10 Tips for When Bonding Rabbits Is Not Working

Bonding bunnies not getting along? Don’t give up hope! Rabbit relationships take work but with the right techniques even the most stubborn duo can become friends. This comprehensive guide covers 10 tips to facilitate bonding for buns who just can’t seem to make it work. From side-by-side pampering sessions to marathon bonding intensives, discover smart strategies to help your rabbits finally click. With fun games, soothing scents, change of scene and more you’ll find tricks to break down barriers and pave the way for a beautiful bunny bond. Read on for expert advice ranging from gentle to drastic to turn rabbit nemeses into snuggle buddies.

1. Petting side-by-side

Petting your rabbits side-by-side can help them get used to each other's scent and presence. Sit on the floor with the rabbits on either side of you. Pet each rabbit gently and talk to them in a calm, soothing voice. Give them both pets and scratches so neither feels left out. Over multiple sessions, gradually move them closer together while continuing to pet gently. This side-by-side contact creates positive associations between the rabbits.

2. A bit of banana

Offering a small piece of banana is a tasty way to encourage positive interactions. Place a small piece of banana in between the rabbits so they both go for it at the same time. The shared experience of a yummy treat can make them more comfortable around each other. Just be sure not to offer so much banana that they ignore each other entirely. The key is for them to associate the other rabbit with something pleasant.

3. Move to a new location

Sometimes a change of scenery can help facilitate bonding. Set up a neutral bonding area that neither rabbit has been before, like a bathroom or spare room. The new environment can put both rabbits slightly outside their comfort zone, making them more likely to seek companionship from each other. Be sure to remove all hiding spots so they are forced to interact.

4. Stress bonding

Stress bonding involves placing the rabbits in a situation that causes mild stress, triggering their instinct to band together. Methods include placing them in a cat carrier together or taking them on a short car ride. The sense of unfamiliarity will encourage them to take comfort in each other. Avoid overly stressful techniques that may scare them. Mild stress just makes them seek companionship.

5. End sessions on a positive note

Always finish a bonding session while things are still going well between the rabbits. Even if you only get 5-10 minutes of harmonious interaction, end on that high note. Don't push it too long thinking more time together is always better. Quitting while you're ahead keeps the experience positive so they look forward to next time.

6. Use a squirt bottle when necessary

A squirt bottle with water can be useful for immediately breaking up any aggressive behavior like lunging or chasing. A quick spritz of water will startle them and interrupt the negative interaction. However, only squirt as an absolute last resort and avoid spraying in the face. You don't want them to become afraid of you or the water bottle.

7. Calming herbs and scents

Try using calming herbs like chamomile or lavender during bonding sessions. You can put dried herbs in the bonding area so they smell the soothing scent. You can also rub a little bit of diluted essential oils on your hands before petting the rabbits. The relaxing properties of the herbs and oils may help facilitate bonding.

8. Make the sessions fun

Incorporate toys, treats, and games to add an element of fun to bonding time. Rotate a variety of toys into the bonding space to keep things interesting. Hand feed them treats together for double the nose scratches. Add boxes to crawl through or dig pits to burrow in. Creative play keeps things light and happy versus tense and confrontational.

9. Marathon bonding

If all else fails, marathon bonding might do the trick. This is an extended multi-hour bonding session in a very small space like a cat carrier that forces prolonged contact. Be prepared to supervise constantly, breaking up any fighting with squirt bottles of water. The prolonged intensity can break down barriers leading to breakthroughs.

10. Take a break

Sometimes the best thing to do is take a break from bonding attempts for a few days or weeks. Don't force it if there's lingering tension or aggression. Give them space and try again later with techniques like a new location or marathon method. With patience, even the most stubborn pairs can become bonded with the right approach.

When to give up?

Bonding rabbits can take time, commitment and diligence. However, there are cases where personalities simply don't mesh or aggression remains dangerous and consistent. If either rabbit shows signs of long-term stress like going off food, hiding, or self-mutilation, it may be kindest to stop attempts. Likewise if they repeatedly fight to injury or you are worried about providing safe supervision. While giving up isn't ideal, in some cases it can be the right choice for their wellbeing. Have realistic expectations and don't drag out overly stressful failed bonding attempts.

Leave a Comment