Adopting (or rescuing) a rabbit that has come from harsh beginnings can be a real challenge. You never know how he will behave once you get him home and the adjustment period can take quite awhile. It seems as though there is always at least one issue that requires rehabilitation. Aggression is one of the most common.
After you get him home, he may settle in and be just fine. Or, he may start boxing, lunging and growling at you. He might also just sit in his cage and refuse to come out for days. Or weeks. Most often, rabbits with difficult pasts seem perfectly normal until a little time passes. Then all of a sudden aggressive behaviors show up. What then?
Basic Helpful Tips
- Be kind and patient
- Let him have his space
- Do not pick him up
- Do not allow guests, children or others to pick him up
- Do not force him to socialize
- Feed him meals on a schedule (morning and night) and always provide unlimited hay and water
- Never discipline him (adding more trauma to a traumatized animal is cruel and will not help)
- Let him approach you on his own terms
- Keep his initial living space small (do not give him free roam right away)
- Make sure he has a litter box in his enclosure
- Keep his environment quiet and calm
- Understand rabbit body language and respect what he is trying to tell you with his actions
- Get help if you need it. There is good information online (for free) about rehabilitating rabbits in need
For information on dealing with aggression in rabbits, CLICK HERE.
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