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How To Make Your Rabbit Trust You

Updated on November 24, 2009
The bunny does not trust you...
The bunny does not trust you...

Most rabbit owners quickly learn that in order to have a good relationship with your bunny, and to have your bunny like you, your bunny must trust you. Remember, in the wild, rabbits are prey animals, and even though they often live inside with humans, they never forget that they are easy prey for predators. Owners often have to do things that their bunnies dislike, such as grooming and nail clipping. These sorts of activities can unfortunately make your bunny mistrust you, especially if you are rough with them. Some rabbits may also not like to be picked up, and picking them up may also make them wary of you.

Bunnies can be cuddly, but they will always be cuddly on their own terms. So if you want your rabbit to trust you and be your friend, you have to be willing to spend quiet time with the bunny, just letting it get used to you.

I recommend just sitting on the floor with the bunny, not touching it, not holding it, not petting it, just being with it. You will find that as your bunny gets used to you, it will start coming closer to you to investigate you. Let it investigate you, and again, do not touch it. If the bunny learns that whenever it comes close to you, you grab it and mess with it, it will stay away from you.

Eventually, your bunny will nose you, and press it's head against you. When it does this, give it a gentle rub on its head between its ears. Bunnies absolutely love head rubs, and I do mean absolutely love them. Most rabbits don't like being touched under the head or on the back of their body, but they will happily allow you to pat their heads for hours. This is the first step to gaining your rabbit's trust. Do this often enough and you will find that the rabbit soon comes to you just for rubs. When your rabbit comes hopping up to you and nudges you to give it head rubs, then you will know that it trusts you and likes you.

Over time you can teach your bunny to be held for short periods of time and maybe even be picked up happily. Of course, some rabbits never get used to being picked up, although you will need to teach them to at least tolerate being held and picked up so that they can be groomed, their nails can be clipped and they can be given veterinary treatment.

Your rabbit may not always be happy with you, and if you are the one who does all the 'mean' tasks like grooming and clipping, it may prefer family members who only give it good attention and head rubs. As the owner though, your responsibility is first to make sure that your rabbit is healthy and then to make sure that your rabbit is happy with you.


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