Learning to Speak Rabbit

We were having a frustrating day with Mr. Buns.  He isn’t allowed on the couch due to an unfortunate peeing incident in which he tried to convince the Hubs that he was the man of the house by peeing on Hubs’ spot on the couch.  Ever since there has been a strict no house rabbit on the couch policy.  And usually he’s pretty good about it.  But the other day he was having none of the second class citizenship he felt he was subjected to (which is more believable when he isn’t munching away on an expensive farmer’s market apple).  He wouldn’t stay down and we were getting more frustrated.  So when I put him down for the millionth (4th?) time, I started roughing him up.  By that I mean I was scritchy-scratching his back and rump.  He stretched out and just enjoyed the attention.  It was a light bulb moment:  he was trying to get our attention.  Hey!  Tall people!  Scratch my ears!  Love me!!!  He is by no means a neglected house pet.  He gets all manner of treats and when he follows me into the bathroom, which he pretty much does whenever he’s out, he gets his ears scratched extensively.  So we didn’t think we were neglecting this silly wabbit.  But we have altered our routine in the wake up hours a little; it was stretch, stumble to kitchen, coffee!!!, open Mr. Bun’s crate, check email, ease into the new day.  Now we go with a stumble into kitchen, oh my somebody start the coffee!, let rabbit out, sit in floor and love on that spoiled fur baby, drink coffee, ease into the new day.  This has worked wonders on his couch surfing misbehavior.  He will still occasionally try to get up here and we put him down and rough him up when he does, but he has been so much better.  We also noticed when we are not in or near the couch, neither is he.  He has been following us around the house more lately.  He hangs out with us in the kitchen while we cook, he gets his ears scratched while I’m working online or at the kitchen table, he follows us to the bathroom.  We just had to learn to speak his language a little better.  The cats know how to get what they want; they get in a lap, put their face on our hands and demand we cease and desist all activities that do not include petting the cat.  They cry and meow and pace like poor Timmy fell down the well until we follow them to find a dime-sized space of food missing from the bowl that needs to immediately be filled in or they will starve to death.  We understand how to speak “cat”.  They trained us thoroughly.  We are now learning how to speak “rabbit”.  He has been giving us cues since the day he got here, and we didn’t listen.  But we are learning.  Sometimes the most difficult but rewarding part of relationships is letting the other person communicate the best way for them, and learning how to understand what they say.  It makes us all grow a little.



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