- Aug 24, 2022
- Reaction score
- Suffolk County, Long Island, NY
That’s funny about your daughter’s buck! That’s how I feel watching my husband with this Lionhead with my husband except that he LIKES my husband and let him open the cage with no problem and let himself be pet for several minutes. Zero issues. He allowed him to put his head down, holding it there and he didn’t fight at all. I really appreciate that advice.Rabbits are a species that uses a dominance hierarchy to live communally. This informs the way they communicate with each other, and the way they communicate with us as well.
In "rabbit language," riding (mounting/humping), nipping and licking, and putting the head over the head of another rabbit are all dominance behaviors.
Running away, hiding, crouching with head low and ears lowered, and pushing the head underneath the dominant rabbit's head are submissive behaviors.
Growling, lunging, open mouth with pinned ears, and biting (which involves holding on and/or drawing blood) are aggressive behaviors. Like I mentioned above, sometimes young spring does go through a brief phase of this behavior that resolves after breeding or with increasing age and waning spring conditions. Other rabbits are permanently aggressive for one reason or another.
Submissive rabbits are generally a joy to work with. Without much other than gentle handling, they usually turn out to be outstanding pets, real loves. Dominant rabbits can be trained to also be great pets. They're the ones that have a spunky attitude that some people just love - they tend to be real characters.
Dominant rabbits often try to "be boss" which includes nipping (not actually biting) or bucking when you're trying to pose them. I see it mostly in rabbits between weaning and sexual maturity, when they'd be working out their place in the heirarchy. When a rabbit tries to "be boss," as @Sapphire16 suggests, immobilizing it by covering its head and shoulders with your hand and pushing it down to the table is a good approach. Hold it till it stops struggling. The dominant ones will really fight you; be gentle but firm and don't let them up till they "say uncle" by relaxing. When they relax, let them go and pet their forehead (or whatever they like). Some will get up and try again, and you'll go through the whole drama again. Some take more effort than others, but in general it seems that 2-4 rounds of training helps them get the message that you're the boss.
I have had little luck with aggressive rabbits, though. Sometimes you can train them to be tolerable, but I have found that they're never really trustworthy; the aggression seems to just simmer under the surface. The exceptions to this are rabbits that are aggressive because they have been abused. It takes quite a bit of time and patience but we have rehabilitated rabbits in that situation. But it definitely doesn't sound like that applies to your young buck.
You've certainly gone above and beyond trying to reform this guy. It'll be interesting to hear how it goes for your husband. Some people love a particular animal in spite of all arguments. My daughter just loved her neutered Netherland Dwarf buck, who would launch at her and hang onto her hand like a bulldog every single time she opened his cage. I just couldn't look.
It’s me! I must smell like the other rabbits and pets and it’s making him feel territorial. Between the rescue does and angoras it’s a lot. It’s too cold here to move him outside with the other bucks until spring. I’m not sure what to do with him! Looks like my husband has a rabbit. He will not be bred.
His new name is Freezer Burn.