A stress free way of ending playtime?

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We've been giving our rabbit Floppy Puff-Puff free run of the living room for a few hours a day for the past few months now, and when playtime is over, it's next to impossible to get her to go back 'home'.

She'll hide under the couch, coffee table and chair, dodging and successfully avoiding our every attempt to herd her back into her cage.

When we finally do get her back, she's more often than not breathing heavily and her nose is moving at an incredible rate. I don't know if this is due to the stress of being chased around and ultimately put back, or if she's just tired out, but we'd like to hear of any suggestions you may have for a stress free way to end playtime.

Thoughts?
 

Flashy

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Rabbits are creatures of habit and this has now become your routine, so it might be worth trying to break this routine and form another.

A good thing to use can be food, or treats, so that they can learn when they go back that they get something REALLY yummy, so it's like a positive reason to go back. You could try either putting the treat in the cage, or having it in your lap, or approaching your bun with the treat.

It's also important that you don't see it as a mission to get her back. You probably get a particular mentality on she feeds from that. If you are calm it should also make it easier because they can sense changes in moods, and some bunnies are more sensitive than others to people.
 

Mrs. PBJ

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We had the same problem with storm at first.

I got to where I feed him in his cage after play time. so he sees food and he runs for it. He is a eat em up though. I also found these yogurt treats there really made for ferrets but storm loves them. Banana flavored but he does not like bananas go figure.

OPr when she goes in her cage during play time if you know sit almost over then close the door behind her we do that with storm now to.
 
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We actually give her salads while she's out...If she's out before the salad, she'll follow me around and/or sit in front of the fridge until she gets it.

Should we move 'salad time' to when she goes back into her cage rather than while she's out?
 

Flashy

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That sounds a good idea. She'll soon learn the routine has changed and what comes when.
 

aurora369

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I use a similar approach.

Zeke and Baxter have free access to the play area from their cages. And I started putting a couple of treats in their food bowl at the end of play time. I started by having to slowly lead them to the cage with the treats, but as they began to catch on, I could just show them the treat and they would run for the cage and sit in front of their bowl.

Sometimes, Zeke likes to jump out of his cage, catch my attention and then run back in the cage and sit in front of his food bowl. "See, I was out but I went back in my cage, so now I need to get a treat!".

I think trying to move salad time to the end of play time would be a really good stress free way of getting her back in the cage after play time.

--Dawn
 

NorthernAutumn

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I don't know what your cage setup is, but I found it is easiest if they can physically get into their cages by themselves (that way you don't have to pick them up at all).

Slatey is bad for this as well. He won't go home for me, but Nate is bolder and rattles the cardboard fort saying, "Git on!". Slatey apparently knows that this is the "go home" command, and he is more amenable to going back to his house now. Maybe a repeated phrase in a certain tone would allow her to audibly recognize that it is time to go home.

Things have been a lot better since I built an exercise pen around their cages; now, they can hang out all day, without having me send them home at any particular time :)

*** They are too clever to come for a treat at the end of playtime, BTW... I think maybe they have little bunny wristwatches, cause they will come at any other time :)
 
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Just be sure you don't use the salad as a lure, then quickly catch him. I made this mistake w/ Hershey. I lured him to me with a Craisen. When he tried to take the Crasin, I quickly picked him up. He soon learned that Craisins mean getting caught and wouldn't eat them anymore!

I spent a long time offering him crasins and not reacting. Once he was comfortable w eating Crasins again, I picked him up FIRST, then gave him a Crasin. Works much better!
 

Bo B Bunny

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Floppy Puff-Puff wrote:
We actually give her salads while she's out...If she's out before the salad, she'll follow me around and/or sit in front of the fridge until she gets it.

Should we move 'salad time' to when she goes back into her cage rather than while she's out?
That's what we did, we moved a salad or treat green like cilantro *their favorite here* to ending playtime and it works wonders. As they get older, they tend to go to their own cage and "get over" the whole chase me kinda stuff..... or at least mine have.
 

Lindiwe

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Bribe 'em!

Mine get carrot / parsley / an extra pellet to persuade them up the ramp, then a tap on the behind to get into the cage.

Am trying to make it their 'choice' to get into the cage - don't like chasing two netherland dwarfs round the living room every night when it's bed-time!
 

Hazel-Mom

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I agree, feed her the salad in her cage at the end of playtime. She'll soon learn to run to her cage once you start preparing the salad :)
We had the same problems with catching Hazel, untill we gave her her own "room" (part of the kitchen/dining room blocked off with baby gates) and started feeding and giving treats in there. Now she waits on top of her cage if I am late with bedtime salad and treats :D
 

Bo B Bunny

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LOL I love when they let us know!
Mine all have wood chew toys hanging from their cages with bells on the ends.... They push them around when they want my attention.
2 a.m. and Clover is in the next room jingling......... ugh!
 

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