Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grooming - Proper Posture & Procedure

When it's time to groom, there are steps to our procedure.

1. Catch a bunny.
Bunya is the easiest to catch. He was here first and is much more used to humans. He thinks he is going to get a treat and will pretty much bound up to anybody who's friendly (unless one of the girls, usually Lucy, panics and sets everyone to zooming around looking for cover).
The problem is that this alerts Lucy to the fact that she is going to be picked up soon.

2. Put them up closer to us, like on the countertop (where they will be less inclined to jump away).
Yes, Mom, we wipe it down before and after the grooming session and set the bunnies on a piece of paper.

3. Gently, being aware of their very sensitive skin, furminate bunny. Then gently brush bunny.
Now, what do we do with the hair that starts flying all over the place? This is a bigger issue when it's time for one of their seasonal sheds. While grooming, we grab handfuls of fluffy hair and toss it in the open trash can next to us. Sometimes, it easier to let it stick to your t-shirt and then use a lint brush on yourself afterwards; some of this is going to happen anyway. Mainly, we keep a hand vac at the ready; it's really good for grabbing the "floaters", bunches of light hair that just starts to float away. Empty the vac often, if you use one. (We do not start the vac right next to them. They are used to it because we use it to clean up the 2% of poops that don't make it to the litter box, or get kicked out. We start it behind us and away from them and then bring it closer to get the hair, so it does not startle them.)

4. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP - Place bunny so they once again have "four on the floor" (fuzzy feets, that is - never trim the hair on the bottom of their feet) - and give them a treat. Unless you like getting rear feet flicks. Lots of feet flicks.
Use a "high value" treat, like papaya or a piece of Probios.

Here, Ethel demonstrates the proper posture for her weekly grooming.

Can you move that to the left?

Ahhhhh, yeah, that's it, that's the spot, right there...

You can see the little treat in front of Ethel above. Lucy and Ethel will not eat while grooming is in process, so for them, this is just a little reminder of rewards to come.

Bunya, on the other hand ... well, we haven't seen much you can do to or with him that will prevent him from eating treats. He is the only one we can just get down on the floor with and groom - as long as he's getting treats and you don't mind grooming a moving target.

We're even able to catch Lucy for a grooming, most of the time. This is a bunny who - even if you do not move, do not look at her, but merely have the thought that you would like to pick her up - will look at you askance, run and hide. She has ESP or something. Sometimes, though, I don't think she's trying as hard as she used to.

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