Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rabbit Techniques: Picking up your rabbit

I've had Walter for about five months now and still have not mastered the art of picking him up. From the day I considered owning a pet rabbit, I read about the dangers of picking up your rabbit improperly. One instance of incorrect positioning could lead to a spinal injury, surgery, or death. This set me down a path of insecurity and paranoia related to carrying my pet bunny.

It doesn’t help that Walter has quite a mind of his own. He likes adventure! And while he enjoys the frequent cheek-rub or scratch on his forehead, he doesn’t want to be “tied down.” He likes the freedom to hop about on his own, and makes it quite known when we’re infringing upon his adventure and exploration time.

So I set out for YouTube. I found several videos like the one below, all giving great pointers and encouraging advice for picking up your rabbit, but I couldn’t relate to a single video.

For starters, look how well-trained and well-behaved that rabbit is! The chances of me getting Walter to sit patiently on a table while I practiced these new techniques was just as likely as me teaching him to speak English.

I still haven’t gotten the hang of it. I freak out and panic anytime I watch someone attempt to pick him up. My boyfriend, friends, family, and I all bare scars of the scratches we’ve received while Walter writhes away from our grasp. Not being able to master this practice has been a hindrance for my pet’s care, as well.

The inability to pick him up translates into an inability to get him to hold still for health inspections (by me, not by the vet; Walter melts like putty whenever the vet handles him!). I can’t get him to let me clip his toenails or check his belly for abnormalities. I can’t even pick him up when he refuses to go voluntarily into his cage! Clearly, this makes for an occasional long night before bedtime.

So, what works for you? What techniques have you employed to be able to successfully pick up your rabbit?

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