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BUNNY 911 – If your rabbit hasn’t eaten or pooped in 12-24 hours, call a vet immediately!  Don’t have a vet? Check out VET RESOURCES 

The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum BEHAVIOR How to Get My Bun Used to Being Picked Up

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    • Dally
      Participant
      49 posts Send Private Message

        Hey guys, I have a bun that hates being picked up. Are there any tips on getting my bunny to like being picked up?


      • Dally
        Participant
        49 posts Send Private Message

          I know i’m holding her right (I’ve looked up the best way to hold a bun), once I have picked her up she’s fine, it just when i’m lifting her.


        • Bam
          Moderator
          16929 posts Send Private Message

            Adult rabbits as a rule really, really hate being picked up. It’s an instinct. Getting picked up means you’re about to become someone’s dinner.

            That said, with time, most buns can learn that getting picked up can actually mean sth nice, like treats and cuddles. It will always have be on the bun’s own terms, though. If your bun struggles when being picked up – let him/her down on the floor again.

            Continuous frequent picking the bun up for whatever reason can result in a form of flooding. Flooding basically means you overwhelm the bun. Some adult buns will respond well to this, baby buns will as a rule respond well. But the majority of adult buns will just hate it and either try to fight you or shut down.

            Its quite normal for your bun to hate being picked up if shes more than 4-6 months old. It’s got nothing to do with you or how you handle her.

            We still do have to pick our buns up now and then for nail clipping and wound care and the normal once-over health check. What you can do is to reward her when you’ve picked her up. Give her a yummy treat, then let her back down on the floor and ignore her. No nail clipping or prodding and poking, just give her a yummy treat (sunflower seed, half a raisin, thin slice of apple), then let her go.

            It can take a very long time for your bun to accept getting picked up, but that’s perfectly normal too.

             


          • LBJ10
            Moderator
            16976 posts Send Private Message

              Yes, most bunnies do not like being picked up. No amount of desensitizing will get them to enjoy it. But Bam is correct, you can get most bunnies used to being handled. They will learn to tolerate it, but they won’t like it. I always started with baby steps and then worked my way up. Start with picking bunny up for a few seconds and follow with a reward. Show them that being picked up doesn’t necessarily mean something “bad” is going happen (nail clipping, etc.). Some people prefer to be totally hands off, but I personally don’t favor this because it can make it impossible (if not traumatizing) if you find yourself REALLY needing to pick them up for some reason.


            • Dally
              Participant
              49 posts Send Private Message

                Thanks! she was getting a lot better, but then I went on a vacation for a weekend, and my mom took care of her, and now she is terrified and runs away whenever i come near. My mom is great with buns, and my bun loves her, so idk what happened. maybe she’s is just scared of me because i have new smells on me? Or did she forget me? How long is a buns memory?

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            Forum BEHAVIOR How to Get My Bun Used to Being Picked Up