Bunny Care Guide: How To Handle Your Bunny / Pick Your Rabbit Up
Enough of your handling tomfoolery!
As a bunny owner, one of your biggest challenges may be handling your rabbit. This is because oftentimes, rabbits don't particularly like to be held, which means that they struggle, growl, and occasionally bite and scratch. Even if they do these things however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't handle them. It does mean that you will have to take some time to establish a better bond between you and your bunny. This is a guide for the beginner bunny owner and takes you through the first steps of handling your rabbit.
Pet your bunny. You have to walk before you can run, and petting your bunny is the first step towards being able to pick it up and handle it. Bunnies like to have their heads gently scratched and rubbed, but they generally do not like to be touched under the chin or around their hind quarters. If you want to earn your rabbit's trust, giving it a gentle head rub is an excellent way of doing that. After a while your rabbit may even start running up to you and demanding that you pat it.
Put the bunny in your lap. Sit on the floor with the bunny and gently put the bunny in your lap. Let it run off if it wants to, but let it get used to the idea that being picked up and put in your lap is not the end of the world. If you cannot pick your rabbit up at all, try luring it into your lap with treats.
Try holding your bunny. Odds are that your rabbit will not like being restrained. Remember, these are prey animals, and to them, being held down or trapped by a bigger creature often means death. Is there really any wonder that they fight so hard to be let go? Bonding with your rabbit in the first two steps, and being gentle but firm when you do pick the bunny up will go a long way to helping your bunny become more amenable to being picked up.
Picking Up Bunny Checklist:
Support the bunny under its chest
Support the hindquarters
Hold the bunny close to your body. Let it rest against your body if you can. This will provide it much more security.
Once you've picked your bunny up, hold it for a few seconds, or until it stops struggling, and then release it gently. Rabbits will often start struggling again when they feel themselves being released, so make sure you do this very close to the ground. Giving the bunny a treat may sweeten the experience as well. Beware that once you put the rabbit down it may try to bite you for your effrontery. This is where fast feet (yours, not the rabbit's) come in handy!
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