B.U.N.S. NEWS

Volume 6, Issue 2

June 2002


Rabbit HoppingThe Sport of Furry Champions

Where To Find B.U.N.S.:

 

B.U.N.S. Webpage

www.bunssb.org

 

Rabbit Care

Information

683-0521

 

Volunteer

Information

Darcy Freegard

968-5077

 

Basic Bunny Class

Time & Location

683-0521

 

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 91452

Santa Barbara, CA

93190-1452

 

Shelter Address

5473 Overpass Rd.

Santa Barbara, CA

 

Government Access

TV Channel 20

 

House Rabbit

Society Webpage

www.rabbit.org

ing, Rabbit Hopping originated in Sweden in the 1970's. It caught on in Norway, Denmark, England and Germany. Now it has come to Santa Barbara. BUNS volunteer Andrea Bratt has been training her rabbits to jump hurdles.

 

Most rabbit hopping is done on a leash for the safety of the rabbit. You start by accustoming your rabbit to a leash. Buy a small dog harness that fits over the body. Put it on your rabbit and allow the rabbit to hop around wearing the harness. Next, attach the leash and allow the rabbit to drag it around. Finally you can pick up the leash and allow the rabbit to lead you around. Once your rabbit is used to the leash, you are ready to start hopping.

He sped down the course. Ahead the water jump loomed, light flickering off the water and reflecting ominously on the red and white lifesavers on either side. Just beyond was the hurdlehigher than he had ever jumped. He did not pause. Eyes fixed on a point just above the hurdle, he gathered his powerful hind legs beneath him andhopped. Up, up he soared until it seemed he was flying. Over the water. Over the hurdle. The crowd erupted in cheers!

 

Rabbit Hopping. You read about it in the Wall Street Journal and the National Geographic. If you lived in Denmark, you would have seen it on T.V. Based on horse show jump

Continued on pg. 3

Call Out

The Danish rabbit is the current world record holder for both the long jump, at 9.8 feet (3 meters), and the high jump, at 3.4 feet (one meter).


News Briefs

Bunny Festival is Coming!

The Festival will be held on Sept. 29th at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens.Donations for the Silent Auction can be delivered to the shelter's bunny area or to Heather Starr.

Volunteers to assist at the Festival are in demand and can contact Ellen Burns, or
<buns@silcom.com> for more information.

Come enjoy the bake sale, auction, games, kids area, and visit with other bunny owners. See you at the Festival!

Guys With Tool Belts

Kevin Freegard and Phil Seymour have updated the look of the shelter by adding beautiful new pens. We are replacing all of our low pens with higher pens that are more friendly to people and bunnies. The new higher pens include doors that allow easy access to the exercise areas. We give our thanks to Kevin and Phil for all of their hard work!

The shelter is currently looking for a handyman or handywoman who could assist in squirrel-proof

ing our bunny rooms and supply sheds.

If you are interested, please contact Jean Silva or Phil Seymour at 683-0521.


Fiesta Booth Needs a Home

The Fiesta booth is broken down for easy storage, but needs a place to stay until needed. It requires a sheltered space of 8'x 8', and about 1.5' deep.

If anyone can take the booth, contact Elizabeth Mazzetti at <elizabeth.mazzetti@openwave.com>

 

B.U.N.S. CROSSWORD

Across 1. Another name for a rabbit. 3. Rabbits can eat as much as they like. 4. Bunnies love them but they can only be fed in small quantities. 6. Should be fed fresh every day. 8. Bunnies like to play with these too.

9. Orange vegetables that rabbits like tops and all. Down 1. A special treat, so fed in small quantities. 2. What kind of hay should bun- nies be fed? 5. Leafy green vegetable that rabbits like to nibble. 7. The name of the bunny in the Basic Bunny Class story.


Rabbit Hopping, Continued from page 1.

 

Set up a hurdle. It can be as simple as a cardboard tunnel or a broom laid across two piles of books. Start with a low jump, even if your bunny can jump onto the sofa. Lead your rabbit to the hurdle. Nudge his rear end to encourage him to jump over. When he does, praise and pet him. Once he understands that you want him to jump over, you can raise the height and add extra jumps. You can make a water hazard by putting water in a shallow baking pan.

Andrea's rabbits will chase her, so she has trained them to run a course of hurdles by running in front of them. "It's so much fun! My rabbits love it. They binkie when they jump over a hurdle."

Are you ready to hop? Give Andrea a call at 684-2269; she will help get you started. If you want to work on your own or see more photos of rabbit hopping, visit: http://home.talkcity.com/SuburbanSt/amrfzbnz/THESPORT.html

Would you like to see live rabbit hopping? Mark your calendars for the Bunny Festival, the afternoon of September 29, 2002. We always have a hopping good time, but rumor has it that Andrea will really make things HOP this year. We can't wait!

Andrea Bratt's rabbit, Filbert, clears a big jump! So fast he is a blur!

Volunteers of the Quarter

The Basic Bunny staff of Shari Falter, Gloria Morgan, Andrea Bratt, Ann Lawler, Elizabeth Mazetti, Heather Starr, and Jean Silva has worked hard over the past year to teach bunny owners how to deal with a new addition to the family. With patience and a tremendous amount of combined knowledge, they lead new bunny owners down a path of understanding and enjoyment.

Heather and Elizabeth teach the children's class. Andrea, Jean, Shari, Ann and Gloria teach the adults. They cover topics including housing, feeding, grooming, and illness.

These dedicated volunteers enlighten both young and old. We give our thanks to the education staff for all of their hard work.

Left to Right: Shari Falter, Gloria Morgan, Heather Starr, Andrea Bratt, Elizabeth Mazetti. Not pictured: Jean Silva and Ann Lawler


The Art of Clicker Training

By Lissa Shoun

doing the right thing. It's very difficult to reward a rabbit with a treat in the middle of a jump, but a "click" as they go over the hurdle tells them they are doing the right thing and a treat is on the way.


Signals are typically audible for convenience and versatility. To make the signal that I call a click, you can use a training clicker, a toy cricket, the snap of a dog leash clip, a word such as "good" or "yes," a click with your tongue, or any other sound that is short and distinctive.

Treats can be anything your rabbit desires and that you can dispense in small increments without health worries. I use Oxbow Bunny Basics/Timothy pellets for treats. I can give one small piece at a time, they are easy to hold in my hand, and the girls love them.

Targeting is usually recommended as a first behavior to teach any animal, and it makes teaching many other

You can find plenty of information on the Internet about clicker training dogs, birds, cats, horses, and even llamas. But, when I went searching for specific suggestions to take advantage of a rabbit's natural inclinations and physiological abilities, I found nothing. I thought I would learn by doing, so I hopped right in and made Elvira and Robin my lapine guinea pigs. I'll give a brief summary of clicker training, and then talk about targeting and hurdle jumping.


Clicker training is rewards-based behavioral training that uses a signal to indicate, "Yes, that's it, good!" when the desired behavior is offered. The reward, typically a food treat, follows as soon as possible after the signal, but it's the signal that indicates precisely when the individual is

Donations as of 14 June 2002:

Carrot Circle $1-50

Stephanie Adlawan

Cynthia Armstrong

Ros Margaret Braidden

Dana Brenner

Milbrey Conroy

Christpher Costello

Janet Cresci-Searle

Rolayne R. Dahl

Joe and Susie Dahlgren

Tammy Dobrotin

July Lyn Fredlin

Earl Gertwagen

Kathy L. Grandfield

Mark Hansen

Michael Ingelhart

Mark & Valerie Kiefer for Kathleen Setka & Family

Shellye Kingsbury

Pamela Larsson-Toscher

Mary Derringer Lawson

Joanna C. Lopez

Stephanie F. Lou

Delores Lucero

Karen Malinowski

Leslie T. Marler

Jules Moolenaar

Assad Mora, Kathy M. Patmore, Farid Mora DDS

Gloria Morgan

Sandra Neustadt

Terry Ortega

Ellen Pasternack

Valerie Powdrell

Charlene Ray

Jan P. Reifenberg

Wenda E. Resch

Karen Romofsky

Scolari's

Peggy Stanwood

Sally Hoover Witnov

Mary W. Zolkoski

Bunny Angel $51-100

Vicki Firestone

David Graham

Barbara Hannelore

Aaron Heisler

Dwaine Maggart for Carol Loessin

Martin Family & Cloe

Bunny Guardian $101-250

Timothy Bell

Nancy Britton

Mark Chaconas

Complete Business Tax Services

Marlou Everson

Karin & Greg Heiman

James P. McAlister

James C. Rollins (in memory of Spot the Cat)

Golden Carrot Circle $251 and up

Debbie Benci-Woodward

Keith C. Berry (acknowledge Suzanne Ilgun)

Andrea Bratt (Fuzz Farm Bunny Boarding)

Phil Seymour

Linda P. Eveland

Jetco Properties (Phil Seymour)

Gail Marshall for Supervisor

James G. Rolfe

Estate of David Stevens

Thank You!

BUNS appreciates your

thoughtfulness and generosity.


behaviors easier. So, what to use for a target? Rabbits are somewhat colorblind, and their near vision is poor, especially right in front of them and under their nose. Something smelly? Too vague and uncontrollable. I decided to cover two bases at once and combined sound and motion. My first target was a small plastic cat's toy with a bell inside (jingle ball).


Other target ideas are a squeeze toy, a bell, a baby rattle, a waving handkerchief, fingernails scratching the floor, a stick tapping the ground, or your outstretched hand making "pats" on the floor, as you might invite someone to sit down next to you on the sofa. Do not use your clicker as the target. It's too confusing to distinguish between a click that means "come here" and one that means "yes."

Do some "click and treats," just to give them the idea that a click is good because it means a treat is on the way. Hold the target close to the bunny or pat your hand on the ground right in front of her. She will be very curious about this moving thing or sound, and will likely investigate with her nose. The moment her nose touches the target, click and treat. Gradually move the target further away, and your bunny will make more effort to find the target and get the reward. They love figuring out what to do to make you, the treat dispenser, produce treats.

Rabbits don't instinctively chase their prey like a cat or dog. When stalking the wild dandelion, they rely on it staying put while they consume it. Some individuals will follow a moving target, some will stay and search where they first saw the target, and some will get frustrated if the target moves away from them. Find out what type your bunny is.

Hurdle jumping, show jumping, or bunny hopping is a very popular activity in Scandinavian countries, and gaining ground in the USA. Start with a very low obstacle, far less than you know the rabbit can jump. If necessary, lay a stick directly on the ground. You want to make it very easy for them to succeed so it's fun and not frustrating. After they learn the idea, you can gradually make it higher and higher, until it's a real challenge for them.

The hurdle could be a wooden dowel or stick, the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels, or a long narrow cardboard box. You can make a low hurdle by propping a stick on a couple of small boxes, or plastic food containers. Don't try for fancy at this first stage of the game. A folding chair with rungs very low to the ground gives you a double hurdle instantly.

Block off access on both sides of the hurdle, so that it's easier to go over than around. Put one end against a wall and sit at the other end. Or use cardboard boxes to block both sides. Use the target on one side of the hurdle, click and treat. Now she's in position to go over. Move the target

to the far side. At the moment she jumps, and before she lands, click. This lets her know that the jump is the action you want, not simply getting to the target.


When she's doing it right nearly every time, and this may take a couple of sessions, you can place the hurdle where it's not blocked on the ends. If she goes around the end, don't click. It won't take long to figure out that going over is the only right way.

I have Robin go through double hurdles, get a treat, then back through in the opposite direction for another treat. She likes it so much, that I no longer use the target, or give a cue after the first time each session. If you are training for show jumping, you don't want your potential little champion to turn around and go back the wrong way, or to start too soon. Designate a beginning point, and only reward for jumping on cue, and in the right
direction.

If you put a target on the end of a stick, you can use it to lead your competitor through a complex course while you run along beside. Current competition rules require a harness and leash. My girls won't have anything to do with that nasty harness. If the harness is a problem, skip it, and go for a little fun jumping in the house and work on harness toleration later. Never lose sight of the goal for trick training: both of you having fun.

For more information on trick training and clicker training rabbits, see: http://www.5by5.com/trickyrabbits.html

Robin targets on a jingle ball. This is the moment to click. Photo taken by Eric Bong.

Bunny of the Quarter...

Prince

Prince is a beautiful white Angora looking for a loving home with a good set of grooming tools. We received Prince from a family that was no longer able to care for him.

He has an incredibly loving personality and sits quietly for his weekly brushing. Prince comes to the pen walls and greets all the humans that come by. He also loves the nasturtiums that grow on the walls of his favorite exercise pen. Prince arrived with a sibling that has already been adopted.

He would make a great companion rabbit or would become a loving member of a family. Prince is litter box trained and he is used to handling because of the grooming he requires. If you think you can provide a caring home for this loving boy please stop by the shelter or contact our adoptions coordinator, Jackie Zaida, at 968-3209.

Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter

PO Box 91452

Santa Barbara, CA 93190

Address Service Requested

PRSRT STD

US POSTAGE PAID

SANTA BARBARA CA

PERMIT NO 464

Exciting Topics in This Issue:

Bunny of the Quarter

Rabbit Hopping

Crossword Puzzle

Clicker Training