You welcome a rabbit into your home and you ask yourself a lot of questions, including how to handle and stroke it properly. To take good care of your rabbit, you have to respect a few rules, but it is not very difficult and you will quickly take your marks.
Know your rabbit well
The proper functioning of any cohabitation requires that the different tenants know each other. And it is not because cohabitation concerns a rabbit that things turn out differently!
The life of the rabbit is divided into 4 major periods. It is at the beginning of the day and at the beginning of the evening that it experiences its peak of activity. Outside of these two periods, he sleeps more or less long, still waking up from time to time for his meals and his toilet. The whole of his life is regulated according to the quality of his night’s sleep: if he is calm and peaceful during the night, that is to say if he feels safe, he will sleep better and longer. , which will allow him to stay awake during the day longer and to be a little more active. If your rabbit feels really good around you, he may even get into the rhythm of your life. But you cannot force him: it will be done gradually, if he is confident and free from stress.
Like all mammals, your rabbit has a well-developed sense of smell. A rabbit who knows his master is above all a rabbit who knows his smell. It is during the first contacts that it memorizes your scent. He also listens to you and learns his name. He will gradually get used to your presence, understand that you feed him regularly, integrate the cage cleaning rituals and become familiar with his environment and the most frequent noises. The rabbit remains a lively animal, ready to react to the quarter-course at the slightest threat and the slightest unusual noise a little violent.
The benefits of rituals
In all cases, it must be recognized that a relationship with a rabbit is facilitated by the adoption of a system of rewards. He will be very interested in any pieces of fruit you can offer him and will not fail to approach you, as long as you remain calm and gentle. However, use them sparingly because the fruits, even if they are natural, remain sweet foods and therefore promote the overweight of the rabbit.
Beyond the rewards, the establishment of daily rituals decreases the stress of the rabbit, increases his confidence in his environment and promotes the development of friendly relations.
The time of the first caresses
You will discover what a rabbit is but above all you will get to know your rabbit. Each animal has its own temperament which varies according to its breed, sex, age and individual personality.
It’s a unique relationship that establishes itself between you and your animal. Even if you really want to cuddle him, he and he alone will decide when you can pet him. If you are in too much of a hurry, it risks mortgaging your relationship as he can defend himself by biting or growling you.
When you understand that it becomes possible, the first caresses are made at the level of the forehead of the animal and not on its back. To understand why, we must remember that in the wild, rabbits are easy prey for raptors. The raptors grab the rabbits by the back. Touching this part of the rabbit’s body therefore awakens a fear that is deeply rooted in their instincts and is the basis of their behavior. Caressing her back strengthens her sense of vulnerability.
Rabbits also do not like to be touched under the chin, under the stomach or on the legs. What they prefer are the itchiness at the base of the ears and on the cheeks.
The back is not an area to be avoided permanently. But it is indisputable that it will take time for the rabbit to appreciate them and will require total confidence In you.
Last important point, the caresses are always done in the direction of the hair.
How to wear your rabbit
Many people enjoy hugging a bunny: they are warm and soft. But this must not be done to the detriment of the animal so that the experience can be repeated. To do this, some simple rules must be incorporated.
We have already spoken about the instinctive fear of rabbits as prey of raptors. So it makes sense that your rabbit doesn’t like being hung up in the air much more than being touched in the back. It is therefore advisable to carry it low to the ground, without lifting it too suddenly, taking care to quickly place your hands or your arms under its paws, to give it the impression of support. Then, the two of you sit down on a seat to rest it on your lap.
Make sure it can’t fall. Falls are one of the primary causes of injury in rabbits, which quite frequently results in the death of the animal. Rabbits have a lot of strength in the hind legs, they are difficult to dominate if they struggle. Also, it is better to anticipate and block the hind legs, without squeezing too hard so as not to hurt them, which would be worse than anything.
Your rabbit will develop his tastes and you will gradually understand the manipulations he prefers: in front of you, his stomach pressed to your chest, his hand placed behind his head, a bit like when carrying a newborn baby, or with your back to you, one hand supporting it from below.
It is not necessary never grab your rabbit by the ears or by the skin of the neck: these gestures would be very painful for him and would undoubtedly lead to a lasting loss of your animal’s confidence in you.