Next in our series on training humans, we take a look at the troublesome question of Snuggles and Cuddles...
Greetings, fellow house rabbits. Your humans are no doubt making good progress by now and you are living a comfortable rabbit life, however, training is an ongoing requirement for these beings of lesser intelligence. Let's take a look at a problem that has plagued rabbits for years.... Snuggles and Cuddles.
We rabbits suffer from the misfortune of looking absolutely gorgeous. In addition to this, we have beautiful soft, silky fur that entices every human in the vicinity to touch it. No wonder the humans always want to cuddle us! Well, who can blame them but we must establish some boundaries on this or they will be treating you like a teddy bear for the rest of your life.
Lesson 1: Keep your feet on the ground
Yes, it's obvious and yes they should know this but some humans persist in the belief that we should be picked up for a cuddle. Why? So they can see us better?? Ridiculous. We know this is sheer laziness on the humans' part i.e. that they can't be bothered to kneel down on the floor. Don't stand for it - if you let them get away with it once they will think it's ok and you will be hoisted into the air several times a day. It's enough to give you motion sickness just thinking about it.
Lesson 2: Timing is everything
You all know that feeling - when you have just had a long bath, combed your ears and whiskers, fluffed out your tail and every hair is in place. Aaaaah heaven. And then some stupid human comes along and plants a big sloppy kiss on your head, totally messing up your "do", or scratches you behind the ears so the hair floats up and into your ears.... urgh - very, very annoying. If your human ever does this, make your displeasure known immediately in the strongest possible way (without biting).
Lesson 3: Good zones and bad zones
Now we know every rabbit has their own good and bad zones. Some may love having their ears stroked, others may hate it. Some adore tummy tickles, some think it's hell on earth. The point is this - you know what you like, the trick is in communicating that to your human. This part of the training may take some time - as mentioned, humans are inevitably a bit slow on the uptake so be patient and take it slow.
When your human moves in for a cuddle, position all four feet firmly on the ground and wait. If your human starts to stroke you in a good zone, indicate your pleasure in the usual way i.e. munchy teeth, half closed eyes and so on. If your human strokes you in a bad zone move away slightly, taking care to be polite. If they persist in the bad zone, retreat to your den.
Lesson 4: Snuggles on sofas and things
Any house rabbit worth its salt will have already explored every inch of accessible space in the house... including the sofa. Sofas are a mixed blessing - they are soft and comfortable but are something of a danger zone when the humans are around - nobody wants to be squished by a big human butt. If you are partial to a cuddle on the couch, we advise letting your human get settled into position before hopping up. Likewise with the bed - get your human settled before wedging yourself in and it's a good idea to stay near the pillow end unless you want a kick in the night. Humans are massive, clumsy creatures and you never know where their arms and legs are going to go.
Lesson 5: Return the favour
Once your human is giving you good snuggling and cuddling and everything is to your satisfaction, you might consider giving something back to the system and showing your human some love. Even a small lick on the nose or hand will almost guarantee you several hours of good cuddling in return. Humans are pathetically grateful for any love we show them and the rewards far outweigh the effort involved. Just one word of warning - don't try this when they've been (a) drinking, (b) eating garlic, or (c) at the gym.
Good luck, fellow house rabbits and always remember - it's a bunny world, the humans just live in it!