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Forum BEHAVIOR Submissive rabbit over grooming Dominant rabbit

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    • Biscuit@Smores
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        Hello! I have 2 rabbits, both male and neutered. I have had them for around 7 years, and both are littermates. This recent issue started a few days ago.

        My submissive rabbit (Smores) has been overgrooming my dominant rabbit(Biscuit). Biscuit seemed fine with it at first, before attempting to groom his brother back, only for him to refuse. Smores will run to Biscuit as soon as he sees him and begin grooming. Biscuit had scratched his eye a little, so I assumed he was comforting him, only now he has begun hiding and avoiding Smores along with not letting me touch him. He usually grooms Biscuit on his head and I see a slight loss of fur on his head. I can’t inspect much more because he will not let me touch him.

        Smores isn’t under-stimulated or stressed from what I see, he is behaving regularly aside from the grooming and growing old.

        What should I do and is there a reason for this sudden behavior?


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8839 posts Send Private Message

          Hmmm, usually overgrooming (aka “barbering”) is stress related. Have you noticed any signs of dominance struggles? Such as mounting or chasing? It could have to do with the eye injury, I’m assuming that’s being treated?

           

          . . . 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.  


        • Biscuit@Smores
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            No mounting, he does chase Biscuit but again, mainly to groom and nothing that seems aggressive. When they were younger Biscuit would be pretty aggressive to his brother, till we neutered him. He does still growl at him from time to time, if it’s to the point of chasing we step in. He has growled at Smores to get away if it is overly bothering him but no bitting since Smores usually gets the memo.

            I’ve been told that even if they are neutered it is in their breed, (lion head mixed with what Im guessing would be mini rex? ill show a pic). Smores seems more like a mini rex where Biscuit you can very much tell he is Lionhead. We are also guessing that Smores may have been a runt since he is a bit smaller than Biscuit, and has never growled. Smores also doesn’t like being handled or pet much, but Biscuit loves to.  Sorry for the ramble.

            Biscuit’s eye is being treated, he is a little lazy nowadays since he is old. From what I’ve noticed the barbering has reduced a bit. If I see it happening o usually try distracting Smores or just verbally telling him to stop and he seems to understand.

            (they are having some outdoor time in the pic (Biscuit left Smores right)

             

             


            • DanaNM
              Moderator
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                Just double checking that they are both neutered now?

                Sometimes rough grooming precedes mounting, so I wonder if the chasing to groom could actually be chasing to mount? Is the grooming focused on the head or more on the back? Grooming on the back is usually right before mounting.

                If nothing is escalating to circling or scuffling then I think you are OK to monitor them. Keep a close eye on their health just in case some underlying problem is starting. Adding some hides (with at least 2 exits) and tunnels should help give Biscuit somewhere to get away from Smores if it’s getting to be too much for him.

                If things start escalating with the chasing then you might need to do some work with them in neutral territory just to get their dominance settled again.

                . . . 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.  


            • Biscuit@Smores
              Participant
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                Both are neutered yes, no mounting. He usually grooms between the ears, nothing on the back. Biscuit has a few hides where he’s been hanging out, and now he is getting back to let me touch him little by little, and Smores seems to have toned it down but Biscuit is keeping his distance. Sometimes Smores will sit outside the hide (Smores seems a little bothered then), or he will just go on to do his own thing. I’ve caught both sitting near each other and not bothering one another. I find it odd that it’s so random.

                I want to distract Smores with food or treats, but I don’t want to make it seem like I am rewarding his behavior. They understand no pretty well but still are a bit stubborn. Neither of them is into toys from what I’ve tried so I doubt that will help, but still, I will try that, and also see if it dies down on its own. In general, both are bonded pretty well, and they don’t like being without each other.

                Thank you so much for the help 🙂


              • DanaNM
                Moderator
                8839 posts Send Private Message

                  That all sounds good and I think just keeping an eye on things is the way to go. Hopefully things continue to settle down!

                  . . . 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 BEHAVIOR Submissive rabbit over grooming Dominant rabbit