Establishing the trust of your new pet rabbit can be difficult, especially if it is a rescued animal that has been neglected, abused or abandoned by its previous owners. Even when the animal comes from a healthy environment, rabbit-human bonding is not something that can be forced.

Sit Quietly In His Space

Sit in (or near) your rabbit’s primary living space and just wait. Resist the urge to reach out to him. Let him come to you. This may take days, a week or even longer depending upon his past experience with humans. It helps to bring a rabbit-safe vegetable as a treat. If he won’t take it from you when you hold it out, drop it on the ground far enough in front of you that he feels safe grabbing it before he retreats. Some rabbits won’t even come near people to get a treat, so you may have to leave it there for him to get later.

Whatever the case with your pet rabbit, give him the respect he needs by allowing him to approach you when he is ready. As long as his approaching you is never a negative experience, he will begin to investigate you more each time you are there. Never chase him. Chasing your rabbit will make him think of you as his predator. It will have the opposite effect of what you are trying to accomplish.

Head Petting

Rabbits groom one another when they are bonded. Humans can use that same technique to establish trust by petting the rabbit’s head. When your rabbit begins to put his paws on you and feels safe with you touching his head, you can slowly begin to start petting him.

After awhile, he will come to you, place his paws in front of his body facing you and lower his head. Bonded rabbits assume this same position when they want to be groomed by their partner. Seeing your rabbit do this with you is evidence that mutual trust is being established. He will let you know if he is not comfortable or when your petting time is up.


Copyright 2016, Love Your Rabbit,, Author Jana Brock, Bunny Conversations, Happy Rabbit Tips and Rabbit Tails. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. This is not a veterinary site, nor should any information here be construed as veterinarian advice. Photo credits for this website: Jana Brock. Additional photo credits for some website content: volunteers who contribute to All readers, without exception, agree to the terms and conditions of this website. Information is shared under the Fair Use Act. “The “Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing United States Entrepreneurship Act of 2007” (FAIR USE Act) was a proposed United States copyright law that would have amended Title 17 of the U.S. Code, including portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to “promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes.” CITED: en.wikopedia,org/wiki online 2016.

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