Monday, August 12, 2013

Grooming Holds

One of the trickiest things about grooming or shearing your angora rabbit is find a way to hold them so that they are comfortable and you can do what you need to do.

A while back I had someone ask how to get to the rabbits belly and how to transfer them to the pose. It is somewhat difficult to describe in words, so this will be a picture tutorial.

In addition to having access to the rabbits belly, this hold is also useful for grooming the legs, chest, neck, trimming toenails (particularly the ones in front), and checking the genitals. You will need to be sitting for this pose.
The First Step is to hold the rabbit close to your chest with two hands, the head pointing up.

Then lean forward until the rabbit's upper back is on your lap. Once you have done that, spread your knees slightly and place the rabbit's shoulders between them. Then gently, bring your knees closer together again so that the rabbit feels supported.
Slip your hands out from underneath the rabbit and sit up slowly.

After you are sitting upright, slowly and gently pull the rabbits back legs out to remove the tension so that it cannot thump/kick you while you work.

 When these steps are complete you should have both hands free to work. If you are trying to access the rabbits upper chest and neck, I would suggest bringing the rabbits front paws down toward its belly (instead of up or to the sides) to reduce resistance.

Often times during a grooming session or a full coat shearing a rabbit may become restless. Changing holds can reduce irritability and jitters.

This next hold also grants you access to the belly of the rabbit as well as the back legs and genitals. It can be done while standing, however it is much more comfortable for both rabbit (it doesn't hurt at all, it is somewhat frightening to be some distance from the ground if unaccustomed to it) and handler to preform while sitting.
You will need to start by holding the rabbit with both hands off your lap. One hand will hold the front two paws and the other will hold the back two paws (indicated by the green arrow). While holding the rabbit close to your body, you will need to bring the hand holding the front paws back toward the your elbow of the arm holding the back legs as indicated by the blue arrows. During this motion your other hand (holding the back legs) around the bum and under the lower back of the rabbit.
Once you have done that and the rabbit is somewhat relaxed in that position you should be able to remove the hand that initially held the front paws by supporting the rabbit with the length and palm of your other hand.
Before going to work, I like to stretch the back legs gently to release the tension as in the previous hold to prevent kicking.

To prevent the rabbit from trying to sit up or from panicking at the sight of shiny grooming equipment approaching, tuck the rabbit's head in between your elbow and body. You will not need to apply much pressure.

You now have one hand free to brush and trim nails... Possibly two if you rest the rabbit's bum on your lap.
 In both of these previous holds, your rabbit should become very relaxed. Below is a picture of Ruphenfeffer lifted up after being in these holds. If your rabbit is not totally relaxed, it might help to:
  1. Lower the rabbit's head so that it is below its bum.
  2. Stroke the rabbit's ears back so that they lay against the body.
The last hold I have to show makes it easy to reach the hindquarters.
This one is much simpler than any of the previous. It will need to be done sitting down either at a table or without. I have also done this with the rabbit on top of a hutch and myself standing next to the hutch.
Basically, you will pull the rabbit close to you and then tuck its head between your elbow and body. This will leave both of your hands free to work on the rabbit's hindquarters as long as you keep your elbow in place.

No comments:

Post a Comment