Building a Relationship with your Pet
Here at Emerald City Rabbitry, our secret recipe for sweet baby bunnies is hand-raising with a whole lot of love. The transition phase to new homes is generally seamless; many customers have told us of flops and binkies happening on the first day!
As a general rule of thumb:
When you first bring your bunny home, there are a lot of changes in routine. For the first three days, the bunny is trying to figure out the unfamiliar environment and people. Have patience during this transitional period. Within the first three weeks, the bunny has learned that it will live with you and has established habits. Show extra love and advance the bonding process. After three months, the bunny has become a part of your family. Welcome them home forever!
New environments can be stressful, so here are some recommendations on how to best interact with your companion as a bond is established:
1. Home introduction
When you arrive home, place the carrier inside the prepared enclosure and let the bunny naturally hop out to explore at its own pace. Remember, they are entering into an entirely new unknown territory and simply need time to acclimate.
2. Initial adjustment
Start the transition period in a relaxing environment, free from loud noises. Providing a tunnel or hiding house for the bunny to retreat to when scared is always a good idea. After letting your pet settle in for a few hours, you can test if it is ready to be handled.
3. Rewarding socialization
Once the bunny starts making itself at home by eating and drinking, enter the enclosure. Bring yourself down to their level by sitting/laying, and wait for the rabbit to come to you. Let him or her slowly hop around and sniff. When the bunny jumps on your lap or otherwise displays interest in being held, reward it with affection (such as petting between the ears) or a treat (like a pinch of raw oats).
4. Bonding patience
Every bunny is different and some are more extroverted than others. Please do not be discouraged if bonding takes longer than expected! Dedication and consistency are crucial, and with enough persistence, the trusting relationship with your companion will grow stronger over the months.
5. Routine creation
Rabbits thrive off a predictable daily routine. Anything unexpected can put bunnies on the alert because they are prey animals. To help put your pet at ease and feel safe in their new environment, adopt a schedule. Most importantly, try to give food at the same time every day.
If at any point your bunny seems skittish, there will be a reason behind it you could modify. Some common triggers include barking dogs, rambunctious children, extreme temperatures, underlying illnesses, or poor nutrition.
Bonding may take time, but if it is done properly, you will have forged a special, loving bond with the bunny that will last for life! It is your responsibility to teach the rabbit to be brave and confident. The quality time you spend together helps the bunny to be its happy, bouncy self without fear or stress. In the end, the two of you will have a deep and unbreakable bond.