Rabbits have a natural instinct to chew and to dig. If you cannot provide sufficient attractive outlets for this behavior, it is inevitable that your rabbit will amuse himself with your furnishings instead. If you are supervising and training your rabbit correctly, he should have little opportunity to cause too much damage, and, if he does, you have probably given him too much freedom, too soon. Some rabbits take longer than others to learn acceptable habits. If your rabbit is intent on eating the contents of the living room, and you don’t have time to watch his every move, try making the kitchen or bathroom his free-running area; in most homes, these areas are already relatively bunny-proof.
Very few rabbits enjoy being picked up. This is not really surprising; the only thing that picks up a wild rabbit is a fox or another predator. There are exceptions to every rule, and you will occasionally come across rabbits that love to snuggle with their owners. If you buy an eight-week-old baby rabbit and handle it every day, it may still grow up to hate being handled.
However, you can reduce the likelihood of this problem if you obtain a baby bunny from a breeder or rescue center that regularly handles babies between the ages of 10 days and 6 weeks, which is thought to be the main socialization period in rabbit.
Although struggling is an understandable response, the rabbit needs to learn how to tolerate routine handling. Make sure you pick him up confidently and correctly.
Have a supply of treats on hand. Pick up your bunny and immediately put him down again and give him a treat. Then pick him up again for a few seconds longer, and, as soon as he has relaxed, put him down and treat him again. Don’t put him down if he is actually struggling; you are trying to teach him that he is rewarded for calm behavior, not that he will be put down the moment he starts to struggle.
Rabbits have very sharp teeth and can inflict a painful bite. If your rabbit attacks you regularly, you need to ask yourself why. Some “biting” is just your rabbit communicating in the way he would with another rabbit. If his nipping is a bit too hard, try letting out a squeal; just like his littermates would, and hope that he learns to nip a little less ferociously. Biting could also be caused by territorial aggression. Respect his space! Coax him out of his cage before you clean it and don’t disturb him when he is in it. Territorial aggression can be reduced, but not eliminated, by neutering.
Rabbits may bite when afraid. If a rabbit feels threatened and he is unable to flee, he might freeze or fight. Humans, especially children, who fail to recognize that a rabbit is frightened will often try to pick a rabbit up that has “frozen.” The next time, the bunny has learned that “freezing” didn’t work and will attack instead.
If none of these situations seems to apply to your rabbit, and you are still being attacked, then it is probably a good idea to seek expert advice. Always have your rabbit checked by your veterinarian because pain can make an animal vicious. If the veterinarian finds nothing wrong, he or she can refer you to a qualified pet behaviorist who can work with you to find a solution.