny  im very confused im gna tell u everything i knw about the my two wonderful rabbits and how they behave then maybe u can ehlp me understand whats goin on???? i recieived my rabbits 3 weeks ago ther both female and 3 years of age their bonded the previous owners have kept them outside the garden in the hutch ....  soooo neyway i keep them in a breeze house in the hutch outside in the GARDEN..... ok say i let them wonder in the breeze house and i go inside to get somthing i come back step into the breeze house and they run  away and hide under some benches...i try to stroke them  they runaway .. the only time they let me stroke them is wen there eaten ..they eat twice a day  neywaysoooo TODAY i decided to tsk 1 of them for a outing to my cousins house because i only had 11 cage  soo we wnt  INSIDE my couzes houseand she was scared and stressed first but then she was fine  she let me stroke her pick her up !!! and for the first tim i saw her lie down on her belly legs spread out  jus sittin next to the wall watchin  tv  i was gettin worried i thoogh it was bad so i looked it up it  said in the internet  rabbits do that wen there relaxed so why isit shez more relaxed there shes never been there b4 ????? i brought he bak jus now and the same behaviur struck bak she ran away  wen i tried to stroke her????????????? im confused have i done somthing wrong wat shall i do is it NORMALL ???? plz help

THANKS

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
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11/26/2006 8:49 PM

Hi ASG,

I'm not sure if I have understood you correctly, but before I repeat what I think you are saying I want to ask if you have options to space, return, edit etc when you are posting? If not let me know as I know every once in awhile some people have limited use when posting.   

So is what you are saying - your bunny seemed more relaxed at your cousins house?  Were you doing other things while the bunny was there too?   I mean i know you picked her up, but during the other times were you focused on watching tv, talking to your cousin etc?

The reason I ask is first, she could feel more compfy inside. Safer. The other is "ignoring" can also be a part of socializing.  It's a way that bunnies realize you mean no harm.  

I suggest that when you go into the breeze house, you don't approach them right away, hang out and let the bunnies come near you.   Sort of like I was saying in the other post - hang out - it takes time.

What is a "breeze" house? 


User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/27/2006 1:33 AM
i do have those options now ......its jus sometimes in school  i those options arent available.......thanks again for the help ill try and upload pics of the breeze house and my rabbits

User is Offline ea hurse
108 posts Send Private Message
11/27/2006 9:05 AM
from which continent do you join us ASG? (tell me to mind my own if you like!)

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/27/2006 10:53 AM
sdvsd

User is Offline ASG
27 posts Send Private Message
11/27/2006 12:45 PM
im frm england
im having troubles uploading the pics??????????
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > first time with rabbits!! help plz

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