Almost all rabbits will not be totally comfortable with being cuddled unless you have taken the time to properly build up the trust. This is because it is simply in their nature as prey animals to be wary of potential threats – one of those threats is the tall human that is looming over them.
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Having said this, if you are patient with your rabbit and take the time to understand what they are trying to tell them via their body language then you should be able to cuddle them soon enough.
You should be prepared however that even with patience and time, some rabbits will still not be comfortable with cuddles – and that is okay because there are other ways to show your affection.
How to Cuddle Your Rabbit
Rabbits like having their foreheads and backs massaged. Strike towards the direction of the hair, never against it (unless you are checking for skin problems).
Most, but not all bunnies like having their ears rubbed. Your rabbit may also like being brushed. You can use a hairbrush for a doll or a brush made for grooming cats. Your rabbit may really enjoy this during the spring and fall, when it is moulting.
Rabbits have a few sensitive places on their bodies where they do not like being touched which includes under their chin, on their whiskers, and their feet. Some rabbits are also highly sensitive when it comes to their ears or tail. You’ll quickly learn what your bunny loves and hates.
You can wrap your arms around your rabbit and embrace it if it is confident and safe; but, more anxious bunnies detest feeling confined in this manner and may flee.
Never make your bunny rub or hug. Many will express their displeasure by shoving your touch away with their snout, shaking their ears, or just moving away from you.
Getting Your Rabbit Used to Being Touched
Some rabbits are resistant to human handling. This is more likely if they were not handled properly when they were young. Socialization is crucial throughout the first six weeks of a bunny’s existence.
This can be an issue. Picking up your rabbit is required for nail trimming, grooming, and transporting them to their run.
The first step in acclimating your rabbit to being handled on specific sections of their body is to touch them. To pick up a rabbit, you must contact its belly and hindquarters. If a rabbit is not used to being touched in this environment, they will resist handling.
Don’t follow your rabbit if it runs away. This will terrify them. You must demonstrate to your rabbit that you can be trusted and that you will follow their wishes. The race is won by going slowly and steadily.
Above all, make sure your rabbit sees you as a source of joy. It is not enough to just feed them. Petting, on the other hand, will aid in the development of a relationship.
Many rabbits may be trained to tolerate handling. You must provide as many favorable experiences as possible. It will take some time, but you will get there.
Be patient and never scold your bunny for refusing to be handled. They are already terrified of you. This will increase their skepticism and make them less willing to accept handling.
How to Properly Pick Up Your Rabbit
Even though most rabbits despise being picked up, there will come a moment when you must. Make sure you understand how to pick up a rabbit in those situations.
- While picking up a rabbit, approach them from the side or top, much like you would when hugging. Inform them of your approach and make sure to never surprise a rabbit.
- You can touch your rabbit’s back once your rabbit realizes you’re there. Give them a couple of long, loving strokes. This assures them that you are not there to harm them. If they appear relaxed, you can begin to lift them in the following manner.
- Lifting a rabbit begins with one hand sliding beneath their tummy. Your hand should be directly behind and in front of their front legs. You’ll probably fill up the entire region with little bunnies. For bigger rabbits, simply support as much of their stomach as possible.
- You’ll be scooping your rabbit up, so use your other hand to hold their bottom. This keeps you in command while yet giving your bunny a sense of security. Before you begin, try to get your bodies as near as possible so you don’t have to move them too far before they are against your body.
- This should be done rapidly so your rabbit doesn’t have time to react or become afraid. You don’t want to move so rapidly that they become scared. Scoop and hoist your bunny, bringing them right up against your body, with your hands in place. Hold them snugly against you with both hands.
- Some rabbits despise being handled so much that it makes no difference how careful you are. You can cover those tense buns with a towel or tiny blanket. Wrapping your bunny before lifting makes them feel more secure and stops them from kicking and scrambling out of your arms. Make sure to provide lots of head massages.
Other Ways to Show Affection to Your Rabbit
If your bunny isn’t thrilled with you snuggling them, don’t panic; there are plenty of other methods to show them how much you care. Here are a few ideas to help you build your relationship.
The gut is the most direct route to a rabbit’s heart. Rabbits have a huge sweet tooth and will devour whatever sweets you offer them.
Simply offer your rabbit a little piece of their favorite fruit or vegetable to show them how much you love them. Small bits of apple, banana, bell pepper, and carrot are frequently acceptable snacks. It’s certain to make them very delighted.
Spending time together is also a method to convey affection, as it is in every relationship. Spend time each day completely on your rabbit.
Sit on the floor with them so they can easily engage with you and avoid being distracted by your phone or television. The attention will make your rabbit happy and will assist to satisfy their socializing needs.
Finally, rabbits like playing with toys, which are beneficial to your rabbit’s brain development. You may provide them with a choice of chewing and digging toys. There are also numerous DIY toys for rabbits that you can easily construct out of cardboard.
Cuddling, caressing, petting, and handling will all aid in the bonding process with your rabbit. Your bunny will grow to trust you more with each successful interaction. Your rabbit perceives you as safe every time you pet her. Every time you appreciate their preferences and dislikes, they become closer to you.
Your objective, however, should never be to push a rabbit to bond with you. That is not something you can force. Bonding takes time, kindness, trust, and love to develop. If you continue to offer your bunny patience and affection, the relationship will strengthen.
Video: Things Rabbits Love
This video has over 1,000,000 views for a reason! It reviews 12 things that your rabbit absolutely loves – make sure to check out number 12!