How to Bond With Your Bunny

Getting your bunny to like you; building a relationship with your rabbit


Skylar dePolo

10/8/20233 min read

Does my bunny hate me?

Your bunny doesn't hate you. Unless you abuse or neglect them, in which case, I would hate you, too. Rabbits are a prey animal, which naturally makes them untrusting to anything/anyone unfamiliar to them that could pose a threat. Many people get a pet rabbit expecting them to be sweet and snuggly. Most rabbits will be standoffish at first, but will become friendlier with time. Getting a rabbit to like you can take much longer than it does with other animals. If you have two rabbits, which is recommended, they will bond to each other, and probably not you. This does not mean that your bunnies will not like you, only that they will not need hours of your attention every day. Rabbits are social animals, so if you only have one, you will need to spend at least 3 hours (preferably more) with them every day to fulfill their social needs.

Building a bond of love and trust with your rabbit:
Step 1: Start slow

When you first bring your rabbit home, it is best to keep their cage in a quiet room, as to not overstress them with new surroundings, smells, and noises. If you have already had your bunny for some time, you can forget that first sentence. Your bunny's enclosure is where they feel safe and comfortable, so this is where you should bond with them. Bunnies can be territorial, so be sure to respect their space. Start off with just sitting next to their enclosure, and talking quietly so they can get to know your voice. Do this for about a week.

If you only have one bunny and do not allow several hours of free roam time per day, keep their enclosure in the room that you are in most often.

*Tip: you must work with your bunny daily. Even missing just one day can derail the entire process.

Step 2: Get in the cage

Keep doing what you were doing, but now in the cage. There should be a run/playpen area of the cage, sit in it with your bunny. Don't bother your bunny; wait for them to come to you. This step is key to building a bond of love and trust with your rabbit (aka getting your bunny to like you). Giving them treats also helps with the process. There is no given amount of days/weeks you should do this for. Some bunnies will warm up to people faster than others, so just take your time.

*Carrots cut into small pieces work great for training treats!

Really want to see your bunny happy?

Give them a small piece of apple or banana, aka candy for bunnies! This should only be given sparingly, only a little bit a day, every other day at most.

Step 3: Pet your bunny

Wait for your bunny to come to you. Remember the whole "bunnies are prey animals" thing? A giant hand coming towards them without warning is very scary. Say something to let your bunny know that you want to pet them (ex. pat pats). Bunnies don't always want to be pet, some less than others, so be sure to respect their feelings; a bunny not wanting to be pet does not always mean your bunny is mad or scared of you, sometimes they just want a bit of space.

Step 4: Hold your bunny

If you follow the above steps, with time, your bunny should allow you to pick them up. Whether a bunny will let you hold them depends on their unique personality; some enjoy being held and will snuggle for hours, while others absolutely will not let you pick them up. Rabbits are typically more comfortable on the ground, at their level, so if your bunny doesn't like to be held, you can still sit with them, and they may even snuggle up against you, or hop up onto your lap.

Step 5: Love, trust, and spoil your bunny

At this point, you should have a new best friend! Spend time with your bunny every day. You can snuggle, play, and discover new things together! Loving and trusting your bunny is a major part of getting your bunny to love and trust you.