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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BONDING *BONDED* Scared bun, stubborn bun and stressed human

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    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Hello,

      I have posted recently regarding bonding, I thought I would create a new post as my last one is a little old now.

      Spay

      Both bunnies are neutered and spayed. Glenn is my og bunny, he’s now 4.5 yrs and neutered since about 9mo.

      Bella is my recent rescue, she is a sweet and shy soul who is about 4-5 yrs and she was spayed by the rescue in July.

      Housing

      Both are living in side by side x pens with about a foot of space between them and alternate free roaming time.

      Background

      We have done 3 weeks of pre-bonding living by side by side and scent swapping. They have been on 10 days of dates with a one day break in between. They have moved from small bathroom dates to larger semi-neutral territory. Dattes have been going pretty well I think, no out right fights, no one is out for blood or chasing, and there’s often snuggles and purrs in the sessions. Being a 4 year old rescue I do not know Bellas past. I do know that the rescue attempted to bond her with a previous male who had these controlling tendencies and wouldn’t allow her to move to eat or even get up, the decided to terminate the bond because in their words they were worried she may become scared of other rabbits

      I think it is possible I am dealing with a rabbit that is scared of other rabbits.

      She is showing these scared behaviours with Glenn. The bonding sessions so far have been nice and positive lots of snuggles and purring but they have also been very strictly and carefully managed by myself to prevent any escalations.

      Bella is a funny one, she will not really display dominance but she will not groom Glenn under any circumstances and is very instant in begging for grooms. She’s a little unpredictable I think due to fear, I need to pet her a lot to keep her calm, her eyes are often bulging and she is visibly stressed. I have not seen her run or binky since she’s lived with us 🙁 but sometimes she slowly creep over too Glenn and they have a little snuggles which is nice. However other times Glenn will walk/run past her and she’ll lunge at him to bite or rip his fur out and then she’s chill again laying down and will snuggle again. From watching them this feels like it’s coming from a place of fear and often out of the blue after a nice bunny cuddle, she even bit his cheek once in the middle of a snuggle. I understand she may be requesting grooms but my gut is telling me she’s scared of other rabbits by the way she acts. She is also partially sighted.

      Glenn has been pretty stubborn and insistent in displaying dominance, at first he would hump and give her courtesy ear licks before begging for grooms, since the biting he’s stopped the courtesy licks and is more insistent and will go into humping crazes of repeatedly humping, nipping her bum and swatting at her bum with his paws, I stop him when he starts to get a little intense or if he swats as I’m not sure if that’s a behaviour I should allow. I need to pet Bella to keep her calm and I have had to stop her nipping in retaliation because she lunge nips him and rips a fur chunk out literally to his skin so it looks really quite painful. I must reiterate that when the dominance displays aren’t happening they both actively snuggle up to one another and groom around each other so I don’t believe there’s bad blood between them.

      So after all that background I have 2 main questions.

      1. Can I bond a rabbit that’s scared of other rabbits and how could I go about bonding in this situation, is there something different I could do?

      2. Should I allow Bella to fur pull /bite Glenn or not? My worry is that these bites are her way of retaliating and claiming dominance and I want to allow her to show her dominant behaviours and I don’t want to stop her biting but then allow Glenn to hump, because I don’t want to create a false hierarchy… But at the same time like I said these bites look very painful and are a bit aggressive, I wouldn’t stop her if she was mounting or lightly nipping but it doesn’t feel right allowing one of the bunnies to inflict pain on the other? On top of that when she does this Glenn dominance displays get more intense… So yeah I am at a miss with how to move forward with this behaviour.

      Thanks if you made it this far!


    • DanaNM
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      Thanks for using the template!

      So, in my experience with a scared/shy bun, it’s best to go really slowly through the bonding process and not push them too hard. I think this is the best way to prevent a false hierarchy from establishing.

      In terms of what to allow, I do think it’s important to allow Bella to set her boundaries with Glenn, so I would try to strike a balance. I would not pet her so much to subdue her to let him mount, but I also wouldn’t let her just attack him. I think it could be best to allow a brief interaction and then redirect Glenn away if he doesn’t back off on his own (but go with your comfort level on this, you know them best). Is the bonding space large enough for her to move away from him if he’s bugging her?

      Also keep in mind it’s super early in the process, so it sounds like they are doing pretty good all things considered. I would definitely keep them in fully neutral territory for now. Sometimes moving into semi-neutral too fast can really trigger lots of mounting etc. I would wait to move to semi-neutral until they are spending several hours together in neutral with no intervention from you and lots of positive behaviors.

      . . . 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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      Thanks for your insight on this!

      That’s promising to hear that you’ve bonded scared bunnies before! I think my worst worry was that I may not be able to fully bond an scared bunny

      Your point about not petting her while he mounts is very helpful because I thought this was keeping her calm but perhaps I am actually interfering where I shouldn’t be! Maybe this is where I can find balance then I.e allowing her to respond to being mounted for a brief moment to set boundaries but then perhaps not allowing her lunge at him when he’s minding his own business.

      The bathroom wasn’t big enough for her to escape which is why I moved to semi-neutral as this is definitely big enough for her to move away which she does sometimes. Perhaps I can look around the house and rethink a neutral space that is also big enough for them.

      I forgot how stressful and time consuming bonding can be 😂


    • DanaNM
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      Bonding is so stressful! I always start out thinking it will be so calm and it never is LOL. I have been told it’s easier when they aren’t your bunnies though.

      Keep us posted on how it goes, I do think with just some time and patience they will sort things out. There is definitely a balance with how much to pet. I like to pet lots in the early phases while they are just starting to get to know each other, but then I start easing off. It also doesn’t have to be linear. For example you could pet if they are asking for grooms, but maybe don’t pet if he’s mounting, and see how that goes.

      The fact that you have seen positive behaviors between them is encouraging. I re-read your first post and do want to say something about this: “she will not really display dominance but she will not groom Glenn under any circumstances and is very instant in begging for grooms.”

      To me that is actually a very clear expression of dominance from Bella. She is refusing to groom him, and is asking him to groom her. Usually grooming is a submissive behavior, or a way to earn some trust before a mounting attempt. So in this case, Bella is being pretty clear about what she wants and that she does not trust him yet! Glenn is refusing to groom and is trying to mount, so he is also showing dominant behaviors. Most of my pairs have started out like this, with both buns showing some dominant behaviors, it just takes time for them to sort things out.

      I try not to get too caught up in who will be top bun (because I’m often wrong when I try to guess LOL), and just focus on preventing fighting and building positive associations between them.

      . . . 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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      Yes I’m hoping that because there have never been outright fights yet that they will be able to bond.

      I see! So it seems then they still have a little way to go to build trust and just sort out their dynamics. I do feel they want to be friends when they aren’t arguing over boss bunny. I do agree there’s no point getting too caught up in their hierarchy dynamics, I guess at this stage I am trying to follow it because I know once they sort that out it can be a huge step in the bonding process! But yeah perhaps I would be wrong if I guess anyway, so far I can’t really predict it haha.

      I moved the to a new neutral space yesterday and somehow it was worse than the semi neutral dates…. I know that goes against what’s known about bonding on paper but Glenn was just obsessively mounting and would mount, thump, and forcefully shove his head under her. I did back off and give Bella the space to retaliate but she didn’t this time, she’s more shy in new spaces. I did have to smoosh Glenn down a couple times to just relax him as he was a bit of a maniac. I wonder sometimes if Glenn is one of those buns with residual hormones as he was this way with our rainbow bun Maggie, obsessively mounting, he also honks and sometimes the mounting looks like a lot more than a dominance thing….

      The session did still all seem within the normal realms of early stage bonding dates from what I’ve learnt on here.

      On a positive note Bella is coming out of her shell more! I believe she had/has so depression because of her past life. However, she’s self grooming now, her coat has improved so much. She’s started head and body shaking in happiness now and especially after a human-bunny snuggle, she’s spending more time playing with toys…… There’s still a way to go but her confidence is growing 🙂 I imagine all this is factoring into the bonding dates.


    • DanaNM
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      My senior bun, Bun Jovi, has always tended to be an obsessive mounter during dates too. It settles down over time! One thing that helped with him was adding some neutral tunnels and obstacles (like a box open on two sides) to the bonding area to allow the other bun to have an escape route, assuming your bonding area is large enough.

      If semi-neutral seemed better, then feel free to keep going in that space. Different spaces work better for different buns for sure. And I agree, the more confidence Bella builds the better that will be for bonding. 🙂

      Random other note about mounting. I noticed with Bun Jovi, when I feed parsley or dandelion he is a mounting maniac (with his already bonded partner). I’ve never found much info about this elsewhere, but both of those greens have really high calcium and are a diuretic, so I think it might stimulate his bladder in such a way that it triggers him to mount. If you currently feed a lot of those greens you might try eliminating them and see if you notice a difference!

      . . . 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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      Hello again!

      Thanks for your continued advice 🙂

      I moved them back to bathroom bond for the time being because the mounting was too excessive, they are doing pretty well.

      That’s so funny about the parsley thing lol. Actually I often give them parsley forage which I’ve stopped for now to see if it helps! The mounting has become less but they are also back to neutral so it’s hard to tell if that genuinely affected them or not.

      Things are going pretty smoothly, Bella now only gently nips for the most part until she gets a bit more frustrated so I pet them to calm them if she’s a bit too nippy. Glenn is mounting but less often, I also pet to calm of he gets to obsessive.

      Glenn grooms Bella a little now usually before a mounting attempt and I smeared banana on Glenn’s head to get Bella to groom him which worked! But only when there was Banana lol

      They are both still pretty stubborn in not grooming which has led things to become a little stagnate so we are in a cycle of mostly snuggles, requesting groom with a little mounting from Glenn and little nipping from Bella. I just wish they would cave now so we can progress lol.

      I’ve noticed some new behaviour the last two days, Bella is peeing in the neutral space and digging at the blankets quite vigorously which causes Glenn to also dig… I’m not really sure what this means, my theories are showing of strength, frustration or perhaps mutual play. Bella often digs the blankets in her own pen so I guess it’s not that abnormal!

      Also Glenn sometimes tries to get under her belly to nip which I stop immediately because I don’t want them to get hurt.

      Generally the air is good now and both are self grooming.

      On another note Bella is coming out of her shell more now and has even started to binky during her free roam time <3

       


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      This is how most of the sessions are now spent which is quite nice.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like they are doing well and are communicating! Now patience is the name of the game. 🙂

      . . . 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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      <p style=”text-align: left;”>Today I am feeling happy and slightly deflated at the same time!</p>
      While the positive behaviours are continuing, no one is giving in to the other. They will snuggle for a bit then Glenn will groom Bella a little so I get excited and think he’s giving in but then it’s followed by mounting immediately after. Bella will gently nip and finally gave him two licks on the face then nipped his head for grooms. Glenn is flopping next to her which is nice but then again will mount shortly after. Also they have started  are having these digging stand off where they vigorously dig around eachother. Bella will also scent mark and poop around him.

      Its starting to become more and more clear that they both have very dominant personalities… I really don’t feel that either will give in. Glenn has been used to being a solo bun having full roam of the house so it has become very much his domain so I am struggling to believe he will actually give up his ‘reign’. Glenn was also dominant bun in his last bunny relationship… But at the same time it is very clear that Bella is not willing to give in either.

      I am determined to continue with their bonding as I really would like this too work but I can’t shake the feeling that neither will give in and it might result in false bonds or the bond breaking further down the line.

      I guess what I am really wondering is how common is it that these type of pairs work, where both buns are very stubborn in their wants to be the dominant individual?

      What does keep me going though is that they haven’t fought and they do snuggle.

      I am hoping that I am just over thinking it a bit.


    • DanaNM
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      Not sure if I’ve said this here, but I am convinced that both buns think they are dominant in a lot of pairs, and it’s rare to find a completely submissive bun. So don’t worry about that! Try not to overthink things 😉

      They sound like they are doing really well to me, because they are communicating without fighting! And they are snuggling!

      I think they sound ready to start doing longer sessions if you haven’t already.

      . . . 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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      Okay, sorry if you’ve repeated yourself!

      That makes me feel a better, I think sometimes reading the Internet doesn’t always help as some articles i have read about bonding give a lot of attention to the whole hierarchy thing so they can easily plant a seed of doubt when things aren’t turning out as black and white as some information online. That’s what I love most about this forum, it’s a chance to hear about real experiences 😊

      Yes, the snuggles make me feel like they do like each other!

      I am doing 1hr sessions at the moment because they only neutral space I have is the bathroom and after a long day of work it can be quite draining to spend my down time sat in the bathroom lol. Also could be why it’s taking a little longer to move to semi-neuteral than I hoped!

      Perhaps on my next day off I can try several hours in the bathroom and if all goes well hopefully move them to semi neutral where the bonding would be easier for me in the evening.

      And on that note, time for the next session!


    • DanaNM
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      You’re doing a great job! And yes the internet can be overwhelming, lots of opinions! It can be a case of “too many cooks” sometimes for sure.

      I try to focus on the behaviors I’m seeing, and whether there’s an increase in positives (grooming, snuggling, relaxing, self grooming, etc.) and a general decrease in negatives (fighting, lunging, biting, fur pulling). Sometimes they may seem like they aren’t making progress, but if you aren’t seeing an increase in the negatives, that’s a good thing. It can take them time to trust each other, but taking that time has no bearing on how close their bond will be. 🙂

      I think doing some longer sessions on the weekends is a good idea! Maybe try for 2-3 hours on Saturday and Sunday. If you can work up to 2 hours during the week that would be good too (I used to put pillows in my bathtub and watch a movie lol). It sucks, but I really recommend staying in neutral until they have spent at least 4-6 hours there and are doing really really well. Ideally you would work up to 8-12 hours or an overnight in neutral before moving them to semi-neutral. Basically you’ll want them to seem bonded in neutral and “cemented” before moving to semi-neutral.

      Not sure if you can, but I’ve often gone to a friend’s house to use their neutral space for longer sessions once I get to the cementing phase. I used to live in a studio apartment and the long sessions in the bathroom just weren’t working for me. Plus my buns did better with more space, so I used my friend’s garage for a weekend to marathon them.

      . . . 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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      That’s a good way of thinking about in regards to the behaviours! I will keep. That in mind then!

      Well last night session was very nice, it was 1.5 hrs long and there was a nice amount of grooming from Glenn and Bella licked him with like 2 quick licks again so I put banana on his head and she then continued too lick his head for a good minute so that was nice! I think the banana helps to keep the peace a little because Glenn is starting to groom Bella but will beg from grooms back and when she doesn’t comply he goes mounting crazy and if I don’t intervine he’ll start digging her rump! So I think we’re at a place of ‘okay I’ll groom you, but you gotta groom me back and if you don’t ill tell you off’ stage from Glenn and Bella is just playing hard to get lol

      Bella is also a bit of an attention queen as we’ve noticed, if Glenn grooms her and then stops to groom himself she nips him withing about 10 seconds, Glenn gets annoyed at this and mounts as I said or just moves away from her…. What’s funny though is she also requests pets from me and my partner any any possible opportunity so she’s definitely a cuddle bug haha.

      Thanks for the info on when to move to semi-neutal ect, I’ll keep that in mind then so I don’t move them too quickly, the last thing I was is for them to fight and then to have to start this whole process again after several weeks of separation and pre-bonding. I’m not sure about how much I will have the mean to do an overnight in semi-neutral, all my friends and parents live in the city over from mine… I might be able too see if my boyfriend parents will let us stay the night with the buns as they live in the same city as us! Although unfortunately in UK I don’t think the house rabbit community is as large as the US.. A lot of people here are horrified at the thought of keeping a bunny indoors so ai may need to do some persuading for the overnight session!

      I’m going to set netflix up in on my phone in the bathroom tonight and try for a 2hr!

      Should I be putting stuff like water and hay in there when the sessions start to exceed a couple hours?


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Oh also, the last couple sessions Glenn has laid on top of Bellas entire head so they are in like a T shape, but her entire head is covered…. Do you know what on earth this behaviour is? I usually move him as I’m not sure how well Bella can breath when he does this.


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds like a very positive session! Grooming is always nice 🙂

      I wouldn’t add water yet (it usually just ends up spilling), but you can try adding some hay or giving them their salad during sessions. Sharing food is a very social activity in rabbits so that can help with bonding too.

      I usually add water when sessions get to around the 4 hour mark. I don’t add litter trays until they are doing really well together, like at least 6 hours with no intervention from me. Now that you are getting into longer sessions, I would also try to ease off on how much you intervene.

      As for the T shaped cuddling, I have no idea, but I’m sure she would move if she couldn’t breath! She probably thought she was getting groomed LOL

      . . . 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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      Thanks!

      I am going to give them their salad in tonight’s session 🙂

      Last night session was a little stale. I think Glenn is started to get pretty frustrated with Bellas persistent requests for grooms. She follows him around the bathroom, nipping his bum gently for attention, he has actually started to give her some quick grooms in response to these nips but she seems to want more still so will continue to pursue head grooms and nip when he doesn’t want to. What was quite different about this session is after a few groom requests were ignore, Bella fur pulled him, which she hasn’t done in a while and from that point (only 30 mins in) Glenn pretty much lost interest in the whole thing, he would retreat behind the door and start playing in the laundry out of sight of Bella. Bella was too shy to follow him into an unknown area, after about 5 minutes he’d come out and go to see Bella and she would pretty much nip him within the first minute which was followed by a thump by Glenn and him disappearing behind the door. I would need to coax him out as he’d just stay where Bella couldn’t bother him. This happened a totally of 4 times and after Glenn first retreat they barely interacted for the rest of the session.

      Is there generally any tips for this kind of behaviour or is it just continuing on as normal and just allow Glenn to disengage if he’s becoming fed up?

      I am considered taking a night off this week for everyone sanity just so we can all have a night to relax 🙂  especially before the hopeful long bonding this weekend.


    • DanaNM
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      I think these types of changes are normal as you get into longer sessions! Usually in longer sessions there will be little flurries of activity, and then longer time periods where they seem to ignore each other. This is all normal, and they don’t need to be interacting 100% of the time to be making progress, because choosing to ignore the other rabbit is still a choice. And yes, I would allow Glenn to retreat if he wants to. Him retreating is also part of them communicating and deciding the terms of their relationship. Since Bella was the scared one in the beginning, I think it’s actually a good sign that she is “asking” for what she wants. There can be some back and forth with this phase, sometimes with 1 step forward 2 back. It’s hard to know what’s going on in their little brains, but it’s all part of the process!

      . . . 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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      It FINALLY HAPPENED.

      Bella groomed Glenn and I mean she GROOOOMED him. A full couple minutes long groom. This is the breakthrough I’ve been waiting for, for 4 weeks mainly just because I was never 100% sure before that she actually ever liked him or not. Glenn groomed her back immediately after and then started showing some dominant behaviours again, I think he was just as excited as me to have her groom him so it kinda boosted his ego and resulted in more dominance displays. Although the 2 sessions before this Glenn groomed her loads, so I really can’t say what the dynamic of their relationship is but I am just happy to see that we’ve finally broken the barrier to mutual grooming!

      The funny thing is I actually had to take 4 days off bonding due to working 16 hr days (the increase in my work pattern is why I was ready to introduce a new bunny to the family. My partner lives with me to feed and give them attention but he isn’t comfortable doing the bonding). Anyway I was worried of what behaviours this could cause when resuming the bonding but it was almost like they just missed each other because the first session back Glenn immediately groomed her loads then we had another day off and then last night Bella groomed him a lot! I did notice after the grooming that a small chunk of Bellas fur was on the floor so perhaps a fur pull was the reason she finally caved.

      She’s still a bit nippy and Glenn is still a bit mounty but there’s now breaks in this where they cuddle and groom. And the only time I need to get involved now is if one of them begins to get a little too rough, maybe just once a session now!

      I’m feeling like this pairing could work! Fingers crossed. I am a little nervous of what they will be like when we move them to a larger space as Bella is very defensive and mistakes some behaviours for aggression. For example last night Glenn dug the towels a little near Bella and this upset her for some reason and she gave him a hard nip… She also tried to lunge once when I had them in semi neutral previously because Glenn ran across the room. So I think that will be the next hurdle (in the future once they are ready for semi-neutral).

      I do believe Bella may of been in fights previously and that’s why she’s a little defensive. The reason I think this is she wasn’t spay before she got to the rescue but she had a partner which means she was either used for breeding and by age 4 I guess they didn’t want her anymore… Not sure if mothers behave a little more defensively by nature especially towards a male. The other theory is she was kept with another unspay female which may have meant they fought. Either way I think that’s why she’s a bit fiesty with Glenn at times.

      I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the neutral space bonding after 4 weeks! I’m not going to rush but hopefully I can be watching Christmas films with them bonding in the lounge by the end of the month!

       


    • Susanne
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      Since I’m going through a tough bond too I know how good it must feel to get past a hurdle! My girl is also really nippy with the male. Same kind of things, when he digs a blanket, runs too fast past her, etc. With her though, I bonded her to my bridge bun last year and she didn’t nip AT ALL! She was totally different with him and they bonded in a week. So I think there is a lot to do with chemistry with different buns.


    • DanaNM
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      YEAHH!!!! That’s amazing!!! I’m so happy for you and them!!

      . . . 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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      *sigh*

      Well looks like there will be a long halt to the bonding process.

      Our poor little Bella is on antibiotics for a UTI for a minimum of 2 weeks in the best case scenario and facing the possibility of ultrasounds and other diagnostic tests to look for possible chronic problems.

      This may explain why she has been particularly difficult to bond, as shes not been aggressive as much as she’s just been unwilling.

      I hope they will remember their relationship and won’t need to start from scratch again when she gains her health back.


    • DanaNM
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      Oh no! 🙁  That’s so frustrating, but I’m glad you noticed the problem and she’s getting care. It’s so true that when one bun is having a medical issue is stalls the process. I don’t think you will have to start from scratch. Hopefully the pause will make them miss each other a bit!

      . . . 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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      Well, we got the go ahead to resume the bonding from our exotics vet!

      Bella has taken well to her new pain meds (all detailed in another thread so I wont go over it here) and is a bouncier bun than she’s ever been…. I am a little worried her new found energy is going to make things more difficult than before as they have already been a pretty stubborn couple lol.

      I’m going to start with a short session tonight, I hope the break has not caused too much of a back-track! fingers crossed.

      …..Let the journey continue!


    • DanaNM
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      I’m glad she’s feeling better! In general pain is not good for bonding, so I hope things actually go more smoothly!

      . . . 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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      I guess this is more of an update and a shared log of their bonding at this point rather than direct questions.

      The reason I say this is because they seem to have entered a nice phase where I am no longer worried about one attacking the other. I am still worried that that a scuffle could lead to a fight if intervention doesn’t happen but I can now sit back and just let them get on with it!

      First session back was in the bathroom, we had mutual grooming which was so lovely because I was scared of how the first session back would go but it was great.

      2nd and 3rd session back I thought long and hard and moved them to semi-neutal disguised as neutral I.e sanitised and an area penned off covered with clean and neutral towels etc. I do respect that isn’t general advice and I do agree that the best case would have been for them to stay in neutral but unfortunately it just wasn’t practical anymore, the bathroom is tiny (more of a toilet room) and became too small for the sessions as they were ready for more space and we’re becoming frustrated before Christmas, also the extractor fan is loud (can’t turn it off it’s comes on with the light) and stressed them (especially nervous Bella) so it’s kinda semi stress bonding in there and also my inability to handle Glenn, I have to spend 5 minutes trying to pick him up every time which causes a lot of stress. So I did very hesitantly move their area. In our case however it actually was fine. But I just wanted to state my main reasons incase someone else reads this for advice and moves their buns to semi neutral too quickly. This definitely wouldn’t work for every pair and I 100% would stay in neutral if I had another neutral space, they have also been bonding and pre-bonding for 4 months so probably different from a pair that have been bonding for just a couple weeks….. Anyway on to the progress part!

      So there’s way less mounting and nipping than before which is great, hesitant mutual grooming but it does happen! They are self grooming and eating cecals in front of one another even Bella which is amazing, and they are both flopping some distance from eachother. Glenn is flopping on Bella now and I’m not sure how she takes it, she’s seems to tolerate it but looks a little uncomfortable but after a couple minutes she settles into the snuggle.

      Basically now the only time I really intervened is if Glenn gets a little mount happy. He’s kinda always been like that where when he mounts he goes into a craze and I have to remove him and pet him for a few minutes to calm him down, he used to do this with Maggie as well. Luckily this just happened a couple times but Bella does try to run away now rather than nip him so he will start following her to mount, he also honks so I don’t know if this is an I’m boss or I like you mount. This happened at the end of the session though so I’m thinking maybe they just spent a bit too much time together (was about 3 hours).

      Sorry that was a long one!


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Yesterday went well! There was just one mount after an hour and half and before that they were just lay and chilling around eachother.

      The grooming is still a little hesitant from both bunnies. I guess the back step in grooming is likely due to the location change.

      I’m as going to settle them in for a mini marathon day/ 2 long sessions with a break – which one I do will depend how it goes.

      Also, I was bonding bunnies in my dream last night… This is what life had come to LOL.

       


    • Susanne
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      Yay to progress! I hear you about it consuming your life ..


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      So maybe I’m going crazy here, I really don’t know how this has all happened so fast after the break…. Maybe due to Bella being so much more comfortable on pain meds, maybe due to them missing eachother and having lived side by side for months now, maybe a combination of both… But they are doing great!! It’s like a switch has just flicked and they’ve decide ‘okay yeah we can be friends’

      It’s been 6.5 hours going strong (2.30pm – 9pm) now and we’ve had not a single nip from Bella, Glenn has only had two episodes of mounting her, they are eating hay together, grooming themselves, just general relaxation and acceptance of eachother. Bella gave Glenn a big groom earlier. They are flooping around eachother and laying at the same time around the room sometimes apart and sometimes close together but not really snuggling up yet, I think Glenn is ready to snuggle but Bella is a little shy and will only snuggle when Glenn seeks her out.

      So I will be heading to bed in about 3 hours or so (no rush it’s a Saturday night) and I’m wondering if it’s too early to just bite the bullet and sleep in the room with them and try them for an overnight? I can probably stay up till around 2am so they are more likely to sleep through after that and then wake again about 7am and then have a nap when they settle for their late morning sleep.

      I assume when people do 24hr sessions they sleep at some point with the bunnies?

      What do you guys think? Am I pushing it or is it time to try and overnight and see how we go?

       


    • DanaNM
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      That’s so awesome! I LOVE when they just finally “click” like that! It really sounds like the fact that Bella is feeling better is helping a lot!

      I think if you think they are ready for an overnight, go for it! And yes, it will involve sleeping near enough to the bunnies that you will hear if a fight breaks out (believe me, you will hear it!).

      . . . 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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      Yes it’s definitely so lovely that they have had that click! And seemly out of nowhere as well lol. I am confident the hierarchy has been established and they are just at peace with each other now, sharing hay, toys and other bits and bobs in the bonding space. They are starting to groom eachother and lay together more, they are still spending most of their time flooped in the room together but not snuggling… But when they do snuggle it’s very cute, they flop nose to nose and take it in turns to groom eachothers faces.

      The general vibe that I am getting is that they have accepted eachother and just need a couple of overnights while they cement that trust and begin to build their relationship.

      I didn’t overnight in the end last night but instead seperated them for a short 5hr sleep and then resumed the bond and it’s been going since this morning and I will do an overnight tonight! I will have to seperate them in the morning unfortunately as I have to go to work but luckily just for the morning so hopefully it will just be a 4/5hr  break and then back to the marathon!

      That’s reassuring to know that I should hear a fight, luckily I can just sleep on the sofa right in the middle of all the ‘action’ fingers crossed all goes well!


    • DanaNM
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      Awesome! Fingers crossed cementing goes well!

      . . . 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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      So the cementing has gone well! We’ve basically been marathoning since Saturday with x2 five hour breaks in between for sleep and work. The cementing has progressed nicely and there are no more negative behaviours and a gradual increase in mutual grooming and snuggling. Glenn mounts a little, since Sunday it’s basically been once a day which to me is fine because he is an obsessive mounter naturally and would mount his previous partner Maggie most days at the beginning and then still a couple times a week after that! The main thing is Bella receives this very well, just accepts it and if he goes in for a double mount she runs away and he leaves her be, no more mounting frenzies and I have not seen any nipping in retaliation from her since the rebonding began. Lots of grooming from Bella – Glenn and some grooming from Glenn – Bella and an increase in them seeking each other for comfort and cuddles and just lots of sharing and peaceful co-existing!

      So with that said me and my partner have been hard at work scrubbing, cleaning, sanitising and arranging their new space! I am going to move them in very shortly and work from home with them in the room to see how they settle into their final home.

      New home pictured below! A couple adjustments need to be made… I need a new litter tray for them which I will get this weekend, I had a giant one that Glenn has been using but due to Bella’s joint problems it won’t be suitable so I’m going to make shift a walk in type little box! She’s not even litter trained yet anyway lol so the little one will be fine for a few days. And ofcourse I need to change the pantry sign from ‘my pantry’ to ‘our pantry’ and the Glenns room sign to be changed. Fingers crossed when Bell is litter trained I can reintroduce the area rug that Glenn was using.


    • DanaNM
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      Yaaaaay! I’m so happy for you! And their set up looks awesome, can’t wait to see them cuddling in it! 🙂

      . . . 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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      We did it! I am happy to officially pronounce them husbun and wife!! Yay.

      After months of pre bonding, tiresome bathroom dates going no where and a whole diagnosis for Bella I’m super happy for them!

      I wanted to wait till they had spent a few days in their new space and had free roamed together for an evening to make sure things still went smoothly before declaring them bonded! Yesterday I left them all alone for a few hours to go to work (internal panic lol) but came home to everything looking in order and relaxed buns and this morning I came downstairs to catch them grooming eachother!

      Thank you so much for all your help Dana and to the others that replied and supported us through this bonding journey!

      It’s so nice to have the house back to normal and not cover in pens and make shift barriers lol… And just in time for the guests I’m hosting tomorrow!

      There is one obstecle that we need to overcome if anyone has any tips… Glenn is sooo greedy and Bella eats so slowly, he will finish his breakfast (some pellets and veg) before Bella has even finished half of her and then he’ll dive right into her bowl and gobble everything up so quick.


    • GlennTheLionhead
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    • DanaNM
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      Yeah yeah yeah!!! Congratulations!!

      They look so amazing together! Yet another GORGEOUS lionhead couple! LOL

      As far as the feeding times… they usually sort them selves out (the slow eater will usually pick up the pace once they realize they need to), but if Bella seems to be losing weight you could feed her an extra portion separately.

      . . . 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.  


    • DanaNM
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      Also I updated the topic title to show that it’s a success story!

      . . . 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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      Thank you! And thanks for updating the title.

      They already seem happier and Glenn has been making the happy squeak noise when they eat together (can’t remember it’s proper name) which he has never done before!

      That’s promising that they should sort themselves out, I think I will feed her portions on the sly as she is actually already a little underweight (something we’re monitoring suspected to be related to her bone condition).

      Thanks again for guiding us through the process.

       


    • Susanne
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      I haven’t been on here in a while but wanted to say congrats!! It’s so great when they bond after a long process!!!


    • prince dorian the bun
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      Wanted to say congrats and reading your thread gives me hope! They look a very sweet bun couple!!!

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Forum BONDING *BONDED* Scared bun, stubborn bun and stressed human