Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bunny Bonding!

I got back from a week in Orlando yesterday afternoon, and decided I'd better get serious about getting my guys bonded. Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the day I brought Charley home, which shows how silly I was to hope it would only take a few weeks to get them all bonded... Luckily, this is the best session we've had in a long time...The setup this time was an exercise pen with a couple washable puppy pads on top of a tarp (you can never be too careful...) and with a litter box in the corner. Rico made himself comfortable in the litter box pretty quickly, and stayed there most of the hour. Charley was obsessed with him (as always) but only had two little outbursts (trying to dig at Rico) the entire time. I was sitting in the pen with them so I could protect Rico as needed and reward good behavior with cranberries... There was no mounting this time, lots of just watching each other and sitting in contact for a little while... and Charley even groomed Rico for a while (!) when he got bored with just grooming himself and Pedro. Progress!Pedro, as always, was my little angel. He did a good job acting as a buffer between Rico and Charley, which helped keep everyone extra calm. (Also helping, I'm sure, was the fact that we did this during nap time, when everyone was feeling a little too sleepy to fight...)
One of Charley's most charming (to me) and least charming (to bunnies) qualities is that he really has no understanding of the need for personal space. Here he is with Pedro after he started to lunge at Rico, then thought better of it... then decided he was comfy right there. (Also pictured above in a more zoomed-in shot...)
He later decided that he wanted to be in the litter box with Rico.
Rico wasn't in love with this idea, but nobody tried to fight so it actually ended up being kind of adorable...
This seemed to be a good setup for making progress, so we'll try it again tomorrow during a non-Tampa football game. Holding out hope that these guys will finally all get along someday...

UPDATE: OK, so I didn't do this again on Sunday. Rico was looking at me like "PLEASE don't make me go be near that crazy bunny again yet!" and I try to go at his pace with the bonding thing. (If I went at Charley's pace, 70% of the day would be spent with Charley mounting Rico, 20% napping, and 10% with Rico experiencing forced snuggles...)

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