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Home Forums BONDING Bonding Journal- Bun bun and Bunnie

  • This topic has 133sd replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by DanaNM.
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    • BunBun260
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      So today I did my first bonding session. I have a male rabbit who is a rex and a female rabbit. His name is Bun Bun and her name is Bunnie. I started the session off by putting them together into a cuddle. I had control of there heads until I felt comfortable enough to give them some control. He moved his head under her head and she moved her head more onto his. They were very relaxed, and even closed their eyes a bit. After 3 minutes of this I moved him to one side of the bonding space and moved her to the other side.

      They both just sat on there sides for a bit, until Bun Bun starting moving. He moved around a bit then stopped and started grooming himself. He groomed him self twice during this session. She didn’t moved until he started moving again. She kept wanting to sniff his nose, but I was very scared to let her get to close so I started to pet them a lot anytime they got close. There seem to be no signs of aggression but I seem to get a little freak any time they get close because like I said im still pretty freaked about the first time they ever met.

      I ended the session with him grooming himself and her laying next to me (not flopped).

      Any tips will be very useful, and please let me know if I’m doing right by not letting them get to close yet, or if I need to let them get close. Also should I have hay laying around for them? Thank you!


    • BunBun260
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      While I wait for people to respond I’ll post day two session. I decided to let them get near each other more today, but heavily petted them.

      Day two:

      –Started session by force cuddles, he instantly placed his head under her and she placed her head on top of him.

      —He sat in place didn’t move much, he hates tile so he refused to move around the whole session.

      —She explored the bonding area, and ignore him, until she decided to get near him and nip his side. Blocked her with a dust pan after that and she walked off.
      -he started to groom himself while she ignore him and continue to explore

      —she groomed herself and he was still grooming
      -he laid down, not flopped on his side, but legs extended back.

      —she moved over towards him, her head by his side (he was still laying down) I petted her a lot during this time to keep her from nipping, she ended up moving away after a while, no nip happened.

      —she went back to ignoring him and then groomed herself

      I ended the session with her grooming herself and him laying down still.

      Questions: he is a Rex and hates tile, he refused to move around on tile, she has a lot of fur on her feet so she can move easily on tile, can I just place a towel down since she doesn’t seem to be slipping on tile, and he seems to be scared on the tile?

      Also, I would really like to know your thoughts on how it is going so far, tips will be appreciated.


    • Nutmeg
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      Hey! I’m no bonding expert – I’ve just finally bonded my two –  but I would say that I think things are going well – nips at the start to communicate aren’t a bad thing – as long as they don’t escalate obviously – and ignoring is also a neutral sign (more good than bad) the fact that they are self grooming so soon is a good sign and that he was relaxed enough to put his back lets out is also good.

      Its good that you are starting on a good note. You are ending on a semi-good note in that they are both relaxed. Maybe try ending it with them smooshed together and petting them both too.

      I do think you need to figure out the floor thing as you can’t get a true test of how he is going to be with her once he can move around. The towel can still be slippy on the tile, plus its not a lot of room for him to move around and feel comfortable and confident. Could you buy a cheap carpet from Walmart? I bought one for $10 in the clearance section that was 4 foot by 6 foot.

      You just dont’ want to think things are going well and then have a surprise when you put them somewhere where he can get his footing and then find out he actually wants to be more of the alpha and you are back at square one because she’s confused and fights to try to re-assert her dominance.

      (does that makes sense? Its hard to write it out so that it makes sense lol)


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      It sounds good so far I’d definitely put something down on the floor, a towel or a blanket. Bombur was very fussy about being on the hardwood, so I brought out a blanket and it went much better. Just make sure it’s a neutral blanket, so basically neither bun can get territorial over it. I wouldn’t immediately put the dustpan between them when she nips. Nipping is how bunnies communicate. It’s when that nipping becomes overtly aggressive, when you want to intervene. A lot of bunnies groom on the forehead/nose area, so don’t be scared if she approaches. My boys were very nipping when I started sessions, and Asriel was a nose nipper, but it never escalated. So the main thing with the nipping is just be alert when it happens and watch the nipped bunny’s reaction, and the reaction of the nipper. If neither get extremely tensed, don’t worry about it. There’s going to be a slight degree of nipping. But overall it sounds pretty positive


    • BunBun260
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      I have a lot of towels that I will place down today for him. I also have blankets that I can place down, so I’ll test to see which one works better. So glad that both of you agree it’s going well so far. I thought the same, but I needed to hear it from someone else as well! Lol. Everything you said made sense! I plan on doing my third session today, so I’ll post on how it goes!


    • BunBun260
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      Thank you! I’ll try not to put the dustpan between them today, she didn’t nip him hard, he did jump a bit, but didn’t seem to go for any attack. I honestly knew she was going to be the nipper. She nips me when I’m in her way when she running around my room! I will be doing their third session soon, so I’ll post what happens later tonight. Thank you again!


    • BunBun260
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      Day 3:

      So I took a step back today. Adding the towel was a mistake, she got a bit territorial about it.

      — session was 20 minutes, (was supposed to be 10 but forgot to set my timer)

      — started session off with force cuddles. She wasn’t the happiest about this because today, he decided he was going to have his head on top, so she reacted by moving her head and shoving it under his stomach area. She then nip him, but he had no reaction so I let her stay there for another minute. She didn’t nip after that.

      — I then moved them to separate sides of the bonding area, and they both started scratching at the towel and nipping at it. He got over it after a minute then proceeded to go a sniff her, well she was still mad at the towel and decided to make a sound and bite him. It wasn’t a hard bite, to be honest it looked like a nip, but it did have a sound so I decided to block her and pet her while I removed the towel.

      —after removing the towel she ignored him for the rest of the session and he ignored her. No grooming, and no laying down, but they both were pretty relaxed.

      — I ended the session with force cuddles, which once again he wanted his head on top, she kept her head under him this time. I treated them after this as well.

      So tips on what I should do? The towel was neutral so I’m confused on why they were mad at the towel.


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      Why do you keep separating them? You don’t need to put them on opposite sides of the pen unless there’s an issue. You really need them to be sorting things out and exploring each other, and separating them is interfering. You only need to separate them if there’s something aggressive going on. What they’re doing with the towel is normal. My boys do that with the towels in the their cages never mind the out towels. Bunnies like to burrow, and putting a towel in kinda of engages that side of them. I’d keep the towel in, especially because I don’t think your boy is going to feel comfortable without it.

      It wasn’t a step back at all. It was still good. My only recommendation is to not separate them mid session anymore. Just let them do their own thing. Nothing about them seems aggressive at all to me. Just monitor them and be ready to intervene at all times.


    • BunBun260
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      So even if she makes a sound like that, I need to leave it alone? And after force cuddles, I shouldn’t move them? I should leave them where they are at and see wher it goes? The only reason why I move them to opposite sides of the bonding area after force cuddles, is because of other bonding articles that have said to. But I’m more then willing to not do that anymore. I’m fairly new to all of this, and am still leaning. Which is why I created the journal to get input.

      As far as the sound, it wasn’t loud but it was a honk/grunt sound she made. I only moved her then because I thought it would lead to a fight.


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      “started session off with force cuddles. She wasn’t the happiest about this because today, he decided he was going to have his head on top, so she reacted by moving her head and shoving it under his stomach area. She then nip him, but he had no reaction so I let her stay there for another minute. She didn’t nip after that.

      — I then moved them to separate sides of the bonding area, and they both started scratching at the towel and nipping at it. He got over it after a minute then proceeded to go a sniff her, well she was still mad at the towel and decided to make a sound and bite him. It wasn’t a hard bite, to be honest it looked like a nip, but it did have a sound so I decided to block her and pet her while I removed the towel. ”

      Like there. After that just let them be and see where it goes. They’re never going to be able to get used to each other and explore each other if they get separated after them being in close proximity. A lot of times bunnies will feel comfortable grooming each other after a smoosh session.

      Grunts can be normal at this stage. Did she lunge or just nip? If it was an actual bite your boy probably would’ve had something to say about it. So in that case I’d stay pretty close to them with a gloved hand (always use garden or thick gloves) and be ready to separate if she was actually about to get violent. But honestly, she seems pretty normal at the moment, and actually not as aggressive as a lot of other females can be.


    • BunBun260
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      Alright I will leave them alone today after the cuddle session. She didn’t lunge, he was already near her, she just more turn her head quickly and nip him on the butt, while making that sound. I have gloves that I been using. Today I plan on not intervening. I think a lot of my intervening comes from there first mistake meeting, and also I love both of them very much and I dont want to see any of them get hurt badly. Thank you for replying and helping me through this. I appreciate it! I will not intervene today and post what happens later.


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s the beginning, but I do think it’s all positive at the moment

      When my boys were little I never knew about separating them and proper bonding. Bombur was always quite humpy. One day he humped a little too much and next thing you knew there was a flurry of them flipping on their sides just kicking each other. And now Asriel just wants to shower Bombur with love xD. Unfortunately due to Bombur’s issues, bonding doesn’t seem to be in the cards for them, so he just gets grooms through the cage bars xD


    • BunBun260
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      Trying not to be. Just want this to go well and not down a bad path I can’t get out of lol.

      So shorty after me posting earlier, my boy bunny was running around getting excercise, while I was cleaning a area of my room. Well, Bunnie, my female bunny, decided she was going to escape her cage. I guess she climbed the cage bars, (I have seen her do this before) and jumped out the cage. I didn’t know she was climbing the cage, I thought it was just her normal nosiy self(my bad). My boy bunny was not happy about this and they got into it. She however did not harm him, she didn’t even pull fur out. As far as him, he pulled a lot of her fur out. I didn’t even know this was going on until I started hearing what sounded like paper crumbling. (They were fighting on paper). They made no sounds what so ever. I quickly rushed over and picked him up, he was laying down, and she was sitting away from him. It seemed like a short fight. No one was injured, but she had a lot of fur pulled out.

      I placed them back into their cages after checking them, and they both went up to the gate between them and groomed themselves then flopped.

      So question is, do I bond them today? I added more security to her cage, so if she finds a way to escape I’ll be shock. (This isn’t the first time she has escape
      Her cage, but the last time she escape he was in his cage.)


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      I might wait until tomorrow? Or maybe even the later end of the day today? Just in case they’re worked up from it the space might be good.


    • BunBun260
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      I’ll try it at the end of the day today, I’ll start with force cuddles and if they are having issues with that then I’ll end it on a good note and end the session. If they seem to be okay and acting like usual then I’ll continue with the session. I was so upset when I saw she had gotten out. So thankful there wasn’t any blood drawn.


    • Nutmeg
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      Deep breath’s BunBun260 – I also had my boy hope out and hand an accidental first encounter. Things happen. I’m just happy nothing too bad happened. So that’s still ok.

      I found with my two they started to make the most progress when I took deep breaths and back off a bit – like A&B is suggesting above.

      Hope yesterday went better!!


    • BunBun260
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      I wasn’t able to do a session yesterday. I had it all set up to do a session, and when I picked Bun Bun up I noticed he had something by his front leg. Bunnie had bit him so hard she broke skin. Thank goodness it had scabbed up, because I didn’t even know he had it. (It was in a leg fold, his leg has to be extended to even feel it).

      After seeing this I figured it was best to pause sessions. I went back and double checked her, she was completely fine. Just a little redness from all the fur he had pulled out. They both have a vet visit tomorrow, it’s a wellness checkup but I called and told them what happened so they can check them both out and make sure Bun Bun (my male rabbit) is okay.

      I plan on asking the vet about where to go from this point. I also plan on asking if he knows anyone who can bond them for me. If not I plan on bonding them still, as it doesn’t seem like they hate each other, I think Bunnie just got territorial about where he was at. He was by her cage when she escaped, and that was where the fight happened.

      Thank you for all of your help so far.


    • BunBun260
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      Thursday they both went to the vet and got their checkups. Both healthy. He checked their wounds and was not concerned at all. In fact he said they were already healed. He showed me both their wounds (she had one too by her ear) and there was literally almost nothing there but a tiny scab now. So good thing about that, they weren’t trying to hurt each other that badly. He told me it was okay to continue bonding, he doesn’t think they will hold any grudges over this. They been flopping by the gate between them still, and acting normal so no aggression through cages. I switched their cages last night for hours, in hope to break some of her territorial behaviors.

      I want some of you guys thoughts tho, do you think it’s okay to continue bonding right now? They took about 4 days off since the fight. Also how long do you think the session should last for?


    • DanaNM
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      Hi BunBun, just catching up on this, so sorry if I missed something that was already covered.

      Knowing when to intervene is probably THE hardest thing about bonding, especially your first time bonding. Over time you will start to learn what types of behaviors with your two tend to escalate (to tight circling, fur flying, bunny tornado), and which ones don’t.

      Here’s a quick cheat sheet

      Territorial behaviors to allow (this is all part of them communicating with each other):
      grunting
      lunging
      growling
      thumping
      light nipping, especially on the bum (people differ on how much fur pulling to allow, so go with what you’re comfortable with)
      mounting (as long as not on the head)
      pouncing (where one bun “bops” the other on the head with it’s paws… it’s actually pretty funny to see)
      if you are in a large space, a brief 1-3 second chase is usually good to allow, just to see if it resolves on it’s own. If in a small space though, stop right away

      Things to stop or modify:
      boxing
      tight circling
      face mounting
      hard biting
      full on fighting (duh)

      I didn’t see what lead to the bites in the thread, but you will start to get a sense as to what behaviors escalate, and which ones are OK to wait and see. Rather than physically separating them, try to stop the behavior another way, either through petting them both, pressing them into the ground, making a loud noise (like with a vacuum cleaner), or squirting them with water.

      I didn’t see what kind of space you are using, can you describe it? Sometimes a larger or smaller, or more stressful space, can be helpful.

      Don’t be too hard on yourself about a rocky start. My first bond I had NO clue what I was doing, made tons of early mistakes, and still ended up with a very tightly bonded pair. So all is not lost.

      Regarding smoosh petting and forced cuddles. I think this is a great technique, but I modify a little. I place both buns in the space, and wait for them to come together naturally as they explore the area. Then pet pet pet pet and swap scents. Pause for a few seconds (don’t separate them though) and see what happens. If they seem tense, pet some more. If they move away from each other, allow them to. If one puts their head down to “ask” for grooms, definitely keep petting them both. This will help build a positive association and trust with the other bunny. As they get more relaxed around each other (and your confidence builds) ease off on how much you pet.


    • BunBun260
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      Hello, thank you for all of that information. It is extremely helpful!

      I don’t really know what causes the nips. He will be just sitting and she kinda walks over and nips him. So far it hasn’t been anything to hard.

      The space I am using is a walk in shower. They have a medium size space. When I tried a smaller space they didn’t seem to care for it. I just realized I never mention anything about the space. lol that would have probably helped. My boy bun hates the tile, but she has so much fur on the bottom of her feet, she can walk on tile with no problems. I am currently sitting in the bonding space with them. Which I have read that you’re not really supposed to. I’m currently only doing it until I get my cube wire storage gets in. Once I get that it, I plan on making a box in front the toilet (blocking the side of the toilet so they don’t go behind it) and sitting on the toilet.

      I really do think they want to be bonded. He seems to really like her, and she honestly seems to like him a bit too. She gets stress easily and I noticed anytime I do force snuggles, she calms down right away.

      I’ll try that idea of force cuddles, I will try it next bonding session.

      Do you think it is okay to start bonding sessions again? I know my vet said it was, but I guess I want another opinion. Their fight happened on non-neutral area (it was in my bedroom where they both live, so I guess it might be semi-neutral). He has more wounds then her, in fact she only has one. But none of them broke the skin enough where it drew blood, just enough to break the skin a bit where it scabbed. Both of their wounds have healed.

      Trying not to be to hard on myself, but it is stressful. I love them both and seeing them get hurt, or that fear of them not getting along at the end freaks me out. (Getting three cats to like each other was way much easier lol!)


    • DanaNM
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      So, in terms of continuing bonding sessions, I would probably see how they do. If they immediately seem more aggressive than before in the neutral space, then given them a break to cool off.

      If they seem the same as before, you can continue on.

      Another thing that can be helpful is a different neutral space, and I’ve always had more luck with larger spaces (like, 2 x-pens linked up). I would always be in the area with them in the early stages unless the space was small. I would consider the shower to be small-ish, but prob depends on how big your bunnies are and how big your shower is. So, if after a few more sessions, you seem to be stuck in a rut with your current area, don’t be afraid to try to change things up.


    • BunBun260
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      Thank you so much!!!! I plan on doing a session today, going to try to keep it very positive session no matter what. My bunnies are both small, and the shower is big (but medium size with me sitting in it lol). There is an area in the neutral room that I used when I was introducing my cats. It’s a big area between the closet and door (the closet sticks out a bit so it creates a side wall. If that makes sense) I was thinking that would be a good space to try out as well, as it provides easy access to me, and a good amount of room for them. I would also be able to use less fence pieces because of the surrounding walls.

      It would be carpet, do you think that would be fine? I think it would be pretty much the same as a towel right?


    • DanaNM
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      Yep, carpet is fine, but you might want to put something down in case they pee (which they might). Puppy pee pads are nice to have around for bonding.

      In a big space, you can also experiment with adding in tunnels and hidey boxes (all new/neutral, with at least 2 exits so no bun gets cornered). Sometimes they help them feel less scared and more relaxed, sometimes they make them more territorial (one bun will claim a box and defend it).


    • BunBun260
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      So I wasn’t able to do a session yesterday, but I was able to do one today. And let me just tell you how great the session went and how much more comfortable I feel about it now.

      -started session off with force cuddles. It went well although she did not want to sit still so she hopped off.

      — she seemed tensed at first so I decided to pet her to calm her down. Bun bun was grooming himself during this, he was maybe 5 inches away from her.

      — after three minutes in, she got more comfortable and started to move again.

      — bun bun moved towards me and she followed him. She then moved her head right up to his cheek and just sAt there. I petted them heavily during this, also gave them a few second without petting to see what would happened. Well I started to see her tounge come out. I have no idea if she actually groomed him or not, as I only saw it come out three times and nothing else after that.

      — after that I gave them a treat. They were maybe three inches away from each other at this point.

      — after eating the treat she went right back to putting her head by his cheek. I ended the session like this a minute later.

      The session was 10 mintues long


    • DanaNM
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      That’s wonderful! Way to go!


    • BunBun260
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      The session was good again today. 10 minute session

      — started the session off with force snuggles, her head was on top of his, his under her. After a minute I stopped petting and let them figure out there next move.

      — she moved away and was very relaxed, he ended up following her and going face to face with her. He flatted his head down, lower then hers. I’m Assuming he is asking her to groom him?

      —they sat there for 8 minutes!! She did this weird thing where she would stick out of tounge (almost look like she was licking her lips). I couldn’t tell what she was doing. I think she was licking the towel, it was very close to him but never made contact.

      — the final minute she walked off, making sure her butt Right by his face, he had no reaction to that. Which I’m assuming is good.

      — I treated them with a treat after this, he ate his quicker then her, and actually went over by her to steal her treat. She had no reaction to that.

      So I have a few question. Would it be a good idea to try going an hour over the weekend? Also I’m going on a trip soon, where they will be boarded for 6 nights. The place I’m bringing them too, said they can try giving them the same exercise time. Since it will be on neatural ground, do you think that would be a good idea? Or should I just tell them to give them separate time.

      I’m just scared my progress will be lost because of them having no bonding session for 6 nights. ( they will still be side by side in cages, where they can see each other)


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds very positive! And good job ending on a positive note!

      I would work up more slowly to an hour. Try for 20 min next, then 30, etc. It can be tempting to move too quickly when things are going well, so it helps to have a plan.

      I wouldn’t have the boarding place do any sessions with them… too risky. But, it would be nice if they can house them next to each other, and maybe even do some litter box swaps to keep up with the pre-bonding.

      Don’t stress too much about the little break from sessions, it shouldn’t set you back much, or at all. It would be far worse though, if a fight broke out because the person watching them wasn’t versed in bonding and didn’t know what to do (or even stepped away for a couple of seconds).


    • BunBun260
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      I went ahead and told the boarding place not to have them out at the same time. I asked them to switch a doll back in forth from their cages everyday. So I went ahead and tried a 15 minute session today, I didn’t want to do 20, kinda wanted to test the waters before moving to 20.

      — started off with force snuggles for two minutes. Today she put her head under him.

      — I then let them pick again where they wanted to go. She walked away first, and he moved a bit to. She then came back, nipped him (he had no reaction) They then did a circle and then smashed their heads together face to face again. I petted them a lot during this.

      — she did the weird tounge thing again. It never made contact though. She also did this weird thing where she was moving her mouth on his head, but it wasn’t nipping, and it wasn’t gromming. It kinda looked like when a rabbit purrs. (The chomping thing they do) she just did it all over his cheek for about 30 seconds.

      — she walked off more today, but bun bun kept moving towards her and shoving his head down in front of him. I think he really wants her to groom him.

      —About 10 minutes into the session, I was tired of sitting on my legs, so I shifted at a more comfortable position. Well without realizing, I had blocked area for her to walk away from him. A minute after me moving she moved away from him, well she was blocked from me, and I tried moving myself real quick, but Bun Bun followed her, and shoved his head under her butt. She did not like this at all, she was basically stuck between a wall, him, and me. So she reacted by making grunt sound, turning around and tried biting him, but missed because he moved real quickly and tried biting her. So before things got out of hand, I moved her over, and tried calming them down.

      — I tried to let them go back after this but he instantly went to get a bite on her again, so once again I scooted him over and gave them a treat to munch on near each other. I petted them while they ate to calm them down. They calmed down after this.

      —I ended he session with force snuggles. When I went to pick her up(so I can go and move her to her cage) he actually started grooming himself.

      So question is, do you think they are still okay? Was it because she felt trapped that she reacted like that? Or was it because maybe they are not ready for 15 minutes? Is it okay for them to not groom each other yet? He just seems so determine for her to groom him.


    • DanaNM
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      In terms of if they are “okay”, yes, this all sounds like normal parts of the bonding process. Early sessions like this can get tense from time to time, especially if one feels cornered or trapped. That’s why I tend to go for larger spaces.

      Your job is to help them safely build trust, which means preventing things from escalating to full on fighting. So yes, you did the right thing by intervening when they started to get nippy.

      I would try standing, and only crouching when you are petting so you are more out of their way. When they start getting nippy, try to get out of the habit of physically pushing them apart. You can try a loud noise (clapping, yelling, banging on something, running the vacuum cleaner), or pressing them down and petting (you can rotate them so they are side by side). Sometimes just petting is enough. You basically want them to either decide to stop fighting on their own (due to something scary happening), or realize if they come near the other bun good things happen (pets and grooms).

      Him asking for her to groom is a dominance display. If she grooms, it means she is submitting. She might eventually, or she might not, but she definitely won’t do it until he has proven himself (whatever that means? but usually once he has proven that he is trustworthy). At this point it’s too early to tell who will be dominant, but it’s definitely normal that she hasn’t groomed him yet. Now is when you just have to keep having patience. Bonding tends to progress in big steps, rather than a slow gradual improvement, so it’s normal to have several sessions in a row where it seems like nothing is progressing.


    • BunBun260
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      Thanks! I’ll try that next time. I was wondering if you think it would be okay if I didn’t do a session today. My cat eye was all red this morning, so I been at the vet and I’m pretty stress. I’m a little worried it might affect the session. Do you think it would be okay if I took a break for a day? I’ll probably do a session early in the morning.


    • DanaNM
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      Yep that’s fine, no need to stress.


    • BunBun260
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      So my cat still has problems with her eye, so I didn’t have a lot of time to do a session today. I decided 5 minutes was better then nothing. I think the bunnies are picking up on the tension in the house.

      — I started with force cuddling which they were fine.

      — I then let them move and pick where they wanted to go, across they went right to be face to face. Bun bun had his head more on her side today. After two minutes of this, she ended up nipping him, and he started to make a lot of grunt sounds after this, but did not attack. My family member who was helping me, was talking about stressful stuff that happened today, so I think they both picked up on that. Their schedule has been a little off this week as well.

      — after this I put them back in a force cuddle to calm them down, they once again were fine during this. Actually very relaxed. I also had the family member stop talking about how stressful this week has been. Lol

      — at 5 minutes I gave them a treat near each other, once again they were fine.

      So I think I ended it on a good note. I honestly probably should have given it another day, for the tension in the house to calm down. Tomorrow I’ll try again, but I think I’m going to give them a bigger space. As I think she isn’t caring for the medium size space. Might help calm things down a bit with a new space to explore.

      Do you think I should try adding hay? They seem to be in this grooming faceoff and I wondering if that is also frustrating them. Bun bun seemed very ticked off when he got nipped instead of groomed.


    • DanaNM
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      Buns definitely do pick up on tension in their humans! That and distracted humans :p

      All of this sounds very normal. There will be lots of face-offs, but it’s good it’s not escalating to anything other than grunting and light nipping. Just try to be patient, as bunny communication is subtle and can take time. It helps to remember what you are asking them to do, it’s basically an arranged marriage. If you met a stranger on the street, it would probably take a while for you to feel comfortable asking them to move in with you.

      Bigger and new spaces can all help, so feel free to experiment with different types of spaces, as long as they are all still very neutral.

      Hay can also be nice, as eating is a social activity in rabbits. I usually opt for a large pile in the center of the bonding space, so no bun gets cornered while eating.


    • BunBun260
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      I wasn’t able to do a session yesterday, got home late and was tired. Figured it was best I didn’t do a session half asleep. Lol. The session today lasted 10 minutes. I moved them in a new space, which they seem to like.

      — Bunnie sat in the corner a little unsure. I petted her a lot to comfort her. Bun bun was next to my leg, doing the same thing she was.

      — she finally started moving and Bun Bun rushed for her and shoved his head under hers. I petted them a lot during this, she seemed a little shocked when he did this, so I petted them to keep things calm.

      — this lasted for 6 minutes. At 4 minutes I treated them, he tried to steal her treat but failed.

      — the rest of the session was them in a groom stand off. Bun bun head under her. No nipping.


    • DanaNM
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      All sounds normal. I think at this point, start to ease off a bit with immediately rushing to pet. Still be right there , ready to pet, but start waiting a couple seconds to see what happens. You can also start trying to increase the length of sessions.


    • BunBun260
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      I’ll try 15-20 minutes today. I was actually thinking last night maybe I should lay off petting, just to see what happens. She hasn’t put her head down to request grooming, does that mean she doesn’t really care for dominance? Or just is ready to do that? I keep waiting for her to do it back, but she just lets him do it every time.


    • DanaNM
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      Hard to say, it might be that she isn’t necessarily wanting to be dominant, but she doesn’t trust him enough to groom him. At this point it’s hard to know how it will turn out.

      You can also try starting off with some petting, and then when they settle in lay off a bit. You can gauge whether they seem tense or on edge and go from there.


    • BunBun260
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      I actually did start with petting. Figured I start off by having them relaxed. Session was 16 minutes, I petted less today. I’ll pet less tomorrow, today was testing the waters.

      — started session with force cuddles. I gave them a lot of control, was very relaxed with my hands and even gave 20 seconds of no petting.

      — I then let them pick where they wanted to go, once again bun bun went straight to shove his head under her, but this time she actually went straight for him as well. I petted them at first, then I went to a more relaxed petting ( petting their body only)

      — they did well with this, until she decided to nip him twice. I said “no” very loudly, and she stopped and calm down.

      — petted them for about 30 seconds, then gave them 30 seconds with no petting. I did this for about 5 minutes. When I wasn’t petting, she just moved her head around, away, or moved it further on top of his head. He would just stay still, or push his head further under her.

      — she did that weird lick the air again. She stuck her tounge out for a few seconds with a licking motion, but it never made contact. Her mouth was also moving on his head at one point, kinda of look like she was giving him kisses. It was a weird movement.

      — at 11 minutes I gave them a treat. They both stopped what they were doing and went for the treat. He got done quicker than her, and he just walked around, waiting for her to be done. When she was done he quickly went back over to her, once again she did the same.

      — for the last 5 minutes, his head was under her, and her head on top of his. I petted at first but then I did the 30 second thing again. I did they for a minute, and than I increased the time to a minute. So I would pet for 30 seconds, then give them a minute with no petting. They had the same reaction as before, just this time they kept moving their heads further down. The last minute I could barely see his head anymore. I ended the session with their nose against each other.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds good

      Yep, i think continue on with the plan of petting less and increasing the session length.


    • BunBun260
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      So this session was very interesting compared to the last couple ones. The groom stand off continues. Session lasted 15 minutes, as it was a little more tensed today.

      — started off with force snuggles for 2 minutes. They were very relaxed during this, more relaxed than before.

      — I then let them go where they wanted too, this time instead of only being faced to faced, they stayed right next to each other, with his head under her and her her head on top. She then moved her head under his, which lasted for about 10 seconds before he moved his head under her. She quickly moved her head back under him. They went back in forth 3 more times until he tried moving his head back on top of her. She responded by nipping under his head. I actually thought she was licking him, since he was still very relaxed, but then he jerked his head back so I said “no” loudly.

      — he did end up trying to nip her and her trying to get him, I just kept saying no and having my helper clap. They stopped and calm down right away. I petted them a good bit after this to calm things down. Once they calmed down, Bun Bun went back to putting his head under her. This time their bodies were not touching just their heads.

      — I petted their heads for a minute. Then just petted their backs for 30 seconds. Then I went to a minute of no petting. 50 seconds in she decided to nip his face and grunt, I responded to saying “no” loudly. She then just pulled her head back and he just stayed still.

      — she moved her head a lot, acting like she was going to place it back under his/top of his. But never did.

      — I ended the session with force snuggles, which she did try to nip him but wasn’t able to cause the weird angle. They force cuddles for the last 3 minutes.

      So this is my last day of bonding before my trip. They will have no bonding session for 5 days but will still be next to each other in cages, and having a doll switched. My question is, do you think she got frustrated because he kept moving his head back under hers?


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds like they are both vying for dominance (putting their heads down). Try not to intervene with light nipping and grunting unless it starts escalating. This is how they will set boundaries and communicate. It sounds like they are fairly calm, which is good.

      Once you get back you can try increasing session length and intervening less. You can also try starting off with a stress session (like a car ride together) to see if that helps.


    • BunBun260
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      Will do! I’m slowly started to have a little more trust with them, I’m intervening a lot less then when I first started. I plan on intervening less when I get back. This upcoming thanksgiving break will give me more time to spend bonding them. I plan on going to 20 minutes next session. Do you think when I get back I should try 20 minutes session twice a day? And with both of them trying to get dominance, do you think one will give in soon?


    • BunBun260
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      So I got my bunnies back yesterday from the boarding place. I was not happy at all of the condition of my bunnies. I got home and checked them for fleas, i just wanted to make sure they didn’t get any. No fleas! But I found bite marks on my boy rabbit. Three in total. Nothing serious. I then proceeded to check her and found that she had patches of fur ripped out, with one bite mark.

      I called the place horrified and asked if they let them out together, and she swears none of the workers did, and proceeding to blame my cage set up, even though they had 6 inches of cage between them (I have also been using this setup since day one and never had that happened). May I add there there is also three layers of fence between them, small checker board style

      They are still acting normal living next to each other, but my question is, do you believe they let them out together, and if you do, where do you think they stand? I plan on trying a session Friday. The bite marks were not nearly as bad as when they had that fight weeks ago.


    • DanaNM
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      Jeez, how awful

      Hard to say what happened, but you are probably right in that they were either let out together, or with other bunnies? I would be furious….

      Do the bite marks have broken skin?

      If not, you are prob fine to try a session. If they seem more aggressive than before, it might be wise to take a break and let them calm down.

      Poor babies, it’s lucky they are OK otherwise

      I just can’t believe some people…. >


    • BunBun260
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      There was no other rabbits there, so it couldn’t have been that. So that is good. The place has had rabbits before and had great reviews so I’m confused on what happened. She also told me maybe it was stress. -.- which honestly made me even more furious, cause why would a bunny bite his own bum? I don’t even think he can reach that area real well.

      The bites did scab, but I do not think they broke the skin where he was bleeding. The bites on both of them seemed very fresh, so I’m assuming the event had just happened. His bites were on his bottom and leg. Her bite and fur pulling was also on her bottom. That also just seemed weird to me. Last time they got in a fight their bites were aimed for the neck and front legs. So I guess at least their bites are not there.

      They are okay, her behavior does seem a bit off. I posted on the behavior forum. Last night she tried biting me when I went to pet her, and she adores being petted. I might give them a few more days. I feel so horrible that this whole thing happened. Hoping things will still work out though. They seemed to be making progress before I left.


    • DanaNM
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      Poor babies

      Yeah would probably be good to give them some time to settle down and relax again. I know my buns were giving me the bunny butt for a few days after going to a pet sitter’s place, even though I know she took great care of them.


    • BunBun260
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      Update: I am so upset by this whole event. I ended up finding more wounds on Bun Bun because they have all formed a hard scab. He has in total 7, one drew blood. He also has fur pulled as well. She only had two but so much fur is pulled out from her. I’m so upset by this. I ended up filing a report against the place.

      My question is, where do I go from here? They are still living side by side, they don’t show any aggression through the gate (in fact they seem more in sync with each other then before. She is laying more against the gate between them too, head facing him).

      I’m still giving them a break from bonding, I am just so upset with this. I was really hoping to have them bonded by Christmas, or at least near it.


    • DanaNM
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      I’m so sorry how stressful for all of you. I guess you don’t really know what happened, are you sure it couldn’t have happened from another animal? It’s all so weird and awful.

      I think in this case you need to trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right to you continue for now, then trust that instinct (I’m getting the sense from you that it might be best to wait a bit). I think sometimes having a deadline for when you want them bonded can cause problems with bonding, as you might push past something you shouldn’t. Ultimately the safety of the buns is most important, and if one is recovering from an injury, it could prevent them from forming a strong bond.

      More prebonding isn’t a bad thing, nor is enjoying some holiday down time without stressing about bonding, especially given all that they’ve been through.


    • BunBun260
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      The bites look very similar to the bite marks they got when they had that fight in my room a few weeks ago. There were only dogs there at the boarding place, and the bunnies had their own room. I would really hope it wasn’t another animal. Im kinda a mixed of wanting to try again, but also not really wanting too. They seem like everything is fine living side by side, but then again who knows. The deadline of Christmas isn’t a strict deadline, it just would have been nice. I’m going to wait for their wounds to heal completely before trying again. Once they are heal I’ll try a short session and see what happens. In the meantime I’ll continue switching cages, litter, and dolls.

      I did a bonded session a few days after their fight in my room and they were completely fine with each other, so maybe it willl he the same way once their wounds have healed. Hoping for the best. I’ll keep you updated.


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds like a very good plan.

      Give them some extra nose rubs for me


    • BunBun260
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      I’m back! With some good news. Both bunnies healed fine. All their wounds have healed for the most part, they still have marks but it looks much better. His foot has healed as well (if you didn’t see my other thread, I found a wound on his foot. It was a pretty bad one.) both bunnies are still living next to each other. In fact they have seemed more interested in each other through the gate. They always seem to be flopping right against the gate at the same time next to each other, and they have been doing this new thing where they run back and forth in front of the gate, copying each other. I don’t know what this means, to be honest it looks like they are trying to play with each other?

      They also have been doing this cute thing. When I bring them their food they use to run up to the gate, but now every time before running to the gate they run up to the gate between them getting the other attention that I’m bringing them food. The first time I saw it I didn’t think much of it, but it’s been happening for over a week now.

      So I think I’m going to try bonding them again soon. Probably the end of next week. Do you think that is a good sign? Before they could have cared less about the other living next door, but now they seem very interesting in each other.

      Also Bunnie (female bunny) is much better with me. She stopped biting me and is now letting me pet her again.


    • DanaNM
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      Glad they are healed up and Bunnie is doing better with you

      Usually running the fence is an aggressive or territorial thing… but not always? Do they lunge or have their ears back?

      Flopping next to each other is great, and I’m not sure what to think of the behavior around meal times.

      Have you been switching their sides as well?


    • BunBun260
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      Yes, I am still switching their cages. That is that only time they will not pay attention to each other through the gate. But they will still mimic each other (eating laying drinking at the same time). They don’t lunge at the gate, or have their ears back. I thought the same thing at first. It’s very odd. They usually flopped right against the gate next to each other right after it. Today, they have not done it at all. They are still doing the food thing tho. Same thing with that, no lungeing, no ears back.

      I am also switch toys and even given them blankets with each other scents still. They switch cages while the other one is playing, also when I am wrapping things up for bed, they have a good 10-20 minutes in the opposite cage. I am in no rush to start bonding again, so if you think it is best to wait still, im 100% for it. I rather their next bonding session go well, instead of bad.

      This weekend I am setting their x-pen up to be a more permanent set up because I believe that this bond will take a bit longer. (adding permanent cage covers, and making the divider more of a wall instead of a removeable gate) But then again who knows.


    • DanaNM
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      Hmm, then yeah it could be playing?

      Sorry if I mis-read, but I usually swap who is in what cage every 24-48 hours (so they have a at least a full day in the opposite cage, and at least a few hours with a dirty litter box from the previous bun). Not sure 20 minutes would have the same effect?

      Having a set-up you feel more comfortable with is great, it makes the whole thing less stressful in my experience, because it feels less rushed.


    • BunBun260
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      They usually get a good few hours. The 20 minutes is when they are both in the cages. Where one isn’t in playtime. If that makes sense. Before the event,I was doing the 24 hours, but I had exams this week, and it was a little difficult for me to get around to it. I’ll do it all this week though.

      They use the same play area. Which has toys and a large blanket. So I would assume they can smell each other like that too.


    • BunBun260
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      So I have a small issue. Every time they are in each other cages longer then an hour, they both start acting up. Bun bun starts looking all sad in her cage, and she starts getting mad in his cage. I have to go and calm her down and pet him just for them to calm down a bit. They are fine for an hour but that is all. They start acting up after an hour. Do you think I should back up completely to step one of prebonding and just do a blanket switch/litter box switch only? Or should I keep going until they break out of this phase? I don’t want to end up doing anything that causes them to think of each other badly. Thanks!


    • DanaNM
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      I think you should be swapping them completely for a full 24 hours, or even a full 48 hours. The acting up is part of the process, and means that you should continue pre-bonding. Eventually you will swap them they won’t react at all, and that’s the goal. It’s likely they are acting that way because you’ve only been swapping them for a few minutes, so they are expecting to go back “home”.

      I’ve always done full swaps of which bun is in which cage, and left the litter box dirty for at least 6 hours after the swap happens. I time so I swap in the evenings, and clean litter boxes in the mornings. I would only recommend just swapping the litter boxes if it’s not possible to swap the buns (not as a first step).


    • BunBun260
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      So they both have been in the other cage for a full 24 hours. They actually much better. They acted like it was just there cage. They did a lot of sniffing at first, which I was happy to see because they must have smelled each other scent. Bun bun is more curious about her then she is with him. I catch bun bun a lot staring at her. She however acts like he isn’t even there. Lol. I will switch them again later tonight and do another 24 hours.


    • DanaNM
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      That’s great


    • BunBun260
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      Hello, I just had a thought. I plan on bonding them again once my Christmas break starts. So, next weekend. I’ll have more time for longer sessions. In my past bonding sessions I never did stress sessions because I was a little scared about it. Will my bunnies be ticked at me if I put them in a stressful situation? I know you mention car rides before, but Bun Bun has been on car rides before and literally looks unbother by it. In fact he will flop and hop in his carrier. I seen the washer machine method too, where you put them on top of a washer machine. I also seen the vacuum one.

      I guess I’m scared I’ll hurt the bond between my rabbits and me. Do you think a stress sessions might help them a bit more. Kinda get passed all their history and get them passed the dominance thing? Bunnie gets freaked out over everything, so I kinda thought that might help her realize that bun bun can be a bunny she can trust.


    • DanaNM
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      I have always found stress sessions to be helpful, and it doesn’t hurt your bond with the rabbits any more than the usual bonding stress (no bun likes being scooped up and forced to interact with “that other bun”).

      You just have to be careful that one bun is not getting too stressed. You might try a short stress session right before a planned longer one, that plan has worked pretty well for me. In fact, in all of my bonds, I’ve made breakthroughs in longer sessions that were preceded by stress (usually a car ride together).


    • BunBun260
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      Alright. I’ll do a stress session before I do the first bonding session. I’ll probably end up putting them in a container and put it on top a washer machine. I’ll just watch them and make sure they don’t look to stressed out. Bun bun doesn’t ever seem stressed, but Bunnie does get stressed easily. Honestly with bun bun being a cuddle machine and her getting stress out easily, it might work out with him snuggling her while she stress. Maybe that might make her trust him more and feel comfort?

      I’m probably going to do a short session for the first one, just to test the waters and make sure they are not trying to fight each other. I have no idea how they will be after all they went though, but I hoping they will be fine considering they are still okay with seeing each other through the bars.


    • DanaNM
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      Yes, the snuggling for comfort is the goal with stress sessions.

      You basically just supervise to make sure there is no nipping, and don’t go for too long. Usually 5-10 min is good for the washing machine. I couldn’t have mine on the machine for more than 5 min, I felt too bad! The car seems a bit less stressful for them, and usually we were driving with purpose (to somewhere else to do a session there), so there was no cutting those sessions short.


    • BunBun260
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      So I’m starting bonding today… again! I decided to wait a little while long to bond them, I wanted to enjoy my time off plus give them a little more time. I been switching their cages non stop. He has been in hers for 24 hours straight, some days 48 hours. Same for her. I also been taking their litter boxes out during their excercise time, and having them use each other litter box while they are exercising. They seem to be fine living next to each other. She is always flopped next to the gate (sometime half her body is pushed against the gate completely) he is the same way. I catch them a lot laying next to the gate looking at each other, I don’t know if that is a trust problem or not, but they seem to be relaxed considering they are always flopped when doing it. They are very sync with each other. Almost to the point where it’s freaky lol.

      I did try stress bonding after Christmas, but it was a total fail. I tried many things and I couldn’t get them stressed. They were to curious in each other and their surroundings. I tried a vacuum next to them, the washer machine, putting them on a high surface, I tried the crate method too, but they literally could care less about the sounds. But I guess the good thing is that they didn’t fight.


    • BunBun260
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      Day 1: (again)

      – started with force cuddles. She put her head under his right away. He kept trying to shove his head under her head, but she wouldn’t let him. I petted them both, very relaxed petting.

      – I gave lettuce at 6 minutes in hopes they would eat next to each other. He ate his, she wouldn’t eat at all.

      – Bun Bun walked off and she did as well, but she end up turning around and got into lunge mode. Her ears went back and her tail went up, I stopped her as she went to basically jump his back.

      – I petted her after that to calm her down. I think her trust with him was damage a bit from the boarding place event. Not by much tho.

      – after she calm down, Bun Bun came over and I took that chance to force cuddle them again. Still very relax with petting. Once again they went back in forth with who head was on top or under.

      New actions:
      – Bunnie was trying to keep her head under Bun Bun much more then he was. She was the one asking first to be groomed in all cases, not him.
      – Bun Bun would lick my hand a lot while being near her. (I will stop petting once she trusts him a bit more)

      I ended the session with them still in force cuddles, Bun Bun eating another piece of lettuce and her not eating at all. Session was 10 mins.


    • BunBun260
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      Day 2:

      – sessions started off with force cuddles. Bunnie walked off almost right away. I Let her do this.
      – Bun Bun sat by me for a minute

      -Bunnie came over and shoved her head under his head. I relaxed petted them this entire session.

      -she kept moving her head to one side of head to the other. She even would press her nose into his.

      – around 6 minutes she became frustrated and nip him. Was not a bad nip. He followed up by putting his head under her head.

      -this lasted a minute before she put her head back on his.

      – I gave them treats. Once again Bunnie refuses to eat her lettuce, but she ate pellets. Bun bun are both.

      -Bunnie did not let Bun Bun finish. She end up shoving her head under his. This lasted until the 14 minute mark. She did the same thing moving her head around to side to side, or nose bumping. She ended up getting frustrated and nipping him to where he made a sound and followed up by charging her. I quickly stopped him from charging her and said no loudly.

      -I kept them apart and petted them for a minute until they calmed down. I then put them back in a force cuddle and ended the session after a minute of that.

      So Bunnie is now the one that is trying hard to claim dominance. She seems to get mad after minutes of him not grooming. This session was 16 minutes.


    • Doodler
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      I just wanted to wish you luck with your bonding! Sorry to see the troubles you had before but I hope things go smoothly from here on out.


    • BunBun260
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      Thank you! Good luck on yours too!


    • DanaNM
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      Hi BunBun,

      Glad to hear they haven’t backslid too much since the bad boarding experience. I’m curious about how your stress sessions went. You mentioned they didn’t care, but they didn’t fight either. Not fighting is great, so you might consider starting off your normal sessions with a short car ride together, or some time on top of the washing machine. I think when bunnies realize there are more serious “dangers” out there to worry about than each other, it’s a bit of a breakthrough in the process.

      I think it’s a good strategy to pet them a lot for the time being. Once you sense they are more relaxed around each other in general, you can start to ease off the petting and see how it goes.


    • BunBun260
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      Session was 10 minutes.

      Stress bonding: (five minutes)

      – Bun Bun was scared, Bunnie (shocked by this) could have cared less.
      -Bunnie shoved her head under Bun Bun. After a minute of him not grooming, she tried to nip him real hard. She tried this every other minute. She put her head under his, if he didn’t groom she tried to nip.

      -Bun Bun did seek comfort from her.

      Bonding session: (five minutes)

      Basically the same thing as the stress bonding, besides the part of Bun Bun being stress.

      – gave them treats at 3 minutes, Bun Bun ate but was cut off by her rushing him and putting her head under his. She then tried nipping him again really hard after a minute went by. (She jerks her head real fast and her ears go back)

      – for the last minute it was a very controlled force cuddle. I shoved their heads together, in hopes they can just enjoy the comfort.

      Should I try putting banana on their heads? It seems she is getting mad at him not grooming her. I feel like they refuse to do anything else until the grooming situation is solved. Bun bun is also starting not to ask her anymore to groom him. He did it once this entire session.


    • DanaNM
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      What did you try for stressing? Car rides are the main thing that has worked for mine.

      You can try banana. I’ve only had great luck with it when I’m pretty far into the process and they seem to be happy with each other but no one has groomed yet. Try to be patient, as hard as it is. You might not see too many grooming requests.

      Given the history of your two, I wouldn’t force the cuddles so much. Rather, I would just pet whenever they approach each other on their own. If they want to hang out on opposite sides of the pen and just rest, that’s OK. They are still scoping each other out in this time.


    • BunBun260
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      Oh! Sorry totally forgot to say what I did for stress bonding. I did the washer machine method. I can try a car ride, i just have to plan for it. I do bonding sessions at night so it’s harder to jump into a car with bunnies. I’m also a little scared they will fight while in the car and it will be crazy. I have two carriers but they have been used by them before. Should I clean those with vinegar or something? Or trying finding a crate to use?

      I’ll stop the force cuddles for now, but I really don’t think it’s going to stop them from the grooming stand off. But we will see. I’ll hold off on the banana thing for now. I’ll will be missing a session today because I won’t have time, but I should be able to get one done tomorrow.


    • DanaNM
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      Just to clarify, I was thinking “forced cuddles” was you placing them together and petting. I think if they come together on their own, petting is still a good plan.

      For car rides, you should have someone else drive. I like to use a large plastic bin, rather than a carrier, so I can easily reach in the top. You sit in the back seat with the buns, and keep an eye on things to make sure they don’t start scuffling. If they didn’t fight on the washing machine, they probably won’t fight in the car.


    • BunBun260
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      Day 4:

      So this weekend I was at an event and was not able to bond. And yesterday some stressful stuff was happening so I decided it was better to hold it off because I tend to show emotions more. I still did prebonding though, and traded their things a much as I could to I guess make up for it. I do not have any more events happening so I’ll be able to bond everyday.

      Bonding session: (10 mintues)

      -I did not do any force cuddles this session

      – put them both in the bonding area. They kept to there sides at first then bun bun came over, face to face. She nipped him, and bun bun backed off.

      – Bunnie moves a tad, she looked around and sniff areas out, but she stayed in place. Bun bun stayed where he was.

      The rest of the session was a lot of sitting around, no movement. There was the occasional stretching out and sniffing the other, but they would quickly back to their spots.

      -the end of the session bun bun was layed out, not where you can see his side, but he was layed out. She was for a bit but went back to sitting.

      – session ended with bun bun grooming himself.

      I petted the whole session, I didn’t let Bun Bun the entire session, was off and on with him. I petted her the whole session, very relaxed though, when I try to stop petting her she would get very tensed and stressed looking.

      I think this session went pretty well. Let me know your thoughts.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds very peaceful, and peaceful is good.


    • BunBun260
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      Haven’t found the time to post! Had to skip Thursday because the neutral area I use is a bathroom in one of my family members room. And I did not have access to it that day.

      Day 5 (Wednesday):

      GROOMING STANDOFF. No nips though. Sessions lasted 10 minutes.

      Day 6 ( Friday): 10 mintues.

      Best session in my opinion.

      They started the session off by putting their heads together. I really thought this was going to be another grooming standoff, but boy was I wrong.

      – around 3 mintues bun bun moved away from her and started grooming himself. He groomed himself a total of three times in this session.
      -Bunnie was sitting and just watching him. I petted her very relaxed during this.

      -Bun bun walked around the bonding area, and sniff around. He explored the area. He then groomed himself again.
      -Bunnie stayed where she was very relaxed.

      -around 7 minutes bun bun came back over to her and out his head down by her. She was calm with this. I petted their heads and went back and forth between their heads to swap scents. This is the only time I petted Bun Bun, he is super calm around her and doesn’t try nipping her.

      -I gave them a strawberry treat at 8 mintues. Bun bun groomed himself again after he was done. She then started walking around. Bun bun came over to me.

      -she would turn around once in awhile and hop over and try to nip Bun Bun on his side. I stopped this because I was scared it would lead to a fight because of the area it was in. This was the only part I was unsure if I did right by. She was very calm when she went to go nip, it was just how sentive the area she was trying to nip at. I ended the session with them putting their heads together again.

      I plan on increasing sessions to 15 mintues.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds good! Just having them be relaxed enough to groom themselves in close proximity to each other is definitely progress.


    • BunBun260
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      I have been bad about posting, but I have a huge update so wanted to post it. I have been still doing bonding sessions, they are 20 mintues plan on going to 30. But today session was the best by far. Bun bun groomed Bunnie. Right on the cheek. He groomed her for about a minute! I plan on posting my all my sessions tomorrow, just thought I update this thread with good news.


    • DanaNM
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      Woohooo! Good job!


    • BunBun260
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      So today session went great. I was only able to do 16 mintues because of a cold going around my house, I have to take care of family. But today session was still very interesting.

      -Bunnie groomed herself being only an inch away from him. (She started grooming herself and yesterday session)

      -Bun Bun groomed her MUTIPLE times during this session. And he groomed her crazily. He would end up nipping her after two- three mintues of grooming. I’m assuming it’s because she has not groomed him, and he getting annoyed. Any time he nips she jerks away and usually walks off or puts her head back down.

      -Bunnie is very relaxed when he grooms her, she will actually lean her head more into him. Her eyes will be slightly closed or completely closed.

      – end of session she started grunting. I don’t know if it was because he was kinda ignoring her or if she was mad at the towel I moved back in place. She was calm at the end of the session. Ended with their heads together and him licking her a little.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds great!


    • Doodler
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      Yay! I am glad to see happy updates from you.

      My doe also was the stubborn one when it came to grooming. The annoying part was that even from the day after I got her she was giving me kisses but it took her a while to give those kisses to my buck. I get that their dynamic is different but it still can be so frustrating!

      I am pulling for you guys and am happy things sound promising.


    • BunBun260
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      Thank you! I’m sure she will give in soon, she seems to enjoy herself when he is around. She only has ever licked me twice, I don’t think she is much of a human person like my male Bun is. That is why I think this bond will benefit both of them. Hopefully she will give in soon! I’m just glad one of them is grooming!


    • BunBun260
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      Okay so I honestly have no idea what bonding session number I’m on, I have to go back and count the days lol! I been going back in forth between 15-20 minute session. My work has been crazy so it’s been pushing the time back a little. So I’m just going to post on what new things have happened and then post my 30 minute session I did today.

      New things:
      – Bun Bun grooms her NON STOP. Like literally half the session is him grooming her.
      -she will raise one ear up, and every time she does that Bun Bun will groom that ear.
      – she nips him any time he ask to be groom
      -she is grooming herself now, but won’t let Bun Bun groom himself. Any time he goes to groom himself she will walk over and place her head right under him and request to be groom, which he always accepts.

      30 minute session:
      -personal space means nothing to the both of them.

      – he groomed her and she will literally move her head so far under him just so he can groom the top of her head and ears.

      – Bun Bun cuddle into her side, his head a little under her belly. She did the same to him. They did this for 5 mintues. I relaxed on petting them during this. And kept relaxing petting them. The last minute of the 5 I stopped petting completely. They were fine for a minute until she nip him on the belly, and he reacted by trying to get her. I pulled them apart to avoid a bunny tordano.

      -I tried to calm both of them down. He calm down faster then her. She was grunting for the longest time. I ended up having to pet her for awhile to calm her down.

      -Bun Bun requested to be groom, she replied by grunting and moving away.

      -I petted them both for awhile while they both were relaxed, they are half sitting half laying.

      – Bun Bun would groom her during this.

      The session ended with bun bun grooming her and her head being almost under him completely. No nips and I waited for bun bun to move away before ending the session.

      So I’m curious to know your thoughts so far, and if you think there is any I should change/do.


    • BunBun260
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      Day 16: 40 minute session.

      No grooming

      -Bunnie kept biting the towels and digging at them, did this for 15 mintues before I finally removed them. Would nip bun bun any time he got near the towel she was nipoing at. She start grunting at the towels and that is when I removed them. I wonder i should change them out. I been using them since day one O.o

      -after towel was removed, they would put their head together, but Bun Bun would asked to be groomed not her. She usually responded by nipping him or moving away.

      -they both explored the bonding area

      – Bunnie nip bun bun while he was grooming himself

      -around 25 mintues they sat at opposite corners and literally sat there until the 37 minute mark. During this the only thing they did was groom themselves. This was the first time Bunnie did a full grooming session to herself in front of bun bun.

      For the rest of the 4 mintues they explored the area and bun bun asked to be groom by her.

      Notes:
      Bunnie never asked to be groomed this session. I kinda felt like a failure after this session because the others have gone pretty well in the last few days. Maybe I’m just overthinking it.


    • DanaNM
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      Very interesting, as the session from Jan 25 sounds amazing, and then a bit of step back on Jan 26. Buns do certainly associate smells with things, so maybe the towels have made the area non-neutral at this point.

      I am having trouble keeping track of multiple bonding threads at the moment, but have you tried any stressing with them?

      I think at this point since you are getting some grooming and cuddling, you might experiment with less interaction with them from you. You might need a larger area or a more stressful area, but I sounds like they are pretty calm, and you could probably back off a bit?


    • BunBun260
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      That’s what I thought. I felt very defeated after yesterday session. I completely changed the towels today and they seem to be much better. I want to be less involved, I watch tons of bonding videos and I honestly feel like I’m more involved then they are. Every video seems to just throw their bunnies into some bonding area, and let them do there thing unless they fight. But then again their bunny isn’t trying to nip 24-7.

      I feel like Bunnie nips all the time. She doesn’t do it hard, but she nips bun bun about 6-7 times in one session, and some I have to block because she goes for sensitive areas. I don’t have to worry at all about bun bun tho, because he literally just tries cuddling her or grooming her. I know nipping is for comuication, but i don’t think nipping him while he is trying to groom himself is really going to end well.. she even tries nipping me during bonding session. It really isn’t hard tho.

      I have tried stressing them but no car rides yet. I have been busy with work, so it’s hard to find time. I plan on trying one soon. Might try one on Tuesday.

      Day 17: 42 minute session.

      BUN BUN IS BACK TO GROOMING HER. I really think it was the towel.

      -lots of putting their heads together this session. I stopped petting bun bun. I only pet him when he come over to me. I’m still petting her however. Just very relaxed.

      -Bunnie keeps trying to nip him when he is grooming himself, this does not stop him from grooming himself. Any time bun bun butt is facing her she tries to nip his butt as well.

      -Bun Bun groomed her a lot this session, he will nip her after a minute or two of grooming her, which she will usually move away after that.

      – introduce hay and pellets into the bonding area. He ate both hay and the pellets (he loves food tho) she only ate smal bits of hay.

      -they explored a lot today during this session.

      -she never nipped him when he asked to be groom. But she did move away a lot.

      – she peed in the bonding area today, which was new. Maybe it’s because I added hay?

      -groom themselves an inch away from each other

      Sorry for my long post! Do you think I should block her nips more? I allow all of them (beside stomach nips) but I feel like it’s getting out of hand..


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds like you’re back on track! I would replace the towels every session if possible!

      If the nipping is not pulling chunks of fur or leading to an immediate fight, I would allow it. If it’s not hurting you, it’s def not hurting them since it’s through a thick layer of fur.

      The asking to groom while the other bun is grooming is common! My pairs all have done this. It’s like they see the other bun grooming, and just try to sneak in and hope they keep grooming. It works surprisingly often for my buns, so I would allow it and see what happens.


    • BunBun260
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      I am now replacing the towels every session. They seem much happier with that. Also I have exciting news…. Bunnie (kinda) GROOM BUN BUN. I was so excited last night I almost cried.

      Day ? (18 I think) 40 mintues

      -lots of exploring the area, very comfortable around each other.

      -Bun Bun grooms Bunnie every time she requests to be groom.

      -they are now cuddling. They cuddle head by head. Where his head is under her belly and she is the same way. Not all the way under but lean into it. They haven’t flopped, but they are VERY relaxed sitting.

      -Bunnie allows him to groom her all over. Neck, ears, body, head, basically anywhere.

      -Bunnie will start some of the cuddle sessions.

      -Bun Bun was grooming himself and Bunnie slowly crept under him. She really had no concept of personal space. She was almost under him completely where I could barely see her face. Bun bun ended up stop grooming and started grooming her. It was very funny looking. Lol

      -She randomly lunge at Bun Bun and grunted, no nips tho. This happened once and I have no idea why because he wasn’t even near her.

      – they are now grooming themselves right next to each other.

      -Bunnie is still a little uncomfortable with him being near her when she is agasint a wall, but I’m sure that will improve over time.

      The session ended with Bunnie slowly lifting her head when Bun Bun asked to be groomed. I swear I thought she was going to nip him, but she ended up licking him 4 times before placing her head down and asking to be groom.

      Seriously I almost cried when this happened! I’m still petting Bunnie VERY relaxed when she is near Bun Bun, but it’s really her back I’m petting. I plan on stopping it like I did for bun bun. I’m trying to ease out of it tho, instead of stopping all together. Everyday I’m petting her less and less.


    • DanaNM
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      OMG that is amazing!

      Sounds like a major breakthrough! Way to go!

      I would repeat that exact same type of session a couple days, and if all is still going well, start increasing the time they are together.


    • BunBun260
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      Day 20: 40 minute session.

      Not nearly as great as the other day but still good.

      -they did lots of exploring at first.

      -Bun Bun kept asking to be groomed and kept getting denied. He started rejected Bunnie when she asked because of this.

      -he groomed a bit, not nearly as much. He would lick her a bit then asked to be groomed. They went back and forth with putting their heads under each other.

      -I am only petting Bunnie when she is cuddling Bun Bun or he is asking her to be groom now. I only pet her bottom now.

      -Bunnie nipped him during cuddles, I believe it was the lack of grooms that caused her to nip. I took as her basically saying “no cuddles for you if I don’t get groomed” lol

      -she asked to be groomed after this which he walked away from.

      -they ended on cuddling and her asking him to be groomed. Which he licked her three times then moved away.

      I think bun bun still kinda wants dominance but Bunnie is standing her ground on it. I believe the other day went so well because Bun Bun gave in a lot. He didn’t reject her once and he let her be in charge. It’s clear they still have to work those things out, but I believe it’s going well. How much longer do you think bun bun will keep trying for dominance?

      Also, Bun Bun is now doing her terrible habits of digging at my carpet -.- I was hoping she would pick up on his habits of not digging at my carpet and eating my baseboards.


    • DanaNM
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      Hard to say how long it will continue, but it does sound like they are on track.


    • BunBun260
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      So I need to count to see what number session I’m on. But I have been doing them everyday since my last post, only missed one day. Session are still 40 mintues.

      I introduce lettuce back in the sessions to see if she will eat it now. She does! She will eat it in front of him now, they do not get territorial. I noticed they stick to their own pieces they will not eat each other pieces. Today she was requesting to be groom why he was still eating his piece. It was so funny because he was literally eat the lettuce on top of her head.

      I stopped petting a lot with her. Still petting a bit. She will lift her head a few times while he is requesting to be groom. But she usually will request it herself, walk away, or lightly nip him all of his cheek. The last one has been more common.

      She nips him a lot when she wants to be groom. She does this a lot when he is grooming himself. She still won’t groom him.

      He grooming her more and more. By more I mean EVERYWHERE. He grooms her literally every where. They both have laid out, not flopped but laid out. They both will groom themselves in front of each other. They cuddle a bit too (head by stomach)

      I wondering if there is anything I can do to speed up the process (I’m not on a time limit or anything I’m just excited) . Or if I should just move on to litterbox sharing, water bowls and stuff. Should I increase session? I kinda feel like the 40 min sessions are the same things over and over. Maybe if I go longer she will groom him?.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds like you are ready to start increasing the length of the sessions!

      I wouldn’t add a litter box yet, but I would try for an hour, then an hour and a half, then 2 hours, etc. Pet less and less so they go to each other for comfort.

      You’ve made great progress, good job!


    • BunBun260
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      Plan on petting less. I just need to get over that fear of her turning a nip into a fight. She just so quick to nip him hard sometimes it worries me, but honestly her nips have looked like light nips, which I assume is more of a communication nip. She has been very demanding of him grooming her. Feel bad for him lol!

      So I have a question. The bathroom I am bonding them right now, is not my bathroom and is another family member bathroom. It’s a hallway style bathroom. I would love to move back to my bathroom, which is a big bathroom, that is more comfortable for me, bigger area for them, and gives me access to bond them any time I want. They haven’t been in there since my first ever bonding session where I had no idea what I was doing and she was still having affects of being spayed. Right now the only thing that may have their scent in there is their extra blankets.

      If I was to remove the blankets and clean the floors to get rid of scent, do you think they would have an issue with it? This is the only way I’m really going to be able to do more then an hour. Honestly an hour is pushing it in the other bathroom. Like I said my other family member has been real nice, but the only time I’m able to bond them in there is after I get home from work, which is late because I have a afternoon job. This is also the bathroom I plan on moving them into when I finally get to do overnight stays.


    • DanaNM
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      I don’t think it would hurt to try the new space. You can wipe all the surfaces down with a white vinegar solution and add fresh towels/blankets so it smells new.

      You can start them in the original space, then move them to the other bathroom together and see how they do. It might even be good to change up the space.


    • BunBun260
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      Plan on trying it tonight. Just got done cleaning it. Kinda went crazy with making sure everything was clean, so hopefully they won’t notice.

      Their recents session have been the same. I’m petting Bunnie less but she is nipping more. She is VERY demanding of being groom. She will nip him a lot just so she can be groom. She nipped him on his leg the other day ago because he was grooming himself not her. Should I stop some of those nips? Or let it be. He doesn’t get mad but I can tell he isn’t havent it. She is pulling a little fur out too. Not crazy amounts, but she nip some fur out of his cheek yesterday. He is getting a tad annoyed of her not grooming so he will lick her once then ask for her to groom him. Which she responds with a nip.


    • DanaNM
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      If it’s just a light nip, allow it. If it starts being big chunks of fur (or it leads to scuffles), stop the nips. Try to use a loud sound and see if that stops her.


    • BunBun260
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      Session was 30 mintues because I pulled a muscle and could not bend down or sit that long. -.-

      – I had hay for this session in hopes they would eat next to each other. Kinda have a little nice eating session. Thatnkidna happened. Bun bun ate it like crazy but he loves food. She would eat a bit but she would wait for him to have a little distance from her.

      – he groomed her for a long time.

      – he keeps trying to put his head under her belly for some reason. She DOES NOT like this! She would rather move away, or try nipping him real hard. I stopped those.

      -she is still trying to bite his butt anytime it gets to close to her face.

      -she is still demanding grooms and nips him lightly a bunch of times until she gets groom.

      – I made a mistake I had hay on my shirt, so my instant reaction was to give the hay to a bunny instead of knocking it off me. I tried giving it to Bunnie but she wouldn’t take it, probably cause Bun Bun was by her. Bun bun kept trying to eat it so I was decided I’ll give it to him. WHELP Bunnie did not like this, she lunged at him and yanked out some fur. Nothing crazy but I had to say no real loud and pet her to calm her down. My bad! I learned my lesson.

      -ended the season with him grooming her.

      She is never happy when Bun Bun ask to be groom by her, she usually nips him when he does that. Is there anything I can do to change that? I can tell he is getting a little annoyed. Often times he will lick her a bit then request it. And if she nips him he will not groom her for a bit. Which kinda angers her more causing her to nip more.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like they are communicating, so honestly I would just keep it up as you have been. The little nips and lunges are how they are establishing their rules, so as slow as it can seem, you just have to wait.

      The way I read things is that Bunnie wants to make good and sure that BunBun knows shes top bun. He is grooming her, which is great, but his requests to be groomed back are a dominance display. Eventually she will trust him enough to groom back. But what you might see eventually is that he will stop asking, and then she will stop nipping and lunging. Then she might actually groom him back. But at this stage she still doesn’t trust him enough.

      So yeah, stubborn buns! But just keep it up and be patient!


    • BunBun260
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      So I forgot to time my session. I believe it was 50 mintues. I’m doing an hour tomorrow

      -Bun Bun is asking less to be groom. Grooming her every time she ask.

      -Bun Bun will sometimes look like he is chewing her fur when grooming her. Not sure if that makes sense but it’s the normal thing of their grooming. He sometimes does it in odd spots and I notice she will nip him lightly almost like she is telling him to stop or she doesn’t like that. He will back off or change areas.

      – Bunnie still doesn’t really like him walking close to her. She off and on with it. Assuming that will change once she trusts him more.

      -Bun Bun literally hopped over her to get pass her (even through he could have walked around)

      – they groom themselves in front of each other for awhile.

      -exploring bonding space

      -lots of sitting and doing nothing.


    • BunBun260
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      This session was an hour, and a pretty good one! I have a few photos I’ll post later of the session

      1 hour:

      -they explored the bonding area, I’m allowing them a larger area. They are getting use it still.

      -Bun Bun groomed her, he didn’t request at all at first.

      -they went on seprate sides of the area, Bunnie ended up running at him and ripped some fur out. I literally heard the ripping sound it was awful. But Bun Bun had no reaction to it, and groomed her afterwards. So all was good even though the sound was AWFUL! Lol

      -Bun Bun starting asking to be groom. He would end up grooming her.

      – I fed them a little bit away from each other, she ate in front of him. Later in the session I tried much closer to each other and she still ate.

      – BUNNIE FLOPPED. It was pretty close to him. Not right next to him, but hey one step at a time.

      – I decided I was going to stop my petting. Cause to be honest I’m probably the problem she hasn’t groom. I took the flop as a good sign that she isn’t just going to attack him randomly. Lol

      – after this they went to request being groom. Bun bun was hardcore on not giving in this time. So here the thing, she didn’t nip him, it look like she was chewing his fur? I felt a little wetness afterwards too, not a lot. But he seem to enjoy it, so maybe she was kinda grooming? She kept doing that through every time he requested.

      Session ended shortly after.

      I think I’m getting there. I think I’ll do a few more hour session then increase the time. Might have to interfere with their excercise time a bit, but I guess this kinda counts as it, as it’s a large bonding area.


    • BunBun260
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      This session was an hour, and a pretty good one! I have a few photos I’ll post later of the session

      1 hour:

      -they explored the bonding area, I’m allowing them a larger area. They are getting use it still.

      -Bun Bun groomed her, he didn’t request at all at first.

      -they went on seprate sides of the area, Bunnie ended up running at him and ripped some fur out. I literally heard the ripping sound it was awful. But Bun Bun had no reaction to it, and groomed her afterwards. So all was good even though the sound was AWFUL! Lol

      -Bun Bun starting asking to be groom. He would end up grooming her.

      – I fed them a little bit away from each other, she ate in front of him. Later in the session I tried much closer to each other and she still ate.

      – BUNNIE FLOPPED. It was pretty close to him. Not right next to him, but hey one step at a time.

      – I decided I was going to stop my petting. Cause to be honest I’m probably the problem she hasn’t groom. I took the flop as a good sign that she isn’t just going to attack him randomly. Lol

      – after this they went to request being groom. Bun bun was hardcore on not giving in this time. So here the thing, she didn’t nip him, it look like she was chewing his fur? I felt a little wetness afterwards too, not a lot. But he seem to enjoy it, so maybe she was kinda grooming? She kept doing that through every time he requested.

      Session ended shortly after.

      I think I’m getting there. I think I’ll do a few more hour session then increase the time. Might have to interfere with their excercise time a bit, but I guess this kinda counts as it, as it’s a large bonding area.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like they are getting there and becoming more comfortable with each other! Keep up the good work!


    • BunBun260
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      1 hour and 10 mintues

      -Bun Bun is grooming less (he still grooms her every session) and asking to be groom more. It seems like he wants dominance really badly. Bunnie does that chew fur thing any time he ask, but will end up nipping him and making a grunt noise.

      – I have stopped petting by a lot. The only time I pet is when Bun Bun shoves his head under her belly. I noticed she becomes very uncomfortable with that and tries nipping hard or pulling fur. She did pull fur one of the times he did this. He has been putting his head under her belly a lot lately

      – they will now eat right next to each other. Only have tried pellets plan on trying lettuce soon.

      – lots of exploring

      – Bun Bun lays down, (belly facing floor, he isn’t exposing it) in front of her. He will groom her like this sometimes.

      – last four minutes of the 1 hour she flopped against the wall. Bun bun saw this and flopped a bit away from her. Probably around 16 inches away from her. They stayed this way for 14 mintues. Which is why I went 10 mintues extra. I did not want to stop the session during this. I figured the longer they are flopped together the more comfortable they would feel. I stayed away from them during this. Kinda moved away and really let them just enjoy being flopped.

      I was thinking of doing three hours this Saturday or Sunday. I kinda feel like they benefit and show the most improvement when kept longer together. However, I do not want to push it either. Let me know yours thoughts.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds good! I think since they were relaxed at the end that increasing the session length is a good plan! Maybe aim for an hour and a half next, working up to 3 by the weekend?

      Once you get past a couple hours, you can usually increase session length by larger chunks of time.

      At this point it sounds like you have a good read on their behavior so if you think they are ready for longer sessions then you are probably right.


    • BunBun260
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      February 18 session: 1 hour

      -little grooming from bun bun; little nips from Bunnie

      – this whole session was basically them flopped away from each other.

      February 19 session: 1 hour 10 mintues

      – session started with Bunnie being very forceful. Minute bun bun asked to be groomed she would nip or pull fur. At one point clapping did work and I had to move her because she nip so hard Bun bun reacted. I felt a little defeated after this.

      – Bun Bun is grooming less and asking for grooms now. He will force his head under her

      – they flopped away from each other for awhile .

      -explored a bit and ate some pellets

      -flopped again away from each other

      – I ended up going an extra 10 mintues again with this session because they ended up relaxing gave to face with each other. His head under her and hers on top. No nipping. They sat relaxed like this for 20 mintues. I was happy to see this.

      February 20: 1 hour 10 mintues

      – session started with exploring

      -the groom wars begun again. Bunnie once again pulling fur, not really nipping. Today it wasn’t as intense as yesterday.

      -Bun bun groomed a little, he is still forcing his head under her.

      -the grooming wars happened a lot more today.

      -she only relaxed once, it wasn’t a flop but it was a relaxed sit. Bun bun did flopped tho

      -I feel like I’m petting again because the amounts of fur she is pulling during groom wars. I’m unsure on how to calm that down

      – I ended the session with a pile of pellets in the middle, i was shocked to see them eating face to face. They were even eating pellets that were under the other ones head or by the other ones feet. Bunnie was completely fine with this. As well as bun bun. I plan on feeding them their dinner together now


    • DanaNM
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      There can be a lot of back and forth as they decide who will do the grooming, etc. Eating and relaxing are all good signs. I would keep petting as you need to.

      I can’t recall, have you done any stress sessions with them?

      A change of scenery can also really help when things seem to get stuck.


    • BunBun260
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      Well that makes me feel better that it’s expected. I have not done stress sessions, I was going to a while ago but they showed a lot of improvement and I also was changing bonding spaces so I held back on it. I have been thinking of doing a car ride soon. Even if they don’t get stressed by it, i feel comfortable enough to have them together during a car ride.


    • BunBun260
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      Feb 21: 1 hour

      -starting out with some good old grooming wars. None of them gave in. Light nips from Bunnie

      -fed them lettuce and pellets. They ate perfectly fine face to face. Bunnie still wasn’t eating lettuce that close to him, but she did nibble a bit on it. She ate the pellets tho. Bun bun ate both. Once again they were comfortable eating near the other one food and head. No food stealing.

      – exploring

      – groom wars but this time bun bun gave in.

      – Bun bun flopped much much closer to her. Maybe about 8 inches away from her. He did it so dramatically too! He almost rolled over because of how dramtic it was. I wish I got a photo of it lol! No flops from Bunnie but she was still laying down relaxed, just not exposed stomach.

      – Bun bun groom her again when requested. He groomed a lot more this session.

      -Bunnie is now getting braver of putting her head under his belly or near her. I have to pet her still, other wise she nips hard. But it was a light pet this time around

      I’m only petting Bunnie when her head is near his stomach or bottom. I’m also petting during intense groom wars. I judge base off her eyes. I don’t pet every groom wars. Sometimes she has her eyes very relaxed and I noticed when this happens she doesn’t nip or pull fur. Other times she will have wide eyes and she always nips or pulls fur.


    • BunBun260
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      Done a session everyday since my last post. Did a 2 hour session on Saturday. I included a hay pile, and a water bowl. Both of them did not get territorial over any of it. Bun bun drinked out the water she didn’t.

      New things:

      -dramtic flopping from both of them, they are flopping more near each other. It’s like they are slowing inching their way near each other. When one is flopped only the other is comfortable to go near the other one.

      -Bun Bun will hop over her. Bunnie is okay with this but not okay with him walking close to her. She will pull fur. Not to sure why she is okay with other close interactions but not this.

      – Bun Bun is still hardcore trying to be groomed by her. But today he was not doing it as much, instead he accepted her request more.

      -they now eat right next to each other every session no problem. They do everything from eating under the other one head, no food stealing.

      – lots and lots of flopping.

      So I kinda feel like I’m at a small road bump, haven’t had to much change in the both of them. Was wondering if I should start added water bowls every session and mybe even toys or a litter box?


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like they are making progress! Flopping near each other is a great sign. Soon they will be right next to each other… and then cuddling!

      I would just keep up what you’re doing. I wouldn’t add a litter box yet, but could add some things to chew and a water bowl as sessions start getting longer.

      Mine really appreciated things to occupy them in longer sessions when they started getting antsy (even hay stuffed in paper towel tubes and silly things like that).

      If you add toys make sure they are brand new


    • BunBun260
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      Sessions have been an hour. I had to skip Sunday session, I had cat problems to deal with.

      New things:

      Bunnie was requesting to be groom by bun bun and flopped during this. Bun bun was relaxed and laid out not showing his stomach tho.

      Bun bun is grooming more after being requested but still not as much as Bunnie would like. The other day ago she waiting 15 mintues to be groomed by him, he was grooming himself at the time. After 15 mintues he was done and he decided to just walk off. Bunnie was angry at this and pulled a tuff of fur out and walked off. Bun bun didn’t react but he was thrown off by this. (To be fair I would be ticked too if I waited 15 mintues for someone lol!)

      I introduced toys, which they both were okay with. None of them got terrotiorial about it. I had the water bowl out as well. They both drinked out of it, not together tho.

      Bunnie is still hit and miss about him walking passed her. Some times she reacts other time she doesn’t

      I’m still petting but backing off when ever I can and feel like she won’t react poorly.

      They are eating next to each still.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like slow and steady progress (especially if you go back and read your earlier entries). Keep it up!


    • BunBun260
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      I know I come a longggggg way. Considering I had them fight twice in the past and they are stilling willing to try and get along is good. But I still have that hope that I’ll throw them into a session and boom, mutual grooming and no fur pulling! Lol

      Two hour session (broken up 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in afternoon)

      Bunnie requested to be groom a lot, Bun Bun wouldn’t do it right away but he is grooming her a lot quicker. It’s only about 10-30 seconds before he gives in and grooms. It’s rare for him to denied her a groom.

      Bunnie picks a chooses when she is comfortable with him walking near her. Sometimes she will try pulling fur sometime she won’t. I been using sound to tone this down a bit.

      Bunnie flopped for a good half an hour as well as him. They were not near each other but with in eye sight. She was completely laid out, head laid down and all. I pretty sure she was actually sleeping. Bun bun was grooming himself a lot while being flopped.

      They are good eating with each other, still no problems with that. Same with water bowl and toys. Bunnie is however peeing half way though long sessions. I don’t think it’s in a terrotiral way because it’s not every session, I think she just needs to go. But that hasn’t been fun to clean up.

      Bun bun is super comfortable around her. He will stretch out right in front of her, walk up right against her, hop over her. I find it so funny how he could care less, meanwhile I’m freaking up she is going to pull fur! Cause she will and has! But he seriously could care less. I’m so conflicted if I should allow it or not. I feel like he should care more, but I’m also thankful he doesn’t.

      I’m starting to pet less while she is requesting to be groom. Going to try again with getting rid of it. I am hoping to stress bond them soon, trying to find a good day to do it.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like they are ready for longer sessions. I like using puppy pee pads so there is easier clean up!

      If the fur pull doesn’t escalate, it might be good to try allowing it and see what happens. A little fur yank isn’t a huge deal, but if it escalates to circling etc, then you should stop it. I think reducing the petting is also a good plan at this point!


    • BunBun260
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      Spring break is next week for me, so I’ll be working mornings times (I work with kids) so I’ll have more time to bond rabbits. I hoping to spend 2-3 hours on it. I was also kinda wondering your thoughts of spending almost a whole day on it. Like 5-7 hours. I really don’t think they are going to fight, but I’m hoping the longer they are together the more they will work things out.

      1 hour session:

      Lots of grooming request. I am no longer petting only when nipping is starting to be to much. She did nip him at one point during the request to be groom and he responded by grooming her. So I was happy to see that communication

      He groomed her for three mintues straight. After this he asked to be groom and then flopped right in front of her. Bunnie responded by grooming him for 15 seconds. I was excited to see this.

      Lots of dramictic flopping from the both of them. Not right next to each other but near.

      They ate lettuce together.

      Bunnie tried to pull a good chunk of fur out I stopped this because it was under his stomach where she was heading to. She doesn’t like it when he stands up against the wall. She seems to get ticked off by this.

      I’m pretty sure bun bun took her grooming as a sign she would be grooming him full time. Every groom request after that bun bun kept demanding it from her. She got ticked and nipped him a lot. Nothing serious tho, didn’t have to pet.

      Ended the session with her flopped and him drinking water.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds like a great session! Flops and reciprocal grooming are a big step!


    • BunBun260
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      Did a 2 hour session, nothing really happened that was different. Had to miss yesterday didn’t have time.

      Today session: 3 hours

      I had hay on a plate for them, a water bowl, and toys.

      Before I get started I want to say I am super proud of them and myself, I didn’t pet once. I did have to make a sound two times however, but did not let.

      Lots of exploring, they are the hay like crazy. I put some fun treats in it and they enjoyed eating that next to each other

      Lots of request to be groom. Bun bun goes to town with grooming. He likes to clean her ear for whatever reason. He bends her ear and grooms it to the point I can literally see the inside of her ear.

      When she is grooming herself bun bun will ask to be groom now, twice this session she groomed him. It’s not for long, it’s still very short, but she will lick him on the head and ears.

      I mistaken chewing of his fur for nipping, however she was just grooming him. I did make a sound and I REGRET doing that. Nothing bad happened when I did it, but it did stop it. I kidna felt bad, won’t do that again. She did lick him on the head once after this

      Lots of flopping, still not next to each other but near.

      They are now laying face to face tho. They faces will be touching and they will be laid out or flopped. Bun bun flops in front of her and grooms her/request to be groom.

      She is more comfortable with him walking near her. She did nip once on his back foot when he walked next to her. Thought that was kinda rude but I didn’t stop this because he had no reaction and she walked off.

      She MUCH more comfortable going next to him. She even kinda ran next to him. Not in a bad way in a fun running way.

      There were many points of this session i was able to do something else (in the same room) and not have to have 24-7 eye sight on them. I was reading at one point and looked up to see him grooming her. Like I said I didn’t have to pet once. I let them do their thing. Very good session.


    • DanaNM
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      Oooh this is getting exciting! You might start noticing them getting a bit closer and closer every session.


    • BunBun260
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      Today session was 2 hours and 18 mintues. It went well, but not as great as yesterday. I was left feeling a little disappointed and confused.

      -Bunnie was so excited when I placed her into the bonding area she ran to Bun bun and instantly put her head down to be groom. Bun bun responded by grooming and then stopped after a second. Bunnie started nudging him a lot. Kept moving her head around. He wouldn’t groom. After 6 mintues of nudging and trying to get attention she nipped him. And this is basically how the rest of the grooming request went.

      They ate fine next to each other

      Bun bun flopped near her not next to her she flopped near but no next. No face to face flops.

      Bunnie started nipping him a lot trying to get his attention with followed with bun bun giving her the bunny butt or walking off.

      I have no idea what the problem is. I know their schedule was off today. I was in a rush to work this morning and didn’t feed them their lettuce at their normal time, I didn’t have enough time to mixed their special blend into their pellets, and I didn’t do my usual morning petting. When I got home Bun bun wrecked his cage, he usually does this when his schedule gets messed up. (He is the true diva bunny here). I’m wondering if that is why he was acted up today. Let me know your thoughts. I had to do some petting today and intervene on some of her nips.

      Just to be sure it wasn’t the bonding area, I clean it after their session with vinegar. I had moved some old gate pieces in there last night and took them out before their session, Bunnie has also been peeing in this corner every session, which I have been cleaning but not with vinegar. I don’t know if that might have caused issues, but just in case I re-clean the bathroom.

      Is it normal to be going back in forth like this? I’m not trying to put a timeline on the bonding these bunnies, but I do have college coming up in a few months and I hoping to have them bonded before then as I won’t have as much time. I’m also wondering if I should just camp out in the bathroom with them for about 7 hours or something.


    • DanaNM
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      Sometimes there can be off days. Sounds like Bun bun was throwing a fit, so that could def be it. Time of day can make a difference, and if you are feeling a bit stressed, they can pick up on that too. Do you notice they are better at the end of the session than at the beginning? If so, I would push for longer.

      And, I can’t remember (sorry if I’ve asked this a million times), have you done any stressing? Car rides are seriously really helpful.


    • BunBun260
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      I’m still trying to find time to do one. My schedule is crazy and honestly the longer these sessions get the more I’m pushing things back in my life such as studying for my exams, and personal time. Im still getting my own stuff done, but point is it’s already hard to fit sessions in. They session did get better towards the end but they were mostly resting. I think for good session I’m going to try to go longer. Like for example sessions like yesterday. I’ll try to stress bond next week.


    • BunBun260
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      I’m starting to feel very defeated.

      I did a session today it was about 2 hours. No flopping, barely any grooming, and bun bun will now walk away and thump at her when she requests to be groom. I’m not to sure what is going on. They are still okay eating next to each other, grooming in front of each other and he is still grooming her a bit. I’m very confused on what happened, advice would be helpful on what to do next.


    • DanaNM
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      They are communicating, sorting out the terms of their relationship. If they didn’t fight, it wasn’t a bad session.

      That said, feel free to give yourself a break for a day or two. Bonding is stressful and exhausting.

      Stressing can just be driving them around together for like 10 minutes. I really recommend trying it!


    • BunBun260
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      I took a two day break, actually took a vacation so had time to de-stress. I bonded them for an hour and this session was back to normal. Grooming from bun bun, flops. I did not include the water bowl or toys in this session.

      Bonded them today, this went on for 30 minutes and was not the best session. Bun bun barely groom, ran away from her a lot and actually came by me and started grooming me. Which made her mad and caused nipping, I tried to distance myself so he would stop coming to me, but Bunnie nipping was not the greatest today and it was starting to lead to both bunnies being mad. I did force cuddles in this session to calm them down, this seem to help for about 10 mintues and then it was back to nipping and bun bun ignoring her request to be groom and trying to get to me (which he couldn’t cause I blocked myself off). I ended it with force cuddles. I let them get relaxed before I ended the session.

      I’m not understanding why it keeps going back in forth all of a sudden. I am going to be stress bonded them all next week. Car rides and the basket method. I have made plans with my family member to drive me around with them.


    • CinnamonPearl
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      Just wanted to say, its been wonderful to read your bonding journal! I read it all in one sitting, and I gotta say that even with the back and forth, the progress made from the very beginning is enormous! Youre doing an amazing job! Bunbun is quite the little diva, and Bunnie is the embodiment of the > emoji, hahahahaha! Your bunnies seem really awesome, and I cant wait to see them eventually bonded completely! Keep trucking, best of luck!


    • BunBun260
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      Hi, so I know it’s been about a week since I last posted. I’m trying to figure out if my rabbit have mites or not right now. What I’m wondering now, is it still okay to bond them during this?


    • DanaNM
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      Hi there,

      Hmmm, not sure. I actually wonder if maybe brewing mites might have triggered some of the back and forth you were seeing? If one bun is ill, it can affect the bonding process. Not sure if mites would be enough to trigger that, or potentially the stress from bonding triggered the mites?

      I think it’s your call. If they seem to be doing worse, I would wait till the mites are treated.


    • BunBun260
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      After taking a break for three days, I did a test session and man it was so cute. Bun bun groomed her the second he saw her, she kept wanting to be groom as well.

      Saturday I wanted to do a full day but things came up and I could only do two hours. Kinda bummed about that. However I did introduce a litter box.

      Today I am doing a full day session, I’m currently in the middle of the sesssion as I’m writing this. They both are using the litter box, not together but they are using it. They are both drinking out the water bowl, once again not at the same time. Lots of grooming from bun bun so far, nothing from Bunnie but she is leaning her head into him a lot and relaxing a lot next to him.

      She is getting more comfortable with him walking passed her. She has calm down the fur pulling and nipping.

      I will update more later but I was wondering if you think maybe next week I could try overnight? Also check my profile picture out, it includes a picture of Bunnie. I don’t think I have showed her yet. I have no idea what breed she is. (Probably a sassy breed tho)

      As far as my mites issue I still don’t know if they have it or not. However, I am just treating them like they do have it. Im cleaning their areas and giving them treatment for it. It doesn’t seem to be affecting their bonding sessions.


    • BunBun260
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      The session was 6 hours long. I wanted to go to 7 but I revived a call from the vet and had to handle that which ended it an hour early.

      The rest of the session was a lot of flopping and exploring. Bunnie stop nipping him when he passed by her real close. I had some snacks with me and one of them happen to be a banana, which the second I opened it I was rushed by two rabbits. They both were trying to get on my lap to get the banana. Thought that was funny and cute. I ended up putting some of it on bun bun head. Only in one spot. Bunnie groomed him and actually groomed him in other areas as well, such as ear and cheeks, and I did not put any banana there. There were a few groom request from bun bun after this which she accepted. I’m pretty sure the banana was gone at that point too, as I didn’t put a lot on.

      I ended the session with them flopping away from each other.

      So I still have no cuddling, and no using water bowls or the litter box at the same time. And Bunnie is grooming bun bun, just a couple once in awhile licks (without banana). Besides those things, they are completely fine with each other. Obviously I don’t think I can put them together just yet, but at what level do I need to be with these things where I can put them together? Basically, does she need to be grooming him everywhere and crazy like he does her? Do they have to be cuddling before they are put together? And do they have to use the litter box or drink at the exact same time to be able to be put together?

      I feel like I’m very close to having them bonded, I’m just missing a few things. Honestly I had lots of moments today during the session where I was doing something else (video games, on my phone, drawing, or even laying down) and I didn’t have to worry about them doing something crazy.

      (Also this isn’t the first time I used the banana, the banana is what got bun bun to start grooming again. During that time I stopped posting and from my last post, Bun Bun stopped grooming. The banana seem to reset them within one session. It has been back to normal ever since and it’s been a week and a few days now. I did try stress bonding during the time I stopped posting and it was very odd. I personally felt like it didn’t change anything. I did a 20 minute car ride with them, and I kinda felt like to stressed Bunnie out a tad to much.)


    • DanaNM
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      That’s great news.

      It’s funny, you say you don’t think stressing helped, but to me it looks like these have been the best sessions so far? So I wouldn’t be so sure it did nothing.

      Keep up with the long sessions. You’ll want to see cuddling, sharing food, sharing water bowl, and generally able to scramble over each other without incident. This might not happen until you push for an overnight or full day though. Not all buns share litter box, but they shouldn’t get nippy over it.


    • BunBun260
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      So for the water bowl they have to drink out of it the same time? They are alreadybokay eating together and stealing food.

      I will try my best to do a full day (maybe overnight if they seem to be doing good) on saturday, hopefully nothing last minute comes up. As far as the cuddling do I need to see a full on side to side cuddle, or is a half body cuddle enough? And with the grooming, does she need to be grooming as crazy as he does? Or is a few second grooming enough?

      Like I said I feel like they are super close, they just are missing a few key things. As far as this week I can’t do super long session, I can fit in an hour maybe 2, during week days, but I’m hoping this weekend I’ll be able to do an all day plus overnight and maybe an all day Sunday session as well. Going to be painful but if it gets them bonded it will be worth it! Lol.


    • DanaNM
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      With the water, it might just be they aren’t thirsty at the same time? You just don’t want to see one chasing the other away from the water.

      You have made a ton of progress, so try not to rush these final stages. In my experience, when they are fully bonded, you KNOW. So if there is any question or uncertainty, you aren’t quite there yet.

      You have done amazing with them, keep it up!

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