Do Rabbits Know Who Their Owners Are? Useful Tips

Do Rabbits Know Who Their Owners Are
Do Rabbits Know Who Their Owners Are

Does your rabbit really know you? Yes, he/she does. It’s easy to tell when a dog knows you since they tend to respond easily to a call, but they also respond very enthusiastically just to the appearance of the owner. As a child, I can remember having both cats and dogs who would come to me quickly but be somewhat shy of new people. I could be pretty sure they know who I was and that I was the person they had bonded with the most. When I got my first rabbit, I wasn’t sure how I would tell if the rabbit responded to me specifically or just saw me as a human who fed them.

Do Rabbits Love Their Owners?

Rabbits display affection for their babies and other rabbits in several ways. They will follow each other around, behave in a playful way and most rabbits will do some cuddling and grooming with their young and possibly other rabbits. The way rabbits relate to humans may vary. If we get an older rabbit it may not respond to us in the same way it does with other rabbits, or it may even exhibit loner behavior because of its history. If we get a young rabbit and spent a lot of time with it, the chances of a solid bond are higher. Rabbits may begin to follow us around the house if they have the opportunity and will often show other affectionate behaviors.

What Are The Signs That Your Rabbit Loves You?

For the most part, they will demonstrate love for humans in the same way they do for other rabbits. They will show behaviors like those mentioned above and perhaps more. You can also tell something by what they don’t do. Some signs your rabbit is demonstrating love for you are observable:

  • Responding with pleasure when they see you
  • Following behavior
  • Snuggling
  • Controlling the impulse to struggle when held
  • Responding in a relaxed manner when touched

How Do You Make Your Rabbit Love You?

Rabbits in the wild will become attached to each other through social interaction. They spend time together and at first, they will approach quietly and perhaps progress to playfulness. Mother rabbits feed and nuzzle their young. Bonded pairs or groups will sit calmly together. You can approach your rabbit in these ways to encourage them to love you. When you are around a new rabbit, stay calm and keep your energy low. Let the rabbit get accustomed to you.

Moving Forward With Rabbit Affection

Let them figure out your scent and your personality. At the same time, study their behavior so you can be encouraging when they begin to respond to your entrance. If your rabbit approaches you purposefully or allows you to touch it, stay calm and work toward firm but gentle stroking. (Rabbits sometimes prefer a firm touch to a tickle.)  When you feed your rabbit normal food, encourage it to eat near you at first and later see if it will eat out of your hand. Offer your rabbit tasty special treats. The rabbit will first associate you with positive feelings and then begin to bond with you in a loving way.

Can Rabbits Bond With Their Owners Like They Can With Other Rabbits?

For the most part, bunnies can bond with their owners like they can with other rabbits. You can emulate many of the same qualities that a rabbit offers another of its kind. Sometimes this is easier if the rabbit has only human company, so you may need to spend time with your rabbit alone to encourage the process to move forward. As your rabbit gets used to you, become a source of food and affection the way a mother does with a little bun. In this way, the rabbit will come to think of you as a big rabbit, up to a point!

Do You Think Rabbits Become Attached To Their Owner/s?

Rabbits absolutely can become attached to their owners. One of my friends loved rabbits from childhood and she always kept rabbits. I went to visit her one day and all three of her bunnies were loose in the house. We went outside for a little while to look at a problem with her car and the rabbits stayed lose in the house. They had each other for company, had food and they were in a secure environment. When we came back in and my friend spoke out loud, one of her bunnies immediately hopped into the room. I saw his ears twitching and his whiskers moving as he evaluated my presence, but he had been around me quite a bit so he wasn’t frightened.

My friend sat down on the floor and relaxed against some pillows and this was a spot she had often used to spend time when the bunnies. Her rabbit, Ben, moved right to her and affectionately nuzzled her hand. They sat together for the duration of my visit and the other two rabbits also came in to check things out. I had no doubt her rabbits knew her and were very attached to their owner.

Can Rabbits Love Humans Like Dogs or Cats Do?

Dogs and cats are very different from rabbits and they relate to people in a different way, but this doesn’t mean all social pets don’t show affection and love. In my own home, my dog shows me love in a different way from my cat. The dog tends to rush toward me when I come in the house and he instantly wants to be all over me. He will choose a few minutes with me even if he needs food or a potty break.

My cat may take 15 minutes to wander in after I’ve come home, but once I sit down and have a comfy spot, my cat will come to me and show great affection. She doesn’t do this with other humans. She snuggles up and wants to be petted and she shows obvious displeasure if I get up to leave. Just as cats and dogs are different, rabbits have their own way of demonstrating their feelings.

Rabbits Have Their Own Ways

Rabbits groom each other by licking and sometimes scratching or nipping at each other gently to clean the fur and give a pleasurable feeling to each other. In the same way, my bunny will often notice if I am scratching in the right spot and will nibble at my clothes or arm. This is a form of affection that my cat doesn’t do, but it shows love towards me.

Do Rabbits Have Feelings and How Do They Display Them?

Rabbits do have feelings and they often show them in distinct ways. Some of their feelings are easy to spot and others are not. Rabbits can feel love, grief, anger, joy, anxiety, jealousy and other emotions. As we’ve covered, love is one that we can somewhat observe by watching how rabbits act with each other and then seeing how they act with us.

Varied Messages

Some rabbit emotions mean different things even though they look similar. If a rabbit nibbles at me while I’m petting it and it appears relaxed, this is a sign of pleasure. If I touch a new rabbit in the same way I might get nipped painfully and the rabbit may move aware or show aggression. Bunnies can also display feeling with their entire bodies and with sound.

Display of Rabbit Emotion

Rabbit ears are constantly rotating and tell us a lot about how they feel. A rabbit with one ear forward and one ear relaxed may be saying that it is interested in something, but not fully engaged and not upset. A rabbit with both ears rotated forward is really paying attention to the situation and other body language will show how they feel about what they are seeing and hearing.

Rabbit Sounds

Rabbits do make sounds and will grunt or squeal. Loud sounds from a rabbit are usually not indicative of affection. They use grunting and other sounds to show displeasure, anger or discomfort in most cases. A sound that doesn’t come from the throat is different. Rabbits will often click their teeth together rapidly when they are cuddling with other rabbits or petted by humans. This often shows that they like what they are feeling and want it to continue. It is different from tooth grinding which may mean the rabbit is stressed or in pain.

Thumping Rabbits

Rabbits may thump their feet hard on a surface as a warning. This can warn other rabbits or warn a human that they have a concern. Some rabbits will learn to use thumping to attract attention as well, so it isn’t always a bad sign.

What Are Rabbits Really Like?

Although rabbits are common in the wild, domestic animals are surprisingly easy to bond with. They love human company as long as their introduction into a home is done well. Rabbits are affectionate and intelligent. They can learn to perform tricks, they will use a litter box and they communicate with their people. They make wonderful pets for people who enjoy their personalities.

Rabbit Personalities and Differences

Like humans and other animals, rabbits do have very specific personalities and they also vary based on other physical factors. Some rabbits love people from a young age and others never really become “people rabbits.”  Rabbits who are not sterilized will sometime develop behaviors to exhibit dominance, so it may be appropriate to spay or neuter a pet rabbit. They also breed very readily just like the clichés say that they do, so unless you have a very strong reason to keep them intact, surgery is probably warranted. Male rabbits have a tendency to be a bit more relaxed and a little more affectionate with humans, although females can make good pets as well.

Do Rabbits Trust Humans How Do They Display It?

Rabbits will display their initial trust by approaching humans and showing a willingness to accept touching or holding. If they accept food from your hand, this is always a good sign. Some people misinterpret tail-wagging since dogs may do it to indicate trust, but with a rabbit, this is not always so. It can be a show of dominance or defiance. It isn’t always a bad sign, it can just mean that they aren’t ready to be picked up at that moment or they do not want to walk on a harness. A rabbit that gets very playful when close to you is showing both trust and joy. They are in a good mood and want to demonstrate that to you. If your rabbit plays for a while and then lays down with feet stretched out behind, this shows that they are relaxed and content and they trust you enough to be so relaxed.

Ultimate Trust

If your rabbit licks you without any sign of biting, this is a show of trust and affection. They do this even if your skin isn’t particularly salty, so it has more meaning than just seeking taste. If your rabbit nudges you, that is often a sign that they want to be petted. An ultimate sign of trust with a rabbit is the “flop.”  If your rabbit comes near you and flips over or flops on its side, it is showing you that it feels lucky to be happy and nearby you. A rabbit in the flop-zone is very comfortable. They will sometimes do this very suddenly so new rabbit owners can be quite surprised by it. Don’t worry, though, it’s just a sign that you’ve really succeeded in building trust with your rabbit!

Knowing Your Rabbit

When you see that your rabbit is beginning to trust you and show affection, this is such a wonderful feeling. You want to get to know your rabbit’s own language. Watch the body, the ears, the mouth and listen for signals from your rabbit. Your rabbit will learn to know you and you can learn to know your rabbit as well!  This will increase the chances that you’ll have a long term bond with your bunny friend.