bonding lessons #9 (aka a lesson on relationships)


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We’re entering month four of the bunny bonding process. Honestly, I thought we’d be finished by the end of month three. However we still have quite a ways to go…

And I’m putting it down to choosing to bond during Spring Fever, about three (or so) months around Springtime when a bunny’s hormones go wild and they have the desire to hump. It doesn’t matter whether a bunny is neutered (like both our boys) or whether they’re paired with a different-sex partner or same-sex, if a bunny gets Spring Fever, they get Spring Fever… and Bobo has always had a strong dose of it… which has made the bonding process challenging and more lengthy than we would have hoped.

However, I’m also grateful that we inadvertently chose this time to bond the boys because once they’re fully bonded and roaming free 24/7, hopefully when Spring Fever kicks in again next year, Olaf will have more tools under his belt for dealing (patiently) with Bobo having lived with him a good 6 months or more by that stage.

But I’m here today to discuss Spring Fever or humping, for that matter. The longer it takes the bunnies to bond, to more I get to observe. And sometimes that means observing and trying to interpret new changes in behaviour.

Honestly, I didn’t think there would be any additional behavioural changes to come. I guess you should never rest on your laurels, especially when it comes to bunnies.

Recently, literally over the last couple of days, Olaf has started running laps around the pen and around Bobo towards the start of each bonding session.

I’m not reading this as negative behaviour, quite the opposite. When a bunny runs and circles their guardian’s feet, it usually translates to mean “I’m excited to see you! I love you!” And just watching Olaf you can tell he’s not being aggressive (for starters his tail isn’t raised which is a sure sign of aggression). He simply looks excited and wanting to play.

However, Bobo isn’t really into playing as much as he used to be.

When Bobo and his previous partner, Forrest, were young, they’d suddenly, out-of-the-blue do a lap of the living room, often with a flick of the head from one or both (a sign of excitement), or a leap in the air (called a binky – also a sign of happiness and excitement).

However, Bobo’s now a little older (even though I call him Peter Pan) and the emotional distress he went through when Forrest passed, you could say, has weighed heavily on him.

When we adopted Olaf as a new friend for Bobo, we chose him because we believed he was of a similar age, though neither us nor the rescue we adopted him from were completely sure. And we also chose him because earlier in the year he had also lost his partner, so we thought the boys would be good support for each other.

However, with Olaf’s recent antics, I’m beginning to think he’s a couple of years younger than Bobo… which can be a lot in bunny years. However, that’s not a negative thing either. It could inject some excitement and positivity into his relationship with Bobo… only time will tell.

It was this change in Olaf’s behaviour that got me pondering about the question we could ask the angels for guidance on.

Watching Olaf circling the bonding pen as well as running around Bobo, witnessing his excitement when he knew he would be spending the next seven or eight hours with his ‘big brother’ got me thinking about my own relationships, both romantic and platonic.

Am I excited about my relationships? And if not, how can I inject positivity into them to keep them new, fresh and enjoyable?

I also was learning, through watching Bobo, that Olaf’s excitement wasn’t necessarily reciprocated by Bobo. At times Bobo would wag his tail at Olaf to say “I’m not up for this” or “I don’t want to play right now”. Or he would ‘change the topic’ by licking Olaf to calm him down (Olaf loves licks and cuddles).

I don’t believe this is because Bobo’s not interested in creating a relationship with Olaf. After all, he’s also snuggling into him and flopping over against him (a sign of a very happy bunny). However, I think their characters are just different and they have different priorities in a relationship. A couple of years ago, I would say Bobo would have returned Olaf’s excitement and joined the running around. But now, he’s more relaxed, more subdued, just wanting to chill and snuggle.

Does this mean their relationship won’t work out? Again, I don’t think so. We hear the phrase “opposites attract” all the time when it comes to relationships because what one person can bring can compliment what the other person can bring. And if two bunnies (or people) are too similar, clashes may be more likely (or not… again, it all depends).

Sometimes, relationships can become dull and unexciting where each person just gets too comfortable…

Sometimes, relationships can become too one-sided where one person makes all the choices and decisions, with (or without) input from the other…

Sometimes, one, other or both people in a relationship can take the other for granted…

Sometimes, one, other or both people don’t feel they’re no longer being heard or seen like they used to be…

There are so many ways in which a relationship can lose its pizzazz. Before that even happens, however, what can we do to ensure we keep the energy within our relationships, both romantic and platonic, positive?

I also thought you might be interested in 8 characteristics needed to create a positive relationship, so I wrote them down here.

Viv xx