Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday Bunday; Paws On


Meal times for Tyler and Sydney have become an intensive training session. Since they are free roaming the Spots think it is easier and more natural to run away from a person rather than be friendly, and I can see their point in terms of "rabbit think". I consulted Rabbit Haven a couple times as regards their behavior and was pleasantly assured that these things take time and that Tyler and Sydney were raised as snuggle buns.

Tyler demonstrates  2 paws on.

Indeed at the adoption show Tyler was a total snuggle bun. I was advised to pick them up a lot, but if you can't catch them this doesn't work. I tried putting them in a closed pen, but feared they would hurt their teeth with the break out attempts they immediately demonstrated. This is fear grounded in reality, I did have a rabbit who got her teeth caught in a Xpen and very nearly died from the resulting injury. Being able to handle my Spots without major trauma seems important for nail trimming, grooming. trips to the vet and such, not just my selfish need to hold a rabbit.
Sydney shows 2 paws on with a stretch and says where is my nose?

 I tried Clicker training, but Sydney was scared of the sound. Feeding in their open pen and hand feed treats just didn't seem to be making much progress, so two weeks ago I started them on a new program. A hungry rabbit is a friendly rabbit, so I feed them a bit less and all food is hand fed, even pellets (unless I have to run out or something). Bunnies must demonstrate "paws on" to get some food and "four paws" on gets constant rewarding. Sometimes they have to push between my two hands held like an open clam shell to get the food.

Sydney with 2 paws and a nose

Some interesting results have occurred in two weeks. Tyler is very possessive about food and sometimes growls at Sydney. He also will no longer present himself to me for petting(oh well). He will come up on my lap with 4 paws and eat. Sydney comes out more frequently than before when she sees me on the floor and will sometimes sit nearby and groom herself. Sometimes she boycotts hand pellet feeding and sits by her red bowl letting me know she disapproves. 
Tyler with 2 paws on shows his smudge nose


14 comments:

ilex said...

This seems like patience-trying work indeed. It will be interesting to follow Tyler's and Sydney's progress.

divakitty said...

Let me know how it goes. Fi and Orlando do not like to be held at all. Ever. So I end up sitting on the floor to get my snuggles. I have to go after Fi, unless I have banana, to get my share of bun lovin'. Orlando will hop over to me for ear rubs throughout the day. Pesky rabbits! They toy with us so...

PJ said...

Nice work! I hadn't read this before I posted on Ilex's blog about buns being cuddle bugs. Maybe this tutorial will help those who are bun-cuddle challenged.
I'm taking notes all the while for the day when I can have the pleasure of complex lagomorphic company.

PJ said...

PS Love the paws, so cute.

furrybutts said...

Great work, D!! The Spots seem to have progressed very quickly :D The 'food & paw' method really helped in bringing Yohji out of his shell. I normally sit on the floor of the living room to give them treats. These days, all I have to do is sit on the floor (whether or not I actually have treats with me), and both Buttons and Yohji will come running over. They don't hang around for long, once they realise there are no treats to be had, but I still get to sneak in some nose rubs etc.

I'll need to carry them this weekend for nail trims.. we'll see how that goes haha the hardest part is catching them. For that reason, their roaming space is limited to the living room.. even then, it's no easy feat! I get a good workout chasing after them each time :p

Keep us updated on T & S's progress!

RoadBunner said...

I love the term "paws on!" Food is the way to any rabbit's heart. I hope it keeps progressing for the three of you. I used to clicker train Mario and want to start back up on it.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Making good progress! We have quite a few snuggle bunns, but, if they were put down to free range, many of them would high-tail it to the nearest corner or cover if we came to pick them up!

bunnygirl said...

This was a timely post. Cadbury has been rather unsnuggly lately, and I need to remember not to let him be too much that way. I don't want him forgetting what good ear rubs I give!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Anya was never a snuggle bun really, but as soon as I put dandelion in my lap she was two paws on and super friendly...

Lovely photos btw

Rabbits' Guy said...

Kinda like Karate Kid ... "Paws on - Paws off."

Mary-Laure said...

I love it how you learn about their personalities. It kills me when people say animals like rabbits (and other animals many eat) don't have each their own character and mind.

PJ said...

I was thinking, "Paws on - Paws off" liike the clapper,
"Clap on - Clap off".

mum of critters said...

Wow that's quite a lot of work. I didn't realize how much you could really train them and you're doing an awesome job.

ed said...
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