Aug. 7th, 2012

wendyzski: (Default)
I was a nervous wreck about them most of the weekend, but my bunny peeps were
very supportive. The most useful thing that they did was to remind me that if
they had really wanted to kill each other they had plenty of chances on Friday
and it hadn't happened.

There were positive signs from last night's bonding session. There is a proven
technique called Stress Bonding, where you put the buns together in an
unfamiliar and/or stressful situation to try and get them to cuddle. Sort of
like taking a date to a scary movie for humans. Variations on this include
putting them in a large carrier or cardboard box and taking them for a car ride,
or taking a laundry-basket ride on top of a the dryer.

So for this session I put them in the empty tub with a handful of hay, just like
before.
Then I turned the whirlpool motor on :)

They were definitely on high alert but without a clear idea of where to run and
a slippery floor they pretty much froze in place. I gently shoved them next to
each other, and then proceeded to pet their heads gently for a while,
occasionally switching hands. The goal is to get them to associate the feelings
of comfort in a stressy situation with the smell/feel of the other bun.

There were definite signs of snuggling - Izzy was slowly working his way to
shoving his head under Winslet in order to hide under her. Mostly she tolerated
this. They both got treats for this.

After about 15 minutes of this, the next step was to spend some time in a
neutral territory together so that they could work things out between them while
I supervised with a squirt bottle. I blocked off UnderTheBed so they had about
had the room to work in, complete with clutter. She chased and nipped him a
few times, but the spray bottle did seem to inerrupt things. Oh the look on her
face when THAT happened for the first time! He lost a tufty of fur off his butt
at one point - poor bitty!

She was this odd little squeaky vocalization that I'm sure that she thinks is a
terribly fierce growl, but really she sounds like she needs to be oiled. And
Izzy thinks that if he sticks his head into a dresser drawer that it means he's
hiding - despite the spotty fluffy butt clearly visible to all. I wish I'd
gotten a photo of him hiding in my pith helmet!

After about 15 minutes of this he was scared, she was wet, and both were thumpy
- but of the last 5 times they interacted she only went for him twice. I ended
things after nearly 5 straight minutes of mutual ignoring at opposite sides of
the room.

Despite the scuffling, this was actually a fairly positive session. She needs
to learn that she can be alpha-bun without being mean, and he needs to
understand that as long as he shows her proper respect he'll be fine. She's
smart enough and he's young enough that both of these are definitely possible.

I think they get tonight off, since I haven't slept well the last few nights and
I'm feeling under the weather, and I want to make sure Izzy's butt has a chance
to heal. He didn't bleed, but that was a hefty mouthful of fur and his skin
felt a little scabby underneath. I put on a bit of peroxide and a little plain
neosporin just in case.

She stlll goes up to his pen sometimes, but she has mostly stopped shoving at
it. For his part, he is definitely wary of her, and backs away from the bars
when he sees/smells her, but doesn't panic and run or anything. He still runs
up to the bars when he sees me because I am the bringer of pettings and nummies
(even if sometimes I take him to the scary bunny-lady). Winslet is alternating
between being relaxed but vaguely sulky and terribly snuggly and insecure. So
while it might be a good idea to push ahead with things I'm going to err on the
side of going very slowly. Tonight I'll make sure each gets some individual
fussing and then go to bed early.

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wendyzski

March 2013

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