Do rabbits recognize their owners?
Of course, thanks to their excellent memory and their incredible sense of smell, rabbits know their owners well, and distinguish the one who takes care of them from the other members of the family. They go even further, remembering their owner for a long time if they are re-housed and they will recognize him at the very moment they see him again, even several years later.
Rabbits don’t stop there and go even further, studies are being done on the ability of rabbits to recognize humans, their moods and especially to remember them for a long time, I will reveal in this article some incredible facts about recognition, memory, behavior and abilities of rabbits that will surely surprise you and help you to interact and communicate well with your rabbit in the future.
How do rabbits recognize their parents?
A study was done on this subject and revealed that rabbits recognize each other by smell on one side and facial features on the other.
Your rabbit will therefore recognize you before he even sees or hears you, he will smell you and know it is you before you even enter his room thanks to his well developed sense of smell.
The fact of changing your perfume for example or putting on clothes for the first time will make that your rabbit will delay to recognize you, and it will be necessary that you will approach him very slowly, and especially to speak to him because he also knows your voice and knows how to differentiate the tones.
After this, your rabbit will add the new smell of your new clothes to the list of smells that represent you and that he keeps carefully in his memory.
In the same way, your rabbit will gradually draw an olfactory map of your house and will orient himself in it by using his nose more than his eyes.
How long does it take for my new rabbit to start recognizing me?
When you bring a new rabbit into your life, it won’t recognize you right away; it will take not only time but also patience and a lot of attention.
Recognition in rabbits is first and foremost a matter of trust, respect and interest.
You can take your first steps by reaching your hand towards your rabbit’s nose without sudden movements of course, let him feel you, and little by little, he will learn to trust you, will eat with your hand, will lie down close to you …
But you must be very careful not to irritate or frighten your rabbit if you want him to associate your smell and your face with good memories !
This will take time and if you make a mistake during this trip, by scaring for example your rabbit or by annoying me, apologize quickly before he adds this incident to his memory; the best way is to quickly offer him a piece of sweet fruit and tons of hugs.
If you recover a rabbit from a shelter , know that he will continue to think about his former owner for a long time, especially if he took good care of it !
He will of course remember you too , but without erasing his former parent from his memory.
You must therefore build your image in the head of your rabbit brick by brick with daily attentions, and especially by avoiding doing things that displease your rabbit.
Your rabbit will start to recognize you after only a week or two.
How do I know if my rabbit recognizes me?
The real question is how to know if my rabbit recognizes me as much as his friend, and the signs that your rabbit recognizes you and especially that your rabbit loves you are numerous, here are some:
If your rabbit recognizes you, and is happy and content with your presence, you may find him making little circles in his cage or making little jumps in the air, because he felt and heard you coming before you even entered his room.
Another sign that your rabbit recognizes you is that he is coming towards you or not going away from you when you approach him or sit next to him.
Your rabbit will not be scared of you and will eat out of your hand and let you hold him without scratching you, you will also notice him running around you when you take him out of his cage (not often)….
Not often, but your rabbit might lick your feet or your hand, a sign of recognition and affection too, but he will only do this if he considers you as dominant ! and not as a “submissive beta”.
The other sign that your rabbit remembers you and recognizes you as his friend is that he will sometimes bite you, without hurting you of course, small, painless bites, bites of affection. The ultimate sign that your rabbit recognizes you as his own is when he urinates on you when you hold him on your lap for example, it is also a sign of affection and love.
If your rabbit doesn’t recognize you yet, he won’t lie down next to you, looking confident and rested and completely relaxed because he recognizes you as his friend and he doesn’t feel any threat from you.
On the other hand, if your rabbit turns his back on you or puts himself to one side when you approach him, know that it is a bad sign; either you have irritated him and you will have to regain his esteem and forgiveness little by little, or he does not recognize you yet and he does not trust you yet.
Do rabbits recognize their names when they are called?
Yes, rabbits recognize their name very quickly, especially if you help them with a little training.
- Start by choosing a name for your rabbit, prepare small cubes of your rabbit’s favorite fruit, pieces of apple, crunchy for example.
- Approach your rabbit and say his name, and then give him a small piece of fruit when he looks up and looks at you.
- This is the method you will follow until your rabbit associates his name with treats.
- Continue this exercise by gradually moving away from your rabbit and every time he looks at you when you say his name, give him a treat, but if he does better and comes towards you, give him at least two pieces of apple and lots of hugs.
Little by little, your rabbit will eventually recognize his name and even end up coming towards you every time you call him.
What if my rabbit ignores me and doesn’t want to recognize me?
If your rabbit pretends not to recognize you, there is a reason for that:
- You may not yet have gained his trust and recognition.
- You hurt him without you realizing it.
- You have changed smell, a new perfume, new clothes or you have put on clothes that have the smell of another animal, it’s more serious than that !
- Your rabbit got angry against you because of a bad gesture or if you ignored him while he tries to attract your attention.
What you have to do in these cases is to try to fix things with your rabbit and to be very patient, because regaining your rabbit’s esteem after a mistake is not easy, especially if you don’t react quickly right after you made the mistake !
Show your rabbit that you love him, talk to him, give him hugs and massages, take him out in the backyard and give him treats, and little by little, you will notice that your rabbit starts to forgive you and will show signs of appeasement and recognize you again as his friend.
Do rabbits remember their owner and become attached to him?
Your rabbit will not forget you anymore, especially if you take good care of it, their memory is very developed on the long term, but they can quickly forget that you shouted at them if you give them just after a treat and a lot of hugs.
Rabbits also get very attached to their owners, and sometimes when you build a great relationship with your rabbit, it will end up following you around the house even when you go outside.
They will also go from one member of your family to another and this is not a sign that he likes them more than you do, but on the contrary, he feels confident when you are around and he shows it by taking risks and going wherever he wants !
Your rabbit can become attached to you at a point where he will even sleep in your arms, even on your bed, he will come on your pillow, he will put his head against yours, sign of total trust, recognition of belonging and love and he will simply sleep in this position with you.
Can Rabbit die of grief?
Of course it happens that rabbits even die of grief, if they have just lost a cage mate for example, and even when their owner betrays them and takes them back to an asylum or gives them to a new family.
You can of course cause your rabbit to grieve if you make it disappear or change homes, it will not stop feeding, even though it could happen, but it will become calmer and even a little depressed and nothing will seem to interest it for several weeks.
Will my rabbit detect my emotional state?
A rabbit, after a certain amount of time spent with its owner, will learn to recognize the features of its owner’s face and will go even further by recognizing even its facial expressions, that is to say, your rabbit will share with you your moments of joy as well as those of sadness…etc.
That’s why it’s advisable not to involve your rabbit in your mood changes, avoid as much as possible to show him your sadness or your anger, he will quickly become like you !
So always try to forget your worries before approaching your rabbit, because he will soon detect and share your emotions.
Your rabbit will learn to decipher your body language, and interpret your gestures, tone of voice and facial expressions even if some gestures like showing your teeth even when smiling can be misinterpreted by your rabbit.
So be very attentive to the messages you send to your rabbit if you don’t want him to ignore you !
My rabbit doesn’t recognize me anymore ! He jumps on me, growls and bites me, why ?
This is the typical behavior of a male rabbit which is not sterilized, it is surely his hormones and his character of dominant male which takes over him.
It must also be said that this happens when your rabbit is the dominant one and he considers you as a second class rabbit ! you are at his service …
What you can do in these cases is to sterilize him, if you are not against this practice !! and/or take your approach to your rabbit from the beginning and introduce yourself to him again but this time this time by adopting a dominant character by using some tricks such as caressing him under the chin, hug him a little against you when you take him in your arms to show him your strength….
Let’s wrap this up
Your rabbit already recognizes you if you take good care of him, I gave you some signs that will prove it, and he will end up recognizing you if he ignores you, and the probable reasons for that, I also gave them to you.
What you have to keep in mind is that even if he doesn’t show it often like a dog for example, your rabbit will recognize you as long as you keep taking care of him, and when he is ready to return the favor, he will probably let you know, with a lick or another way, because each rabbit has his own way to say thank you, just be careful.