Come play in my world for awhile!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taming the beast

I am getting quite a few inquiries about the bunny. I don't quite know how to respond. Overall she is healthy and doing well. And she hasn't bitten anyone since that first day, so I guess there is some improvement on that front. She is also completely litter box trained now, and that is a major improvement.

On the flip side, she isn't much of a companion. I let her out of her cage to cavort on the screened porch just about every day. I sit out there on the floor with her in the hopes of bonding with her on some level. So far the only thing that's changed is that I think my butt has gotten markedly flatter (no, not fatter - but thanks for the thought) from sitting out there on the tile floor for hours on end. Now if my butt had gotten thinner it would be one thing, but I digress. Anyway, the bunny enjoys being out of the cage and runs around initially. This part is quite cute. She zips around kicking up her heals (literally) and tossing her head and then skids all over the place when she tries to stop. She used to crash into the walls a lot, but I think she has finally come to terms with the lack of traction that the tile affords and has compensated accordingly. Occasionally she will let me pet her, and once she actually came up to me and put her front legs on my knee and let me pet her. Once. After she burns off some steam she flops down underneath one of the chairs. She sits close to me, but not quite close enough that I can touch her. We've only had her a month, so I guess we have to be patient.

The worst part, though, is that she chews. When I let her out to stretch I usually bring my computer. It's bad enough I have to sit there on the floor while she runs around so I might as well at least be entertained, right? No such luck. She has started chewing the wood on the screened porch. She did this when we first got her. The experts say to yell no and clap your hands loudly. This worked initially. Now, not so much. So I'm out there with my laptop and every 30 seconds (slight exaggeration but you get the idea) I have to get up and chase the bunny away from chomping on the wood -- not good for productivity. I swear she is part beaver the way she goes after the wood. You can actually see marks where she has been chewing. The experts also say that you can train the rabbit by telling it no, nudging it's nose away from the wood, and redirecting it to something appropriate to chew. Well, the rabbit has cardboard, newspaper, and scrap wood to chew on and she always goes for the house. I, personally, think the experts are idiots. I think that rabbit is going to chew whatever she wants whenever she wants unless I get up and physically intervene.

I started throwing balls at her yesterday when she looked like she was going to chew. This was actually sort of entertaining. There is some skill involved in getting the balls to land so that they have maximum effect with minimum impact. It also kept the rabbit from chewing. I was pleased with myself for finding a way to simultaneously hone my coordination, entertain myself, and train the rabbit. However, Rachel came home and thought it was borderline bunny abuse, and asked me to stop. Sheesh.

I bought her a harness so that we could take her for walks but, frankly, I am scared to try and put it on her. We were supposed to clip her nails a week ago. I know this has nothing to do with the harness, but you have to understand the nails before you can understand the harness. Stick with me. When the breeder clipped the nails she laid the bunny on it's back in the crook of her arm, and put the bunny into a trance. This trance business is no joke. It seems the critters that prey upon rabbits only like to eat the ones that are alive. When placed into certain positions rabbits fall into this trance-like state. This is a great thing to know if you need to do things like trim their sharp little toe nails. Unfortunately, I can't get the stupid rabbit to go into a trance. I mean, how does one get a rabbit flipped over on it's back anyway? I've tried to get her turned over, but she just starts kicking and flops back onto her feet. I don't want to push it too far and then get bitten, either. So now we have a rabbit with sharp nails again. Last time I interacted with sharp-nailed bunnies I ended up with a rabbit down my shirt and my chest all scraped up (refer to August's posts if you are curious). So if I can't get her in a trance, and I can't trim her nails, then I'm certainly not going to mess with the harness. That would really be asking for it.

Essentially we have an animal that co-habitates with us and is mostly scared of us. Occasionally she lets us touch her. To answer the questions about how the rabbit is doing, I'd have to say she's doing just fine.


Leslie M said...

You are such a good mommy!

Kathy B! said...

On school days I think I spend more time with the rabbit than I do with the kids.

Anonymous said...

First time reader. Got your blog link from a friend. You are a character!

Ken said...

Remember the gray cheeked parrot or the cockatoo that we had and finally got rid of them? Some animals can be difficult. Perhaps this rabbit will become friendly as it matures. Rabbits are trainable, just takes time I guess. What do the kids think about all this? Are the happy with the pet, getting impatient or is the novelty still there?