Shyness / Unfriendliness
Some rabbits will hide and avoid human contact. Keep faith, this doesn’t mean that they will not love you once they get to know you. Some rabbits are more shy than others and need some human coaxing to brave human companionship.
An important factor here is time. It takes time for bun to become familiar with its new surroundings. They can be scared by new smells, sounds and surroundings. Reassure your bun that everything is okay and love him/her up.
There are times when a shy bun gets into a habit of hiding and avoiding human contact. This is when alternative measures should be taken. Always remain calm and confident around your rabbit. Use a soothing voice to speak to him/her. Try blocking off access to your rabbit’s favorite hiding spot.
You can use baby gates to block off a room in your house where you can get down on the floor with bun. A living room, family room or den work great as long as the room has been rabbit-proofed. Block off areas to where bun could hide. You could pick up an empty banana box at your local grocery store to offer a hiding spot that is still visible. Put the box on edge and place the top and bottom together part way. Place a towel, hay or newspaper in the box to make it comfortable for your rabbit. Don’t forget to have the litter box out for your rabbit during this out time. You’ll also want to put out a small dish of food and water in case your bun gets hungry or thirsty during out time.
Grab a good book, turn the stereo onto something soft and relaxing, turn the TV on and keep the volume low, attack that day’s crossword puzzle from the paper (bun can play with the remainder of the paper) or anything else that you find relaxing and enjoying that is quiet and then settle in on the floor. Next, ignore him/her. Curiosity will kick in and he/she will eventually come to investigate you. Continue to ignore; let your rabbit sniff, climb and explore you. You could try resting a hand on the floor giving your rabbit the opportunity to explore it too. Any movements you make should be slow and nonchalant; even still, your rabbit will take off the first several times. Patience and persistence will pay off.
Another tip is to offer your rabbit treats when he/she comes close to you. You could start by placing a small treat a distance away. Once your rabbit gets comfortable with getting it from that spot, shorten the distance between you and the treat. Over time, you will have him/her literally eating out of your hand. Be careful to stay away from commercial treats like yogurt drops. They are loaded with sugar which your rabbit doesn’t need. It not only could lead to obesity, but could also cause changes in your rabbit’s GI tract leading to loose stools. This is both messy and a health threat to your rabbit. Some appropriate treats, given in moderation are:
- 1/2 spoon size shredded mini wheat (not frosted)
- small pieces of their favorite fruit
- carrot tops, parsley, cilantro, etc.
- small piece of graham cracker
- small chunk of carrot
Read more about what’s safe for your rabbit to eat.
Spend as much time as possible with your fuzzy buddy. You and your rabbit will be forging a life-long friendship before you know it!
Here’s another nice article on helping a shy bunny.
If bun spends a considerable amount of time alone, please consider getting him/her a companion. Rabbits are social animals. A friend is both emotionally and physically in your rabbit’s best interest. Don’t worry, your rabbit will not alienate you once he/she gets a new friend. They are like us humans; the more love we give the more love we have to give.