So you've just got home from the pet shop with your brand new rabbit. Congratulations! But you may notice your new friend doesn't want to play with you. Don't be disheartened, this is normal behaviour. We will guide you through the steps to become your bunny's best friend.
Let Your Rabbit Roam
Rabbits are used to big spaces, so don't keep them cooped up in a cage all day. Allow your rabbit to explore its surroundings, but first, you should 'rabbit proof' the area. They take exploring to a whole new level. Make sure wires are away and cover any small gaps they might be able to fit into.
Get on the Floor and Ignore
Yes, surprisingly enough, ignoring your rabbit is how to get their attention - yes, there are other ways, but you won't be its friend any time soon.
Lying on the floor makes you less threatening to your rabbit, meaning they are more likely to come over to you. Ignoring them and allowing them to do this in their own time makes them more confident. Rabbits are very shy creatures and don't like being pressured into interacting with people, so be patient.
Resisting the Urge to Pet
Get on the floor with your rabbit for at least half an hour every day. Eventually your rabbit will come and investigate you. As hard as this may be, try not to resist the urge to pet your rabbit for the first few times. Opt for talking to him/her in a soft, gentle voice.
You can entice your rabbit to spend more time with you by offering it treats. Just don't give them too much or use it as a way of tricking your rabbit into coming within petting distance. Rabbits are smart enough to know a trap when they see one!
After your rabbit becomes more confident, he/she will start to stay around you for longer periods of time. It is now acceptable to pet your rabbit! You can celebrate once you leave the room, the coast isn't clear yet.
The Petting Process
Start by taking two fingers and stroking your rabbit's forehead. This is very soft and is something rabbits respond to most positively. If your rabbit reacts well to this, you can move onto stroking its back.
After you have mastered the art of petting, your rabbit should be comfortable around you. If your rabbit seems stressed, stroking in a circular motion has been shown to calm them down.
You and your rabbit are now best friends. Don't be disheartened if your rabbit has a few 'off days' with you, however. They are just unsociable sometimes, much like most of us on a Monday morning.