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Forum BONDING *BONDED* Dorian and Miu (formerly Lillian) Bonding thread

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    • prince dorian the bun
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      Spay/Neuter
      Are your bunnies spayed/neutered? Both are spayed/neutred
      If so, for how long (for each)? Dorian for 2+ years For Lillian I am not sure about exact date, but at least 2 months.

      Housing

      Dorian is free-roam with his own room for night time.

      Currently Lillian is in a xpen in a part of the kitchen Dorian has rarely been in.

      Bonding background
      Did you allow the bunnies to “settle-in”?

      Feb 20th was Lillian’s adoption date, so we are allowing her to settle in still

      How would you describe your bunnies reactions towards each other (answer for each bunny): shy, scared, curious, calm, aggressive, excited, affectionate, etc.?

      Dorian is the sweetest soul and just wants to be friends, he wants to sniff her and started tooth grinding when I petted him while he was next to her.. Lillian is very timid and very recently got removed from a trio bond with her mother and father, because her mother attacked her twice. I am guessing she has some trust issues to over come.

      Have you done any “pre-bonding” (cage or litter box swaps, etc.)?

      Other than a pretty long first date at the shelter (I think it was about 1/2 hr if not longer) not yet. Letting her just chill out for now and feel at hime a bit. Will start when she seems more comfortable.
      If so, for how long?
      Have you started sessions yet?
      How long have you been working on bonding your bunnies?
      How frequently do you have bonding sessions, and how long are they?
      Have you tried any stressing techniques?

      I am not looking for active advice on the bonding yet, I though it would be good to just log everything to make it easier if I do need help in future and also maybe someone else can get something out of it down the road.

      That said if anyone has suggestions on anything I can do to make Lillian feel a bit more comfortable I am all ears. I figure for now I am going to give her time and let her feel safe in her own space. Dorian is a bit curious as to her being there, but if I tell him to leave her be he just hops off. (He was looking at her through the bars because she was chewing loudly on the hidey box I gave her). I have put cardboard up for now to give her a bit more privacy. I had double fenced it before, but she seemed stressed at seeing him, she did run in her box and thump.


    • DanaNM
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      Awww yay! Welcome Lillian!

      I think for settling in, make sure she has a hide, and try not to mess with her pen too much for the first week or so, even if it means her litter box isn’t as clean as you’d like. I’m sure she’ll relax a bit soon. You can also keep her in the pen for a week or even more, depending on if she shows interest in exploring. I know with Bonnie she showed zero interest in coming out of her pen for at least a week, maybe two. She finally came out once in the evening once we went to bed.

      I don’t think it’s a problem to let them see each other through the fence, but having the border partially covered is a good idea just to help her feel more protected.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana. She retreats into her hidey box anytime I go in her enclosure. I’m trying to keep it down to a minimum though. She has eaten hay and greens left lots of little poops, so that is good. Dorian and I had a pretty quick connection, so it’s a little hard as I want to go in and comfort her, but it’s the last thing she wants. Hopefully in a couple days she’ll realize no one going to attack her or hurt her in anyway. She was in a house with little kids and supposedly didn’t mind being picked up, but I am thinking she just froze and probably wasn’t that okay with it.

      Dorian just seems extra happy. I am just keeping up his normal routine for now and letting him freeroam as he usually would. Eventually I figure they can take turns, but I want her to feel a bit more at home first.

       


    • DanaNM
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      It can definitely take time for most buns to relax with new humans and in a new setting, but it is super rewarding when they do! I’m sure she’ll get there, and I’m glad Dorian seems very happy for a new friend!

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks @DanaNM , seriously you have helped me so much in being a better bun parent! This forum as a whole is a blessing. I think maybe the trauma of getting kicked out of her bonded trio, especially being chased and attacked, isn’t helping the feel calm part. They didn’t tell me if she was injured but I noticed a scratch on her nose. I wonder if that is why she is extra wary of me, Dorian smell is all over me for sure. Speaking of which, since she did just leave another bond not by her choice, is there anything I should be aware of or take into consideration?


    • DanaNM
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      You’re so welcome! This forum has helped ME so much over the years, I just like to pay it forward! And I learn a ton from everyone still!

      I think with Lillian just make sure she’s eating and pooping normally. It doesn’t sound like she was in a properly bonded trio, so it’s probably a relief for her to be out of there. I know you don’t have a great baseline for what’s normal for her, but she should eat her hay, pellets, salad, etc. She may not want to eat if you are watching at first, so you can kind of just monitor in your peripheral vision.  She’ll learn she’s in a safe place in time. 🙂 Try not to hover, although I know it can be hard not to! As prey animals, when rabbits feel they are being watched closely it puts them on edge.

       

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Yeah, she was just with her parents so sounds like a bond of convenience , which does mean I have an idea of her background (Dad is an adorable gray Loop and Mom a stunning black with gray lionhead). She is eating and has played with the chew toys I have given her… she dragged one into her box to destroy there. And lots of poops all over, which I am taking as a good thing as I think she’s making the space hers.  I was told she doesn’t really eat hay, but she seemed really happy about her hay box, and I have caught her in there munching quite a bit, so happy about that. She may have just not liked the shelter hay, which is a little old.

      Sorry for yet another question, I have her in the kitchen which we do pass in and out of, I thought her being around our noises and smells would be good. I don’t want her to feel isolated even if she isn’t feeling social. Is that alright?  We aren’t super noisy people… I mean during the day it is mostly just me and Dorian since I am WFH. I usually play Lofi or some other mellow music as Dorian seems more relaxed with it. I am mostly in the living room or my bedroom. Or maybe I just hang out closer to her, or give her a few more days?


    • DanaNM
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      That’s good she’s eating her hay well and playing with her toys. 🙂 Buns can be picky about hay for sure!

      Hmmm, I do wonder if it would be better for her to be in a room that you spend more time in quietly, if that makes sense? Is it possible to set up a pen for her in the living room or the bedroom?

      I think the kitchen will also be fine, but I know my buns tended to hate cooking sounds and smells, and if you’re only in there during “busy” times it might take her longer to get used to you.

      But, I’m thinking maybe it would be best to just leave her where she is until you decide how you want things set up for pre-bonding. An ideal pre-bonding set-up is side-by-side pens, so you could set up her pen next to Dorian’s main area (with a double-walled barrier or nose guards to prevent nipping). So you could sort that arrangement out, then move her there. Then either start pre-bonding side swaps, or give her more settling in time in the new pen.

       

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I have a small space (it’s also a bit of an odd layout as it’s a small 1920s house converted into a duplex), so even though she is technically in the kitchen, the living room is right next door with no door, she can certainly hear me and Dorian. And the kitchen is on the way to the bathroom, outside, and where water and snacks are. So I do wander through a lot. I can also start working in there a bit from time to time if that would be good for socializing. Dorian tends to go charging between the living room and his room, and generally sleeps in his room even during the day and he gets put in there at night. They can also both hear each other eat. Dorian has always been very into social dinner time, so including her in on that.  Yesterday they both ate their super at the same time. I thought this would be a good spot for pre-bonding as well as it is right next to Dorian’s room. I figure once she is more comfy I could adjust her pen at night so they would share the door space so to speak. Also honestly there just isn’t anywhere else she could fit, I could possibly do my room but it’s not a bunny safe zone and usually work in the living room, she would have a lot less space too. The living room is where I figure they can take turns free roaming once she’s at that stage. Cooking sounds and smells are probably not fun for her to be fair, Dorian isn’t a big fan of them either, but generally I only cook for dinner so she’ll mostly hear my underwhelming tea kettle attempt to whistle and the fridge door.

      I am a bit worried as she was out and about a bit more yesterday evening, but has still not touched he greens today. I am hoping she’s just sleeping. Dorian is napping right now too to be fair, but he also ate his greens ages ago.


    • DanaNM
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      That makes sense regarding the setup!

      And hmmm about the greens…. Can you offer her a treat to see if she takes it? Or a handful of fresh hay?

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      She’s still barely eating. She did come out and actually let me pet her. I sat in her enclosure and after about 10 minutes she finally popped out and came to sniff me and then played about a little and ate the carrot tops I had given her and some hay. We ended up hanging out for an hour and it was good bonding for us. Dorian cam by to investigate through the bars, and she seemed pretty calm about it. She went up to him as well. She had eaten a bit more over night, but barely. She’s got lots of tiny poops. I stuck a handful of the poops in Dorian’s litter who is now in it munching. If there was a reaction other than oh hay time, I didn’t see it. He seems curious about her and unusually goofy. Lots of flops, and if she eats hay and he hears her he has to go eat too.

      I took my morning meeting in the kitchen, and sat with her for a little bit. I will probably have lunch with her as well and work in there off and on. Oh and she loves chew toys, she’s demolished two I gave her already.

       


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I just heard a bunch of noise from her area and went to make sure everything was okay, especially since Dorian had wandered off. Dorian and her were both doing binkies! I think that’s good sign.


    • DanaNM
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      Aww I think that’s all a great sign! How lovely she accepted some petting!

      If her eating doesn’t improve over the next few days, I would def get her teeth checked (and keep the shelter informed). Lionheads are one of the breeds that tends to have dental issues. If she really doesn’t seem to be eating enough, I personally would syringe feed her. I know it isn’t ideal for gaining trust at this stage, but she’ll forgive you, and she might need some extra hydration and nourishment.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Luckily her eating is picking up, right now she is sitting next to me eating her greens and pellets.  She had been eating hay, not as much Dorian can put away,  but she is smaller. She loves chewing so hopefully that means her teeth are good. She has demolished a couple willow balls already. But I will be taking them both to the vet in a month or so for a yearly check up and will definitely ask them to double check her teeth.

      She actually seems like a different bunny already,  so I am very happy.  She reminds me a lot of Dorian too. They have been mirroring behavior most of the day.


    • DanaNM
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      That’s wonderful 🙂

      I just love the transition when they start settling in at home. <3

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      She ate all her dinner greens and her pellets, I gave her a little extra and she ate that all up too. She’s been proving her ability to chew her cardboard box louder than Dorian which is confusing him. I am trying to keep his schedule fairly intact and give them both equal attention. Do the original buns sometimes have issues with a little jealousy? Dorian seems a little more needing to be comforted, though it may just feel that way as I have been trying to split time between them when I would usually spend it all with him.

       


    • DanaNM
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      That’s great!

      Buns don’t tend to get jealous, I think it’s more about changes in routine and a new bun being around.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Dorian is still being a little needy and Lillian Mui (she is still in the name adjusting stage) is coming into her own. She’s actually pretty affectionate now that she’s not just scared in her box and eating everything she is given. The two did have an accidental play date yesterday when we were switching who was out and who was in their enclosure. They seemed very interested in each other and all in all it was pretty positive. Mostly lots of sniffing and following each other. She flattened herself at one point. After they were both hyper.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I have been doing some haphazard pre-bonding. I am not really into changing their area yet, but have put her poops in his litter and switched their food bowls. Honestly neither seems particular territorial, or I am not getting any reactions that I can read. Dorian sniffed for a second and then just kept eating… he may have just been sniffing for good bits to be honest. I am thinking of doing a decoy stuffed animal. What reactions should I look for to get a feel as to how territorial they feel? There’s no excess poops. Oh and I try to pet them both at same time, so they have each others smells all over their fur.

      Given they already had a meeting that went well in a non-neutral territory I am thinking of putting them together tomorrow in a neutral territory. I figured keep it about 15, though end it earlier if it looks like it is getting rocky. Is that rushing too much?


    • DanaNM
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      haha! You sound like me!

      Even though they are doing great, I wouldn’t do a session yet. Not so much because I think it will go badly, but because you’ve barely had Lillian home for a week. Giving her a bit more settling in time will make sure that her true personality is showing up during bonding sessions, so you don’t end up with a hierarchy that changes down the road when she gets more confident.  Plus it will help you bond with her a bit more before you have to do a bunch of handling and stressful things with her.

      But I totally get the urge to just try… it would probably be fine, but there it won’t hurt to wait a bit longer. 😉

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks. They really want to hang out and it’s driving me a bit crazy. Dorian just loiters about her pen and she stomps if he wanders off. They just had lunch next to each other which was adorable. I am so glad she has her appetite back!

      Oh and I let her into Dorian’s free roam space for her exercise time, she went a little crazy… zoomies, binkies, chinning his favorite bed and laying in it. She has so much more energy than him, it’s like a little whirlwind with her mane flowing! (she’s also 8 months versus 2.5 years for Dorian) She is a totally different bunny from just a couple days ago. Fine with pets too. She’s not as licky as Dorian though, he grooms everyone and everything constantly (though he hasn’t groomed her yet, not really had chance to be fair) and has not flopped which he has been doing more than usual, but both have a thing for sitting on your feet. I was wondering what Dorian would think of it, but he’s too busy loitering, so other than a quick indifferent hop about the room hasn’t done anything.

      How long do you think I should wait? I don’t mind, I was planning on taking it slowish, or at least letting them determine the speed.

      & what happens if you have two fairly submissive buns? Though right now my vote is Dorian will be more submissive, but she did flatten herself completely during their unplanned meeting. He just looked at her and then sniffed her when she got back up.

      Also thanks Dana! I really appreciate your advice and insights!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Dorian had a huge scare not that long ago. Initially I thought he was just charging in doing a zoomie which he will do occasionally around that time, but if that is what it was some where in his crash into everything flight path he got extremely terrified, ran into his room and would not stop thumping. I had to scoop him into my lap where he just snuggled into me super tense for a long time before he finally calmed down and relaxed. I had thought maybe something had happened with Miu (Lillian), but she was just sitting confused in the middle of her pen. I had the dividers up and there was no way they could have nipped each other, his nose also showed no signs.

      He finally came out of his room again and though he didn’t do his usual stop and stare at the cute girl bunny, he didn’t seem scared of that space or her. He did however wander the living room as if there might be something leaping out and attacking him at any moment. Miu had  been in there earlier, but he had been there since several times, so even if her smells were still strong I don’t think they should freak him out like that? Oh and he then came back to where her pen was and wait for her to come up to him. They sniffed nosed for a bit and all was good. I am glad about that, but wish I knew what set him off.

      Another behavior he keeps doing which I am wondering about is go up to the cage and wait for her, then turn his butt to her while looking over his shoulder. When she does come up he will bounce away (like a playful run). He then will stop and seem disappointed she didn’t follow. Is he wanting to play chase with her? We play a tag like game that he loves which I am wondering if he’s trying to do with her?


    • DanaNM
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      Aww, poor Dorian! Sometimes bunnies get spooked by things and it’s really hard to know why. He could be slightly more on edge just because of all the changes.

      As far as how long to wait, I would wait till she’s been home at least a week. That’s kind of my rule of thumb for minimum settling in times. Even though they seem to be really excited to meet each other, sometimes it’s good to wait for some of that initial excitement to settle slightly, so they are a bit more calm in the first meetings. Sometimes that excitement translates to a frenzy of attempted mountings, which doesn’t always go well!

      As far as two submissive buns, it’s hard to know, but usually things are very peaceful during bonding! So hopefully that will be the case for you!

       

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Peaceful would sound perfect!

      We will all try and be patient and take our time! I can up the prebonding a bit in the meantime. The living room is very much where Dorian hangs out during the day letting her have playtime there will help with scent sharing.


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds like a great plan! Alternating sharing the exercise space is great pre-bonding. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Both of them have been individually in the living room (Dorian is still basically freeroam, other than when she gets her turn and I have been slowly upping the time). Miu runs around like a crazy little bun, chinning some stuff, just generally exploring. Not too unlike Dorian when he first came home with us, though maybe a little more hyper. Figure for her this is all new and she mainly seems super excited.

      Dorian reaction when he comes in after her has me a little worried as he seems super anxious. The was a couple stomps though nothing like yesterday and very cautious investigation of the space. He finally relaxed, but it took some time. He also gets spooked by her noises. Neither is marking other than some chinning here or there. Dorian is doing less of even that. I was ready for poop wars or maybe some aggression, not so much for a scared bun. Where before I was worried for her, it’s now the reverse. Their behavior towards each other is still mostly curious. They have had lunch next to each other, though Miu runs about and plays between bites. I am thinking of giving prebonding more time until Dorian feels more comfortable.

      I also have not seen Miu flop or stretch out yet. She isn’t shy, and will come up for pets and loafs, but is that a sign she just isn’t comfortable quite yet? Or maybe she’s just still basically a hyper teen? She’s just shy of 9 months. I am trying to remember when Dorian started flopping, but so used to him now. Also he used to be smaller than her when I checked his adoption form, he really has grown!

       


    • DanaNM
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      You are right in that pre-bonding is good for both bunnies! I think Dorian will relax with time.

      And I think you are also right in that her not laying down (at least while you’re watching) is a sign that she’s not 100% comfortable yet. Flopping and completely laying down are super vulnerable positions for buns, so they don’t tend to do them if they are unsure at all.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana! I appreciate so much you taking the time to read my often long winded posts and give advice.

      Mui had her run around the living room time this morning and Dorian just watched her from the kitchen. I let him have his elephant and he sat next it and washed it, it seemed to calm him. She got about 1/2hr and when she returned to her pen we called it good and I let him back in. He sniffed a little and then just flopped in his hop and flop. I sat with Miu in her pen for a bit and tidied it up a bit. She wasn’t into being pet but sniffed me and took some hay from my hands. Dorian decided he wanted to hang out too, so they did some sniffing but mostly she ignored him. She was still pretty wired from running about and exploring. They will have a lunch date it a few and we’ll keep this up until I see her a bit more relaxed and him less skittish.

      Also I have been reading on various bonding techniques and so many seem so contradictory. I like the more gentle method (one put out by Georgia House Rabbit Society) and would prefer to avoid stress bonding. But probably going to mix things a bit based on the buns and myself, and space limitations. Do you have a method that you prefer? Or just adjust to the buns & situation?


    • DanaNM
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      You’re welcome! Funny you should point that out about the contradictory methods, because I actually wrote a blog post for BB about that exact issue, but it’s not out yet!

      The short explanation for the dif’s in methods is that different things work for dif bunnies, and different humans. And there is not really one correct way that will bond a pair (likely multiple methods would get you there). There have also been lots of changes in what we view as humane (some of the 24/7 micro-space and long period stress techniques count as “flooding”, which is now considered to be inhumane), and we are constantly learning about rabbit behavior. I’ve had a lot of conversations about this with one of the leads at the rescue I used to volunteer at, and she agreed, and felt that a lot of the techniques that are pushed online are more about human convenience than rabbit welfare (i.e. getting them bonded as fast as possible).

      I really like the more gentle method as well, and lately have usually ended up using a mix of different approaches (I most recently started with short sessions until they are doing reasonably well, then swapped to marathoning in a large space).  I think it makes sense to start with the easiest and least stressful (for you and the buns), and then make adjustments as you go (experimenting with the space, length of sessions, level of intervention, stress, etc.). Stressing is definitely not a requirement, but I have found it to be a good tool (in small amounts) if you get stuck in a rut (such as buns that are immediately aggressive, or when you hit a stalemate).  I have also been in situations where I had to drive the rabbits somewhere anyway (to use a bonding space at a friend’s house) so I figured the buns might as well start bonding on the car ride.

      The only things that seem really consistent are prevent fighting, use a neutral space, and be patient. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      A lot of the methods also don’t seem geared to freeroam house buns who are maybe a bit more integrated in a family and for whom such confinement is going to be more drastic. Taking them on a car ride to me is not quite the same level stress as the aggressive shaking of a laundry basket I have seen in some videos. They will be going to the vet together in about a month, so they will have that. But hopefully by then they have enough of a bond they can comfort each other too. I also would love to read your blog when done! Oh and my favorite video on bonding I saw was two elderly buns being bonded and the person said something along the lines of this is not about me, this is about making the buns happy by giving them companions and if it doesn’t work out because they aren’t feeling it or they need a long time then that’s fine. I feel pretty similar, though I really do hope it works out!

      I tried sitting with Dorian while Miu had her chance to explore and between that and having his stuffed elephant he seemed way calmer. He just watched her, licked the elephant and demanded the occasional pets from me. She’s quite happy to explore without me but would pop over and say hi to us then run off again. I talked to her foster who said she was a pretty timid bun who had a hard time warming up. She only ever relaxed enough to stretch out next to the other buns and was pretty upset when she had to separate them. I think giving her another week at least will be good. I want both of them to feel safe.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Miu is very much a teenage bun, I don’t think she will ever stay still enough to flop!  She has been exploring the living room for the past hour while Dorian is in his room. I suspect he is pouting a bit as he usually likes to flop under my chair right now, but I am trying to see if the bigger space will tire her out a bit. Dorian was a lot like Miu when I first got him, very friendly but really more interested in exploring than staying still and getting pets or such. They both do the clamber over the lap thing and sit on my feet (In fact earlier I stepped over the fence and ended up with bunny slippers). So I think she is pretty settled, or as settled as she will get at her current age! Dorian seems less jumpy.

      They end up having a decent amount of hanging out through the fences, they don’t lay down… but have their meals together, groom themselves and in Dorian’s case just sit there and watch her. She does usually run up when she sees him and they sniff each other if the guards not in their way. Neither is showing any of the territorial signs I have read about, maybe a bit of chinning for like 30 seconds when they exchange places in the living room.  Mainly they both act pretty excited. Ears forward in explored mode, a few sniffs of the air and then bouncing about like spring lambs.

      I am thinking of doing a deep cleaning of the bathroom today and then having them maybe meet tomorrow? The last time a bun was in there was for Dorian’s meet & greet with Theo a few weeks ago, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to wash the rugs and mop it again. I could also just wait longer, I figure there isn’t any risk to waiting too long? If any opinions let me know!


    • DanaNM
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      You could try! But if they seem super crazy (even if not aggressive necessarily), doing some side swaps before continuing will prob help. A lot of that interest in the other bun can be a desire to smell the bun, so swapping sides or litter boxes  can help them get acquainted that way before meeting face to face.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I’ll give it a short go tomorrow! Right now they are pretty much always within a foot or two of each other by choice with few exceptions. I haven’t switched rooms, mainly because Miu is a bit more destructive than Dorian and his room will need some reconfiguring to deal with that, I figured I would just do that as part of the remodel when they are bonded. There will have to be some bunny proofing updates in general. I have switched food bowls and they both have each others poops in their litter (I tried switching them, but had size issues, hopefully the poops is good enough) . Also switched bedding. Neither seem to notice other than maybe a quick sniff.

      Thanks Dana!!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      First Date!!

      We met in the bathroom which is neutral territory. Didn’t have any toys or food (other than both got a treat for the ordeal of being carried to the room). Tried to time it for their sleepier time. Meeting time ended up around 1 hour. Had planned on half that, but it was going so well. I’ll try and run down the highlites, I think it went well, but would love to understand more. What should my next steps be? I am thinking another date in the bathroom tomorrow? Probably would be the same length as I can’t do much longer during week, unless I do it in the evening.

      We did two sessions of “bunny magic”, laying them next to each other and giving both lots of pets… 2nd one they decided they wanted to be next to each other facing opposite ways. Miu purred in this one, Dorian purred both times, but this is the first time we have heard her do that.

      Both buns spent a good portion of first half hour just sniffing the room and each other, Dorian peed a bit on one of the rugs. They would get fairly close to each other while exploring but not show huge amount of interest in the other.

      Lillian tried to get Dorian to groom her by tucking her head under his, he didn’t.

      Dorian flopped twice. 2nd time he just laid there, half asleep. Lillian kept bouncing about looking for things to chew… but then bounced over and washed his ears unasked. He barely seemed aware, as he just looked really dopey with his eyes half closed. (though probably in bunny nirvana!)

      We gave them a couple more minutes after that and then returned them to their respective areas.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds amazing!!!

      I would repeat the exact same date! A good rule of thumb is that if something goes well, repeat it a couple more times, then start increasing the length of time. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Date 2. 

      Honestly it is a little like watching paint dry! Lillian Miu did groom Dorian a couple times but he’s being stubborn on returning it when she asks. Though there was a moment he sort of gave her a little lick.

      I tried putting one of Dorian’s tubes in the room, Miu loved it and Dorian was into it at first but I startled him with my shadow and she ran after him too close and bumped into him so he stomped both times. I took it out again. I think it would have worked itself out,  but didn’t want to add stress.

      I am having a bit of a hard time reading their language. He is just loafing, well he just flopped.  She’s loafing about 1/2 foot away. I am assuming they both feel relaxed,  but not sure what this means outside that. It’s not going bad, so is I going good? Also how much should I help? Yesterday I did a lot of pets throughout,  but been trying to be a little hands off this time. Should I be more hands on? It’s been almost an hour and going to call it soon. Figured I’d do some “bunny magic” before the end.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Dorian is being super moody and not sure what is up.  He seems to need a lot of extra attention and things that usually wouldn’t cause more than a glance have him stomping and running for cover. He doesn’t seem to direct any of this towards Miu, so I don’t know if she being about is the cause or whatis settling him off. Miu seems content to just sit in her pen and chew stuff (I did expand it so she has some extra room and can see us). So am letting Dorian just have the living room this evening,  rather than take turns. Feel a bit bad for her, but he’s so on edge.

      Is this normal for buns during bonding? Should I give them a break tomorrow?


    • DanaNM
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      Boring is good! Resting near each other is also great. I think you can ease off petting and interacting with them so much and see how it goes (but don’t be afraid to intervene if they get tense).

      As for Dorian being moody, bonding is pretty stressful for bunnies, even when it’s going well. Most animals get a bit stressed with any routine disruption as well. Is he still eating and pooping normally?  It could also be in part due to the season change. My buns seem to be a bit more reactive right now, I think because the days are getting longer and they are going through a bit of “spring craze”.

      If you think he needs a break, it’s ok to skip a day.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana! He’s eating fine, though he wasn’t as into food as for dinner, hay consumption and poops all good. Maybe it is a bit of spring craze, he’s just not his usual self. I may give today a break. I have a lot of work as well and as long as it’s not setting things back it might be less stress all around.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      well I had planned to give them a break, but in the evening they were running back and forth and playing with each other on either side of the fence so I decided to just let them have some time in the kitchen (semi-neutral, Miu is in the dinning nook and neither bun is there unless they think I may have a snack). I put a bit of hay down for them and that all worked great they sat right next to each other munching. Miu gave Dorian a little bit of grooming, but then decided she wanted some in return… Dorian just wouldn’t. He’d sort of just sniff the top of her head and not do anything else. Well that got her all wound up, she ended up nipping his butt a couple times, I let them work it out for a little bit as the nips didn’t seem hard as Dorian wasn’t really reacting other than to turn around and face her, but she got herself worked up and and started lunging, so I broke them apart. No one was hurt and there didn’t seem any hard feelings, they ate their dinner next to each other and no one lunged or postured at the other (I had a space in case) . I did film a little of it, and would love to understand it more, but not sure how to share it since I still can’t post photos.

      I hope I didn’t mess up to much. I figure I would really give them a day off today and maybe Sat too.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Wondering how I should proceed next. The kitchen was way less hassle to get them in as I didn’t have to pick either of them up, but maybe having it back in the bathroom is safer as it will be more neutral and not have the association of them having issues.  Also how should I deal with Miu when she gets worked up about not getting groomed by Dorian? Dorian would come over and groom me instead which not sure what that meant in bunny language. He also calms down by me petting him, but she doesn’t.  I am thinking maybe a 5 minute bunny magic session to start with, and then just keep it short? Say 30 minutes or less if anyone acts up?

      I need to trim Dorian claws today (and sometimes that takes a couple days) so probably won’t have them meet until Wednesday at earliest.


    • DanaNM
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      I would stick to the bathroom for now, the kitchen seems like a better “semi-neutral” spot.

      You didn’t mess up! Don’t be afraid if things get a bit testy before they improve again, that’s totally normal. It seems like most buns have a period of nipping and sorting things out while they establish their relationship. Miu said “I groomed you, now it’s my turn”. And Dorian said “hmmm I’m not ready to do that”, for whatever reason (only he knows). Remember that nipping is a form of communicating! Miu has been in a group before, she is problably better at speaking “rabbit”. Dorian probably needs some lessons, but it sounds like Miu is a good teacher so far.

      Remember to always end on a good note. So if they start getting testy, you can pet them both and wait till everyone is calm again before ending the date. When they start lunging or chasing, you’ll want to interrupt them somehow. You can either put something in between them (like a dustpan), or stop the chasing rabbit (I like to pin the chasing bun down by pushing their shoulders down). Some people like to use a spritz of water.  Often this is enough to break things up.

      One thing you can do since it’s early days, is when she asks to be groomed, you pet them both, so she thinks he’s grooming her. Then you can start to ease off the petting when the sessions start getting longer.

      I would try to do another session before Wednesday if possible. It’s OK to take a day off here and there, but once you start it’s good to try to keep the momentum of daily sessions, even if they are short. Things don’t have to get progressively longer, and a 10 min session is better than no session.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana! I tried the petting both, but she was having none of it. She seemed like she knew it was him. They did eat next to each other right after and that seemed fine. They are still around each other as they generally stay near each other by Miu’s pen. They snuck out into the living room together while I was adjusting her pen, which went fine but they both ran under the couch together which seemed like it would be a challenge to break apart anything so I picked up Miu and put her back and then gave both of them a treat next to each other and pets. They have both just been super lazy today other than that.

      I will do a short session in the bathroom tomorrow.  & thanks again! Sorry for all my posts and long rambles!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I decided I would just do a short session this evening. It didn’t really go great. My son was helping me gather Miu while I got Dorian and she completely freaked out and leaped out of his grip (he’scarriedher beforeno problems). We did get her to the bathroom, but she was understandably not a happy camper. I did a squish them together and give them lots of pets session,  it was mostly Dorian enjoying pets and her not wanting to be there. After that I let them just explore, but with lots of pets and trying to keep them calm. There was some nipping.  Dorian sort of got me too, but didn’t break skin. We finished with another squish together session.  I thought it was going better,  but Miu hopped out of it and flicked her foot, gave us all the back and seemed really grumpy. Dorian seemed like he really enjoyed it. It was going pretty good before this so now I am not sure what to do. Miu went from grooming him and purring during the bunny magic session, to seriously pissed off bun.

      Any suggestions really appreciated.


    • DanaNM
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      Just keep at it! It’s normal for there to be ups and downs. Nipping is part of rabbit communicating, so as long as they aren’t full on fighting just keep up with the sessions.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana, I knew it might be hard from reading threads on here, I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional up and downs! Especially since Dorian seems to not get bunny talk (or he maybe he does and is just being a butt) and Miu gets so very worked up (she definitely stress chews, and holds a grudge like no other). Oddly she reminds me of when we first got Dorian, with maybe a little extra sass. I am hoping in a couple months (or even a year) I’ll look back on this all this drama and lol.

      I am planning a date around their low energy time today and hoping that keeps it calmer. I am a little worried about location. The kitchen despite being more semi-neutal seemed like they were both calmer, getting them to the bathroom requires picking them up and neither like that. Dorian is pretty chill, but after yesterday I am nervous about Miu… she’s tiny but it ends up being so dramatic trying to get her I feel like that’s just a bad start. Even Miu getting feisty seemed territorial and more you aren’t giving me the love I asked for. I don’t know though, if you have an opinion I am all ears. The other option is the deck outside, Dorian occasionally goes out there, but it’s been a while since weathers been so so. I would think being outside smells would linger less?


    • DanaNM
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      The handling for bonding is always annoying. I usually just resign that the buns are going to hate me during bonding (which they usually do), but they’ve always forgiven me! That’s also part of the reason I like to have the settling in period, so the new bun builds a little trust before the process.

      I thought I had read that they did better in the bathroom than the kitchen? But maybe I read wrong! I would use whichever area you felt they did the best in.

      Some people have luck with just picking up the litter box while the bun is in it for short-distance moving, rather than picking up the bun, so that could be an option as well. You could also put them in their carriers, let them sit in the carriers for a few minutes to calm down, and then release them from the carriers into the bonding area (I often use this method).

      The only other tip I have is to try not to project emotions or anthropomorphize too much, and don’t worry about which bun will be dominant or not. I’m definitely guilty of this myself, but it can be counter productive to think that if one bun just does this one thing, they will be bonded. This can end up breeding a bit of resentment over time and might make you interfere with certain behaviors that you should just let happen. Not saying you are doing this, but it is a common problem to be aware of! They will communicate in their own time and in their own way! It may seem like Dorian is not communicating completely, but by ignoring her requests that is also sending a message to her.

      Just focus on preventing fighting and giving them time. 🙂 They’ll get there! The nice thing is that although bonding is full of ups and downs, it’s also not a linear process. So buns can be ignoring each other one day, and acting like life-long friends the next. I find it’s best to expect the worst and not hope too much for any big break throughs.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thank you Dana, I couldn’t do this with out your support!!!

      I made a neutral area in the area where the kitchen meets the entry way (I have a weird layout). The goal was to gently herd & bribe the buns there. Buns being buns were like nah, we aren’t going to do that. So they ended up in the semi-neutral area instead. I just went with it since they were both in much better moods than yesterday. Dorian is super jumpy around Miu now, but after her nipping I don’t blame him. Miu ate some hay I put on a pee pad and seemed quite happy. When she went off to explore a bit, he had a couple bites. There was some sniffing, some following, but mostly a lot of doing their own thing at opposite ends of the room. Neither went after the other. I gave a few pets, but didn’t do bunny magic or interfere too much. Kept it pretty short… maybe 20 minutes if I include my failed herding attempt. Won’t say it was a shinning success, but it wasn’t a failure. Miu is having her explore time in the living room as Dorian went back to sleep in his room. I figure repeat tomorrow? Maybe I can actually get them to the neutral area! (They did get there towards the end of the session when I wanted them in the opposite area).


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Sorry for yet another post. Quick behavior question.  I have been having them eat their greens together.  This was going great, but last couple of times around Dinner it’s turned into drama. Miu won’t start eating until Dorian does and Dorian wants his food in his room and is sort of a butt about not getting his way. Yesterday I ate dinner on the floor next to both of them and he finally gave in then. Today I at least didn’t have to go that far but he hasn’t finished his food and it took a lot of cajoling to get him to sit and eat anything.

      He eats lunch and bedtime snack with her with less issues at least. But what is going on? Any interpretations appreciated. Also I am not letting him off the hook, so I hope that’s the right approach.


    • DanaNM
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      Dorian is such a diva! LOL

      The date sounds like it went well, I think repeating is a good strategy.

      As for Dorian and his food eating pickiness, the most important thing is to make sure he eats, especially since he has a bit of history with snubbing his greens. I wouldn’t immediately give in, but if he hasn’t started eating his salad in 30 min or so, I would just feed him where he feels comfortable.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      They are both Divas! If he didn’t eat at all I would definitely just give in. Neither of them will do anything they don’t want to for food, how I got a pair of super diva buns I don’t know. You should have seen them avoid the pineapple when I was trying to herd them to the neutral area. They both love it, but yah they got will power… 😂


    • prince dorian the bun
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      How long will this bonding take? It’s exhausting! 😆

      Right now Miu only wants the chew toy on Dorian’s side of the fence, & Dorian has decided he is just going to sit there and lick the fence. They aren’t attacking each other or anything just being drama royalty.  Prior to that it was who can knock stuff about and chew cardboard louder competition, with a short sit on my hidey box wanting snacks, why both of them have separately decided that’s where snacks are served I don’t know. I guess mirroring is supposed to be a good thing, but can’t they just mirror laying down or grooming quietly (they do the grooming, not the flopping)? It seems they just mirror each other being grumpy, weirdos or destroying stuff.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Today’s bun date technically was probably okay, no fighting, and kept it short around 20 minutes. Miu wasn’t aggressive at all and tried engaging with Dorian, but Dorian is just super unhappy and nervous. He won’t eat around her, Itriedto give thembothsome pellets but she was the onlyone to eat. He just tried to either break out, go to opposite side or just sit there frozen. He’s upset with me too and that makes me feel like crap as he usually comes to me for comfort so I feel I let him down.  I tried doing bunny magic, but when I was trying to position her, she decided to bolt and kicked me and Dorian in the process. That had the opposite affect as intended. I finished by giving them both pineapple, which at least Dorian took that, and then letting them go back to their areas.

      I am really not sure what to do next. I’m worried about Dorian hunger striking as he isn’t above that. I am going to let him just have dinner in his room but he’s just avoiding anywhere she’s been. It’s not quite the territorial behavior that I was expecting. Miu is now the calm one, where before I was worried about her. Do I keep up with dates or take a break and let him be less scared or just keep going?


    • DanaNM
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      I think I would keep up the dates, but don’t force him to interact with her when it isn’t a date, if that makes sense?

      As hard as it is not to comfort him, try not to. The idea is for him to learn to go to her for comfort, or to at least realize she isn’t all that bad!

      Sometimes it takes a while of one bun sitting frozen in a corner for things to start happening. Even though it seems like not much progress is being made, the more time they spend together the more they communicate and learn to trust each other.

      If they aren’t fighting, you can also try slightly longer dates (30-45 min would prob be fine).

      I will say the one other benefit of having a completely neutral space is that the buns are then the only thing familiar to each other. So if they know they are close to their home turf, they may not fight, but they may not be as willing to seek each other out for comfort. Whereas if they both find themselves in a brand new area, but recognize each other, that can help them realize “hey this other bunny isn’t so bad actually”. I don’t think you need to go this route yet, but if things start to stalemate it’s something to consider.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      What about the not eating though?


    • DanaNM
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      Oh, you mean he might stop eating just in general? Then yes you should definitely take a break until he’s back to normal. He might do better with an every-other day bonding schedule. I did that with Bun Jovi most recently just to be sure not to over-stress him.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana.  He’s very much a diva and he currently is only eating hay or dandelion if I hand feed him. His pellets went untouched and the greens that I didn’t handfeed.

      That said they were doing the sniffing each other when Miu was in her expanded pen and I decided if I was going to do it, this was the best time. (I hadn’t seen you 2nd post) We lasted maybe 6 minutes, maybe bit more I wasn’t watching clock closely.

      It started out pretty good. They showed more interest in each other and ran through a tube together I had accidentally left in the area. I took the tube away as I didn’t want something to happen inside it and not able to break it up. Dorian seemed a little less frozen which was nice, but after a bit Miu was getting demanding about grooming and Dorian nipped her in response. I separated them for a bit then let them try again, but it was just seeming to escalate as she tried again, he nipped again and she nipped him back and sort if lunged at him. She was on slippy part of floor at time so it could have been her just losing traction. Still given everything I decided to just call it then, so did not end on a great note… but figured better than let them escalate it. I fed them both lunch separately.  Dorian ate what I hand fed and Miu gobbled hers down. He is eating hay now, and she’s having her freeroam time.

      Questions:

      How do I deal with this grooming power struggle? I would just let them deal with it, but hunger strikes by both of them when upset seem a real possibility if something escalates. This is also my first time and it’s hard to gage when it’s going to tip to a full fight.

      Would they benefit from a gentle stress bonding? I can borrow a pet stroller from a friend and just push them around my place or the deck. I am not pro stress bonding but if it would help it may be less stress than this stand off?

      In lots of ways I think that they would be compatible, and their start was super positive. Their personalities are very similar. Miu is a bit more hyper, but a lot of that is age and she has mellowed as she feels more at home. They often are doing the same exact thing when I check on them, even though it is in different rooms. But maybe that doesn’t mean that they will have a good bond? How can I know? Or is it too early still?

      Sorry Dana for all the long winded posts. You truly are a Saint. Thank you so very much!


    • DanaNM
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      Aside from Dorian’s hunger striking, nothing really sounds too bad! Honestly!

      The grooming struggle is unfortunately something they need to work out on their own. The main intervention I will do with grooming requests are petting, as I mentioned, but of course that won’t work as well if one bun doesn’t want human pets. If the nipping starts to get intense I will put a dustpan between the buns to break up the interaction.

      The two things I would try:

      -More pre-bonding. I think this could help with Dorian just generally being in a funk, and Miu’s reactivity. Part of bonding is the original bun learning to deal with another bun being in their territory. Once they start to accept that, progress starts to be made. And even though Miu isn’t aggressive, I think some of her hyperactivity may be a bit of nervousness.

      – A new bonding location. I suspect that even though they aren’t completely fighting, the area may not be neutral enough. Generally if you are within smelling range of their home turf, they will not see it as neutral.

      -You could combine the new bonding location with subtle stressing. So maybe you could take them to a friend’s house for a bonding session, and have them ride in the carrier together on the car ride too and from. This has really gotten me past some rough plateaus with my own pairs, but I wouldn’t do this until Dorian is eating well again.

      I’m not opposed to gentle stressing either, but I think I would try a new bonding location first 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Oh and prebonding. They are next to each other and share the same freeroam space. I switch blankets and food bowls, they share toys except Dorian’s favorite.  I also do poo transfers as the litters are not right size to switch easily. I tried introducing her to his stuffed elephant but she just sniffed it and looked at it funny. He washed it when I gave it back, but think it was less about her smell and more he loves that elephant. She will straight away snuggle in a blanket that smells of him, he is more indifferent. He will sniff it and then maybe use it, but maybe not. He did spend time digging at one she had spent a while sucking on. (Not sure why she does that, and he sometimesjust digs). He likes to lick the divider I put up when I am not there to watch them closely. I was going to switch enclosures, but not until Dorian is feeling better. And not at night, it will mess with his routine and he gets very upset about that.

      Sorry that was loooong! Just trying to give you as much information as possible.  & thank you!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Miu does get a bit aggressive, there’s a short video clip here on my Instagram of a part of theirlast interaction, it’s the last slide: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ca5zhUVp1nC/?utm_medium=copy_link

      I think Dorian looks pretty happy and curious initially. She does too. She’s half lop so her ears don’t usually go up like his (they sort of V), so could be misreading. She usually only asks for pets if they have been playing, otherwise they just sniff a bit and mostly ignore each other. And maybe that’s not what she’s doing? She lowers her head almost under him, so just assume that is her intention.

      They will be good and playing (or what looks like playing to me) and then she makes her move and does not take rejection lightly. It escalates quickly from there and though she likes pets earlier when they are bouncing about she sort of flips a switch. I did try just getting down on their level and giving her some pets and trying to calm her, but then Dorian nipped her when she tried again, which she returned and then they both get more worked up.

      I don’t have any other place I could take them. Most people I know have smaller spaces and their own pets or no pet apartments. Also the car ride, new space, etc would be more stressful than being pushed about in a stroller wouldn’t it?  Don’t have a car either, so it requires borrowing one or getting a ride which isn’t always easy.

      Oh and I figure Miu’s settling in a bit still,  but she has calmed down a lot. She usually gallops around the room and chews and digs stuff then settles in Dorian’s favorite spot next to me and loafs. I do feel she thinks she’s at home and will come out of her box to say hi to us and get pets.

      Dorian is being slightly less difficult about food, but still not really eating unless you sit there and feed him and give him lots of pets. Miu is not having any food issues at least. Her appetite definitely has down a 360 since first few days.


    • DanaNM
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      That little nip from Miu was not too bad! In my mind, aggression is when right out of the bat they just attack each other. Or any approach of the other rabbit leads to fur pulling, circling, fighting, etc.

      You could try to disguise the space a bit, rather than going someplace completely new. Some people have luck at putting a tarp or shower curtain on the floor and covering the pen walls with blankets so the buns can’t see where they are.

      I read that interaction as Miu asks for grooms (a dominant behavior). Dorian said “Nope”, and then Miu gave a little nip to say “well fine then”. Then when he turned back to face her, that is him saying “oh no you didn’t!”. As annoying as it is this song and dance is them communicating. I’m not seeing fur flying or anything too bad.

      Do you notice they are more hyper at the beginning of sessions? It might be worth trying longer sessions. Sometimes buns will get some of this out of their system at the beginning of a session, and then settle down as the session progresses.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      they tend to start calm and just explore the area, then when comfy start playing… and then she demands grooms (I am guessing she is like well since we are playing we should figure this out) and it escalates from there. In the beginning I could do way longer sessions (had one over an hour), but now it’s all sped up. She will then just become more persistent and they start to circle, which I haven’t let go on as her little eyes go all crazy and I can tell it’s just going to end badly. All that said, Dorian really perked up after this encounter, maybe it was nipping her back? They are back to playing next to each other and he even ate with her this morning by choice (I was trying to bring it in his room, but he sat outside)


    • DanaNM
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      I am wondering if it might be good in the long run to try to push past this nippy phase. I would just keep interrupting the circling and chasing. If possible, try to get them to stop with a loud noise first (such as loud clap), rather than immediately getting between them. Of course you’ll be right there in case it doesn’t work, but the idea is to get them to decide to stop on their own, rather than being forced to.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I will try.  I am just worried about Dorian’s somewhat dramatic reactions (not eating), and Miu can hold a grudge as well so erring on side of caution They both been bouncy happy little destructobuns today and engaging a lot with each other through the fence, so we will see how it goes!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      We did 1/2 hour. It was a little nerve-wracking, but I think we had some progress of sorts. The firts 15 – 20 minutes where pretty mellow. They hopped about and shared some hay. Then Miu started asking for grooming. There was stomping from Dorian but it was more a sharp “Hey!” Than scared panic stomping. He also nipped her a couple times on the nose, but she seems fine. It was a very controlled nip if that makes sense and he would let her run off and not chase her after. It was easier to let play out than hers which would keep going and also aim for his belly. She felt comfortable enough after to eat some hay with him a foot away,  so that felt ok. They did some chasing, but ears were not aggressive. Oh and a few hopping over each other, theyboth did it.  I think that’s a form of talking too. My son helped by clapping if they seemed a bit too riled and they both did stop each time.

      Ended it with pineapple treat for both of them, they took treats from my hands simultaneously with no issues. Then they got pets (no attempt to squish them together) about 1/2 foot apart.  Even Miu seemed to really like that. I think we could have gone longer, but I have stuff that I needed to do and it seemed a nice note to finish on. Maybe on weekend we can try for an hour or more.

      Thanks Dana fir cheerleading!


    • Wick & Fable
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      I’ve been told once that hopping over the other rabbit is a dominance behavior as well! Unsure the legitimacy of it as I don’t see if very often at all to assess context clues.

      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.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      It could have just been a don’t corner me maneuver, but they both had room. I  noticed it before once, but I was letting them work it out more this time. Maybe I can get it on video. They both just slightly grazed the other bun. I just assumed it was common.  So hard to know when this is my first pair and Dorian my first bun. They could be typical buns or little weirdos. Love them either way!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Just realized I have no idea how many dates they have had, but anyway here is

      Today’s bun date summary:

      We made it an hour! I am not sure how great that was. It started with the usual sniff about and generally ignoring each other.

      I put some hay down and the both ate that for a while.  At on point Miu asked for grooming,  but Dorian didn’t notice as he was eating. She sensed it was a lost cause and ate too.

      After they had enough hay she tried again.  She’s not as demanding as before and Dorian shut her down each time with a stomp and/or a nip. Occasionally if she backed away quickly he didn’t follow through on the nips. She at one point hopped away and with her back to him groomed herself.  He responded by grooming too.

      I had been sitting on a pillow (lucky a cheap out door one) and at one point got up… Dorian hopped on it and proceeded to pee on it. A lot. Not sure what that meant?

      The last 20 minutes was mostly Dorian sitting by the fence looking done with it all and Miu trying to squish under stuff in the kitchen. Occasionally she would hop over, and he would tolerate her. But look ready to nip or stomp should she try anything.

      I ended with treats and pets. They both took treat, Dorian wasn’t really into pets… he was ready to leave.

      Currently he is under couch pouting with his stuffed elephant and Miu is knocking things about in her pen.

      Questions:

      – what is peeing on my pillow about? One of Miu’s mats was there and though they both chewed & digged at it, and in Dorian’s case, licked it, no one peed on that.

      – what do I do about Dorian just sitting near the exit and looking rather disgruntled? Just ignore it?

      – for longer dates, how do you deal with bored bunnies? They both love tubes, but that seems a bit risky. The hay was good for a short time.

      – honestly not sure how this one went. Ok? Seems neutralish?

      – and what’s next? Figure repeat another hour long session and then up the time? Should I switch up the area? Include anything in the space?

      Thanks so much in advance!  🐰🐰

       


    • DanaNM
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      They are definitely communicating without fighting, which is really good! Sometimes it’s slower going when the buns just sit in their corners like lumps.  Sounds like your son is a great bonding assistant! I would definitely keep using clapping to break up tense interactions when possible. At this stage, it’s good to start gradually removing yourself as a source of comfort for the buns. A friend at the rescue described bunny bonding as like 14 year olds at a school dance. They want to be friends but don’t know how, and will behave differently in front of the chaperone! LOL

      He prob peed on the pillow because it smelled like you and was claiming you!

      I think repeating that date (set-up and time) would be good! If they seem OK after that (as in, they didn’t get into an all out brawl at the 45 min mark), bump up to 2 hours for a couple dates, then 4 hrs, etc.

      And yes just ignore Dorian sitting by the exit.

      As for boredom in longer sessions, I will often refresh hay when they start to get antsy (so I only put in a little each time), and I like to have some new consumable chew toys to add periodically (willow twigs, palm plates, other edible branches). You can also give them some fresh herbs or other salad greens during the session.

       

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks so much Dana! Will follow your advice. They both seem less stressed which helps too.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      We had a good 2hr date yesterday, and the plan was to repeat it and maybe add an hour if they both seemed happy.  Well here we are 8hrs later and Miu is washing Dorian.  I don’t think they are bonded yet, as I don’t see Dorian reciprocating yet. He may have when they were napping together as it sort looked like it, but I couldn’t really see well. But I think we are close.  They are sharing Dorian’s litter/ hay box as the pee pads with hay were not working as they kept peeing next to them. They are in the living room together right now which is where they both hang out during freeroam time. My plan is they go in their own spaces for night time.

      Questions

      – Is there anything I can do to get Dorian to reciprocate grooming? Should I be worried? He usually licks everything so I am actually a little confused about it. He will sort of nibble at her fur, more like just stick his nose in it for and sort of maw at it for a couple seconds. Not aggressive.

      – what next? I was thing I would let them hang out during the day until the weekend (I can’t do any overnight monitoring before then). Is that OK? If they bond before that will that cause issues?

      – other than no fighting for 48hrs, what else should I look out for before calling them bonded and okay to move in together? . I was thinking once Dorian reciprocate grooming? Anything else?

      My plan is to do the 48hrs in my current set up. And during that time scrub Dorian’s room completely and redecorate it as much as possible for them to then move in there together. I would let them hang out together there during the day and then hopefully they would be good. I would probably get up and check on them a bunch. I mean it all depends on how the rest of this week goes.

      Thanks!


    • DanaNM
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      Well would ya look at that! Awesome!

      As for reciprocal groooming, it doesn’t always happen right away, and in many pairs the grooming does tend to be a bit more one sided. My sense is that the reciprocal grooming happens once they are completely done sorting out their dominance. So in this case, Dorian might not groom until he’s sure Miu isn’t going to challenge him.

      The things I look for when deeming them “bonded” are:

      • extremely comfortable around each other. no concept of “personal space”. so one bun can be all up in the other bun’s business and it doesn’t cause tension at all.
      • food sharing (like, they will yank a piece of food out of each other’s mouths). they might try to steal each other’s treats, and it doesn’t cause a fight.
      • litter box sharing without tension
      • lots of time spent cuddling. doesn’t need to be 24/7, but there should be a lot of time spent together.
      • grooming by at least 1 bun. both is ideal but doesn’t always happen. a few of my pairs have had mostly 1 sided grooming. as long as you have all the other positives you should be good.
      • they’ve shown these positive behaviors for at least 48 hrs and obviously no fighting, fur pulling, etc. during that time.

      I would just keep on doing daily sessions until you can do the overnights. No worries about separating them when you can’t supervise. As long as they can see each other during that time they’ll be fine. You may even see them be like “OMG I missed you!” when you restart the session.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana!!

      I let them out together this morning and they are running amok together. Most of those I feel confident I can check off as they have never been very territorial around each other and sharing food, toys, etc is no issue, just need them to show the behavior for 48 hours! They don’t snuggle together much that I have seen yet, but they did a little bit yesterday. Mostly they seems to run about together, chew toys and eat. Miu likes to come up and chew the same toy as Dorian. She is very much like a little shadow following him. He doesn’t push her away, but will wander off occasionally. Getting little sister/ big brother vibes from them.  I wish they would both just sleep a bit honestly!  It be easier keeping track of them. Maybe they’ll tire each other out playing today and I’ll see some snuggling later.

       


    • prince dorian the bun
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      They do everything together, but sleep… I am not sure why. They are currently napping in different corners of the room. Should I be concerned? Or it will just take some time? (& yes I am a worrier it seems! Sorry Dana!!)


    • DanaNM
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      It could just take a bit more time. My pairs have usually really rounded the corner during their first overnight. This is a case where I might make the area a bit smaller, to encourage them to spend some time together, as well as make sure they aren’t just at a “tolerance” phase. I generally like big spaces, but at this point it would be good to be extra sure that they won’t fight when they are confined for long periods of time.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana! Going to do the overnight tonight and thinking of just using Miu’s pen for it. (I’ll clean up the area and remodel a bit) So that should be a good way to test the smaller size.

      They aren’t territorial, share food, & they did loaf around next to each other a bit yesterday. There did seem to be a little stand off where Miu wanted washing and Dorian still not really giving any. She did a couple of light nips, but he didn’t move off and they seemed okay right after. Should I be worried about that? She really wants him to groom her, and though he’s been pretty affectionate otherwise, he’s still not. The most she gets is him digging his nose in her fur for a bit.

      Right now they are doing some follow the leader game, that involves hoping over everything and crashing into stuff…  and stopping to chew other stuff. It’s adorable, but if I was hoping for a calmer bunnies with a duo, that has not happened.


      • DanaNM
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        I don’t think it’s something to be worried about, but if it escalates beyond light nipping you’ll have to reset the 48 hr clock.

        Getting into trouble together is def bonded bunny behavior! LOL

        With Miu’s pen, I would just try to disguise it as a new area. I would wipe everything down with dilute vinegar, and possibly block the view to the rest of the room. Since Miu is the one showing more dominance behaviors right now, I wouldn’t want that to escalate to anything further by moving them into her area. If they start having issues in her pen, be prepared to move them back to the current area.

        My impression is they are not quite there yet, but are very close. In my experience, if there is any questioning in your mind, they are not quite bonded yet. Usually there is a moment where you are like “OH, ok, NOW they are bonded”. Often that first 24 hrs really seals the deal.

        . . . 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.  


    • Cinnamon Bun
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      Aaawww… I’m so happy for Dorian and Lillian (and you)! ♡

      This bonding situation will work out, don’t worry. I love Mui’s name… in Chinese it translates to plum flower or apricot. That’s so adorable. Also if it’s okay, what’s Dorian’s Instagram account? He’s total cuteness overload! ♡

      ♡ (´。• ᵕ •。`)


    • prince dorian the bun
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      thanks @cinnamon Bun! It’s actually Japanese name for beautiful rabbit… 美兔 . I like the Chinese translation too! Dorian’s instagram is: dorianthebun. I will probably update it soon to include Miu! If you have an account please share 🙂

       

      Thanks Dana, I actually don’t think she’s being territorial, she’s just a little needy. She really wants him to give love, nothing else bothers her in the slightest… they were both in her undisguised space earlier and she didn’t seem bothered at all. (I was trying to get some stuff out of it, and they just like to get underfoot). If anything she seems the more bonded of the two, she grooms him a lot, follows him all the time, sits on his head and eats food out of his mouth, has to chew the same toy as him. He seems to need a bit more space, but never seems annoyed at her, perplexed at times, but most he does is just move away a little. I will however give it a wipe down and change things up to be safe, and will be close by in case anything happens. I can see the space size being more of an issue, but will find out tonight!

       


    • Cinnamon Bun
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      That’s cute! My bun, Neo also has a Japanese name (not the bun in my profile) and it means brand new, new piece. In Tswana it means gift! ♡

      I actually don’t have an Instagram account for my bun right now, but maybe I’ll and share some photos to the lounge.


    • DanaNM
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      Good luck! Sending many happy bunny cuddling vibes!

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      I am always a fan of bun photos @cinnamon bun. Neo is a cute name too.

      Thank Dana. So far the hard part is Dorian doesn’t want to be in the pen, he’s never spent the night anywhere but his room since I got him, so he probably feels confused. I ended up putting his favorite bed in there, I know that might be a bad idea with other buns, but he doesn’t care if Miu is in it, he just likes to lick it for comfort. He’s a little sweet weirdo at times. Miu is in a hideybox and seems unfazed. But this is where she’s been sleeping even if things are moved about and don’t smell as much of her. Anyway 6.5 hours to go!


    • Cinnamon Bun
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      I just went onto Dorian’s Instagram and I can totally see why you adopted Mui. She’s beautiful… she’s so unbelievably pretty. I’m straight up dying right now! ♡


    • Cinnamon Bun
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      Thank you, also.


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks cinnamon bun, 🐰😊

      And thanks Dana! They made it 48 hrs together! Both of them seem happy together.  I have spotted grooming from both. They tend to sleep in separate spots, but do also snuggle together.  Food sharing isn’t an issue, though Miu keeps trying to eat things Dorian is chewing on.

      The only downside is peeing out of the box. It was better last night so I am hoping that it will calm down,  but so much laundry. Also the poops the first night was out of control. I think last night it was mainly Miu and her being a bit messy as they were just by the litter/hay boxes and just a few.

      Anything else I need to do? I think I have a pair! Do they tend to get a bit closer over time? Never been around an actual pair, so not sure how inseparable they should be.  They both like to do their own things, Miu has way more energy and is still exploring her new space, but they both always check in with each other.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds amazing! I think you’ve done it! Congrats!!!!

      Pairs vary a lot in how attached at the hip they are, and you might find they get closer over time (especially since they had a relatively easy bonding process, although I’m sure it didn’t feel easy to you!). Some seem madly in love, other pairs seem more like good buddies. As long as you are seeing a good amount of positive behaviors and no tension between them, I think you are good!

      Mine on avg seem to spend part of the day apart, and then another good chunk of the day together. I’ve noticed it seems like they tend to sleep separately during the day, but together at night. Bonnie and Cooper have definitely gotten closer over time.

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Given some of the bonding stories I read, I agree it was an easier one.  If it hadn’t been my first time it would probably not seemed difficult at all, but I am so lucky for your help! The end part was actually relatively smooth, more me worrying needlessly than them doing anything.  It is so nice to have put Miu’s pen away and have just two hay boxes! They were also left completely alone freeroaming for a couple hours and it went well! It was sleepy time, so I don’t think they moved!

       


    • Cinnamon Bun
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      Congratulations!!! ♡


    • DanaNM
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      Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you, Dorian, and Miu! And bonding is always stressful, and especially for first time bonders it can seem like a never-ending process!

      I’m going to edit your thread title to say they were a success!

      . . . 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.  


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks!!!

      & one last question (sorry @DanaNM )

      there was a lot of poops scattered about their room this morning, I suspect Dorian as he’s more of a climber than Miu (she probably responsible for the ones near the litter though). It was pretty musky too. Is this territorial? Anything to be worried about? At least the peeing seems to have stopped, but how long does this last? They were good the last night so thought we were done.

      They aren’t appearing to have any issues, they have been doing some mutual grooming and sitting near each other, ganging up to mob me for snacks (I resisted, they have gotten too many lately!).

       


    • DanaNM
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      Territorial poops are super normal in a newly bonded pair! It’s like they are staking their turf as a couple. Nothing to worry about 😉

      With my pairs sometimes it only lasts a day, other times it gradually improves over a couple weeks.

      . . . 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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      Congratulations!!

      I have been loosely following this tread, you’ve done a great job. Wishing you lots of happily bonded years ahead!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Thanks Dana! It was a bit better today. Also they are getting more snuggly by the day. There’s been a lot more grooming, mostly from Dorian, but Miu usually reciprocates.

      Thanks @GlennTheLionhead!


    • HipHopBunny
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      I just came across this thread – WOW!! Congratulations!! 😀 This is amazing that it took so little time for them to bond… They must be a great pair. <3

      I’m looking forward to all of the happily bonded pics! 😉

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Forum BONDING *BONDED* Dorian and Miu (formerly Lillian) Bonding thread