Kristin A McClinton
I work full time doing software engineering work. I am also a published poet. I have 2 bunnies right now - Stormie and Lady Bridgerton.
Stormie Rabbit hit the HELP button while I was working. I asked "What do you need help with?" The next button he pressed was FOOD. What's interesting is that he didn't push the buttons directly in sequence like I model sometimes to encourage putting words together. Lady Bridgerton used HELP FOOD in sequence for the first time a few days prior to this. However, this was the first time the buttons were separately in response to my question. It was more of a conversation rather than a one-sided demand like I had been modeling.
Today I introduced Stormie to his first button "Out". He seemed to be confused about the button: why I was using it, what it meant, etc. He hasn't pushed it yet, but I modeled it a few times while he was biting the bars of the cage. He decreased the force of his bites on the bars after the video. He also did a little thumping (a bunny foot stomp) to express frustration. This is different than the destructive tantrum behavior he displays when he is extremely bothered and feels the need to protest. That kind of behavior is displayed during moments of closeness with a rabbit he is not yet bonded with. He also displays this destructive tantrum behavior when he is jealous of the other bunny's free roam and exercise time. I do not allow them to free roam at the same time because my home is a new environment for them and they are not completely bonded. This makes them more prone to ignoring or forgetting their designated litter boxes due to the level of excitement and/or preoccupation with their new surroundings. This, as well as them wanting to mark everything as their territory makes sharing spaces slightly more complicated than it would be with single bunny to human bonding. That is why I thought "Out" would be a good first button word because it is a request for territory. Stormie's favorite thing to do is escape his enclosure and run to my bedroom (at any given time of the day). Just yesterday, he escaped to wake me up. If I allowed him to sleep at the end of my bed he would. I just don't trust him in every area. I don’t want to wake up to a mess in my bed because a bunny didn't make it to their litter box in the middle of the night. Overall, Stormie will be my primary learner because I know he has a major interest in communicating and experiencing new things. He is also easily motivated by things other than food.