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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Why is my bun SO mean???
Last Post by BB at 3/15/2007 8:24 PM (12 Replies)
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User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 9:02 AM

OK.  I have made a topic about my bunny before.. but I am still very frustrated.  I swear this is the devil bunny if there is one.  She is just a MEAN animal. 

I walk into her room near her and she just starts growling.. If I get near her she sounds like a dog (honestly!) she is "barking" growling SOOOO loud I never knew she could make such noise. 

She also randomly comes up and bites me.. I was standing there.. literally just talking the bf.. and she hops up to me.. and I got excited like awe.. you know.. but I kept talking and she stood up.. and bit my leg.. out of no where!  She snaps at me all the time.  Just biting like crazy.  She has never ever bit the bf though.  Even if he touches her etc.

She was spayed January 12th.. so it has been a long time.. and she has not changed AT ALL. 

Everyone is suggesting I get rid of her because of the biting.  I am literally scared of the animal unless I go up to her on my terms.  When she hops up to me, I get scared.. I dont want her biting my face.. my chest.. my arms.. my legs.. etc.  Because she has,and does. 

Why is she like this?  She has no medical problem.. she has been taken to the vet recently.. and nothing is wrong with her..

Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline Hedi
Dayton, OH
976 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 12:27 PM

My oldest bun, Carrera, was spayed back in November. Before surgery she was my snuggle bunny but now, she will have nothing to do with me, and its been months ago!

If you took her for surgery I am sure she is associating you with the horrible experience of surgery. My Carrera is sweet to my husband (I took her alone for surgery) but still is very distant with me. Breaks my heart.

The vet said it could take several months before she forgives me and gets back to normal.

Hopefully some of the seasoned bunny owners on here can give you some good advise. If you get rid of her then she could end up with someone who is less tolerant and could potentially throw her out-so getting rid of her may not be the best solution.

Dont give up yet!

Carrera 6yo Mini Rex
Pookie 5yo Dwarf
Cooper 2yo old Mini Lop
Hooper (Hooptie) 2yo Mini Rex

User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 1:32 PM
Hedi, Thanks for your reply. However, she was an evil bun since we got her. Well after maybe 2 days. The first 2 days she was to scared of us. She has always been mean, and we thought spaying would help. It hasn't. And we both took her to get spayed, so it can't be that.

But yes, I am just frustrated, because it really hurts to get bit all the time.. and I am not being a baby.. but it really hurts! She leaves marks, and I have scars because of her.
Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline poopy
Orange County, CA
694 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 2:16 PM
Perhaps you could try demonstrating dominant behavior with her. When she comes up to you start running circles around her, thumping. Push her head down in submission and try doing a humping motion with your hand on her back (or something I dont know).
qwerajsdlfjklwerajioasefklasdfjklasdfiojwe*!*!*$

User is Offline wendyzski
Chicago, IL
1316 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 4:29 PM
I agree.  You need to tell her she's being a brat in ways that she can understand.  Possibly using gloves.

If she bites, make a really loud and high-pitched squeal.  In bunny, that means "ow/bad/scared", and might get her attention.

You can also push her head down gently and hold it for a moment - this is dominant behavior to a bun.

You can try stomping your foot - a THUMP is usually noticed.

Or turn your back on her - give her the human version of the "dreaded bunny-butt".

See if she seems to pay more attention to one or seems to understand that she's dome something wrong.

Pepper was kind of bitey when she first came to live with me (though nowhere as much as yours) and she learned very quickly that we large pink naked rabbits have sensitive skin and that she has to be careful with me.  She now knows exactly how hard she can nip without breaking the skin or bruising, and even when I had to wrestle her for her meds a couple of times a day she has never stepped beyond that.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8668 posts Send Private Message
3/11/2007 7:40 PM

Aw, I'm sorry.  That must just be painfully frustrating - literally.   Bunny bites I find to be so painful because their sharp razor like incisors can really sink in and it can leave a lasting bruisish slice that continues to hurt.   

I might have asked you all these questions before (I did a search to see if I replied before, but it became daunting)

1.  Is there a time or a place when she is always aggressive?  Like around her cage, in an area of the house, or just every time you approach her - What sets her off?  If it is every time you approach her - is it really every single time? What is the percentage?

2. Does it look like she is startled when she's aggressive (lops can be hard of hearing and can have a more limited vision due to their ears being in the way) 

3.  When she does lunge and bite, what has been your typical reaction.   Pull away, leave her alone? A scream? A no?  or ????  

4. Can you refresh my memory as to where you got her - if she has a history?

5. You said she was aggressive from almost the very beginning?  So are you saying that when she got comfortable there, she started getting aggressive  - or basically from day one she was "evil"

6.  Do you have any other animals?  And if so, does she bully them? What is her reaction to them?

7.  Also think of any thing where she may started the behavior for one reason, and just continued it for another.  For example, she may have been easily startled by her lack of good vision and hearing, and when she bit because she was startled, she found that you backed away.  She then continued it to show you she's the boss. (I am not saying this is what happened - just using an example to get you thinking)

8. Oh, and I almost forgot - is she like this with everyone?

This is not to judge at all, these are  questions just to help me figure out some things so I can give you the right advice.

Rucy was aggressive when I got her.  She was once considered an "attack bunny" at  the shelter.  But I guess she had really settled down by the time I adopted her but she still had a mean streak.  Jack was also aggressive when I got him.  But they had completely different reasons for why each was they way they were, so after researching and adding in some of my own trial and errors, I used different methods for each type of aggression.   Jack is a wonderful affectionate bunny that would never bite.  Rucy will always have a bit of an attitude  -, but she is much more affectionate, and she now will give a harmless box and run away to show her displeasure.  Like "I don't like what you're doing! But I know you're the boss, so I'll give you a little punch, and then run!"

There are many different reason bunnies can be aggressive, and trying to find the reason will help find the answer.  For example, a bunny that wants to hurt you won't be deterred by a high pitched squeal.  It may startle her out of biting for that second, or even make her more aggressive because that's what she intended.  Where with a bunny that bites or nips to get attention may respond better to squeal because they weren't really trying to hurt you, they were just trying to get you to move or get attention.  


User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
3/12/2007 10:18 AM
Binky I am quoting you and replying under each question of yours.. thanks for your help!
Posted By BinkyBunny on 03/11/2007 10:40 PM

1.  Is there a time or a place when she is always aggressive?  Like around her cage, in an area of the house, or just every time you approach her - What sets her off?  If it is every time you approach her - is it really every single time? What is the percentage?

Usually she is agressive when she is in her room, or by her cage. When we are not home we keep her in the bathroom, the bathroom is large enough (it is not one of those tiny rooms) so she has room to play and hop around.  Her cage is also in there, as well as her booda dome litterbox.  I assume this is territorial behavior?  However, it doesn't always make sense, because sometimes, like I said I will just be standing there and she will bite me, but mostly is is in the bathroom.  Sometimes of course its in our bedroom when I will just be sitting on the bed and she will come up and bite me (usually on the boob , so I would first think ok she wants to be petted.. but she runs away if I try to touch her!!!   The only other times she is very mean is when she is under the bed and I need to get her out, if I make her angry enough she will freak out.  Occasionally if I corner her she will get angry too, but this is obvious to me, and usually she sits quiet anyway.

2. Does it look like she is startled when she's aggressive (lops can be hard of hearing and can have a more limited vision due to their ears being in the way) 

Well I don't think it is because she is startled.. although I did not realize she had bad hearing!  However, this is one example.  I will sit on the ground next to her and she will come up and sniff me.. I do not attempt to touch her because I know she will become angry.  So she is sniffing me but all the sudden she will jerk her head away and do that head flip thing (she does this when she doesn't like something) and then If I try to go near to her she will lunge at me.  So she clearly knew I was there.. and she was sniffing all nice when she all the sudden gets mad!

Also, she only does this to me, and not the bf.  She has never bitten him or anything.. She bites his clothes and things, but not HIM.  She has lunged at him before I think, but not with her nails.. and I pay her more attention, I get her food, I clean her litterbox, I do everything!! 

3.  When she does lunge and bite, what has been your typical reaction.   Pull away, leave her alone? A scream? A no?  or ????  

Usually I pull away really fast.  My bf said not to do that because the quick movement might scare her.  But I have to pull away otherwise Im going to keep getting hurt is the way I see it, plus it is a reaction.  Should I try another method?  I mean, I also yell ow.. but maybe she doesn't understand this? 

4. Can you refresh my memory as to where you got her - if she has a history?

I got her at the petstore.  When we got her she was very tiny.  I would say the tiniest of all the bunnies there.  They told me she was 12 weeks old.  But this is one thing I was thinking about.  Could she have been bullied by the other bunnies there?  I mean, all the bunnies there were babies too...  Also, in the pet store they had a roller-ball water holder, and so we got her one of those for home.  However, within the first day I realized she was not strong enough to get any water out of it, and I had to use a bowl for a while.  Could it be that maybe she was not getting any food/water as a baby in the pet store and perhaps this scarred her somehow?  Other than that Lilly just sat stock still when we got her, she was very scared and didn't attempt to move.. this is still her reaction to being scared.  It just seems shocking to me because she seems like such a dominant bunny, so I am not very sure.

5. You said she was aggressive from almost the very beginning?  So are you saying that when she got comfortable there, she started getting aggressive  - or basically from day one she was "evil"

Yup, basically from day one.  Oooh boy.  lol.  Once she knew us well she became agressive.  Before that she wouldn't move or do anything.  One other instance I want to mention though.. despite that she was already showing agression is this:  when we first got her she would escape from her cage alllll the time.. so one day when I wasn't home my bf decided to put tape on the cage so when she touched it she would pull away (he heard you do this with cats) unfortunately when I got home that night I noticed that there was tape stuck to under her neck!!  I freaked out at the bf and was crying about my bunny.  So we held her down and tried to cut it off.. unfortunately she was moving so much I was to scared to allow him to keep trying with the scissors because I didn't want him poking her neck.  So we called his mom and she brought us a buzzer razor.. I was able to hold her down and the bf used the buzzer and we got it off.. I held her for a long time afterward and she slept on my chest because she was probably so scared.  So maybe that traumatized her too?  I never actually thought of that before.. but like I said she was already agressive before that.. and she was no more agressive after that.. until about a month later when she got as bad as she is now.   I mean.. she can't hate us can we?  Honestly we spoil her rotten.  She gets her favorite food, hay, treats, toys.. etc. 

6.  Do you have any other animals?  And if so, does she bully them? What is her reaction to them?

We have no other animals.. but she has been around my parent's dog a few times.. they have been nice to eachother and Lilly does not bully the dog.  In fact she lets the dog lick her!  ??!  However I am always holding her when she is around the dog, just on case..

7.  Also think of any thing where she may started the behavior for one reason, and just continued it for another.  For example, she may have been easily startled by her lack of good vision and hearing, and when she bit because she was startled, she found that you backed away.  She then continued it to show you she's the boss. (I am not saying this is what happened - just using an example to get you thinking)

I wrote some instances above.. soo.. but I think that should be it? 

8. Oh, and I almost forgot - is she like this with everyone?

Well she is worst with me, but I am confused because I am nicest to her!  The bf will punish her for things she does wrong, squirt water, yell, lock her in the cage.  I mostly only yell.. is she taking advantage of me because I am a pushover? 

She is never around anybody except for us.  She has been around my family and my dog a few times.. with my family she will just sit and not move.. sometimes shaking, apparently because she is scared.  When we are around them she will run up to me and sit on my chest or lap and be a sweet rabbit I am guessing because she doesn't know anybody else and is scared of them.



Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline skunklionshow
City of Brotherly "Shove"
1247 posts Send Private Message
3/12/2007 12:56 PM

My name is skunklionshow, and I too have an evil bunny! 

I have had similar experiences w/ my Jessica, both when she was in our school, and when she came home to live w/ the hubby and cats.

Yes...bunny bites hurt really bad!  I have one bite that turned from open bite mark to a bruise...that just went away.

Anyway, here's my suggestions based on my experiences w/ Jessica.  Her cage is in the living room.  The cats are in the living room all day w/ her and us "people" are there in the morning and evening/night.  She is allowed to free roam from the time I get home from work (about 4pm) until we go to bed (about 10pm).  Once we get the safety issues down and the litter problem (see behavior forum), we will let her free roam during the day.  This has really helped her socialize with us while she is safe in her space. 

I have always allowed undisturbed roaming.  Occasionally I can score a few pets, but mostly she chases the cats, hops around the coffee table, or lays infront of the TV.  Based on most of the info I got from this site, I've learned that leaving her alone allows her to interact on her terms.  She only bites me if she feels I've gotten into her space or attempt to put my agenda onto her. 

At this point, my husband socializes more w/ her than I do.  That really seems to be her preference.  We follow a similar free roam hands off policy within our therapeutic classrooms and it definately makes for happier buns!

Good Luck!

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Ghandi


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8668 posts Send Private Message
3/12/2007 4:38 PM

I  have a couple of other questions.  So does she let your bf pet her without problems?  When you are petting her is there a particular place she doesn't like to be pet, or starts to get nervous? Like her backside?  Do you wear perfume or any lotions that she may not like?  Sounds like she comes over sniffs, and says "uh uh."

What it sounds like so far  is what I sort of touched upon - that it may have started for one reason and continued for another.  She MAY have been scared in the beginning, and found that when she bit and lunged you pulled away.  Later when she was no longer scared but just tried to let you know what she wanted, or rather what she didn't want, she could get the same results.  It can become a fear based at first and then used to dominate - or even a mixture of both.

Many times scared bunnies learn how to be dominant this way. 

So it looks like she has to first see you as non-threatening and not a pushover at the same time.

With her, I think the thing to try is to first show you are not afraid of her but that you are also not trying to fully dominate her.  I think with her personality, if you yell, or do anything that could make her startled or scared, she will become even more aggressive with you as her fear will kick in, and that would be a double whammy.

Dominant bunnies can still be queen of their domain, and be non-aggressive with their humans.  You have to show her that her lunges and bites don't even phase you. Wear gloves when you know she will lunge and bite.  (I know with Jack in the beginning, I had to close my eyes when I reached out for him, because even though I had a glove, I would instinctively pull away when he would growl and lunge.)

If she does bite your glove, don't yell, just say something along the lines "Yeah, yeah, you're a big tough bunny, lots of spirit!"  (this is more for you to stay calm).  Don't leave, but let her leave.

Letting her have her time to roam and be hands free is good advice from Skunklion. (you may already do that)   And during the times when there is hands on, wear those gloves, and she will learn over time, that her biting behavior does not make you pull away or react.

When you are petting her, offer a treat when she's being good, and when you pet her and she bites your glove, don't pull away, just pet her again if she allows.    

With Jack his was only fear based, and so we gave him a treat every time he lunged.   He did not associate this with being rewarded, he just was redirected and trained to learn that hands were safe.   It sounds like Lilly is more trying to dominate now than she is fearful. IF that is the case, then you just want to be non-reactive right now. 

Let me know how it goes, and I'm sure there will be modifications along the way.

This can take weeks to see results.  If this makes it worse over time(she might step up her aggression at first) but if it continues to get worse and worse, then we may to reevaluate the situation to figure out if there it based on something else.  More fear based than dominance for example.

 

 

 


User is Offline 2buns4me
San Diego, CA
7 posts Send Private Message
3/12/2007 5:15 PM
I too HAD a mean bun, thought she was the bunny from down below! I had to wear a glove when feeding her, she would growl and lung at me, or box her front feet at me and bite me! I really thought about giving her back to the person who gave her to me!!! Then a friend of mine told me how buns communicate and every time she lunged at me i would push her head down for a second or two(of course i was wearing my glove) and in about two week...low and behold...she stopped lunging at me! Now i can even pick her up right out of her cage! She doesn't bite anymore and she always puts her head down when i am near so i can pet and love on her. She's a totally different bunny now, very enjoyable. Ah, my Daisy is now a sweet bun.
April

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8668 posts Send Private Message
3/12/2007 8:03 PM

Welcome 2buns4me!  

Looks like there are several of us who have had experience with "mean" buns.    We all may need to start  "mean" buns anonymous program - 12 steps and all.

 


User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
3/15/2007 11:43 AM
Binky I apologize for not replying.. but Lilly has been a perfect angel for the past few days (I swear she knew I talked bad about her or somthing!!!!) and I didn't want to reply and jinx it!! But I am feeling rude not responding so I will take my chances. lol.

But I will answer your other questions:

So does she let your bf pet her without problems? She growls but never bites or scratches.. and when she starts growling he backs away.. but I don't.. I keep petting to "calm" her down.. probably the wrong idea by me..

When you are petting her is there a particular place she doesn't like to be pet, or starts to get nervous? Like her backside? No particular place.. suprizingly she doesn't mind her backside being touched! Strange.. but it is more she will start growling before we touch her.. rarely will she growl after we touch her. And if she is growling before we touch her, and if we go near her (not touching her) she will get really mad.. and then bite/lunge at me.. but not him.

Do you wear perfume or any lotions that she may not like? I usually don't wear perfume, and we use the exact same shampoo and body soap..

But Binky, I do think you are right.. she probably started it for another reason and continued.. so.. I will try to be more dominant with her.. given that i assume (although i hope not!) her recent angelicness is just some sort of weird phase.. lol.. i will keep you updated.. its hard to talk about my bunny badly when she is being sooo good right now!
Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8668 posts Send Private Message
3/15/2007 8:24 PM
Oh goodness, I wouldn't think you were being rude.  I would just figure you got busy.   That's so funny about you worrying that you'll jinx it.   I am a pretty logical person when it comes to stuff like that, but sometimes I'll feel the same way.  Like if I say..."Wow, life is really great right now", both my husband and I will say, "don't say that, just think it, something is bound to go wrong now"  and as silly as that sounds, there is a little illogical part that thinks it could be true.  How whacky is that?!  Ah well, part of being human.

So if and when she starts acting up again here is some additional advice in regards to your replies.

You posted: So does she let your bf pet her without problems? She growls but never bites or scratches.. and when she starts growling he backs away.. but I don't.. I keep petting to "calm" her down.. probably the wrong idea by me..

So, it's not that she won't bite your bf, it's just that he follows "her" rules by backing away. His behavior of pulling away reinforces her reaction.     She just steps up her game with you because you stay and didn't leave like he did.  Though I don't think at this time you both need to corner and force her to be pet or whatever, I definitely don't think pulling away will do any good.  It would be better to keep your hand there and slowly rest it to the side until she calms down.  But don't pull away, and don't leave.

You posted: .but it is more she will start growling before we touch her.. rarely will she growl after we touch her. And if she is growling before we touch her, and if we go near her (not touching her) she will get really mad.. and then bite/lunge at me.. but not him.

So, this really sounds like a case where she is a fearful dominant - like she's saying, "I like being petted, but I don't trust the hand or body coming towards me"    This may have been a fear that developed back as a kit, before you got her, with the experiences that you told me about.  Plus you have no idea, especially at a pet store if a customer or kid mishandled her at one point.

It would be like if you got robbed every single time you opened your front door for weeks, and then soon you started bringing weapons with you to answer the door.  Though you hope that the next time you open the door it is something good, but it you would still be cautious and even mean or aggressive with people.    Even if their intentions were good, having them go away is safer than sticking around for the possible negative alternative of getting robbed.   But it wouldn't be good for people to just avoid the house and not keep trying connect - pulling away, because you'd be stuck in this lowsy pattern of being fearful and aggressive.  So I think that is where Lilly is right now. 

I think you can help her by showing her you mean no harm, and not allowing her to push you away (but you also need to give her the freedom she needs to explore and be by herself)  But when she lunges or bites, don't pull away.  Right now because I think part of it is fear based, I still think it's best not to try and dominate her.  Later if she continues and you actually feel is only true dominance, then you may have to add in some things like the gently head press, and putting her back in her cage or pen.

But for now just try staying where she is, and if she lunges and bites, don't pull away.   You can stop petting her if she's trying to say she's had enough, but do not allow her bite to be the way she tells you.  Just put your hand near her still even if you are not petting her.   She should tell you she's had enough by leaving herself or even a light box is okay, but any nasty aggression should not be paid attention to.   Also again, just have a treat nearby so that when she is being calm and sweet, you can reward her.

It's also good to talk in a calm caring voice.  I really don't know if this lets them know that you really are not going away or not, but I think it can help you talk through it with empathy for her.  "What a tough girl you are, such a gorgeous girl, big tough girl, so pretty....  Whatever makes you stay comfortable and calm and projects that energy to her.   

So GOOD LUCK.  Be patient and close your eyes if you have to avoid flinching (of course wear your gloves!)

And if I don't hear an update in awhile, I'll just figure things are going well, and you don't want to jinx it.
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