Bunny Rabbit Bonding in the Bathroom (Neutral Ground)
On Wednesday, we had another bonding session between Phineas and Janis (we’ve been leaning towards naming her Daisy, but the name still hasn’t stuck yet).
Using a technique Liz had learned about when we were bonding Quincy and Baxter, she decided to put both rabbits in the same carrier… and took them on a car ride. This “shared stress” experience, followed immediately by a meeting on neutral ground, was supposed to help.
Instead of the hallway where we had had them meet previously, we put up blankets in the bathroom. This helped provide a neutral area that neither of them had marked, and neither of them would feel possessive towards.
This time around, we tried to keep out of it as much as we could (though we did have a water bottle nearby, when things got a little too out of hand).
Daisy was still pretty skittish, and retreated into the carrier at several points. We left this out for a while, so she would have somewhere to go – but towards the second half of the meeting, we removed it.
Believe it or not, there was a moment where Daisy ended up mounting Phineas! Everyone (Phineas included) seemed super surprised by this, as it’s an act of dominance. Liz also feels that Phineas has never been mounted before, so he was probably a bit stunned from the whole thing.
It’s hard to tell who’s going to be alpha in all this. Phineas is definitely more aggressive and has mounted Daisy a few times. And while he’s also been the one to clean/lick Daisy… she hasn’t reciprocated.
In bunny language, my understanding is that the person being cleaned is higher-up in terms of dominance while the person doing the cleaning is at a lower stature.
Daisy did mount Phineas today, but she was also really wary – retreating several times whenever there were encounters. Liz and I think she’s still got some residue from her prior situations… and are hoping that we can help ease that worry and fearfulness away, over time.
It’s always tough with the sessions, as we want things to end on a positive note. The two eventually did eat a bit of food next to one another (which is always a great sign).
This bonding session was a good one. We saw markedly less “clashes” here than in the hallway. One of our next steps is to try to set up two entirely new and neutral living quarters downstairs – requiring us to shuffle some things around between rooms.