Have you ever thought about how hard it would be for us to communicate if we could not use words? The amazing way that pets communicate with other animals as well as their pet parents is certainly worth understanding. Pet rabbits cannot use words but they do indeed communicate! This communication is largely associated with both proper training and developing a higher level of trust. Your pet bunny may communicate that she does not want to be picked up, but once a higher level of trust is achieved, she may no longer find that to be a problem to communicate.
The House Rabbit Society says the following about pet rabbit communication:
"Rabbits need to communicate with their companion (human)s, but of course, their communication is without words. One obvious example of such communication is struggling when they are picked up. This is simply (and obviously) saying “I don’t like being picked up! Put me down! PLEASE put me down! I don’t feel safe when you take control of my body this way!” There are few instances where it is appropriate for companion (human)s to force their will on a companion of another species in this way. Obviously, if a rabbit’s teeth must be examined or clipped because of malocclusion, it is necessary to hold her against her will. But it is inexcusable for companions of one species to force their wills on those of another just to satisfy their own desires.
If you want a rabbit who enjoys jumping on your lap and being stroked, teach him to trust you, by never grabbing or holding him against his will when he comes to you. Use treats, nose-to-nose-touching, chin-rubbing (your chin on the rabbit’s face), rubbing around the ears, etc.–whatever he enjoys–to encourage his pleasure in being with you. And if he happens not to enjoy such activities, so be it. Respect and enjoy him for who he is. After all, you want the same for yourself.
A rabbit who enjoys sitting on your lap and being stroked may nip you sharply if you get distracted enough to stop stroking her. She isn’t trying to hurt you, just to remind you that she expects you to get back to the job at hand. When a rabbit nips in an effort to communicate appropriately such as in this case (inappropriate nipping will be discussed later), he probably doesn’t realize how painful it is nor how severe the resulting bruise may be. SCREECH one high, loud, sudden, and short screech to let the rabbit know that he really hurt you. The squeal should be loud, sudden, and high enough to startle the rabbit slightly. The next time he nips (appropriately–i.e., for the purpose of communicating), you will be surprised at how much gentler it will be. Continue to squeal when nipped, however, until the nip is gentle enough to cause no pain or bruising. (Note: use ice on the bruise quickly.)"
Read the entire article: Rabbit.org Training
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