Thursday, January 5, 2012

Myth: Rabbits don't like being held

Its in any preys nature that being held down especially by a predator is not a good thing. However, a house rabbit does not have any predators to contend with, unless you count the vacuum cleaner, however in most cases the rabbit wins that scuffle.

So, why do most rabbits not like being held, so it seems? Well, when are rabbits picked up? In nature, when they are being eaten! In the house, when they are being cleaned, nails trimmed, gotten into trouble and thus must be picked out of an, oh, lets say potted plant. So in general, rabbits get picked up during unpleasant times. So, why is it a myth then?

All of the rabbits I've had did not like being picked up, at first. They associated it with negative things. So,   to change their tune, I would pick them up at random times. Pet them, give them treats, positively reinforce the behaviour. Slowly, at first, they began to not mind. Connie still lets me know when he wants down. The key to holding a bun is a confident pickup, good butt support, lots of pets, and knowing when they want back down. Some rabbits, like Wiggles, will never love being picked up, no matter how many treats you give her. Yeah, she will eat them while you hold her, but will grunt at you in between munches. Connor and Wayne however, they quite enjoy it.

Key is positive reinforcement. Let your bunny know you are picking them up on their terms, are offering love and pets, ensure they are comfortable, and let them down when they want back down.

Happy bunny holding.

Cameras, Connies new fear
Connie, his first night with us.
Wayne enjoying the sun.

Outside noises can be alarming.

Paws up!

Got tape stuck to your hind foot?  Run to the nearest human. They have opposable thumbs and can help.

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