Bunny training Q’s

So it appears that Aubree, the 7 month old blind bunny we adopted from a breeder, could also be deaf šŸ˜¦

Remember I said she was so calm and chilled despite all the noises, even when she had never lived inside before? I mean she hasn’t reacted to me opening her pen / cage, the vacuum, Rey squeaking toys, Kasper barking, me going up and talking to her etc etc – she doesn’t flinch.

That got me wondering if she is either deaf or has minimal hearing.

We’ve conducted a few unscientific tests and think she very much might be, and probably is…this will make handling and training her much MUCH harder, but IĀ still think she can live a happy fulfilled life so there is no way I will have her put to sleep.

I may phone my vet back though and ask if any other health checks need doing, although for just the eyesight she seemed fine with it.

I bought Abree some new toys today šŸ™‚

We went to a small pretty seaside town that we haven’t been to since Autumn last year, before the Zoey stuff, and we had such a brilliant day!

My partner said I could spend Ā£16 at the pet shop (money has to be controlled and limited when I am manic šŸ˜‰ ) and I got some awesome loot!

Now Aubree’s toys have to be carefully planned – I wanted her to have something to chew and something to throw about, but I wanted both to be fixed in place so she would always know where they are.

First I bought a light, fun chew toy that fastens to the bars of the cage (the degus watched this toy go into her cage with envy!) – she can pick it and toss it about, but it won’t come off the bars of the cage!

The second toy is more of a spin / chew toy, and is a toy I have wanted to buy for the past few years but, before Aubree and the chins, I didn’t have any girl pets that would enjoy it!

Isn’t that pretty?!

So here is her lay out:

I will be taking out the hay roller toy because, quite frankly, it takes up room and she bumps her head on it! I know she will get to know the layout, but it seems a pointless thing to leave in there.

The thing she has her paws on in the above photo is her new food bowl, which is actually a metal balti bowl.

The wondrous thing about this is she can’t knock it about and lose it, because I have cable tied it to the cage. It can’t be tipped and, best of all, she can hop about under it so it doesn’t take up any room šŸ˜€

Here are my bunny questions:

  1. Does anybody have any training advice on how to go about helping a bunny with no / limited eyesight and hearing begin exploring and getting to know us? 

    I am not talking about doing this immediately, I am talking about in the near future. Obviously the problem if she is hearing impaired is that we can’t alert her to our presence by our voices, we can’t use a marker to reward good behaviour etc etc.
    Currently I have begun teaching her that being touched (which obviously makes her startle – I do talk to her before and during doing so) means I have tasty food – I have done this three times, and it seemed to work well.

  2. The ramp – should I be trying to tempt her down by leaving strong smelling food / veggies, or would you just leave it and see how she does? 

    I am tempted to just buy a 120cm cage but, after just buying this one for Ā£55, my partner is less sure XD

And now two adorable photos from our brief training session…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My next post will probably be bunny and dog free (sorry!) and will be about the lovely day me and my partner have had today – there will be pretty phone photos, I promise!


18 thoughts on “Bunny training Q’s

  1. Has she been going up the ramp? If so then she’ll work out using it on her own as she’ll work out coming back down on her own.
    Not really a deaf/blind specific advice but for nervous buns it’s usually good to just sit close to them and give them treats (as you would a nervous dog) and then build to touching. Once she gets used to your smell you could also alert her to your presence by offering her your hand before you touch her then she knows there’s someone there and who it is šŸ™‚

    • We put her in the top level of the cage, and she hasn’t attempted the ramp at all – she knows the hole is there but totally doesn’t understand that it leads somewhere!

      Ideally I really want her to start getting to know us by having her come into a tiny area of pen, and we could sit there and basically just do our own thing while she explores…she can hop about, get treats, and return to the cage whenever she wants. But the current issue is she is on the top level, and could only bring herself out of the cage from the bottom level…I so wish we had put her in the bottom, but we didn’t know she was blind :/

      I really don’t want to lift her down and completely uproot her, or lift her out of the cage and just trap her in an unknown world with no way to get back to her familiar top level of cage…I don’t know how to get her down or out, and feel stuck!

      My partner keeps reminding me she has only been here a day and there’s plenty of time for her to work out the ramp, but I worry so much XD

      I really like the idea of holding a hand to her so she can smell us and know we are nearby before we touch her, that seems awesome. I ALWAYS forget quite how good most animals’ sense of smell is šŸ™‚

    • I think we’re putting the quail in her cage and Aubree in the 120cm long cage, so she doesn’t have a ramp and levels to worry about, and has easy access to the pen…very concerned I’m making a huge mistake in changing everything for her again but I hate seeing her struggling to move about in a smaller cage and having even less room because of the access hole in the floor :/

      • If you want to swap her over that’ll be fine for her and she’ll adjust quickly. Your best bet will be to move all of her “dirty” bedding and what have you over too then she has all of the familiar smells and won’t be too different for her. I’m sure she’ll be exploring soon enough. Will the quail be okay with the ramp? I have no poultry experience :p

      • Thanks! Haha we have just finished the cage switch! Aubree did great, and yeah she has all her old bedding and toys in with her. She was out exploring immediately haha and seems happier in there, and I feel really relieved too šŸ™‚

        Yes the quail should be fine with a ramp, although this will be their first ever experience with a ramp so should be interesting to watch! I’ve been mean and put them on the top level and the food on the bottom hahaha, if they haven’t figured it out I’ll move some up though šŸ™‚

      • I’m glad she’s doing okay! I can’t wait for her to get more confident and get more pictures of her šŸ˜€ I think I’d have been mean to the quail and done that too, I’m sure it won’t take them long to brave it when they’re hungry :p

      • Ah good, as long as it’s not just me being cruel!! I might make a trail of mealworms down for Kale as well, she would do *anything* for a mealworm XD

        I can’t wait for Aubree to gain confidence either, I’ll actually be able to let her come out easily now her cage is on the floor šŸ™‚

      • Definitely not just being mean, they need some incentive šŸ™‚ she’ll be running rings around you in no time!!

      • Hahaha she already is, I’ve barely thought of anything else all day XD

        Thanks again for the help and the supportive comments, they’ve been really helpful šŸ™‚

      • Any time šŸ˜€ I’ll share pictures of our small furries once the new one joins us in April šŸ™‚

      • We’re getting a continental giant, he’s currently 8 weeks and 6.5lbs. I’m considering attempting agility with him

      • Ohhh myyyy! I NEED to see photos!!! I had a friend who had two and they were sooo beautiful and so big XD

        She absolutely adored them and they had this huge run and most the garden in the day, but a fox got in and killed them not so long ago šŸ˜¦

        You must be so excited! Are you getting him from a breeder / do you get to visit him before he comes home? šŸ˜€

      • I’m sure he’ll end up in many a photo, it’ll be hard not to!!
        Awww I’m so sorry to hear that, we don’t really have foxes here, I think in part they’re put off with all of the cats and dogs and tiny yards.
        He’s going to be a house rabbit and more than likely end up being like a third dog in the house, I am rather excited but my mum even more so, rabbits are very much her passion and she was heartbroken when she lost our French lop last summer. New baby is coming from a breeder and being driven up by a pet courier because he’s so far but mum talks to the breeder most days and is always having updates šŸ˜€

      • Ahhh that’s so cute šŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see him, it must be difficult having to wait so long haha but totally worth it šŸ˜€

        My first rabbit was a French Lop, we got him when I was about 8…this huge grumpy rabbit who me and my cousin used to lug about everywhere, poor sod XD

        We have fields really close to our house so the foxes mainly stick to those, but where my parents live they have a real issue with them…my dad has heard his chickens doing the danger call in the daytime and gone to find a fox circling the coop, and even when he’s gone out and yelled they sometimes don’t run off!

      • It is quite hard waiting but seeing as she’s having to rearrange a whole room for him it’s really a good thing!
        Awwww bless! Bo didn’t mind things like that when he was younger but he did slow down a lot in his old age.
        Wow! I can’t imagine living in such close proximity to brave foxes, I’ve never even seen one about let alone had to scare them off

    • Thank you šŸ™‚ We’ve just switched her into the longer, one level cage and she seems much happier – I feel sooo much better! Meanwhile the quail (who now have a whopping two storey cage) are somewhat perturbed, but I’m sure they will get used to it šŸ˜€

      I’m going to blog some pics and videos of Aubree now, I’m sure people will be sick of me blogging XD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s