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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BONDING Bonding journal of Owen and Molly

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    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      After Owen and Molly had a false start we reset their bonding process and swapped spaces every two days for a month. In that time we saw a lot of mirroring, presenting for grooming, and flopping next to each other.

      Today we took them to a completely new and neutral space: the lawn behind the building. We always thought that it was too dangerous, but the grass was mowed last week so we could inspect it properly. Apparently the people who throw down cigarette butts moved out, so our bunnies had a first date in the grass today ^_^

       

      Here’s how that went:

      We put them in an exercise pen of roughly 1,5 x 1,5 m and Bas stood in it to break up any fights.

      Nothing much happened: they sat still for a while with eyes wide open, taking in all the new sounds. Molly started to explore a bit.

      If a sound startled them they hopped towards each other and snuggled up. I think that’s great news! 🥰

      Owen made one attempt to mount her in the beginning, but Molly walked away and he didn’t pursue. She explored the territory a bit further and Owen just sat close to Bas. Then Molly hopped back to Owen and humped him.

      He ran away several times, but the smaller space didn’t allow for much running. She pulled a bit of his fur while chasing him, and when he finally sat still she pinned him to the fence and humped him into next week… 😳

      We think we’ve seen Molly hump him at least 5 times, and Owen sat still and didn’t resist. She was quite fierce, which we didn’t expect from our timid little missy 😲

      Immediately after a hump she did a strange thing: she walked towards his head and presented her head for grooming. When he didn’t respond she gave him some short licks on his forehead/ears, went back to his rear and mounted him again.

      Is that her way of saying: “I’m boss and this is what I want you to do when I present myself”? Or is this behaviour a mix of dominant and submissive behaviour: “I’m dominant but I really like you.”?

      Anyone got an idea?


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds great!!

      A grooming request is also a dominance behavior, so she is behaving pretty clearly dominant. Owen didn’t groom back, but it’s really good that didn’t cause a fight. The little licks before mounting are also pretty normal. And it’s awesome that her mounting didn’t cause a fight!

      I would repeat exactly this set up and timing for a few dates and see how things develop. 🙂

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Owen seems to give some resistance to her dominance attempts, but he’s clumsy about it. Yesterday he tried to hump her through the fence in the living room. He had his tail up and was humming loudly, but he couldn’t get to her.

      When we put them outside he mounted her twice as well. But it didn’t have much impact. They both ignored each other for a bit and went exploring.

      Later on Molly started to bully him a bit. Wherever he sat, she bumped into him and pushed him out of the way. This is probably another dominance behaviour, claiming space as hers and bossing him around. Owen didn’t do much in return.

      We ended the date after some circling started. Molly made another attempt to mount him, but he tried to mount her too. We decided to cut it short before they got into circling again.

      Now we have a break of a couple of days because Bas is away for work. I can’t bond them on my own because I’m simply not mobile enough to quickly separate them when they fight. There are going to be gaps of 3-4 days where we can’t bond them because I’m home alone. We’ll continue to swap spaces though.


    • DanaNM
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      That all sounds really good! They are communicating!

      The one thing I’ll add is always try to end the session on a good note. So it’s good not to push things too far, but if they start to get feisty, try to calm them down before ending the date so they don’t learn that fighting makes “that other rabbit” go away. You can do this with petting them side by side, or just waiting till they go to their opposite corners and are ignoring each other. It helps to set time goals for dates so you aren’t tempted to push things too far (I’m guilty of this!).

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Thank you again for your excellent advice Dana, your knowledge has been indispensable to us! 😘

       

      Today they had a date again. It lasted for a full hour because they were just hopping around, eating grass and doing fluff all. We ended up bringing them in again because it was getting dark and we were both getting quite bored 😶

      For most of the date they were sitting together and listening to all the sounds of the traffic, the birds and the neighbours.

      There were some half-hearted mounting attempts from Owen in the beginning, but Molly quickly threw him off. She made some attempts at him, but he pressed his bum against the fence denying her access. Cheeky! 😅 Molly did a lot of presenting, but it wasn’t acknowledged.

      Instead of mounting there was a lot of leapfrogging this time. They stood close to each other and just hopped over each other. It’s really funny to see: the last time I saw them do it was when they were both 8 week old babies bouncing through their hutch.

      Now that they’re back inside there’s a lot of grooming going back and forth through the fence 💕

      Here are some of today’s pics:

       


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds great 🙂 , being bored in dates is a great sign!

      Next I would start increasing the length of sessions if you can!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      We had a 1,5 hour session today with little happening in the first hour. We started a little later too, because traffic is more quiet and fewer people are making noise. We started around dusk, and it was full dark when we stopped. They were less scared of noises, more active in general and more interactive.

      In the last half hour there was mutual mounting, and it’s a tie between them. Why? Because Owen cheats and sat in a corner pressing his bum against the fence the whole night! 🙄

      I’ve got the feeling that this bonding may take a while because Owen is being stubborn. As Bas said: “Molly is playing to win, Owen is playing not to lose.”.

      Molly seems to be the more tenacious of the two. She made about 20 mounting attempts of which only 5 were successful. All of Owen’s 5 attempts were successful, but she threw him off thrice. Owen ran away from Molly a couple of times when she tried to mount him, but if she was successful Owen just sat still and took it.

      Molly was getting a bit miffed because he cheats and won’t groom her when she presents herself. She even thumped in frustration while presenting. There was a short moment of circling, but that broke itself up when I stood up. They didn’t want to be petted by us, and just went their own way for a couple of minutes.

      Molly was quite playful and exploring constantly. She even did a couple of binkies. Owen pretty much sat in his corner the whole time, and only moved if Molly tried to mount. Molly often sat next to him, and even leaned against him while grooming her leg.

      A hedgehog was keeping us company: it scuttled around on the lawn a couple of metres from us. They weren’t much disturbed by it, they seemed to find it rather interesting.

      All in all a pretty good night!


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds good to me! Stubborn is pretty normal, but it’s great they aren’t fighting and the circling broke up easily. Keep up the good work!

      And I love hedgehogs!

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Things sound like they are going well! 😊 Bonding can be difficult!

      Sounds like they both want to come out on top lol. I would think that Owen hiding his bum away from Molly is equivalent to Molly throwing him off, its probably just his way of saying your not allowed to do that to me. Any refusal to groom is often them just saying no I don’t want to submit to you lol… When Bella would request grooms from Glenn he’d outright just walk away from her like ‘how dare you ask that of me’ haha.

      They will get there though! Persistence is key until they finally buckle from their stubborn sate!


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Another 1,5 hour long session today, but a lot less boredom. They’re getting used to their surroundings and started to interact within minutes.

      Owen was constantly mounting Molly while blocking her attempts to get at him. I’d say that it was 80:20 in mounting attempts. He was very active from the beginning.

      There was no fighting, but there was some frustrated thumping from Molly again when he refused to groom her. Owen was being a bit rude though: he was grooming his hind leg when Molly presented, and he just put his leg on her head as if she was a convenient little footstool. I’d be pretty annoyed too…

      At the end of the date I put some endive lettuce in the pen, and they ate from it together without any claiming or chasing. That was very cute to see 🥰 They’re pretty comfortable around each other from what I can tell. They just haven’t figured it all out yet.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Shorter session today, my boyfriend was tired. Still, they had about an hour. Barely anything happened, they were just happily munching grass and Molly was doing binkies.

      Owen mounted her twice, but that was it. Molly groomed him without him presenting, she just was in the area and decided to be nice. She didn’t make any attempts today.

      They’re often close to each other now in the pen, and spend a lot of time grooming themselves and grazing. They do that at the same time. I put some basil in the pen, but they didn’t seem to be hungry. That’s a very good thing I’ve seen: there hasn’t been any food envy yet.


    • DanaNM
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      All of that sounds good to me! It’s very normal for there to be some back and forth. Sharing food is a great bonding activity. 🙂

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Another possible reason for why Owen was humping excessively: this was the first time that Bas wasn’t there. Maybe Owen is trying to assert his position as dominant male.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      First day of bathroom bonding, this is the setup:

      Owen was humming and mounting Molly almost continuously. The poor girl couldn’t get a break. I stopped it 2 times because I saw the beginning of circling. The third time I put them together side by side on the floor and petted them, then I returned them to the living room.

      The good part was that the petting really relaxed Molly. We’ve always wondered whether she really likes to be petted, but she started to purr and relaxed while Owen was still super stressed next to her.

      My boyfriend’s first reaction was that the bathroom may not be neutral enough, but I’m not so sure of that. The bunnies were grumpy and excitable anyway because they couldn’t date properly the last two days.

      I’m going to try again either tomorrow or the day after it. We have no other options at the moment, and I’m hoping to get them bonded before the weather really turns hot in August.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Today went really well, and I got some beautiful pictures! They were a lot less excited than yesterday.

      Yesterday Owen was humping excessively, but today there was barely any humping. It was mostly equal between the two of them. It was only in the first half of the date, afterwards they both were too tired or lazy, whichever applies 🙂

      And now for some gorgeous pics!

       

      You can lean against each other, what an invention if you both need to groom your leg!

      Molly was a little tired after some mutual humping, laid down and groomed her front paws a little. Owen went on the box for the fifth time.

      Molly snuggles up to Owen:

      I start to pet them both. Molly is purring like a little engine. She’s still a bit tense, but she definitely approves of the petting. She had some matted hair on the tips of her ears which I could easily pluck off now. This was rewarded with more purring.

      She’s grooming Owen again. She’s doing that a lot lately, but I’m not sure if it’s purely submissive. She does it right before mounting as well. Anyway, it’s much appreciated by Owen, even if he doesn’t purr a lot. He just melts a little further into the floor.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      We ended up doing a much longer session than was planned today: 3 hours! There was a big storm predicted for the late evening which hit us in mid afternoon. The weather became so extreme that I pulled all the plugs from the electrics and moved the bunnies to the bathroom, so they wouldn’t see the constant lightning flashes. The upside to the awful weather was that they snuggled up to each other.

      This was the first day that they shared one litter box and one water dish. That went really well, especially the litter box saw much use. They didn’t chase each other off it either, which is a very good sign.

      They were pretty calm today: sometimes there was a short attempt at mounting, but soon they flopped against each other again.

      Molly is trying to mount too, but that quickly leads to the beginning of circling. That stops as soon as I call them or stretch out my hand. Molly frequently grooms Owen, but it’s pretty one-sided if they’re outside the pen. The only moment when Owen groomed back was when Molly flopped and planted her bum right on his face. He groomed her tail, which she didn’t mind.

      Owen insists on face mounting, so I’m pretty tense about that. If you pick him up and put him on the right side, he just walks to her head again 🙄

      (It’s good that the breeder didn’t keep Owen to breed with him: he’s absolutely clueless and hopeless. All that he would have given the ladies is a stuffed nose 🙄🤣)

      Here are some pics of today:

      Molly being very charming and Owen doing some cleaning duty:

      Two tired bunnies: too tired to make mischief of any sort. I petted them and ended the date there. Molly was purring softly: the petting was much appreciated. She even stayed flopped for it.


    • DanaNM
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      This all looks so awesome!!! Great progress, keep up the good work!!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Thank you ^_^ I’m so happy to see them like this! They’re such fierce characters and can be very wild. Who thought that they could snuggle up like this?

      Owen gave me a deep bleeding scratch down my neck when I picked him up to bring him to the bathroom. He was very angry about being picked up. Some minutes later he was all lovey-dovey with his sister and even accepted that I petted him and kissed him. Strange…

      It helps that everybody is dead tired at the end of the dates: they’re so easy to pick up, and I nap like a baby 😆


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Today they had two shorter dates, but it didn’t go all that smoothly. Owen is humping a lot again and Molly runs away every time. This causes quite a bit of excitement, and he honks while chasing her. It doesn’t help that he nearly always face-humps her, and she shoots out from under him.

      The good news is that he actually managed to locate her bum today, stop the presses! 🙄 He humped her on the proper side twice. She sits still then, but he takes way too long, so I took him off of her after half a minute. The rest of the humping still happens on her face.

      Is it normal that he’s honking during this process? It’s a sort of buzxing sound, he made that same sound when he got his puberty and did his little love dances around her hutch.

      The extreme mounting and honking almost makes me wonder if his neuter went okay. Time for a belated Easter egg hunt? Or is this to be expected for bonding?


    • DanaNM
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      The honking is normal!

      I don’t think you need to worry, this still sounds within the range of normal for bonding sessions. Anytime you change up the location (or even the time of day) the dynamic in the bonding session can be a bit different. Bonding often has steps forward and back. If you feel they are really back-tracking I would try going back to outside. I actually think bonding sessions in a variety of locations can help create a more durable bond, rather than one that is place-contingent.

      This is really just anecdotal based on my experience, but out of necessity when I lived in my studio apartment I would do bonding sessions at the shelter, my friend’s house, my office, really anywhere I could. I’ve never had an issue with moving or vet visits disrupting the bond, or even taking my buns to the bunny-sitter’s house where she had tons of other rabbits!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Thank you so much!

      The time of day may be part of the reason for the behaviour change too: we had a late afternoon and a midnight session, while we usually do an after dinner one.

      Especially at midnight they were all over the place, and Molly made a lot of noise by destroying the willow tunnel and the cardboard box. She seemed to be frustrated. I cut it short to keep everybody happy, especially the neighbours 🤦‍♀️

      I’m doing a session now which is around their usual dinner time. They got their breakfast 2 hours later today because I overslept. They shouldn’t be super hungry yet. I’ve put some pieces of fruit and vegetables on the floor in the room. They are eating a bit while exploring.

      The good news is that they seem very eager to go to the bathroom. Outside of bonding times I have to watch them closely, so they don’t sneak off and try to claim the room.

      Molly’s anxiety seems to improve a bit too. She’s so afraid of being picked up: she loudly honks and thumps, and sometimes you’ll see the beginnings of a panic attack where she starts to race through her hutch blindly. She used to sit frozen in fear if you put her down again. But sadly she has to be picked up to be brought to the bathroom, or to be groomed sometimes.

      I follow the same routine every time now, and I announce it in the same words. She still complains and thumps, but it’s less loudly. Today she didn’t freeze when I put her on the floor: she just hopped towards her brother. Then they came back to me and Owen presented. I petted him and I could even pet Molly. Our little girl is making so much progress! 🥲🥰


    • DanaNM
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      Oooh yeah, those late night bonding sessions are always where the trouble starts with mine! That and the pre-dawn hours when they get super active.

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      They had a 2 hour session yesterday, we stopped it when they were both too tired to move a muscle. It’s very intense for everyone involved.

      Owen is slowly learning to mount the proper way, so it’s going better. Molly actually sits still during that type of mounting. The only problem is that he doesn’t know when to stop, so I have to break it up sometimes. He’ll be on top of her for minutes if you let him.

      He seems to come out as the dominant one: he doesn’t allow Molly to mount him and demands a lot of grooming. And she gives it to him more often. There are still attempts from both sides, but it he’s on top of her 90% of the time.

      They often cuddle up after a little chasing and mounting attempts. It tires them out, and it’s cute to see them take comfort in each other 🥰

      Here are some pics!

       

      It’s locked for a reason, young lady…

       

      A snuggle after some pretty intense mounting and chasing:

       

      Molly grooming Owen:

       

      Both eating the rest of their dinner without arguing over the bowls:

      Owen is tired and being as flat as a Dutch pancake. Does this guy even have bones?

       

      Molly is less afraid, and even allows us to pet her in the bathroom sometimes. Bas still can’t pet her in the living room because she’s so scared.

      I can pet her occasionally if she’s in her pen. At first she walks away from my hand. If she wants to be petted she sits down in a corner so that she sits firmly. It took us so long to find out that that was her way of giving me permission to pet her!

      Bas took a chance yesterday and gave her a raisin. That made her less afraid. Then he started to pet her very gently, and she started to purr and loafed! It lasted for minutes and she really loved it 🥰


    • DanaNM
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      Aww they are doing great!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      I swear: if I hear “hum” one more time today, I’m going to have a breakdown and eat my socks…

      We’ve done a long session today, with some break time in the middle so we could have dinner. They’ve been together from 15:30 to 18:15 and together again from 19:30 to 23:15. It was intense.

      In the afternoon things were pretty calm, with Owen mostly humping. He’s still humping a lot and mostly on the wrong side, but he’s slowly improving his approach.

      The evening started off the same, except for the last 2 hours when Molly made more and more attempts. She’s a lot smaller and can’t mount him that easily, so she waits until he’s tired to try again and again.

      The last 2 hours have been near constant chasing and mutual humping. And the humming, oh my… Even Molly on full hormones wasn’t this bad. They were both humming all the time and things got more and more intense.

      I broke it off when they were both trying to hold each other by the scruff of the neck and twirled around like that. Some raisins and some noserubs calmed them down, and we let them walk back to their hutch one at a time.

      It’s cute how, despite their struggles for dominance, they seem to appreciate each other’s company. They snuggle up after bouts of chasing, and like to eat together without making a fuss.

       

      Today’s pics:

      Afternoon grooming:

      Molly being photogenic again. She likes to make contact with me and often drops by to say hi by nudging me. I don’t even have to pet her, she just wants me to see her and is happy when I talk to her.

      Evening cuddles after some stressy chasing:

      Both using the box, one to eat hay, the other doing their business:

      Regaining their breath:

      Grabbing a bite of pellets and a slice of banana. There was no fighting about food.

      Pretty tired after another bout of mounting and chasing:


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Omg look at that butt!!! I love it when they lay with their legs right back like that, so cute!

      They seem like they are really getting there!

      Glenn is also a serial mounter, its normal for some buns. Both lady beens he’s been with have been that fed up with his mounting they have actually resorted to whimpering and running away! A noise a female bun makes when they have truly had enough of a males advances…… So I can definitely empathise with that side of things.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Yeah, Molly is such a photogenic little bunny 🥰 She lays like this a lot, they’re both very floppy bunnies. Molly also  likes to pose when I have to take a picture of a sewing project in progress. Half of my photos for customers have a bunny on them 😆

      Thanks for the info on the serial mounting! It makes me feel better about the situation. These two bunnies make so many sounds, it even amazes the vet. Molly often combines a thump with a very sad “njuh!”. It sounds like making an “uh” sound while holding your nose closed.

      Still, despite the mounting she probably doesn’t hate the bonding that much. We let them walk to the bathroom one by one now, because picking them up was making them afraid of us.

      We let the free-roamer walk into the bathroom first and close the fence. Then we open the pen for the other bunny and open the fence to quickly let him/her through. They’re in the bathroom really quickly, so I think they like being together 🥰


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Oh my goodness, what a night… 😮😵 Good golly, miss Molly! She was on fire tonight and was suddenly more dominant than I’ve seen her in the last 2 weeks.

      The date lasted only 1,5 hours, but in that time we had 67 mountings! I’m writing things down so we can see if there’s any progress in their dominance struggle.

      This is my notation:

      • grooming is a submissive behaviour
      • willfully ignoring a rabbit when they’re presenting is dominant behaviour
      • mounting is called successful when they actually manage to get on and stay on for 3 seconds or so

      Owen mounted Molly 40 times, Molly mounted him 27 times. Owen groomed Molly twice, Molly groomed him 5 times. Owens presenting was denied by Molly 5 times, and Molly’s presenting was denied by Owen 3 times. They locked heads together like this 9 times:

      It gives us the following figures:

      Owen

      • dominant behaviours: 43
      • submissive behaviours: 2
      • success rate of mounting 17,5%

      Molly

      • dominant behaviours: 31
      • submissive behaviours: 5
      • success rate of mounting: 7,4%

      The balance at the moment is: 53% of all interactions are dominance from Owen’s side. He may mount a lot more than Molly, but Molly denies his presenting often. He seems to win the physical game, but it’s pretty much a tie in the mental game.

      I’m going to try to keep analysing their behaviour to see if there are any shifts in it. One thing’s for sure: they can really surprise you!

      And here are the pics:

      Munching some tasty herbs:

      After 1,5 hours they were both completely pooped, and they snuggled up when I sat down on the floor to pet them. They sat like that for a full 10 minutes, and I petted them and brushed them softly.


    • DanaNM
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      Wow, love the data!

      If you keep seeing more and more mounting over the next few dates, it could be because the space isn’t neutral enough (especially with letting them walk there on their own, as they know have more of a mental map of where they are in relation to their territories).

      Overall it looks like things are going well, but if things seem to plateau or get worse in this space, you might need to change it up.  It’s really good they aren’t fighting though!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      We did a late night bonding session of 1,5 hours today. Owen didn’t get a minute of quarter: Molly was very active in her chasing and mounting attempts. We had Owen hiding behind the toilet bowl several times, and when the session was over he was away as quickly as he could.

      The only problem is: Molly’s mounting attempts aren’t very successful: she has trouble getting access to Owen. Owen either presses his bum against the wall, or he lays down flat and she doesn’t know where to mount.

      I’ve got a picture of that here. Owen is so flat that she doesn’t know where to hold onto or where to sit on:

      Today’s numbers were:

      Owen

      • dominant behaviours: 25
      • submissive behaviours: 4
      • success rate of mounting 15 %

      Molly

      • dominant behaviours: 52
      • submissive behaviours: 2
      • success rate of mounting: 6,7 %

      Physical dominance: 69 % in favour of Molly

      Physical + mental dominance behaviours: 67,5 % in favour of Molly

       

      The date started slowly: they were doing a lot of binkies and some exploring. Then there was an intense phase of about 45 minutes with a lot of chasing and mounting attempts. Afterwards they calmed down, both flopped, they groomed a little and they had a snack and a drink.

      Pics:


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      A 3 hour late night date today, they were much mellower than the days before. We picked them up again this time. I found out that I can’t pick them up if they’re in the bathroom: they’re too fast.

      I may be able to pick them up when they’re in the living room by waiting until one is in their hutch. The other is in the pen, and that’s much easier.

      There was a lot of snacking and flopping, it was all much less heated than the two days before this.

      Today they did a lot of “two can play that game”: Molly has learned to press her bum against the wall. Owen has learned to show dominance by denying to groom while the other presented.

      Molly remains active in chasing, but she doesn’t get much done. She chases him until he’s tired and tries to mount him when he’s flopped. However: she can’t find her way when he’s flopped and he runs away quickly.

      Today’s numbers were:

      Owen

      • dominant behaviours: 39
      • submissive behaviours: 1
      • success rate of mounting 18,8 %

      Molly

      • dominant behaviours: 18
      • submissive behaviours: 2
      • success rate of mounting: 0 %

      Physical dominance: 65,3 % in favour of Owen

      Physical + mental dominance behaviours: 58,5 % in favour of Owen

      It’s funny how the numbers can change so much from day to day!

       

      Here are some cute pics:

      Eating from the same bowl without any fuss:

      Doing what they do best: being really lazy!

      Molly grooming Owen 🥰


    • DanaNM
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      They seem like they are making progress!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      First time seeing these pictures on a larger screen, haven’t used my computer in a long while. They’re massive! I’ll try to resize them to keep things legible 😳

      They had a 3,5 hour date today, at a different time. There was a loud party going on somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, so I moved them to the bathroom because it was too loud in the living room. The date was pretty relaxed, especially in the beginning. We picked them up again and Molly seemed to recover quickly. She’s was pretty dominant today but not very succesful in staying on top of Owen.

      It’s funny how they learn to use each other’s tricks. Owen has taken over Molly’s mental trick of denying grooming: he clearly denied her 5 times while she was presenting. Owen now waits until he’s driven her into a corner and mounts her then, leading to a staggering 52,2 % mounting success! Molly now chases Owen until he’s tired, and she’s learned that she can’t get onto his rear, so she now mounts his face. That has worked for her twice. Owen is a lot stronger than she is, even when flopped he easily throws her off his head.

      Today’s numbers were:

      Owen

      • dominant behaviours: 28
      • submissive behaviours: 0
      • success rate of mounting 52,2 %

      Molly

      • dominant behaviours: 27
      • submissive behaviours: 2
      • success rate of mounting: 7,4 %

      Physical dominance: 54 % in favour of Molly

      Physical + mental dominance behaviours: 52 % in favour of Molly

       

      Pics:

      Owen looks like he’s been in a fight with a lawn mower. Molly is a tenacious little thing! She may not have a lot of mounting success, but not for lack of trying!

      Loafing together after a bout of chasing:


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      We just had a fight, about 5 minutes after we started 😢

      Molly started off boldly, but Owen didn’t acknowledge and just ran away. I was taking a video of the chasing because I wanted to ask about it, and suddenly: bunny tornado! 😱

      I could break them up very easily, but Owen has lost quite a bit of fur… Apart from Owen’s ego nobunny seems to be injured, that’s a blessing.

      How do we go from here? I really don’t know 😥 Bas has just left and won’t be back until somewhere next week, and I can’t pick them up to transfer them outside.

      This is the video of right before the incident:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/wgqwe2p4tuabq7g/20220531_185727.mp4?dl=0

      The aftermath:

       


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      I’ve talked with Bas today to see some positives in the situation that happened yesterday.

      They were easy to separate with a tap on the back and didn’t hurt me or each other. When they’re chasing too roughly it’s usually enough when I stand up or calmly say: whoa, calm now…

      They groomed each other as usual yesterday evening: through the bars they’re very kind to each other.

      We’re hoping that this is just a lover’s spat and that we can continue.

       

      My question would be: how quickly can we resume things after such a thing? Should we separate them completely for a while, like moving one to the bedroom? Or is it fine to just keep hutch swapping and to start again after a couple of days?


    • DanaNM
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      I think you should keep going! fights are sometimes unavoidable during bonding, best to get back on the horse! The fur flying can make things really dramatic, but it’s best to keep going if you can and the fighting isn’t too bad (it doesn’t sound like it was too bad).

      But if you can, I’d go to a more neutral area, or at least remove the litter boxes and give the bathroom a good wipe-down before the session.

      I was wondering if the uptick in mounting you saw was perhaps because the space was not neutral enough. Litter boxes can often cause disputes early on too!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Today I emptied my kitchen and laid down a floor for them. They’ve never been in the kitchen yet, and the materials are all new to them as well. There’s a towel over the fence so they won’t see that they’re only a metre away from known territory.

      Lifting them a couple of steps to the kitchen was difficult and stressful for everybody, because I had to corner them in their hutches to lift them.

      They had a very short exploration phase:

      After a minute of exploring Molly started to mount Owen:

      Owen thought: “not on my butt, you don’t!” But there’s little room to run away here.

      Molly humped him several times:

      Then Owen had enough of it. It turned into one big wrestling match with the two of them slithering over each other like two greased weasels. There was a lot of humming.

      I broke it up and tried to calm them down, but that only lasted for a short time

      Owen managed to climb onto Molly, and she sat still:

      Then there was some more circling, and I gently pressed them down to the floor. Molly was so worked up that her teeth were chattering. I petted them for a while and carried Molly back to her hutch first.

       

      They were so intense and focused on gaining dominance over each other… It was really explosive. The circling wasn’t very violent and I could break it up easily enough, but they just kept going and going at each other. There wasn’t a second of peace unless I held both of them on the floor. I don’t know if this is healthy anymore.

      I’m calling the vet tomorrow to see if they have any contacts who can help with the bonding.


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Judging by the dates on your post it seems that they have only really been bonding for a month, so I wouldn’t be too worried, I think it is still pretty normal for them to be sorting things out. However I do understand what your saying and it might be that its time to change up the tattics a bit? I think it could be territory related, if they were just a meter away from their territory they would most definitely been able to smell it which is probably why they acted the way they did.

      On Glenn and Nellies second date I tried them in semi neutral disgusised as neutral with a new pen covered with sheets and towels they aren’t fimilar with and it didn’t work at all. It was 10 minutes of Glenn humping Nellie till I had enough and just took them to the bathroom which is out of scent-shot and everything was calm and relaxed for the rest of the date… So I think what they can smell can definitely make it difficult.

      I agree its a good idea to find someome to help even if its just borrowing their space to get Molly and Owen to calm down away from any fimilar smells and sounds ect. I think some rescues offer bonding services and might have more info on bonding contacts too.

      Could you just give them a break and move back to outdoor dates when your partner is back? It seemed to go well there. You could also try going for a different method such as, 24/7 small- large space bonding, i dont use this one myself but I know a rescue that swears by it.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Thank you for the support!

      Shelters here don’t offer bonding services unless you’re adopting a rabbit from them. They’re being so unhelpful and unkind 😤🤬

      The vet had one tip for us: a lady who has a small backyard rescue, she lives about 45 minutes away by car.


    • DanaNM
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      I agree with Glenn about their ability to smell their home territory, the intensity of mounting points to that!

      I think waiting till you can go back outside is a good plan, as is checking in with the person with the rescue to see if she can help out.

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      There’s a new development, and I have no idea how to deal with this.

      Molly and Owen had a string of outdoor dates where Molly was very dominant, and she did a lot of chasing and humping.

      Now when we have a session Owen thumps and runs away from Molly often. He does a sort of whimper and runs: he suddenly went full chicken.

      He’s not grooming her when they’re together, and Molly doesn’t accept this. She doesn’t attack, but she chases and humps him quite fiercely. The strange thing is: he does groom her between the bars if they’re in the living room.

      What would be the best approach here? Is close quarters bonding for a while a good step? I’ve heard that that may work for anxious rabbits.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      For some reason I can’t edit my post, but I wanted to add that Owen still is relaxed when they’re indoors. He’s still mirroring her, flopping next to her and grooming her occasionally.


    • DanaNM
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      Hmmm, interesting!  These two are really at the stubborn phase!

      Do you think this might stem from him being more afraid of being outside in general, and Molly less phased by it?

      I think experimenting with the size of the space is a good idea. If they tend to fight more in small spaces then you know to stick with larger ones. You could even try something like putting them in a bin together and just sitting in the car with them (and not even driving). That would be a very neutral space, but less scary than being outside, so it would be interesting to see how they do.

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      I’m not sure whether it’s being outside that’s the problem: he did it indoors too. I was getting pretty desperate and took them out into the hallway of the building, but he also thumped and ran from her there. The strange thing was: today he didn’t thump and run from her. They were outside at a different time than normal because I woke up very early. They were pretty calm and we had a 1 hour date because it went well. There were only 3 short chases and no thumps or meeps.

      Molly was distracted: I built her a little shelter with a chair and a towel. She seemed to love it and spent a lot of time in there. She also started to binky and zoom. Maybe she’ll be less insistent if she has more things to distract her and a place to make her feel safer.

      This all gives me some new options to experiment with: some small space bonding, bonding during their normal nap time, and introducing more distractions. Thank you so much for all your help and tips, it’s amazing what you do for us! 😀

       

      Also: this picture gives me some new hope. It’s always stressful to have to pick them up and move them for their bonding sessions, but as soon as they were back inside they immediately sought each other out and flopped against each other <3 <3 <3 (Yes, they’re both moulting, can you tell? :lol:)


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Bonding is temporarily suspended until Owen is well again. He’s been ill for a couple of days: not eating and pooping much.

      This has radically changed Molly’s behaviour: she’s acting like she was never spayed at all. She’s running circles around his hutch while humming and leaving a circle of poop. She’s also peeing in unusual places.

      She’s clearly vying for dominance now that Owen is weakened, so I’m keeping a close eye on the situation until Owen is completely himself again.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      We tried a new spot today, but I’m not sure how long we can use it before someone complains and kicks us out. I still have an old key of the building. It used to be a retirement home and there are 3 small unused offices and storage spaces. The problem is that there aren’t any curtains in there, so the cleaners and other residents will see that I’m using it. I’m not storing anything in there though: we schlep everything back after a bonding date and I use a blanket so they won’t make a mess on the floor.

      There was a little meeping and thumping from Owen, but only if Molly attempts to mount him. If she’s eating or just in the general area he doesn’t flee. I’ve added a house, that makes Molly a lot quieter. In the beginning of the date they were in it together ^_^

      We had an hour of dating and 3 short chases, but no mounting. Owen meeps and runs away when Molly chases him and hums. He has no problems getting close when she’s doing something else, like eating hay. Molly was less insistent on humping today, she just did 3 short chases and went about her business. I think it’s a good sign that they’re both eating during the session.

      This was our setup:

      Bas has some questions: isn’t this space too big? Should we give Owen room to run away, or should we make the space smaller so that he’ll have to face Molly? He’s afraid that Owen is going to keep this up and that it won’t resolve.

      I’ve recorded one of the chases. Can anyone tell me if Owen is really afraid of Molly?

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/7u7qvua2sdjcrn8/20220611_235928_001.mp4?dl=0

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