“Aggressive” Behavior from Heather’s Perspective

We never use the term aggressive here at the rescue. It is negative and creates a fear and distance right from the start. The rabbits are usually opinionated and almost always misunderstood. Negative behaviors include but are not limited to charging, biting, and boxing.

Rabbits are prey animals and usually waiting for something to happen in their environment so that they can figure out how to react. Therefore, most behaviors can be corrected by trying to understand why your rabbit is being overly opinionated. It is rarely the rabbit that has the problem. It is usually the environment and/or your behavior that is triggering the unfriendly and intimidating behaviors. Is my rabbit neutered? Did you just move the rabbit? Are you going through something difficult? Does your rabbit have the appropriate living quarters? There are so many things to ask yourself and assess that it is a good idea to make a list of what you think could have upset the apple cart. Then you can work on changing each item and if the change does not make a difference then cross it off the list. Some changes may require a longer trial period than others.

Rabbits are much too intelligent and sensitive to live in an environment where they feel disrespected and/or unsafe.  That does not mean that you are knowingly and/or intentionally being disrespectful. However, your rabbit is definitely trying to communicate and if you become angry and/or authoritative it could ruin your relationship for good. Drop your defenses and really start watching what is happening at the time your rabbit displays unwanted behavior. Take note and then put yourself in the same situation as though you were their size and in their position. How does it make you feel? Triggers can be as simple as being in a new place or as difficult as a previously abusive situation that you were not aware of.

When there is a detailed analysis of what the behaviors are and what triggers them then do some research and reach out to other owners that may have experienced the same issues. Chances are you are not alone in your struggle and getting some successful tips from other owners can be the difference between a healthy relationship and a permanently broken one.

Always feel free to send a detailed e-mail to Heather@redbarnrabbitrescue.org and I will get back to you a soon as possible. Please be patient but also feel free to thump me on the forehead after a few days.