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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Bonding *BONDED*
Last Post by BB at 6/22/2008 10:03 PM (23 Replies)
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User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 6:48 AM

Hi everyone!

I have two bunnies - Snuffles, our black lop princess, and Oliver, our new white & grey boy.  We are trying to bond them, but so far we aren't having much luck.  There have been little steps forward like sniffing then running away, but mostly, every time Ollie comes near Snuffy she gets her ears forward and lunges.  My problem is that Ollie seems to be upset even when he's not out with her and now he's skittish around us and will growl and lunge at us sometimes.  We've decided to put a halt on bonding for a bit, but I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas on what to do.  He's generally an affectionate, upbeat little guy who binkies like crazy and she's a willful one who loves to push her limits.  Even she seems withdrawn since the bonding process started.

Thanks for any ideas!




User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
Forum Leader
11520 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 6:55 AM
First off, are either of them "fixed" yet?


Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 7:01 AM
Yep - both fixed. I know Ollie is around 2 and he was just fixed in September before we got him. Snuffy was done early summer, but I'm not sure how old she is.



User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
Forum Leader
11520 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 7:11 AM
OK *phew!* I was a little worried when I read there was a female and male trying to bond...good stuff then!
Oh, and Welcome!!

A few things people have mentioned that helps bonding

*car rides; The stress from being in a car makes them bond a bit better!
*petting both of their faces, while they are next to each other, sort of pushing their faces down...I *think* this makes them feel like the other rabbit is grooming them, but I'm not entirely sure why this works
*Neutral territory...You should have bonding sessions where neither rabbit has been before and 'marked'...Maybe the bathroom?


Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
2825 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 7:13 AM

You should continue the bonding process. Bonding can take upwards of 3 months or longer. Many people give up after a week or so because it doesn't seem to be working but this is something that takes time. If you read "My bonding quest with Maryann" in The Lounge forum here, you'll see that I have been at it for two months and am now just beginning to see some progress - progress which happens to be right about at where you are now.



My bonding quest with Maryann - Read about a less than easy bonding with two buns - but they did bond!

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
2442 posts Send Private Message
1/22/2008 8:24 AM
welcome to BinkyBunny olisnuff

bonding is a lot of hard work and being consistent and keeping up with it is important. if you're seeing serious levels of aggression between them - like the bunny chasing ying-yang then it might be time to take a break - but otherwise I'd recommend trying some bonding activities. it does sounds like it is stressing out poor Ollie. I'd recommend trying to give him extra love and maybe even little rewards - like a treat after all bonding activities.
bunnies are very territorial and bonding is often a negotiation to figure out their relationship dynamic and dominance.


Have you been working with them in a neutral zone? It's really important to work in a space that neither bunny considers territory. Car rides are a great first step, the stress often has them turning to each other for comfort. You can also swap litterboxes first and then even pens/cages. During a bonding session you can try offering them veggies, since eating together can help bond them as well. Cross petting as Kokaneeandkahlua recommended can help too, since it helps them get used to the other's scent.

We also do shopping cart dates by putting a blankie in a shopping cart and wheeling them around petsmart.

Please let us know how it's going... there are lots of good threads on bonding here too!



~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 4:45 PM
Thanks for the tips everyone. Great thread markusdark! We are definitely having a similar situation. I've noticed you are getting a better response from Maryann than we are from Snuffy, though. She doesn't like to be handled or picked up. We don't really know much about her situation other than she was found in an ATM foyer at a bank and then taken to the shelter. She was there for a couple of months as a 'he' and when we rescued the poor dear she had untreated infections in both ears and a respiratory infection (hence the name!), as well as an abscess on her genitals. So her introduction to our home was a trip to the vets followed by twice daily towelling for medications. Needless to say she's not a cuddler.

Ollie was taken to the shelter because his owners were moving to a condo and couldn't take him. So I think he's had a much happier upbringing than Snuffy.

We've swapped cages with them and put them in the car a couple of time, where they basically ignored each other. We've tried extra treats at date time, but Snuffy tends to get possessive and lunges over the good stuff.

We tried petting Snuffy firmly last night to push her head down and she tenses up like a little rock with her ears forward and there is no give from her. Usually during dates she hides out in the litterbox while Ollie hops around. Last night she took over the hay pile and Ollie hid behind us and would not go near her. So I think we'll take a bit of a break and try to restrategize. He's still interested in her and lays at the door of her cage and that doesn't always meet with her teeth. With the bars between them she's quite curious about him. As I type, however she's biting at the bars. Sure, Snuffy, prove me wrong!

I remain hopeful. She's going to take a little longer than the ideal match, but I think we can bring her around. A car ride to a friend's house might help to wear them out and test out neutral territory. Unfortunately everywhere in our tiny apartment Snuffy has claimed as her own. The shopping cart date sounds like a challenge. We may try that one!





User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
2825 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 7:36 PM
Have you tried the car ride with them both in the same carrier? I have found that if I put both buns in a carrying container together and take them on a car ride, they don't fight with one another. In fact, they begin to snuggle down after about 10 minutes and tonight, at the 15 min mark, I caught Maryann grooming Dono. Of course she denies it.

I know that if I just put both into the box and leave it alone, they'll fight. So I got a top loading carrier and I put Maryann (the first bun) into the carrier. Then, I put in the second bun (the new one) and quickly lock the top, pick up the carrier by the handle and shake it slightly. This gets them wondering what's happening.

After the 15 min car ride, I put them into the neutral bonding area and basically leave them alone, keeping an eye on them. I am sort of stuck at this point until one of them makes some other sign of acceptance.


My bonding quest with Maryann - Read about a less than easy bonding with two buns - but they did bond!

User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/01/2008 6:43 PM
Well we decided to take a bit of a break over Christmas and with all the visiting family and busyness of the season. We ended up spending a weekend at each of our parents' places and split up the buns to give them a break from each other. Ollie had an opportunity to be top bun with me and ever since he's been a totally different little guy. Happy-go-lucky and affectionate. What a relief because we were both pretty worried about him.

After reading about markusdark's success with Maryanne and Dono (congrats!! that is amazing and you must feel great to see them getting along) I got inspired to try again. We shifted to a new location and blocked off part of the kitchen. Neither one of them go in there very much, unless the fridge door is open, and the tile floor prevents traction for those nasty attacks. We have been having very good dates and we've been trying to do a few minutes every night and just get Snuffy used to being around Ollie without attacking him. First thing we noticed is that she is very nervous being around him. She hides behind us and her breathing increases and she is very tense. It's almost like she's afraid of him. We get the most success when we keep petting her. She sort of gets distracted into allowing him to get closer to her. There's still lunges and attacks, but Ollie keeps coming back for more. He even lays at her cage door afterwards.

I'll note that Snuffy HATES being handled and is very strong-willed. The exercise of trying to catch her and put her in the carrier cage with Ollie, the first time we tried for a car ride, was sufficiently stressful enough for all of us that we decided to just go straight to the date.

So we'll keep trying. Small steps... She'll come around some day and realize what a great prize he is. He still seems pretty happy otherwise, and that's the main thing. So does she when he's in the cage and she's out.

Any other tips are more than welcome!



User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
2442 posts Send Private Message
3/02/2008 6:48 PM
glad to hear Ollie's spirits have lifted, what a relief.
it sounds like you've been having some success- that's great! being consistent is always important , so keep up with the bonding activities.
the swapping of their houses is great - you can also swap litterboxes too. another idea is to feed them veggies together, since eating together is a social kind of activity. keep up the great work!


~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
2825 posts Send Private Message
3/03/2008 1:32 PM
The car ride should proceed any dating activities. It helps to 'disorient' them so that they're not as aggressive first off.

Another thing to try is to put a tarp down on the floor where the bonding will take place. The strange, crinkling plastic stuff will help to distract them as well. The idea is not to have them focus on one another too much.

Have you tried the vacuum cleaner trick yet? Turn it on during the bonding process. It will give them something else to fear. Maryann became accustomed to the sound over the years so I bought myself a high horsepowered hand vac and that did the trick. Of course, Dono becomes a tan and white missile whenever it goes off. Surprised he hasn't gone through the concrete wall to escape.

Something interesting I've noticed with Maryann and Dono now is that she tends to groom him more than he grooms her - which usually means that Dono is top bun now. But she will still nip him if he doesn't reciprocate.


My bonding quest with Maryann - Read about a less than easy bonding with two buns - but they did bond!

User is Offline Bunnies4ever
Hercules, California
368 posts Send Private Message
3/03/2008 2:06 PM
You've gotten some great ideas, don't give up! One method a friend of mine used was to put her two bunnies in a big cardboard box and put it on top of a running washing machine. The vibrations made them huddle together. I would suggest trying that for a few minues each day. I woudn't recommend leaving them there alone, just stand by to supervise them. It worked for her. Another neutral space could be the bath tub, but that may have been suggested already. Good luck.



User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/03/2008 4:42 PM

Those are great ideas!  I'll have to try the vacuum cleaner out and see what happens.  They're both pretty terrified of it.  The problem with putting them together in a box or carrier is getting Snuffy in the box or carrier.  She's not the easiest bun to control and she's figured out when we want her in a box or carrier.  She's too smart for us, unfortunately...  But we've been doing the super pets during their dates and she even lay down last night and relaxed enough to let me put Ollie near her feet so he could sniff her.  It was a great date and Ollie hardly got nipped at at all.  We're trying to make her relax in his presence so that hopefully over time she'll stop hating him so much.  It's quite cute to see him laying in front of her cage door or beside her on the other side of the cage.  Now we just need to have them doing that without the cage in between.  Little steps... 

I have noticed sometimes when they go face to face she will bump his nose under hers, but he's too afraid of her teeth to groom.  I've been thinking of smearing her up with banana or baby food to trick him, but she may just lick it all off herself.  She gets very possessive over food so we've stopped trying to get them to eat together.  She's quite the little madam!

I'll keep you all posted on the progress and thanks for all the tips.

 




User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/03/2008 4:53 PM
Here are some early pics of Snuffy:
http://s104.photobucket.com/albums/...rl/Snuffy/
Pardon the poo - she wasn't trained at all when we rescued her

There's a pic of Oliver under my profile, but I haven't updated photobucket yet



User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11817 posts Send Private Message
3/04/2008 4:29 AM
I'm thinking about starting the bonding process. But unfortunetly I don't have very high hopes since Stormy is very aggressive and has been a solitary bun for 3 years. I'm gonna give it a go though. Soon... I keep putting it off, darn procrastination.


Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/05/2008 7:06 PM

Progress!!! 
We tried the vacuum 2 nights ago and managed to get a 'snuggle' out of them by petting them to the point of distraction and shoving the two of them together.  Tonight - no vacuum, but we did get another snuggle!  Snuffy came to me to get away from the situation and I started the super pets and my husband pushed Oliver against her and they stayed there for quite a while (with my hand over her haunches behind her ears the whole time and with nose rubs to distract her) but she even settled into the pets and didn't try to turn and bite him.  There was another lunge attempt when they went face to face, but I held her back and she settled back down for pets.  A huge success compared to what we've been through in the past.  They even stayed long enough for us to get a pic. 

Yay!!!

 


13564272271.jpg


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8678 posts Send Private Message
3/07/2008 9:41 PM
olisnuff - congrats on the progress. Just keep it up, but be patient, it can take a while with some bunnies. Do you put them in a neutral territory while they bond. Also, you can get them used to each other's scent while they are not together by switching their litterboxes. You can also try the stunt double trick (check out near the bottom of the bonding page under "Bunny Info")

LittlePuffyTail - Rucy was considered an "attack" bunny when I got her, but she bonded very quickly with my first bunny Forrest, and then after he passed, she bonded with Jack. So ya just neva know!



User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/08/2008 7:58 AM
The stunt double may work, actually. I'd forgotten about that tip. The territory is as neutral as we can get it - the kitchen - since neither of them go in there very much and we wipe down the floor before the date to remove the smell of each other in case they do wander in when the fridge door is open (my bunnies are very focussed on their tummies!).

We did another arranged snuggle session last night and Snuffy is still aggressive, but while I'm holding her she doesn't lunge or bite. Ollie just snuggles in and puts his face under hers and is as comfy as can be. He can't seem to get enough of her. I think he's still too nervous to try to lick her, though, so we may have to try smearing her up with baby food to induce grooming. It's definitely progress though!

LittlePuffyTail, Snuffy is aggressive and strong-willed, but when Ollie isn't around she seems lonely. It's like she likes having a pet bunny in another cage to keep her company. Just keep him in that cage! But we're willing to keep at it so hopefully we'll get a real snuggle soon and not one that's arranged. If you're concerned about her not taking to another bun, try taking her to a shelter and letting her pick a friend out. We didn't do that with Snuffy, but I wish we had. Although if this doesn't work out we are very happy to keep Oliver and Snuffy as unbonded bunnies. He's just too sweet and so happy to have a home. He binkied all night the first night we got him here, he was so happy to be out of the shelter. Check out markusdark's thread in the lounge. He has some great tips and it inspired me to keep trying.



User is Offline olisnuff
Ontario, Canada
15 posts Send Private Message
3/17/2008 8:05 AM
so we tried the stunt double. My husband tried to make it act like Ollie by sniffing her and 'licking' her. Snuffy looked at it, looked at us with the"C'mon! What do you think I am?" look and promptly shoved it out of her way. BUT we're still dating them and Ollie will now groom her head and back and ears as long as I hold her down first. Once he's grooming she's fine and I can even let her go, but if he stops he's getting the nips. He even PRESUMED to ask her for a groom and you can bet how that went over. I think with time she'll give in so we're staying patient and persistent. We're having really great dates this way so we'll just keep going and gradually let them be on their own without the holding and see how she reacts. They do have to work things out for themselves and she will have to come around and accept that he loves her and isn't going to attack her or steal her stuff.

There's plenty of greens in the fridge for everyone, Snuffy!

Does anyone have any tips on the next step?



User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
2442 posts Send Private Message
3/18/2008 8:48 PM
it sounds like things are moving ahead nicely, but there's still some nipping going on. Have you tried swapping pens or boxes yet?
you'll want to keep up with the dating until they're no nipping going on.


~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!
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