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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 new owner, handling Qs

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    • CaptJackRabbit
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      So I’ve had Capt Jack for two weeks. I had held him with his previous owner and even picked him up a couple times. Since I’ve brought him home, I’ve tried to take it slow, but he’s just not that interested in me, even when I reward his approach. He used to let me pet him a lot more than he does now that I’ve been letting him out of the cage! Everytime I try to pick him up, he gets anxious, to put it nicely. I’m disappointed since I had no trouble earlier. Any tips? He is a Dwarf Hotot, so certainly on the small side.

      Also, I  have a question about neutering. He’s old enough (10 mo), but he hasn’t benn fixed yet. I know that it makes litter box training easier, but since there’s no major problems that seem related, I’m unsure. Has anyone noticed behavioral changes after neutering males other than in this area? It doesn’t seem as required for health reasons to alter for males, but if people have noticed huge personality differences/improvements or have other reasons to suggest it, I’ll make it happen (money certainly is an issue, but I’m prepared if neccessary). Other than decreases spraying and "healthier pet" I hadn’t heard many people say that they became more cuddly or anthing. I’d appreciate your thoughts, and thanks for your time.


    • x liddo bunny x
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      Welcome CaptJackRabbit =) thanks for giving a bun a home. =) youve come to the right place for questioning. =) first of all…..

      fix him. he can be. where do you live. we have a discussion about vets for people in the southern Cali area. i got mine at 10 weeks and mine is only 12 weeks old now so if i can, you can definately at 10 months. many bunnies dont like being held. like Binky Bunny says,"how would u feel if someone 10 times ur size picks you up?" usually when u ignore them they should come to you. if you advance at them, they will only run away. usually when buns are not fixed, it is harder to have them as a "cuddle buddy" it is better after their fixed but not always. depends on the bun. sometimes the picking up and petting can also be fear. when i first got my bun (abotu a month ago) she stayed in my lap when i pet her and didnt go anywhere often and it was easy for me to pick her up but as soon and she got comfey she didnt like it. and when she got really hormonal (she started doing the boy thing on my other female bunny) she was more violent (she still is cuz she got spayed only last tuesday and it takes awhile for the hormones to die down) and she never let me go near her when she has alot of space to run (unless my otherbunny comes over to me first and the coast is clear) and when i try to pick her up out of her cage to put her in the play area in my living room she wiggles scraches (not intentionally because i didnt start cliping her nails till 2 weeks after i got her) and jumps out of my hands landing on the floor, lucily she has only managed to escape twice doing that. now i use a blankie. she does better with that. as for my other bun she loves attention. she loves kisses and hugs but she hates being picked up. she was also spayed last tuesday. she loves showing off too and playing with a blankie. she will sit on my lap but she prefers exploring. and she is also better at the litter box than the other one.

      so i would recomend you fixing him like everyone on this forum would say. i bet ull see some posts soon about that. =) (advance heads up)

      oh, to add, mochi has started having signs of being friendlier after me getting her spayed. she is starting to give me more kisses and ask for more pets and face rubs (where my face and hers rub, like bunnies do. i think she thinks i am a large bunny…. =P) i am not sure about my other one yet (emo) she is still doing her thing. dont think her hormones are down yet so so far, she is still the same. she is starting to get better at her litter box though, not perfect….. but better. less strays =P so definately a bonus to heutering and spaying.

      if u have a male, i think he will start spraying you and everywehre else. does ur bun live inside or out? well either way, i dont think u want ur bun to spray you while ur playing with him. =) not a good thing.


    • CaptJackRabbit
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      Even though Capt Jack is fully grown, he hasn’t sprayed yet while I’ve had him (2 weeks), and he is indoor. Orginially, just little puddles ourside of the cage when digging, which have mostly shifted over to the litter box.

      I had read that females become much friendlier after getting fixed, but I haven’t heard that about males. As for population problems, he is a lone bunny w/out plans of getting a buddy at the moment, but I would certainly make sure that everyone was fixed if that was (or ever is) the case.

      Also, I’m in Nebraska, so vet recs in CA won’t help much. But, I have gotten quotes. The highest one is $160, the next one (which comes highly recommended in the community… seriously everyone I called asking if they have an exotic vet who does this recommended I call this place) is $115, and the lowest one is $70, but they make me nervous b/c it’s so low and they said they would only do neutering (though they did get a good review with someone I’ve met who had her exotic pet neutered there). I don’t know if any of these will take income into account, but I will ask, since it can’t hurt.

      It’s recommended that males get fixed around 6 mo and I know that much older ones are routinely fixed, but will there likely be less behavioral change b/c Capt Jack is older?

      Oh, and what is the blanket trick about picking up/being held?


    • skunklionshow
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      Boy…I’m relocating to NE just to get my bun fixed!!!  Make sure that the vet has experience w/ bunny anesthesia b/c it is often trickier than cat/dog anesthesia.

      I use the towel/blanket technique when I need to trim her nails or do meds or misc healthcare crap.  I stand near her w/ the blanket and quickly toss it over her head and pick her up.  Sometimes I have to do this when she is in her cage.  If I cover her eyes…I can usually get her up and do everything quickly and easily.

      I love your bun’s name!  I’m proof that you can NEVER ask too many questions on binky.


    • CaptJackRabbit
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      Thanks! Yea, I realize that compared to a lot of the country that it is pretty cheap, but I’m a grad student so every little bit adds up!

      Thanks about the name… since he’s a dwarf hotot (all white with black bands around the eyes) and a boy, I wanted to play off the whole guy with eyeliner thing… so it was either Capt Jack (Johnny Depp’s character, Capt Jack Sparrow, in Pirates…) or David Bowe. I’ve been happy with my choice. I call him C.J. for short.


    • Gravehearted
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      welcome welcome CaptJackRabbit!! 🙂

      most buns aren’t so hot on being picked up. As xliddobunnyx mentioned, we’re awfully huge compared to lil bunnies. It also takes time to build trust and really bond. So, as he comes to trust you it might be less stressful for him. One of my favorite ways is to lay on the floor and ingore the bun. I’ll read or watch tv minding my own business. most bunnies will find it impossible to resist checking you out and sniffing or poke at you. Just keep doing your thing, it’s ok to talk to the bun, but for the first day or two just let him sniff you. We’re so much less intimidating when we’re on their level. It also is fun to lay on the floor and hold a stick (or a cardboard toilet paper core) and let your bun tug on the other end. Although treats need to be giving sparingly, bribery also helps win over buns. Give him some time to develop a level of comfort with you.

      In regards to neutering – I’m so glad to hear you’ve been looking into it. Jack will likely mellow out for sure and generally be happier and healthier. It sounds like he’s not exhibiting the kinds of behavoirs some males do – like circling your legs, nipping or humping – but with time it’s likely he might. Unneutered buns are kinda like huge balls of hormones hopping around, ya know? I think they’re happier and able to have a healthier life if they’re neutered. Also his litterbox habits will improve and he won’t spray urine once he’s neutered.

      I wouldn’t equate price with level of service, since some clinics get special funding for low cost spay / neuters. Since you’re reseaching vets, rabbit.org has a good list of questions (below) to help you pick a rabbit savvy vet to do Jack’s neuter:

      * about how many rabbit clients does the veterinarian see in a year?

      * how many spays/neuters OF RABBITS has the veterinarian has done in the past year?

      * what was the success rate?

      90% success is way too low. Every doctor, whether for animals or humans will occasionally lose a patient; usually because of an undiagnosed problem. veterinarians across the country who spay and neuter rabbits for the House Rabbit Society have lost on average less than 1/2 of 1%.

      * if any were lost, what was the cause?

      * does the veterinarian do “open” or “closed” neuters? (closed is preferable–let your veterinarian explain the difference)

      * is entry to the testicles made through the scrotum or the abdomen? (Entry via the abdomen unnecessarily increases the trauma for male rabbits)

      * does the veterinarian require withholding of food and water prior to surgery in rabbits? (this is a big no no–rabbits can’t vomit, so there is no risk of that during surgery, and rabbits should never be allowed to get empty digestive tracts)

      * what anesthetics are used (some veterinarians are quite successful with anesthetics other than isofluorene, but the bunny is “hung over” after surgery, which increases the probability that s/he will be slow to start eating again, which can lead to serious problems if not dealt with.

      * Review the procedure (op and immediate post-op) with your vet. Ask how problems will be detected: how often will they (the veterinarian and the techs) look in on your kid and what will they look for?. What will they do pre-op to find any potential problems? How will they support your bun in the hours after surgery: O2, warmth, quiet (barking dogs and yowling cats in the next cage are probably not helpful), and stimulation? What are they going to do to make it come out right?! Ask questions! That will get your veterinarian’s attention. Let them know you’re concerned and that you’ll be paying attention.


    • wendyzski
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      The earlier you get him snipped the less chance that some of his hormonal actions will become "habit".  I fostered a late-neutered male bun for a while and he still sprayed like a little lawn sprinkler!


    • CaptJackRabbit
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      I guess I’m lucky that he hasn’t been displaying much hormonal behavior. The only thing I can think of (and this maynot be hormonal) is he has nipped a few times, but only in the get-that-out-of-my-way kind of way. He has circled my feet only a couple times, and not lately. No humping or spraying. But I will talk to a vet and look into doing it sooner rather than later to keep any of those habaits from forming, hopefully!

      In the mean time, comments welcome about people’s experiences after getting their boys fixed. And thanks for responses.


    • Hedi
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      Hi and Welcome!

      I have two girls both fixed and they have impeccable litter box habits! They have a bedroom on the second floor and have full run of the house. They go upstairs, potty and come back down to play.

      Last week I adopted a 6mth old minilop from the humane society. They do not fix their rabbits before adopting them out. The quickest appt I could find to get him neutered is 5/22. Hes doing really well. He loves to hang out outside my girls’ cages. He circles my feet often and follows me everywhere while he is out. I havent even attempted to litter box train him until he is fixed.

      But I have never had a boy bun before. I do expect him to settle down once his hormones are under control. He is just so sweet now I expect him to be even better after surgery.

      Several people on here have little boys that have been neutered so I am sure some great advice will come your way!


    • x liddo bunny x
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      there is a way to hold down ur bun called the bunny burrito but my bun doesnt like that much. however, my buns like to have a towel over their head to play peekaboo with me so they arnt as figity when i put the towel over them and pick them up by scooping the sides on the blanket and then while holding her close i flip the corner of the towel so she can see and slowly she came a little acustomed to it and less scared. her breathing rythem is alot calmer. but i dont hold her long. it is only to move her. as for the bunny burrito, it is basically wrapping ur bunny snug in an oversized towel. keeps them from sqwerming while u snip and check. =) pictures can be found
      under bunny info and then monthly maintainance up on top. =)


    • Lucy
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      ok so… I have a boy bunny. and I had him BEFORE he was fixed..eek.

      Fujoe totally calmed down after being fixed. Granted he was almost a year old- I got him fixed about a month or so after getting him. But Fujoe was aggressive, lunging at myself and at my boyfriend. Biting nipping, everything. His previous owner said that he was really docile- so I wonder that it was something that the change in environment and being older brought on. Fujoe never sprayed- thank goodness. But his pee was really stinky before-hand, and that smell went away (until just recently because we got a second bunny). Fujoe was always in distructive mode. Destroying everything in sight.

      After the operation (like 7 weeks after mind you) he totally calmed down. No more aggresive behavior, not as much distruction and a love bunny. He doesn’t like to be picked up often, but he loves to be petted- petted for hours. He will occasionaly jump into my lap when I’m at the table or on the couch.

      It helped a lot getting him fixed- or at least in my case. I would have had to give him away if he was as distructive as he was before. I couldn’t believe how much calmer her got- Oh, but it didn’t change his personality which was a difficult thing to deal with for me. I didn’t want a bummer bunny. But he still runs laps around the house, does binkies and is really silly. The neutering just made the bad things go away.

      I hope that helped. I know that there are no bad behaviors now, but you don’t want something to come up- because it is not fun-at all. Good luck!


    • Lucy
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      I don’t know if I made it clear, but Fujoe was about 10 months- 1 yr when I got him fixed. Let me know if you need anything else..

      btw- your bunny’s name ROCKS! One of the best I’ve heard of..


    • CaptJackRabbit
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      Thanks, everyone! You are very helpful. I’m sure you’ll be glad that I have been changed from uncertain that the risks and money were worth it to being convinced that it is… I’m looking for an appointment for his alteration next week.

      Seems like most people have had positive experiences with fixing their companions, if done early enough, which is good to hear. Thanks also to Fujoe… since C.J. is the same age and sex, I feel really comfortable with it now. As some might have noted in my other posts, he certainly is a digger and I could see how that could be really destructive, and if this calms him down a bit and makes him a little cuddlier, it will be well worth it (along with the other benefits, of course). Thanks all!


    • Deleted User
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      Teddy was the same to start with.. not interested in me much as soon as i started letting him out of the kitchen but now after 6 months he will sit on my lap for treats… he still hates to be picked up tho and probably always will hate it but he trusts me enough to know im not gonna hurt him now… in fact he trusts me that much to follow me around my flat… if he’s resting in the lounge and i go into the bedroom.. he comes bounding in to see what im upto. They do take time and its a little frustrating but so rewarding and very cute when they follow you around.


    • Anita Stark
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      Hi Capt Jack, I love that name too!  Glad to see you’ve already gotten lots of good advice and decided to go with it.  I have a boy bunny too and your first post here sounded almost exactly like one I made before deciding to have Sable neutered.  Like CJ he wasn’t really exhibiting much undesirable behaviour besides bouts of pooping around the living room.

      Anyways, he came through the procedure with flying colours and I have no regrets about having it done.

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Forum BEHAVIOR new owner, handling Qs