Dallas Developments: Day #1

19 May

I’ve taken on a summer project, y’all. His name is Dallas.

image

He’s a year and a half old, and he’s a Georgia House Rabbit Society bunny. He was rescued from living outdoors (likely after being dumped by a previous owner), and he’s got some issues that he needs to work out before he can find his forever home. My job this summer is to teach him just that, via clicker training and a whole lot of patience. Here’s where we’re starting from.

Dallas currently:

  • Gets spooked randomly by unseen things and bolts. He will bolt in whatever direction he is currently facing. This means it’s not always away from whatever spooks him. It’s called the “Dallas Dash.”
  • Is territorial. He doesn’t like humans or other bunnies in his space. He’ll grunt or charge, or just plain bolt whenever he feels threatened. This includes feeding time. He also leaves a poop trail to mark his territory, but is otherwise very litter-trained.
  • Is very food-motivated. Dallas loves to eat. Pellets, hay, greens, treats- you name it, he’ll munch on it. This is actually a good thing for training.
  • Is not a fan of loud noises or sudden movements. Either of those will result in an immediate Dallas Dash. Unfortunately for him, he’s living in a house with Hatter & Alice- the King and Queen of Rabbit Mischief. Dallas now has his own bedroom for this reason.
  • Has a silly personality underneath all that fear & aggression. He’s been here less than a day, and is already binking and flopping around his play area when he’s not Dashing. He seems to prefer soft places, and is currently dozing on a pile of baby blankets as I type this.

Dallas needs to learn:

  • To not spook at unseen things. It makes his behavior unpredictable, and his tendency to bolt in any direction could be dangerous for him in an unsecured environment.
  • To share his space, to an extent. All bunnies need a safe space, where no humans or other animals are allowed. However, a bunny shouldn’t grunt or charge during feeding time. Dallas will have to learn to tolerate hands in his pen at least twice a day.
  • Where his safe space is. It’s perfectly reasonable for a bunny to spook at loud noises or sudden movements- after all, they’re a prey species. It’s what they do. However, Dallas will need to learn where he should run when he gets scared, so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
  • How to let his silly self shine. He looks like he may be a New Zealand White rabbit, which is a breed known for being silly and sociable. If he can learn that it’s OK to play around the humans, he’ll have no trouble finding a forever home.

I’ll post regular updates on his progress over the next couple of months. You can also follow along on my Instagram (@zombiesandbunnies) for photos and videos of Dallas’s progress.

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One Response to “Dallas Developments: Day #1”

  1. Laura May 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    Love this and the picture of little Dallas in happy-flop mode!!! Thank you so much for helping and loving this little guy. – Laura from the GHRS bunny house. ❤

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