Rabbits are wonderful animals; few people don't like them. Cute, friendly and companions, they are capable of brightening a home. However, not everything is flowers, as these ears require a lot of care. First, understand that rabbits need to be won over slowly so that they feel comfortable in your presence. This is how the relationship with the newly adopted rabbit is built. Once you get to know each other better and he gains confidence in you, it will be possible to pet him. Come on?
Part 1 of 2: Approaching the Rabbit
Step 1. Don't suddenly arrive
Remember that rabbits are natural prey, meaning their instincts are defensive. So never come by surprise so you don't scare him, or he'll try to run away.
Don't approach it from behind. If you're going to reach a room and pick it up on its back, give it some sign that it's coming-calm words and kissing noises, for example. That way he will be calm and will not feel threatened
Step 2. Stay close to the ground when approaching
Rabbits are easily startled by big, heavy things. It will be much better for him if you arrive softly and crouched, especially if the animal does not have much contact with humans. You never know if the rabbit has any predisposition to be nervous; therefore, be prudent and act calmly. Don't scare the ear!
Step 3. Sit down and wait until he comes towards you
Never try to grab or carry the rabbit by force; if you do, you'll only get a few bites. Get reasonably close and pass the ball to him. He will come to you of his own free will. This is the way to create a healthy relationship with the animal, which will finally allow you to pet it without being in danger.
When he arrives at a new home, the rabbit is a little suspicious at first - that's how it is! The important thing is never to force him to come to you. Understand: all this trust building is going to take a few days. Over time, he becomes more comfortable in your presence
Step 4. Show your hand to the rabbit
Take it towards the wheel, place it at eye level with him and wait. If you want, he'll sniff it. Maybe this is a good time for you to release a treat for him. This tactic is excellent for those who have just adopted the animal. Feed him into your own hands so that he begins to understand, over time, that you are not a threat, but a friend. Physical proximity will help to strengthen the bonds between animal and owner.
Step 5. Don't make sudden movements with your hands
Yes, your hands will be very important in this process of building a relationship with the rabbit, but be careful not to scare him. See below what to do and not to do with them during the process:
- Show your hand in front of him, not behind him. Otherwise he will be frightened when he sees the shape of the hand.
- Rabbits don't see anything placed right in front of their face or under their chin. Do you know what that means? You need to take your hand halfway to your side for him to see you.
- Do not put your hand under the rabbit's nose. You may have heard that bringing your hand below your chin works with cats and dogs because it denotes submission. With rabbits, the effect is the opposite: he sees this movement as dominant. In the wild, the upper rabbit arrives and lowers its head for the lower one to lick it as a sign of submission. If you arrive that way and the animal is already a little apprehensive, it's possible that it will take the defensive and use its teeth.
Part 2 of 2: Petting the Rabbit
Step 1. First of all, make him very comfortable
You don't know if your rabbit is among those most suspicious by nature. Also, some like affection more than others. If the idea of the approach came from him, you can be more relaxed, as this is a good sign. Don't try to touch him without him approaching you first.
Step 2. Caress him in the right places
As stated above, each one is each one. However, rabbits tend to enjoy caressing their cheeks, forehead, shoulders and back. After all, these are the areas he licks off each other. So focus your loving hand on these areas of the rabbit's body so that it looks good.
It's good not to try to stroke his chin. Rabbits are different from cats and dogs. While these like to caress the chin, the eared ones are not that much fans anymore. Also avoid the animal's belly and paws, as they are areas of vulnerability
Step 3. Carefully pick up the rabbit
You can't just go out and pick up an animal like that on your lap. The right thing is to make him get used to you for a few days to build trust between the two. Being picked up is an unnatural experience that comes from home life. Millions of generations of rabbits have been born and died without ever seeing humans; they weren't programmed for that. If you still don't know how to get your ear off the ground, read this wikiHow article.
Step 4. Pay attention to the rabbit's mood
Whatever you think of your approach, it will give you some signs of what you're feeling. Pay close attention to notice when he doesn't like something.
- Rabbits purr and chat their teeth very lightly when they are happy. In this state, they roll over, jump on their laps and put their heads on the ground. Needing more attention, they rub their noses against our hand bursting with joy. While he's enjoying it, feel free to pet him in safe places.
- If you don't like the idea, the animal will growl and look different. It is indicative of pain or fear.
- Another thing they do when they feel threatened is stand on their hind legs like they're about to box you. Most of the time, it's a defensive posture. The exception is if he has to stand up to see something better. In any case, leave the animal alone if you think it is getting angry.
- If the rabbit turns and tries to run away, let it get away. Sometimes he is too tired or too scared to play; don't force it. Let him go and try playing with him another time.
Step 5. When finished, carefully return the rabbit to the cage
Rabbits, especially the young ones, are often a bit stubborn when it comes to going back inside. As we've already said, it's dangerous to catch the animal suddenly. Likewise, force him into the cage only if it's an emergency. The normal behavior of the domestic rabbit is to return to the cage alone when drinking water and resting. Putting a little piece of carrot inside can be an incentive too. Here's one more reason to keep the cage clean and stocked at all times. Want to know how to raise healthy rabbits? Read this wikiHow article.
Likewise, never force the animal out of the cage. Rabbits need to have a private space to rest safely. By the time he wants to explore the house and play, the rabbit will go out on its own. Therefore, when the ear is inside the cage, leave it quietly inside. The same goes for when he wants to leave: don't stop him
- Don't make sudden movements. Always be soft and gentle.
- If you're going to use a brush on your rabbit's fur, be careful with his eyes. Do not use hard bristles.
- Don't touch the rabbit's ears and paws until you are very good friends. These are sensitive and vulnerable areas of the body.
- Rabbits like to receive affection when they are calm and happy with life. When yours is very calm, approach slowly and pat his head a little. Be patient; trust is earned.
- Younger rabbits are more difficult to train. In most cases, the ideal is to castrate them when they reach puberty, which usually occurs between 60 and 120 days of life. In order for the eared one to behave well, castrate him at about that age. Don't want to raise puppies? An alternative is to adopt an older rabbit and train him yourself.
- When the rabbit is in good shape, approach calmly to make some petting.
- Don't try to rush the training. *When you bring a puppy home, let it get used to its new surroundings before trying to catch it.
- Caress the rabbit's cheeks to show how much you like it. In rabbit language, this gesture means "I like you" or even "I love you."
- Never bathe a rabbit unless absolutely necessary. In a way, they manage to clean themselves like cats. That's why you rarely need to bathe rabbits. Domestic rabbits cannot swim; therefore, they despair at the thought of water. Among the risks are chills, skin irritation, hypothermia and sadness.
- When holding the rabbit in your lap, use a towel underneath. If he jumps or falls to the ground, he could end up injuring himself, especially in the spine. After all, the rabbit's instinct is to stretch its legs, which can cause hyperextension.
- Do not force the animal to receive affection!
- Do not hold rabbits upside down unless you are already intimate.