Last Updated on August 5, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Getting your rabbit to cuddle with you can be a daunting task, especially at the beginning of your relationship. Since rabbits are prey creatures, they are naturally cautious of us humans.
As a result, many owners complain about why their rabbits are not as affectionate towards them as they would like them to be.
I personally can attest to this. My two babies, Tyr and Freya, who I have had for many many years now, are still randomly snobby at me at times.
But, in time, I learned how to recognize the pattern in their behavior and how to use it to my advantage.
As a result, me being a cuddly person, I can now trick my rabbits into cuddling with me whenever I want to. It can take time for you to get to this point, especially if your rabbit is new and no bond has been created yet between the two of you.
In this article, I will discuss the different steps I take to make my rabbit cuddle with me whenever I want to.
So without further ado, let’s get started:
How do you get your rabbit to cuddle with you?
For new or young rabbits, I suggest taking it easy and just letting your rabbit do whatever they want, and avoid forcing them to do anything.
Forcing your rabbit to do anything would just make them suspicious of you and could end up prolonging the bonding process.
In addition, avoid picking up your rabbit if they are not used to it. A lot of rabbits get injured by their owners picking them up and dropping them.
Finally, some rabbits are naturally snobby and will run away when they detect that you want to cuddle them. This is especially true for young unneutered rabbits whose hormones are all over the place.
I suggest all rabbits be neutered to limit these behaviors.
Step-by-step guide on how to get your rabbit to cuddle with you.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get your rabbit to start cuddling with you:
1. Wait for your rabbit to approach you.
As I said earlier, when your rabbit is new or you just got them, it’s important that you don’t force them to do anything.
A lot of injuries can occur when owners try to pick up their rabbits when they don’t want to. Some rabbits even break their backs, which is fatal.
Be patient and wait for your rabbit to come to you naturally. Rabbits, being naturally curious, would likely come near you to smell you at some point.
2. Slowly reach out your hand to pet your rabbit.
When your rabbit is near you, slowly reach out your hand and pet them in the head or behind the ears. For now, avoid touching them on their neck or stomach area because they won’t like it and will often run away.
Finally, avoid picking them up at this point unless they are used to being picked up.
Some rabbit owners think that just because their rabbit comes to them, it’s an invitation to be lifted up. This is not true, most rabbits hates being lifted up.
3. Provide some treats to relax your rabbit.
If you have a treat in hand, it’s also a great idea to give your rabbit some to settle their nerves, especially if they don’t trust you yet.
Be careful with the treats, though, because young rabbits are prone to digestive issues when fed large amounts of sugar. Stick to hay-based treats if your rabbit is young.
4. Stick to petting your rabbit in the “green zone.”
Rabbits don’t like being touched in their most vulnerable area, which I call the “red zone.” The red zone includes the neck, stomach, and hind legs.
Stick to touching or petting them in the “green zone”, which is their head, back of the ears, and back. Rabbits love being petted behind their ears, so start with that and see how it goes.
Here’s a great video from 101Rabbits that shows how to properly pet your rabbit:
5. If your rabbit runs away.
If they still won’t come near you after trying to lure them with treats, it’s best to just leave them alone for now and let them do their thing.
It would take some time for your rabbit to trust you in the beginning, so be patient. On average, the bonding process can take 2-4 weeks.
To get your rabbit to cuddle with you, wait for them to come near you. Then, reach out your hand and try to slowly pet them in their head, back of the ears, or back.
You could also give them treats to help calm their nerves if they’re still nervous around you. Just be careful that you only give young rabbits hay-based treats because too much sugar can cause digestive issues for young rabbits.
If your rabbit runs away from you after all this, it’s best to just leave them alone for now and try again later. On average, the bonding process between humans and rabbits lasts anywhere from 2–4 weeks.
Cite this article:
Sources and Further reading
- Buseth, Marit Emilie., and Richard A. Saunders. Rabbit Behaviour, Health, and Care. CABI, 2014.
- Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.
- Basic Rabbit Care
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