Bunny Care Guide: House Rabbits - How To Deal With A Territorial/Aggressive Bunny
It may seem at times that I write a great deal about the negative aspects of bunnies, however that is mostly due to the fact that little help is needed when things are going right. I don't need to tell you how to enjoy watching your rabbit frolic playfully about the place, or feel a surge of happiness when a little furry nose nuzzles yours. However you might need help when problems arise, therefore, you'll hear a lot about the darker size of the fuzziness here. That doesn't mean they're all bad however, and it shouldn't dissuade you from getting a pet bunny if you feel you can offer it a good and loving forever home.
Another aspect of my bunny keeping philosophy you'll have noticed if you've read a few of these is that rabbits are best kept indoors. There are multiple advantages to doing so, and you can read all about them HERE. However there are some issues that may need to be addressed, and one of them is territorial behavior. This can be especially bad if your bunny hasn't been altered, so if you start to have a problem with having a bunny torpedo assail your feet every time it sees you, having your rabbit spayed or neutered is a good first step to solving the problem.
The rest of it is often down to temperament. You see, bunnies are very territorial animals, and if you have a particularly dominant rabbit, it may come to regard the floor as it's own personal territory, and you as an upstart invader who has dared to wander across it. Obviously this is unacceptable behavior, and for most people the natural reaction is to give the bunny in question a swift kick or toss it outside, or both. As tempting as these options are, neither one is a good idea. You could easily harm your rabbit if you use force with it, and putting it outside for the rest of it's life deprives not just the rabbit, but you of the company for which you got a pet in the first place.
A good middle ground is confining the rabbit to its cage for a while. Every time it shows any aggression whatsoever, put it back in its cage. Show the rabbit that the floor is yours to walk on, and that it does not have exclusive domain over it. Allow your bunny to be king of his or her little cage, but make it very clear that you have the run of the house.
One way to show a bunny dominance is to gently but firmly hold it down with the flat of your hand over it's shoulders, neck, and head. You may have seen rabbits lying over one another, lying over another rabbit is a bunny's way of demonstrating it's dominance, and is a trick you might be able to use to your own advantage.
Other behavioral tricks include turning your back on your rabbit. Turning one's back in the bunny world says that the other being, bunny, human, or otherwise, is completely below contempt, not even worth keeping an eye on.
Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning, fixing your rabbit will probably make for the biggest change in his or her behavior, especially if the problem behavior started around the 6 month mark, which is when rabbits reach their sexual maturity, and does especially start to get quite grumpy as they come into season all the time.
More by this Author
Rabbits, whilst being incredibly cute, playful, fun little individuals, also have some tendencies that may be somewhat surprising to the uninitiated. Though they are prey animals, they can have a somewhat vicious streak...