A question for any rabbit owners


#1

We have a little HotTot bunny that is about five months old. She is very sweet and tame. However, when my son holds her she sometimes pees on him, and/or starts "digging’ into my sons shirt like its the ground. it really hurts him and we don’t know how to train her to stop. I bought this bunny for my son, but im afraid that all this peeing and digging will discourage him from holding “hopalong” anymore.

Any tips?


#2

Yep, have him put a thick towel or blanket on him first. The peeing should stop with time. However, if it is a male rabbit, it may be “marking its territory”. I had a male rabbit who ALWAYS sprayed the floor in front of its cage within minutes of me washing it. It was a losing battle. Rabbits can be litter box trained (although I’ve never had luck with that in 30 years - but in fairness have not tried too hard). Keep nails clipped. Rabbits like to dig and chew!


#3

We had a little dwarf bunny for 14 years and in that time, he never let anyone hold him except my dad. We surmised it was because dad had big hands and little Thumper felt comfortable and well supported in them. I think the towel is a great idea!


#4

We had a rabbit that lived 10 years. First advice is to keep his nails trimmed. Second advice is to not worry with holding him. Learn to sit still and have the bunny come to you. You can pet the top of it’s head and neck. They like that a lot.

My rabbit hated being held, but loved being loved.


#5

My kids had two pet bunnies several years ago. Our bunnies were not really cuddly and did not like to be held. I do remember that sometimes when the kids held the bunnies, the bunnies wet on the kids, scratched them and also bit them. I don’t remember much about how to try to train the bunnies, though we did try to “train” the kids to be calm and gentle with the bunnies, but I don’t really think it helped with the wetting, scratching and biting. Maybe the following links will be helpful to you.

My House Rabbit
myhouserabbit.com/behavior.php

House Rabbit Society
rabbit.org

Fuzzy Rabbit
fuzzy-rabbit.com/


#6

Hi OP,
I hate to tell you this… but as cute as they are, bunnies are not a great pet for small children. They hate being held most of the time, are quite territorial, and yes they will sometimes ‘mark’ on people. I had a Dutch bunny who peed on my bed every chance she got - it was so frustrating!

Spaying/neutering is a great option. It can help with the errant urination. Also, have your local exotic animal vet check the bunny for a bladder infection. Sometimes, like cats, they start peeing in strange places when they have a UTI.

The scratching is normal… keep bunny’s nails trimmed to reduce the scratching. Rabbits love having something to dig into, so make sure that the bunnie’s hutch has lots of loose bedding or shredded newspaper.

Definitely visit the House Rabbit Society website! The information is invaluable, and will give you more insight into rabbit behavior.

Much luck and God bless!


#7

i definitely agree with the people who have said bunnies like to “mark their territory” and to keep their nails trimmed because bunnies do like to dig and chew.

i’ve also noticed with the bunnies i’ve had, is they tend to be “one-person” pets… meaning, i was the only person who was able to hold them. if anyone else tried, they would scratch and try to get down.

the websites suggested are also great sites!! good luck!


#8

Yep, I think that he is marking. The digging is a natural behavior. Bunnies love to dig and chew. We grew up with bunnies and they are great pets. I think the best thing to do is to teach your child to sit on the floor with the bunny in his lap. Bunnies love to have their heads patted gently. This might help relax him. He is probably very energetic, too. Perhaps letting him hop around a while to get his "energy out" before trying to hold him.


#9

This is very true - they bond through play and gentle head pats. They will even purr if they are really happy. That is why they are recommended for children that are about 6-7 and older, since they can understand better that some animals don’t like being held. Definitely let him have some cage-free time in a safe part of the house with no electrical cords or larger appliances! They are not good for full time cage dwelling.


#10

We used to set up little obstacle courses for Thumper. We would take these old toy cardboard bricks and make tunnels and bridges for him he loved it. He would race through the tunnels and make quite a sight. Lots of fun when we were little :p


#11

Wow, thanks for all the info. Our llittle bunny is a girl, at least thats what the clerk told us.


#12

Our sweet little bunny, who is very tame and has never bitten has been lunging lately. If I stick my hand in her cage she lunges at me. She has never lunged and bitten, but it scares and startles me. is this an act of aggression?:eek:


#13

Sounds like she's being territorial :) They get very possessive over their little space. Does she get a decent amount of cage-free time?


#14

I had a rabbit for a short time…most destructive animal I ever owned it ate through drywall, wood furniture, plastic…they are supposed to be litterbox trainable but I never had luck with that. Good luck with your issue sorry I don’t have any advice.


#15

The one my son owns I think is trained to use a litter box but his cage sits 3" above a catch all pan so we don't use a litter box. The problem is he now uses his food bowl as a litter box. :shrug:

His is a large Holland Lop and handling the rabbit requires a person to be very much in charge and forceful to prevent him from doing exactly what you describe.


#16

We had bunnies growing up and they did NOT like being held once they got big enough to fight back. Bunnies are not cuddly animals. They were happiest when we let them roam the yard like our cat rather than being cooped (or hutched) up. Gentle petting is OK, but they are not affectionate like dogs or cats. Don’t expect that from them.


#17

[quote="Lucky_Scrunchy, post:11, topic:245341"]
Wow, thanks for all the info. Our llittle bunny is a girl, at least thats what the clerk told us.

[/quote]

haha! Well, when we got our last two dwarf bunnies, the clerk told us they were both boys and when my brother, sister and I came home from spending the summer with our grandparents, we found four additional little baby bunnies in the hutch. My Dad had to build a mega-hutch to separate the boys and to also keep them away from the girls. That didn't stop our one female rabbit, though. She bit through the wire and was able to fit through a little 3-4 in opening at the top of the lid just to get to her "husband". My friend and I "married" the two original bunnies after they had their babies. :p

Most of them lasted about 10 years. The oldest was 13 when she went to bunny heaven. I agree with the others that gentle pats on the head and letting them roam around you are good ideas. Ours always scratched and dug theirs claws whenever we held them, although we had one white dwarf who was very gentle and liked being cuddled. Growing up with a lot of rabbits as pets, though, I think he was the exception to the rule. I don't know what to say about the urinating. Ours tended to poop more than pee, much to my mother's chagrin, so we weren't allowed to keep them in the house much.


#18

We're lucky in that our little dwarf Hot Tot seems to enjoy being held. I hold her on my chest/shoulder and stroke her head. Her eyes become very relaxed and she starts teeth chattering, which I understand to be their way of purring.

I just hate the lunging, it scares me to death.


#19

This is true. Bunnies do best with adults and older kids. But now that the bunny is a pet, you will need to teach your child how to take care of bunny including the cuddling.

I worked at an animal shelter. Most bunnies like to be held close up to your chest, like a quarter back holds a football when he is running for a touchdown. You can also cover the bunnies eyes with your hand and that will help the bunny calm down. Another trick is to turn the bunny over on it’s back.

Trim the bunnies nails and also you may need to have your vet trim the teeth.

Good luck


#20

Trim the teeth… oh that sounds painful!


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