Live Rabbit Clock: Photo Friday

Thump. Thump. Thump.

At precisely five AM this morning, I awoke to a thump.

A downstairs thump.

Then a steady stream of  thumps timed about two seconds apart.

Our house rabbit, Tuxedo, used negative conditioning…on me$5!#@ii!

 The more I use lures to train him, the more he thinks I’m his fresh food vending machine. I grabbed a flashlight and my workout clothes and went downstairs.  I opened the kitchen door. In his X-pen Tuxedo sat bunched up on a carpet square. He looked okay.

We learned to pick up and hold a pet rabbit safely.

We learned to pick up and hold a pet rabbit safely.

Do your pets wake you?

I filled and switched on the water kettle for tea and tossed out the non-skid runners.

Since this was not the first time Tux had made a loud fuss in the night, I watched.

When I did not let him out, he lifted his entire hindquarters and gave a two-footed stomp. Quite effective and seemed to require little effort.

When I opened his pen he had the run of the kitchen, but hid under the table.

I went about making tea, warming almond milk and heating my tea mug. When I restarted my laptop, Tuxedo hopped over. I ignored him.

Hey, this is my food.

Hey, this is my food.

I did not reward him for waking us.

Training is often about ignoring the behavior you do not want.

I cut celery and got out sugar snap peas for the training I planned to do after writing. Frustrated, he began digging in the corner next to my chair.

I gave him a carpet square and a shredded towel to dig in. After working his paws on the carpet, he pulled out tufts of the medium shag. Then he did the bunny scramble around my chair, under the table, and out to the opposite wall and back.

 His antics made me laugh.

 After an hour and half, Tuxedo jumped onto the sturdy step stool beside my chair. Every once in a while I’d reward him with a piece of celery.

I form my fingers together like a plate. When I offer the treat I say “Table.”

What’s next, rabbit agility? Maybe.

In this way, I get to pet and examine my rabbit for health issues.

  • Feel for any swollen bites from fleas or other bugs
  • Look to see if his eyes are clear
  • Stroke his ears and exam for ear mites
  • Feel for scrapes, sore spots or injuries

X-pens offer much for house rabbits. Allowing more room to hop and play, a safe place to retreat from other pets, and a secure bedtime pen. Get a look at a variety of house rabbit habituates by visiting San Diego Rabbits.

About dogleadermysteries

Deborah blogs to save dogs' lives and dog lovers' sanity. She blogs at www.dogleadermysteries.com. Her mysteries brim with action, dog characters, humor and animal rescue plots. Deborah wo a guest artist in residency from California’s Artists in the Schools. She holds an M.A. from UCLA and has led numerous educational workshops. Deborah has parented five adopted dogs and several house rabbits. Deborah serves as Author Support Facilitator for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club.
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2 Responses to Live Rabbit Clock: Photo Friday

  1. Little booger ;) Pierson would sometimes bark at passerbys when outside, so I’d open the back door to tell him to be quiet. One day when he was barking and I went to go yell at him, he was actually just waiting by the back door for me to let him in. The little stinker wasn’t barking at passerbys this time. He learned that when he barks, I’m going to open the back door and let him in!

    • Hahaha! Conditioned response wins every time.

      One of the top influences in training is timing. I know I should begin the table training at different times of the day. Not doing it every morning should change Tuxedo’s expectations.

      Although I do like rising between 4 and 5 AM, I don’t want to have my rabbit thumping me out of bed.

      Hey, I have an idea about Pierson’s needle fear. Of course, showing him a needle then giving a treat at home probably won’t solve his response to the jab of a needle. I do think that using a medicine dropper with something yummy inside could change his experience of terror.

      Lets talk, okay? I’m gathering friend bloggers to do hangouts on pet health and wellness topics on #Google+.

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