Deaf, Dumb and Stupid – Not!

Shadow on dining room chair

Planning my next move ...

Shadow is a particularly stubborn bunny. For months after we first brought him home, we thought he was a bit stupid, because he wasn’t appearing to understand or respond to “No! Bad Bunny!”  We had Tigger for two months prior to bringing Shadow home and Tigger understood and did not like to be called “Bad Bunny or be spoken to sharply. She would stop what she was doing and hop off.  Then later she would try to slink back to the bad behavior once she thought our attention was on something else.

Then I discovered Shadow clearly did understand “Bad Bunny”.  One day after I had chased him away from chewing furniture, we settled down for some head pets which he loves.  I had caught him mishbehaving with his chewing and now I was kind of chewing him out verbally. I was saying things like, “Why do you have to be such a bad bunny. You know how to be a good bunny. You don’t have to be a bad bunny.” Shadow suddenly stood up, turned around and looked at me with his head tipped to the side. It was clear he was questioning me.

That is when I realized he did know the difference between “Bad Bunny” and “Good Bunny”. I had confused him by petting him and calling him a “Bad Bunny”. After that Blaine and I both watched him more closely when he misbehaved.  We realized that when we would start calling him “Bad Bunny”, he was trying to misbehave faster. He knew how much time it would take us to physically get to him and he was speeding up the bad activity trying to get it done before we could stop him. Stubborn bad bunny!

When the rabbits are out of our line of sight and we hear “bad chewing”, we immediately start to loudly say or yell (depends on our distance to them), “No! Bad Bunny”.  That will stop Tigger, but with Shadow, we have to physically get to him.  Usually we distract him with something he can chew.  If it is the second time on the same bad activity, we try to relocate him to another part of the house to get him focused on something else.

We make sure to spend quality time with the rabbits interacting with them.  Bored bunnies easily become bad bunnies. 

Leave a Reply