A big part of giving your rabbit a healthy and happy environment is offering it social interaction, but what can you do if your new pet has a hard time trusting you? Rabbits can be skittish creatures and even easily startled and a little jumpy. This comes from the fact that rabbits are most often prey in the wild. It can take a little time to develop a relationship of trust with your pet, so don’t get discouraged if your bunny doesn’t immediately take up to you when you bring it home. There are a few basic tips that can help you build trust with your pet rabbit.
1. Meet your bunny at eye level for playtime and interaction.
Think about your size and stature in relation to a bunny. You are quite large in comparison. If you only ever interact with the rabbit from a standing position while they are in their hutch or on the floor, all they will see of you is your legs, which will not help foster a sense of trust. Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor with your bunny or bring the bunny up on a tabletop where they will see your face. This is especially important in the beginning, as it gives the bunny a chance to see you and hear your voice from the source.
2. Speak softly and move a little slower when interacting with your bunny.
Rabbits are curious creatures who are constantly aware of all commotion in their environment. They hear very well and can be extremely startled by loud noises or quick movements that remind them of predators in the wild. Therefore, make sure you slow things down with your new pet bunny. Be gentle and thoughtful when you move your hands and speak in a softer, even-toned voice.
3. Offer your rabbit small treats while it is getting to know you.
Rabbits in the wild often enjoy treats together as part of their social interactions. So sharing small treats with your bunny can help them feel like you are someone safe they can trust. Bits of fresh vegetables, rabbit nibbles, or other chewy treats should be kept close by and offered on occasion.
4. Only pick up the rabbit when necessary.
In their natural environment, rabbits are ground dwellers and don’t like being up off of the ground, which means they will not appreciate being picked up and toted around in your arms. Try to avoid picking the rabbit up unless it is absolutely necessary and teach your children the same rule. Instead, snuggle and pet your bunny on its terms. Let it come to you for love and affection, which can take some time, but is well worth the wait when they do.
Overall, be patient with your new pet.
Getting a rabbit to trust you can take time, so you have to be patient with your new pet. Don’t come on too strong during your first interactions. Rabbits are highly curious, so eventually, their curiosity will get the better of them and they will come and check you out, sniff you, or may even climb into your lap. To find treats and toys to help you gain your bunny’s trust, check out the supply section on Rabbits.ie.