How To Bond With Your Rabbit in 21 Different Ways

How To Bond With Your Rabbit
How To Bond With Your Rabbit

Can you bond with your rabbit? This is the first question that comes to a rabbit owner’s mind. Is it realistic to think can I bond with my rabbit like I can with my cat or dog? It is a known fact that bonding with rabbits will not be as easy as bonding with a cat or a dog. But do not give up hope because you can bond with your rabbit. It takes an understanding of you rabbit’s vocalizations and body language. Above all else, you must be patient. 


1. A Rabbit Is Not A Dog Or A Cat Is It?

A rabbit is not your typical pet as a dog or a cat is. This means you must bond with your rabbit quite differently than your cat or dog. Unlike a cat or dog, you must be patient with bonding with your rabbit. Rabbits will shun you if you immediately try to approach them because rabbits are prey animals and they do not like to be approached right off the bat. They will approach you on their own and in their time so here is where you need to be patient in bonding with your rabbit.

2. Can You Hold A Rabbit Like Other Animals?

Rabbits are small animals in comparison to some other pets. You cannot hold a dog (if it a large dog) against your chest and most of the time cats will not allow you to hold them to your chest because they are very independent animals.

A rabbit because of its size it would be convenient for you to hold the rabbit against your chest. But by nature rabbits do not like to be held so closely to a human but this type of intimacy can be developed. The key is to be patient so the rabbit will learn to trust you and want to be around you. The rabbit will on its own time allow you to hold it to your chest. If the rabbit licks you it is a sure sign you can pick up the rabbit and hold it to your chest. 

3. Are Rabbits Trusting Of Humans?

Rabbits are prey animals meaning there are a lot of predators (including humans) that will hunt them and kill them for their meat. Rabbits are naturally afraid of and they do not trust humans. Have you ever noticed that when you approach a wild rabbit they will flee from you quickly? Their ears will most likely be drawn back and then they will flee.

You can teach your pet rabbit to trust you. Again, it will not happen overnight but it will happen. Start out by letting the rabbit have its own space and let it work up the courage to begin to trust you. Stay quiet and move slowly in the beginning with the pet rabbit. The rabbit will begin to relax around you and get use to you. You can teach your rabbit to trust you.

4. Is A Rabbit’s Hind Legs Critical In The Process Of Bonding?

This may seem like a funny question to be asking concerning a pet owner bonding with his rabbit. But it is  because you must pay attention to every part of the rabbit’s body and every detail of the rabbit. No motion, facial expression, or vocalization is without a reason and the rabbit is trying to communicate something to the human pet owner.

If the rabbit’s hind legs are stretched out behind the body then this means the rabbit is relaxed and comfortable in your home and around you. If this is the rabbit’s stance then it may be safe to move in closer to pet the rabbit. The rabbit cannot leap up and run when the hind legs are stretched out behind the body. He also cannot attack and it means he is comfortable in his environment.

5. What If The Rabbit’s Body Is Tense?

This is a sure sign the bonding relationship is not going forward. If the rabbit has a tense body and the ears are bent back this is not a good message the rabbit is sending to you. The rabbit is tense or nervous about something you said or did. Or it could be the rabbit does not feel comfortable around you or in your home.

This is not the time to try and bond with the rabbit because he may run away from you or plunge at you to attack you. He may try to bite you or scratch you. Give the rabbit some space so he can calm down and he will know you are not a threat to him. This is going to take time for the rabbit to calm down and feel comfortable around you or in the house again.

6. What Is Your Rabbit Vocalizing?

Yes, this is a very key part to bonding with your rabbit. If the rabbit is displaying certain vocalization or noises you need to pay attention to what is being communicated to you. You will help the bonding process by paying attention to the rabbit’s vocalization. Rabbits have a wide range of vocalizations so you need to listen to the rabbit’s sounds so you can properly interact with the rabbit according to the sounds they may be making. Their sounds will indicate relaxation, tension, or they feel safe. If you discern their sounds accurately then this will help you to bond better with your rabbit. This will happen when you send know what vocalizations the rabbit is making.

You will need to either keep your distance or go in and spend some close time with the rabbit. This will teach you when to bond with the rabbit and when you should stay away from the rabbit. This should speed up the bonding time between the pet owner and the rabbit.

7. Are The Teeth Clicking?

This is one clear vocalization that will delay or facilitate the bonding process. If the rabbit is clicking the teeth contrary to popular belief the rabbit is not stressed or angry. This means the rabbit is very content and relaxed in the home. The rabbit is comfortable around you so you can continue with the bonding process. Every bonding period may or may not include clicking teeth as a side effect of the process. Or  t is a noise showing the rabbit’s totally comfortable around you and the house he is in. In this mood, this is a good time to bond with the rabbit because the rabbit will be more open to the bonding process. This is good because it means the rabbit is comfortable and likes being around you and this will draw you and your furry pet closer together.

8. Does Snorting Matter?

Yes, snorting does mean something and you need to listen for a rabbit’s snorting. The rabbit can definitely send mixed signals in the bonding process with the snorting sound. The snorting could mean the rabbit is having respiratory problems and if the rabbit’s nose is running it is advisable to take the rabbit to the veterinary to be checked out. This will determine if the rabbit is sick or not. Or it could be the rabbit is feeling affectionate and comfortable around you then you have made some good progress bonding with your rabbit. Another factor is when the rabbit is irritated and does not trust you then the rabbit will snort and if this is taking place this is not the time to try and bond with the rabbit.  

9. What If The Rabbit Whimpers Or Squeals?

If the rabbit squeals or whimpers when you pick him up then there could be a few causes for this. It means the rabbit is afraid or in pain. If the rabbit is in pain then you may be picking him up wrong and it could be causing the rabbit to cry. Or the rabbit could have an illness or hurt limb. If you suspect either then take the rabbit to the vet. The vet can determine the root of the pain.

The other factor going on is the rabbit is afraid of you and the rabbit does not trust you quite yet. If this is the case then you may want to hold off picking up the rabbit and give him time to feel safe around you. Once this happens you will be able to pick up the rabbit with no cause for anxiety on the rabbit’s part. The bonding process needs to improve if the rabbit is afraid when you pick him up. The bonding process is moving along well if the rabbit squeals or whimpers because he wants some affection and he is feeling friendly toward you. 

10. Why Are The Teeth Grinding?

You can bet that if the rabbit is grinding his teeth it is not going well in the bonding process. If you hear and see the rabbit grinding his teeth most likely you may see the inner eye in the corner of the eye showing. It also is certain the rabbit is in pain or feeling anxious. In this case, you may want to slow down the bonding process.

Remember, you do not want to hurry the bonding process you must be patient with the rabbit. You may be in a hurry to get close to the rabbit but he may not be in such a hurry to get close to you. Teeth grinding usually means the rabbit is hurting because you are holding him wrong and obviously hurting him. It could be the rabbit is feeling anxious or he may be ill or in some kind of other kind of pain.

If the rabbit is grinding his teeth it would be a good idea to take the rabbit to the vet. The rabbit may have some disease or illness. If the rabbit is feeling uneasy he may grind his teeth when you pick him up even if you are holding him right. If it appears the rabbit does not feel safe when you pick him up then put him down. You need to slow down the bonding process.

It is time to take a few steps back in the bonding process and let the rabbit alone and give him some space. Maybe sit near the rabbit and stay close to him but do not pick the rabbit up. Spend some good quality time with him but give him his space. Let him get use to your scent and let him get use to you. The rabbit will come closer to you in time when he gets use to you. He also needs to get used to living in your home. Again, take the time to let the rabbit bond on his terms not yours.

11. What Are Those Grunting Noises?

If your rabbit is grunting you can bet the bonding process is at a standstill. The rabbit will grunt and it will not be a friendly message he is sending to you. This means the rabbit is annoyed with you and/or he does not trust you. It could be he does not like you. This is a sign the rabbit is feeling extremely antagonistic toward you.

This is not the time to try and pick up the rabbit and you would be advised to leave the rabbit alone and give him his space. Also, do not try to sit near him or even go near him. Do not pick up his toys, litter box, or his food. He will attack you and try and bite and scratch you. He will attack you if he is grunting at you. This may sound extreme but you may have to stay away from the rabbit for a few hours or maybe leave him alone for a day or two. As long as you hear the rabbit grunting he is very unhappy with you.

Stay away from the rabbit and let him calm down and get used to you. Once the rabbit stops grunting then you can feel confident to start the bonding process again. Sooner or later the rabbit will warm up to you.

12. What Is That Unsettling Screaming I Hear?

Believe it or not that screaming is coming from your furry friend. The rabbit may scream when you pick him up because he may be in some serious pain. Or he may be afraid you are going to hurt him when you pick him up. If he screams when you pick him up because he is scared of you then give it some time before you try to pick him up again.

If it is the case that the rabbit is in pain then be sure you take the rabbit to the vet. The rabbit may need some medical attention. This will also help the rabbit to understand that you care for him because you are taking him to the vet to help him feel better.

13. Is The Body Language Important In The Bonding Process?

You can help the bonding process move along if you watch the rabbit’s posture and body language. These two signals can tell you where you are in the bonding process with the rabbit. If you can tell the difference between a rabbit that is lonely and a rabbit that does not want to be held. You have taken a big step in building a positive bond with your rabbit.

14. Why Watch The Ears?

This is because rabbits have exceptional hearing but you can tell a rabbit’s state of mind by the position of ears. If the rabbit’s ears are straight back then he is relaxed and his guard is down. This means he feels safe around you and his environment. You can then know it is safe to come near him and maybe even pick him up. These actions will deepen the relationship between you and the rabbit.

15. What If The Ears Are Pulled Forward?

This is a common posture for rabbits who live in the wild that the ears are pulled forward. This is because they deal with a lot of predators, humans, and variables being in an outside environment. Things that a domesticated rabbit would never deal with. But the pet rabbit will deal with a whole different set of circumstances that a wild rabbit would not.

If you the rabbit’s ears pulled forward he has heard or sensed something that may be a threat to him or may not be. In these cases, stay away from the rabbit and observe what his next actions will be. This way you will know how to react to the rabbit in a friendly way and this will deepen the bonding between you and the rabbit.

16. What If The Rabbit Has One Ear Forward And One Ear is Back?

This will look odd that one ear is forward and one ear is back. It may seem like the rabbit is confused. What he is feeling is he had noticed that things are going around him but he does not know if these things are threat to him or not.

 In these times,approach the rabbit in a way that will put his mind at ease. Relax and approach the rabbit quietly and very slowly this will calm him down and let him know everything is well.

17. What Does A Nose Nudge Mean?

This may seem like a strange behavior the rabbit is exhibiting toward you but really it is a very good form communication. But it is a very affectionate form of communication because it means the rabbit wants you to pet him or pay attention to him. This will deepen the bond between you and the rabbit. The rabbit wants your company and is asking you to give him some attention.

18. Why Are You Licking Me?

Just like a dog licks its human caretaker out of affection so a rabbit will lick you because he really likes you. If the rabbit is licking you then you have been bonding very well with your rabbit. This is one of the highest forms of affection the rabbit can show to you.

19. Why Are You Flopping?

If the rabbit just walks up to you and flops down in front of you then you have bonded with the rabbit successfully. The rabbit is demonstrating that he is completely trusting of you and he feels relaxed around you. He feels comfortable being with you.

20. Oh No The Inner Eye Is Showing What Does It Mean?

If the rabbit is showing you his inner eye when you pick him up this means he is extremely frightened of you and he does not want you to pick him up. Put him down and keep building that trust between you and the rabbit. Eventually, he will feel comfortable then you pick him up.

21. Why Should I Hold The Rabbit Properly?

If you want to bond successfully with your rabbit then you need to learn how to pick him up properly. If you pick the rabbit up wrong then the rabbit will squirm and try to get away. But if you learn to hold the rabbit right he will relax and he will feel safe in your arms. This will help the bonding process immensely if you learn how to pick up the rabbit and hold him in the right way.

Conclusion: In the article we have discussed some proven methods that will help you bond with your pet rabbit successfully for the rest of the rabbit’s life. It will take time for the rabbit to get use to you and his new home so be patient and take the bonding process one step at a time.