When Peanut first arrived into this family he was a very scared & anxious bunny. Peanut was given to a sanctuary along with his siblings when he was nine weeks old. Poor Peanut had been overlooked for a year, all his siblings were rehomed & he was left alone.
The worst thing Peanut had to get used to was human contact, he just panicked when you approached. If you tried to catch him then it was blind panic, he would literally bounce off the sides of the pen. Once you did have hold of him, his eyes would bulge & his heart raced so fast I felt sure it was going to burst. The best thing he did was introduce himself one night to Tilly much to her surprise & mine the following morning! He has learnt a lot from Tilly, firstly she became his security blanket & with Tilly being slightly bigger than him, she was a good place to stick his head into. He then observed her interaction with us humans & this eventually brought him out of his shell. She’s rather a laid back bunny most of the time.
Eventually, as the months went by he slowly grew in confidence. He then started to trust me. Throughout his whole journey I have never forced him to do anything unless it was necessary, like nail clipping & vet visits. I also made sure he always had a place of safety to run to. That helped his confidence. The one thing that took a long time & even now he isn’t great with it, is when you want to catch him. Initially, that is where the blind panic set in & he would fling himself off the walls, the mesh whatever was his enclosure. The only way I combatted that was to slowly round him up into a basket. The biggest mistake you can do when trying to catch a bunny is chase them, remember they are a prey animal. You need to think like a Border Collie (sheepdog), anticipate their next move & have the basket or box there to herd the bunny into. Peanut now recognises me doing this & now knows it means it’s time to go in. He obliges too which is less stress for everyone. Last month another breakthrough occurred, he actually came to the food dish while my hand was still there, I made no attempt to stroke him, if I did it would knock his confidence & we’d take steps back. After nearly a year I can now pick him up, give him a quick cuddle all without his eyes bulging & his heart pounding. What you need is patience, patience & patience! Not forgetting slow movements & constant chatter to them so they recognise you. Remember too, these bunnies aren’t just behaving like this for the sake of it, there will be a reason somewhere buried in their past. As for Peanut, I foresee he’ll continue to improve with the right approach.