bonding lessons #6 (aka a lesson about challenging situations)

We hit a bit of a wall recently with our bunny bonding.

Spring Fever kicked in big time with Bobo. It’s something he experiences every year even though he’s been neutered and doesn’t have the same degree of hormones coursing through his body. All the same Spring Fever arrives faithfully in our home and with it comes the urge for Bobo to hump.

Bobo’s previous partner, Forrest, was well versed in this and she knew how to handle Bobo patiently yet firmly. She would simply run away to an area in the living room that Bobo didn’t go to. You see, Bobo doesn’t like to go ‘off-rug’ and, so, limits himself to places he runs. Forrest would go anywhere. So, when she ran somewhere that Bobo couldn’t get to, his urge to hump dissipated.

It's not quite the case in the bonding pen. Firstly, Olaf doesn’t have the same personality as Forrest; he’s a bit more feisty. And secondly, it’s not so easy to get away from Bobo in a restricted area.

The humping has been happening for a few weeks now already. However, as it’s not considered negative behaviour, we kept slowly expanding the bonding pen.

However, the pen got to the size where it was almost impossible to stop the humping as soon as it started. And it would quickly escalate into chasing (a negative behaviour) and circling (also a negative behaviour which can lead to fighting).

So, we hit a wall. And we felt we had only two options. Either we would stop expanding and wait until the Spring Fever came to an end (that can take a few months) or we could reduce the size of the bonding pen to a size where we could easily control the humping (but that would mean reducing the pen by one third in size and taking us back weeks).

Neither option sat comfortably as, although we don’t want to rush the bonding (that could be disastrous), we deeply want to see the boys bonded fully and living side-by-side 24/7.

So, I reached out to the bonding Facebook group for guidance. I did have an alternative idea, however, I wanted to hear what the experts suggested.

Unfortunately, the options suggested by the experts were the two we already had on the table. So, I decided to suggest my alternative to them. And that alternative was to scatter more vegetables and grass into the pen when the bunnies began to waken up after their daytime sleep. I had noticed that the humping mostly seemed to begin after this time. The experts agreed with my suggestion, and we put it to the test.

And the results have, mostly, be really positive. It seems the true way to a bunny’s heart is through their tummy. The scattering of food and treats gave the bunnies something to focus on, stopped them getting bored, and helped reduce the humping. Indeed, we have had more days with no humping at all, than days with.

The success of this option has enabled us to start slowly expanding the bonding pen again, getting closer to the day when the bunnies are fully bonded and living and roaming free, side-by-side 24/7.

What’s the lesson from this experience, you might be wondering?

Well, what I learned is that when you find yourself dealing with a challenging situation, there may be a couple of obvious options on the table, and they may be worth a try. However, if those options don’t enable you to progress, to expand, to grow (whatever it is you require), then it’s time to review your options, think out of the box, and see what else is available to you.

It may not be anything that an expert has tried or even considers. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So long as it won’t harm anyone or anything, then give it a go. You have nothing to lose.

And that got me thinking and wondering what sage advice the angels would have for such a situation. So, you know what I did? I asked them.

Viv xx