One of the most frequently asked questions is how to bond with your rabbit. On the contrary to a popular belief, rabbits are actually very social animals. In fact, they need to socialize with people and other animals around them in order to live happily and healthily.
However, rabbits are prey animals, they often get scared and stressed to socialize with new people around them. They tend to run away from new people, things, smells and even noises. These can make bonding very difficult for some rabbits and owners.
So, as a responsible rabbit owner, it’s your duty to provide your pet with a safe and secure environment and make him feel happy. It’s great for your pet as it will keep him cheerful, healthy and stress-free and it’s great for you because you’ll be able to strengthen your bond with your lovely rabbit.
In this article, we are sharing 17 amazing ways to bond with your rabbit. So, without any further ado, let’s dive in!
Quick And Easy Ways To Bond With Your Rabbit
- 1. Sit With Them
The first and most important thing to do is spend lots of time with your rabbit. Do this by sitting or laying along with your pet. When you’re standing or sitting on a couch or chair, your bunny will never be able to contact or listen to you. Instead, you will look like a big giant to them and hence, they run away from you.
So, it’s very important to sit at their level. Sit on the floor and spend time having your pet around. And it’s not at all necessary to talk or play with the bunny all the time. You can simply grab a book or watch a movie while sitting on the floor. When you spend time around them, they’ll get familiar with you and will come to you on their own, without getting scared. Also, instead of sitting, you can lie on the floor, closer to your bunny. This is by far one of the most important steps to building a bond with your rabbit.
- 2. Let Them Come To You
Instead of forcing your rabbit to communicate or interact with you, let them come to you on their own. As we already discussed, rabbits are very sensitive animals, they get scared very easily. Hence, forcing them to interact with you or chasing them will only make them more sacred. They’ll be left with no option other than to hide from you. What’s even worse? They will never trust you or consider you as a friend. So, your duty is to gain their trust and friendship.
When you sit down to their level and speak with them slowly, they will get familiar with you over time. When this happens, they will feel safe around you and not be scared in approaching you on their own. In short, make your bunny brave and confident!
- 3. Establish And Follow A Daily Routine
Because bunnies are prey animals, any sudden or new changes can stress them and they become more alert. If you want them to stay stress-free and thrive, follow a routine. For example: feed them at the same time daily, play with them at the same time daily etc. Here is how you can have a daily routine for your rabbit:
Feeding Routine: Having a consistent feeding schedule is very important for a rabbit. It will make them used to it and they’ll become more familiar with you. So, a good idea is to feed them at the same time every day. And by the same time, we don’t mean that you have to strictly follow the clock. Just try to make sure they get their food around the same time every single day. This will also give you an opportunity to bond with your bunnies as they will learn to become excited on seeing you. After some time, they will try to contact you or run around you.
Exercise Routine: Rabbits need to exercise every day in order to stay fit and healthy. In absence of it, they can suffer due to a number of health problems such as obesity, arthritis and many more. So, provide them with a daily exercise routine. It will give them a chance to play and bond with you. A great exercise routine not only keeps your rabbit healthy, but also keeps him in a good mood.
Interaction Routine: Instead of approaching your bunny all of a sudden, have a daily interaction routine. Fix a time and interact with your bunny at that time. A good idea is to interact with them two-three times a day. This will teach your bunny to wait for you and interact with you. They will start expecting you around a particular time and will also become happy to see you.
- 4. Train Them
Training your rabbit will not only offer you a chance to bond with them, but will also make them smart and brave. And training a rabbit isn’t the same as training dogs and cats. These little animals can’t greet or play fetch games like dogs but they do learn a few small tricks. For example, you can train them to spend time with you in return for a treat. When you do this, they will approach you for having their favorite treat. In fact, you can also train them in a certain way to approach you without expecting a treat every time.
5. Don’t Pick Or Mishandle Them
Rabbits can defend themselves. All they can do is run and hide on sensing something wrong around them. If you want to build a bond with your rabbit, you’ll have to gain their trust and make them feel safe around you. However, if you handle them roughly or display your aggressiveness towards them, they’ll never trust you.
Avoid trapping or picking the rabbit in order to force them into interaction. This rude behavior will put them on red alert almost instantly. So, when you interact with them, make sure to leave a way so that they can run away if they feel uncomfortable. If you do the opposite and try to corner your bunny, they might become furious and end up biting or scratching you.
- 6. Offer Them Treats
Who doesn’t like treats? Just like any other pet, rabbits love having their favorite treats. In fact, it is a great way to strengthen your bond with your lovely rabbit. Before deciding what to give them as a treat, know the likes and dislikes of your bunny. Just like humans, every bunny is different. They have their own set of likes and dislikes. What is loved by a bunny may be the least favorite thing or another bunny. Instead of offering commercial treats, try to offer them natural and healthy treats such as pieces of fruits and some vegetables.
Most rabbits love fruits like strawberries and raspberries, apples and vegetables like carrots and beets. Since fruits and some vegetables are high in sugar and starch, they can’t be fed on a regular basis. So, a good idea is to give them as occasional treats. You can offer your bunny a treat when she approaches you on their own, as a reward and so on.
But make sure not to overdo the treats. Offer them sparingly otherwise they can mess with the delicate digestive system of your bunny.
- 7. Pet Your Bunny
As opposed to a popular misconception, rabbits do love being petted. While they get startled when you touch them for the first time, they start enjoying being caressed and touched over time. But before petting your bunny, make sure to know about the areas where she wants to be touched. Most bunnies enjoy being touched on their forehead, behind the ears and down the back. Further, they don’t like being touched on the paws, butt or chest.
When you pet a bunny for the first time, don’t approach them all of sudden, instead bring your hand from above her head and sideways and slowly scratch or massage them using your fingers. First they will startle, but will get used to in a few minutes and will start enjoying the little massages.
- 8. Get Your Bunny Spayed
Most rabbits start getting aggressive on reaching maturity. The sweet kind baby rabbit may become aggressive unknowingly. And it is very difficult to bond with an aggressive bunny. First, they don’t really like interacting with anyone and secondly, they attack when someone approaches them.
So, a good idea is to get your bunny spayed by a rabbit savvy vet. This will help greatly in their behavioral problem and will keep them calm and composed.
- 9. Keep Silence Around Them
Rabbits are very gentle and quiet animals. They easily get scared by loud noises. Thus, they don’t stay around the people or things that make a lot of noise. So, when you’re around your bunny, try to keep quiet and talk to them very softly and in short sentences. Don’t shout or speak very loudly with them.
When you’re sitting with them, try reading some books or web content instead of watching movies or listening to loud music. Also, keep loud music and TVs away from your bunnies.
- 10. Offer Them Private Space
Rabbits feel more confident when they’re given their private space. This means they should have enough place to hide or run when they feel stressed and scared. So, avoid keeping them too confined. Instead offer them a lot of space to live freely in the way they want. Also, give them adequate exercise and house-tour breaks. Avoid trapping your bunny in a small cage, they will never be able to live happily if you do so.
- 11. Learn About Rabbit Behavior And Body Language
A rabbit’s behavior and body language is entirely different from that of a dog’s or cat’s. To bond with them, you should learn and understand their body language and behavior. It will help you to know your pet in a better way and offer them a happy life they deserve.
Start by observing the likes and dislikes of your bunny, what place they like /dislike, what food they love /hate, what toys they like /dislike and so on. Next, learn about their behavior, how they react to certain situations like meeting new people, eating new food or visiting a new place.
There are many articles and videos you can watch to understand your rabbit’s behavior.
- 12. Mimic Them
Just like we don’t understand the language of bunnies, they also don’t understand what we are saying or trying to express. So, if you want to express your feelings towards your little bunny, make sure to do this in her body language. While it’s not possible to exactly mimic the body language of animals, try to mimic them and see if they get your message.
For example, to show that you’re interested in talking to them, twitch your nose and to show that you’re happy and joyful, jump up and down. Lay down on the ground near them to tell them you trust them.
- 13. Give Them Plenty Of Toys
Rabbits are like babies, they love their toys just like anything. So, even if you can’t stay around them, offer them lots of toys to play and stay engaged. If they don’t have enough toys to play, they might get lonely and upset which is not at all good for their health. So, consider getting them their favorite toys that they can chew on and play with. A good idea is to get wooden and soft rubber toys. Make sure that the toys are safe for your bunny, they shouldn’t be treated with harmful chemicals.
You can also make DIY toys using newspaper and old clothes. And offering the toys is not enough if you want to bond with your bunny, teach them how to play and play with them if possible. Play by hiding their toys in a box filled with grass or hay and enjoy watching them search.
- 14. Offer Them Places To Hide
Rabbits are habitual of living in burrows. They feel more confident and controlled when they have plenty of hiding places. They know that if something bad happens, they have their safe hideouts. So, consider offering them multiple hiding options. Some great ideas are as follows:
- Get them a small hiding house. It is a small wooden or hay house with only one opening. You can either buy one or built it yourself. Bunnies feel very safe and secure in such houses. You can keep them in their apartment.
- Consider making a DIY hiding box using a cardboard or plastic box. All you need to do is, take the box, layer it using a mat or soft rug and then fill it with lots of hay and newspaper shavings.
- Consider building a tunnel. You can easily build a tunnel or buy a readymade one from pet stores. Rabbits love spending time in their tunnels.
- 15. Respect Their Boundaries
If you really want to build a special bond with your rabbit and make them feel safe, you should learn to respect their boundaries. Don’t force them to stay around or play with you. Instead, leave them alone when they aren’t in a mood. Avoid grabbing, picking or chasing them in the name of interaction. If you do this, they’ll lose their trust in you and will be rather scared. So, observe their body language and see what they want. If they’re showing aggressiveness, it’s better to back off.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, don’t leave your bunny around kids. The reason is, children don’t really understand rabbits and often end up mishandling them. They often try to pick and scream at them which scares the rabbits and makes them stressed. So, train your kids how to behave around and handle a bunny or keep them away.
- 16. Offer Them A Proper Housing
Just like humans, rabbits too need a house where they can live freely and happily without any fear. So, offer your bunny a big enough house where she can run, hop and play without any restriction. Avoid getting small cages, it can stress out the bunnies. Moreover, make sure to place a litter box, hay feeder, toys, food and water balls in your bunny’s quarter.
- 17. Offer Them Plenty Of Fresh Hay And Other Food
Food is the best way to connect and bond with humans and animals. Rabbits are no different, they will be attached to you if you offer them their favorite food.
Bunnies love fresh greens, hay and veggies, so offer them plenty of these every day. A rabbit’s diet mainly consists of hay, about 80 percent. So, offer your bunny a mix of good quality hay like oats, timothy and alfalfa. Further, offer them greens and veggies like radish and carrot tops, broccoli, cabbage, celery, asparagus, cucumber etc.
Bunnies are wonderful pets. They can become highly social and friendly around you if you take proper care of them and follow the tips we have shared in this article. So, be patient with your lovely pet and follow the things we have discussed. You’ll be able to build a special bond with your rabbit very soon.