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.
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.
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.