It’s finally happened. I can actually say my boys are well behaved.
What does that mean?
1. No more banging and biting the cage wires during the night.
2. No more peeing anywhere except their designated litters.
3. No more bugging out each other.
There used to be a time when Paris would visit Rome next to the fence that divided their areas. They would sit there and stare each other out. Rome would flop and pretend how wonderful his life was.
Paris would wait and stare at him. Rome being very impatient would always flinch first and poke his nose through the fence to bite it or to smell Paris.
Paris would sit and wait for this opportune time to bite Rome’s nose off. He has managed with one bite to make Rome bleed a constant stream of blood from his nose. I really thought the end of his nose (the little triangle that twitches) was going to fall off.
But… since that day, Paris hasn’t come to taunt Rome and Rome cannot go beyond the fence to taunt Paris, so it’s all been good and quiet.
They are also toilet trained. Apart from the odd poo that flicks out of their litter when they jump out too quickly, or the wee that has run down an incline and ended up on their foot so they leave little wee foot prints on their towel/mat, 99% of the poo and wee is in their litter which means no more floor wiping and constant sweeping on my part. YES!!
They are also neutered and their hormones have died down meaning they’re much more chilled out than when we first got them.
Routine!! It’s the best thing. They know they’re going to be let out in the morning so they just wait patiently until it happens! If I’m late at getting them out of their cage, they actually go to sleep while waiting! So no more banging to say “let me out!”
Also, to go to bed, all I have to say to Paris is “bed time” and he jumps into his hutch without a fuss, quite excitedly because he knows “bed time” also means he’s going to get fed. Sometimes he even does a little binky dance where he binkies and jumps in and out of his hutch multiple times. Really, he’s just trying to be where the food is, faster.
With Rome I just say “Ready to go to bed now, Rome? Come on then!” and he’ll do a binky and then run behind / alongside me in the hallway, down the stairs to the bathroom, through my legs if I’m going too slow for him and straight into his litter.
One time I must have walked too slowly because he actually grunted at me while behind me as if to say “Beep Beep! Get out of my way!” and then ran through my feet in a real rush getting to his litter long before I got down the stairs. “C’mon! I’m in my litter, hurry up!!”
He’s in the top bunk of the hutch so we need to carry him in. He hates being picked up so, we lift him while he sits in his litter. No need for chasing him, no need to stress him out with getting grabbed, lifted and manhandled every night. Instead we’ve worked out our little travellator system. It works really well!
He still defies me sometimes, well, only when he knows I’m angry at him and will make him do something he doesn’t want to do. Specifically when he bites the base of the bed and my punishment every time is to kick him out of the bedroom.
I say “Rome! Come here!” He will only come half way and then he’ll sit there and groom himself while staring at me. His eyes will also close half way like a death stare as if to say “You’re not the boss of me, I don’t have to do what you say.”
I stay patient with this because at this point, even though he thinks he’s got the upper hand, he’s not biting the bed anymore which was my goal.
Eventually, after multiple times of “Rome… Come here!” in different intonations, even though he doesn’t want to, he will come and I will usher him out of the bedroom and close the door.
I think the biggest influencers for getting them to be this way were neutering and routine. They’ve definitely made life a lot easier by being well behaved and obedient for the most part.
People say that for bunnies, Netherland Dwarfs are the closest in behaviour and personality to cats and dogs. It’s why I chose this breed.
Tony uses them as therapy. He’ll just sit quietly with them and pat them for AGES. Rome will sit still and let Tony pat him for longer than 30mins at a time.
All in all, I’m really happy with the way it’s all turned out. We’re really enjoying the bunnies and their company. I don’t even mind the occasional cheekiness because it shows personality and keeps us entertained.