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Forum BONDING Rebonding after fight

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    • Mmh
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      4 posts Send Private Message

        Hello,

        I have 2 male neutered lionheads that I am trying to bond, Leo and Pete. We had been bonding them for 4 months and had finally worked our way up to their first overnight. Everything seemed to be going great and they were together in a neutral pen 24/7 for about 2 weeks. The night before “move-in” day into what their living space would be, they had a fight (unfortunately we did not see what happened, only the aftermath) and Leo would not go near Pete. We separated them and were planning to restart bonding, but the next day Leo became very sick and had emergency surgery to remove a non-cancerous mass. He had about 3.5 weeks of recovery before we started rebonding, and it is not going well. Prior to this, they were never overly aggressive toward each other. Leo has always been super happy to be around Pete, Pete has been the grump that will nip him, but it was never overly aggressive and they never truly fought. Since the fight, Leo and Pete are both VERY aggressive toward each other. We have tried moving them to the bath tub to start but it feels worse than it ever was before. Leo is now also spraying everywhere, which neither of them ever did previously either. Does anyone have any tips on how to proceed or thoughts on why they are acting so differently? I know that fights can change them, but they both seem to be acting so drastically different. It’s such a bummer considering how close we were after 4 long months, I am so discouraged being set back like this. Any tips or advice would be so much appreciated!

        Thanks!!


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        9016 posts Send Private Message

          I’m so sorry you haven been going through this, very stressful!

          I suspect that Leo’s illness may have been what initially caused the fight, but it sounds like this might have been a pretty tough bond to begin with. There is a possibility that they just aren’t a good match and/or are holding a grudge over the fight. I think in your case it would be good to take a longer break with no contact between them (ideally out of sight and smell range) for at least a month (maybe 2). This will give everyone a break (including you) and let them forget each other a bit. Also be extra sure that both buns’ health is good and there aren’t any underlying issues that could affect things.

          Then go back to your pre-bonding (living side by side with side swaps every two days) for at least a few weeks. Try to build up positive associations during this time, so feed them near each other, etc. Once you start bonding sessions again, I would opt for a very large, very neutral, and even slightly stressful location. For example, 2 x-pens linked up in a friend’s house or your backyard (assuming they don’t go outside). I have found large spaces work best for tough bonds as they have space to move away from each other without things escalating to a full on fight.

          I’m sorry there isn’t an easy solution! If you opt to stop trying to bond them, they could very well live happily as neighbors. Even when not bonded, buns benefit from having another bunny around, and there are stories of “failed bonds” that after a year of living as neighbors “suddenly” decided they wanted to be friends.

          . . . 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.  

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      Forum BONDING Rebonding after fight