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Old 10-24-2017, 03:33 AM   #11
Neena
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Liung, my rabbits have demonstrated the same thing -- tricks that I've taught Bouncealot, Mabari has figured out just by watching (and she's more food-motivated so when he gets leery and won't come give kisses, she charges over to they can get fed lol)


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Old 10-24-2017, 10:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies! Thanks Liung in particular for the thoughtful and lengthy responses. I really enjoyed reading through them. Are you an animal psychologist or researcher by trade?

Firstly let me say that Kimchi is really almost back to his usual self. I'd say he is about 95% of the way there - the dashing about in the mornings and evenings has resumed, as have the binkies. He's getting there.

I am reading through Marit Emilie Buseth's incredible book, Rabbit Behaviour, Health and Care, and she has a passage that mentioned one rabbit's tendency to "tease" her owner by chewing on wooden table legs only during the evening when she is relaxing watching TV. She seems to do it in order to make her owner chase her around and play a bit; the rabbit does not chew on the furniture unless she is there (contrary to many of our experiences, I am sure!).

I know that our bun knows that he should not be on our dining room table. He looks over at us when he is on one of the chairs around the table and if he sees us, he generally does not get up there. However, if we are out of sight, he gets up there and immediately gets down when he hears us approaching. So he is reasoning and he knows that we will chase him down from there, but that is more cause and effect than it is a motivation for a particular reason. In fact the motivation is probably that he remembers that sometimes there is fruit up there ... for example last week while working from home one day (I work at the table), I went to use the bathroom for a few minutes and returned to find him eating on my banana that I was about to have for breakfast! See the attached picture of Kimchi caught red handed. ����


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Old 10-26-2017, 11:53 AM   #13
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Mmmm, I have a psychology degree and I'm currently working on a masters in animal behaviour and welfare! And I just got a job in an animal research facility. Becoming a researcher myself is the dream!

Well, as I and obviously other rabbit owners have noted, rabbits definitely have a good concept of cause and effect, to the extent of "if I do this, this will happen" at least. So yeah, if he enjoys being chased he very well could be doing it for that reason. But most rabbits LOVE bananas, so that's also likely a motivation.

Think about it like this: he only gets on the table when you're around... but there's also only usually food on the table when you're around! You being near the table is the discriminatory stimulus (the flag that prompts a behaviour that only occurs in the presence of that flag) for him to go up and check if you've put food there.

(I hope it's not a very tall table? Rabbits are perfectly capable of jumping four feet straight up but four feet straight down worries me a lot.)

Here's another example of cause and effect: as you may or may not know, staring at each other is a very pleasing social activity for rabbits.

I've heard from several people that give their rabbits full run of the house that their bun has a particular favourite spot to lounge: right in front of the TV. Because, of course, they get stared at by their humans for HOURS!!

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Lahi doesn't sit RIGHT in front of the TV but lets face it when he does this he's definitely going to get stared at. Because he's damn cute.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:21 PM   #14
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But also remember to be careful to attribute "knowledge" to an animal. Rabbits are territorial creatures, so they are better than most animals at understanding "you are not allowed here because this is mine", but remember the example of the dog on the couch: the dog does not understand "not allowed on the couch ever", he only understands "not allowed on the couch when humans are around". Nothing happens when he gets on the couch and humans aren't around, so why should he think that sitting on the soft, comfy couch that smells like his favourite people is a bad thing?

Rabbits definitely understand the concept of my space vs your space, and they also definitely love pushing boundaries—you know the thing they do, when they're trying to creep into a place they've never been allowed to go before...

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So it very well may be that Kimchi understands that he is not allowed on the table, and that by being on the table he's breaking that rule, and that's why he dashes off when you approach... but it could also be that, as he's allowed in the dining room, he doesn't see the table as separate from the rest of the room, and like the dog, is of the understanding that it is your presence in the that indicates that the table is not a place he should be.

Functionally it doesn't make much of a difference in behaviour, but in one scenario you are attributing a quality to him—deliberate disobedience.

For a dog, that's not a fair attribution. They are incredibly good natured animals that are not spiteful or malicious, and behave entirely according to the associations they have made for desired and undesired outcomes. They don't have guile.

Do rabbits? We don't know yet. But we should be careful to attribute motivations to them based on our own human understanding of a situation, because it colours how we view the animal and how we behave with the animal. I've seen too many people be horribly strict and harsh with dogs that they see as "disobedient" because they don't try to view their dog's behaviour through the lens of a dog's psychology, instead of a human psychology. Or alternatively, people whose dogs run completely wild and aggressive because "he's just playing!!"

I literally had a man tell me it was absolutely okay for me to pet his dog, directly after his dog straightened, stopped wagging his tail, closed his mouth, and made direct eye contact with me. I stopped dead and quickly averted my gaze and I'm pretty sure that's the only reason the dog only snarled and lunged a little before sniffing me, instead of actually biting. "It's fine, it's fine, he's friendly!!" No dude, your dog just telegraphed aggressiveness and nearly bit me, please do not encourage people to approach a dog who obviously feels extremely threatened by people approaching. He was a big dog too, a standard poodle.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:59 PM   #15
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That is a great anecdote and I love your picture of Lahi in front of the fireplace! I love the comic of the bunny stretching into the unknown room - I've totally seen that!

That is interesting that they enjoy staring at one another. We've seen that with Kimchi too. He also "watches TV" with us, generally he faces us on the couch while we face the TV. He loves to be in the middle of the action - he will sit roughly equidistant between my wife and I.

Sometimes he does seemingly watch TV ... here's an example. You can see mine and my wife's feet, plus Kimchi - we love this picture. Evindently Kimchi likes reruns of The Office!

Note, that is his travel cage on the right there, he doesn't live in there.


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