5 Ways to Build a Relationship with Your Bunny
Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Starting your relationship off right is the key to bunny bonding success
Welcome to our blog post! Here we attempt to give you a fresh perspective on everything bunny and rabbit related based on our experiences in The Rabbitry. Enjoy!
Rabbits have a way of bringing out our inner child, remembering the simple pleasures in life, calming our emotions, and giving us joy in unexpected ways.
You dreamed about getting your very own bunny for a long time. You have watched YouTube videos of bunnies being cute, you answer texts with bunny gifs, you bought yourself a pair of bunny ears...or is that just us here at The Rabbitry being some crazy bunny people? Hopefully we are not alone in our love of bunnies!
Read on to find out the top five things you can do to immediately bond with your new bunny...
THORR's Top Five Bunny Bonding Techniques
Sit with your rabbit. We cannot stress how this simple step will set you and your bunny up for success both now and in the long run. The first step is to get down to their level by actually sitting upon or laying down on the ground. If you sit on a couch or lay on a bed, your bunny cannot actually see you. You want them to see you and to be able to make eye contact with you. Your goal here is to not force them to come to you, but to come to you by choice. Start by picking a quiet room and get down on the floor. You could lay down and relax, maybe meditate for a bit, and allow your bunny to come up to you, sniff you, and hopefully hop on you. The purpose of this technique is to allow your bunny to explore your presence without fear of being hurt and without seeing you as being threatening. You can also sit on the floor and read a book out loud. This allows your bunny to still explore your presence, but with the bonus of hearing the sound of your voice. The sound and tone of your voice allows your bunny to not only recognize you but to be reassured that you are a safe person to come to. And by allowing your bunny to come to you, you are also helping to build your bunny's confidence.
Pet your bunny. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but many people forget to do this daily and especially in the few weeks your bunny comes home to live with you. Remember, you are setting the tone for your bunny's future in the beginning of your relationship with them. You want to spend the time to get to know what they do and don't like. For example, some bunnies hate being lifted of the floor. By working with them early on, you can recognize this and work towards a level of trust with your bunny so that they allow you to do this. Maybe you and your bunny will be able to reach a happy middle? Maybe you only lift them off the floor when its time to put them in their enclosure and not walk around the house with them in your arms. While petting your bunny, you may come to find out they loved their nose rubbed briskly, but hate their ears to be touched. Little things like this mean a lot to a bunny. When they come to realize that you respect them, that you are listening to their cues, they come to trust you and see you as their family.
Learn the language of rabbits. Speaking of cues, knowing your bunny's body language is very helpful in speaking the language of rabbits. In the first weeks of allowing your bunny to explore you, you will also have a chance to observe your bunny's body language. Here are some common cues to look for: High ears and staring directly at something with intensity? Your bunny is on high alert! Is your bunny on the ground, ears tight against their sides, stretching out long as they slowly inch forward? Your bunny is being cautious. Is your bunny standing up tall with their weight on their heels, boxing their front paws at something, and possibly growling? Your bunny is being aggressive! Watch out! Is your bunny's tail twitching like crazy? Your bunny is REALLY happy! Is your bunny hopping high into the air and twisting? Your bunny is doing a "binky" and it means your bunny is experiencing some pure joy at that moment! Remember that all bunnies and rabbits are unique, so your companion may do things that are not in this short list. That is a good thing because you are recognizing your own bunny's personal characteristics!
Mimic your rabbit's behavior. This may sound ridiculous, but it works. Lay down on the ground and twitch your nose at them. Nose twitching indicates that you are curious and interested in them. Snuggle up with them and take a nap like bonded pairs do. Pet them with clean, soft hand to imitate a grooming behavior. Take time to watch their behaviors and gently imitate what you can. Your bunny will love you for it!
Respect your rabbit's personal space. Everyone needs alone time. Time to think, time to explore, and time to unwind. Bunnies are no different. Some hate it when a human reaches into their enclosure and rearranges their stuff. Some do not like to be grabbed because it makes them feel like a predator has grabbed them unexpectedly. The same goes for chasing them when they are trying to get away from you. If your bunny does not want to interact at the moment, leave them be and give them thee personal time they are trying to ask for.
If you follow these five steps to build a relationship with your bunny, you will create a strong and unbreakable bond with them. Not only will you learn much about your new companion, you will also allow your new companion to learn about you. When you think about it, together, you are both working to build the foundation of friendship in these precious moments.