Posted by sean on June 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm in Roman's Album with No Comments


I thought that it was about time I did a blog post on Roman, as besides the one showing off the Father’s Day card, not much has been written about the furry little scamp for a while.

Young Romy has been causing Claire and I problems of late. One word. Bedtime. Roman does not know what bedtime is and if he does, he certainly doesn’t wish to comply to rules associated with it.

My wife suffers most when it comes to Roman’s end-of-day rebellion, as unfortunately she has been given the task of persuading him to move from his exercise run into his cage each evening.

I agree that this may sound a trifle unfair and that I have dodged a bullet when it comes to nasty chores. However, given my limited mobility, it would be rather tricky for me to chase a lightning fast, defiant rabbit around his enclosure, without causing catastrophic injury or death to one or both of us.

If I was to use my frame to help me enter and walk around this run, he would probably run rings around me, causing his human daddy to trip up, face-planting the floor and possibly even falling onto him!

The wheelchair is another idea. However, as Roman would almost certainly run rings around that too, I would be very concerned of him falling under the wheels and accidentally becoming roadkill.

Roman’s bedtime behaviour has only developed into a major problem the last couple of months. Before that, he would happily hop into his cage when asked to do so.

Things currently feel like they are a real battle. I know that I often make light of Romy’s cheekiness and mischief, but it has now become serious. Claire spends between twenty and fifty minutes every evening, struggling to persuade a stubborn rabbit that playtime is over. Roman is effectively dictating when he, Claire and me go to bed.

BAD BUNNY

We have tried many ideas to try and solve this problem…

Bribery
Roman loves treats. He has an abundance in his collection. Yes, he is very spoilt. Out of all these goodies, he has two clear favourites – toast and dried mango.

Readers of my blog with a good memory will recall that mango was once removed from his menu. This has since been reinstated. The simple reason for the change of heart was that it helps us to get him back into his cage – or at least it used to…

The only way Roman will willingly return to his cage is if he is given a piece of toast or mango for doing so. Otherwise you can forget it. To make matters even more frustrating, he appears to have become a bit bored of mango. While he would still happily gorge on the stuff until he burst, if it is offered to him as a bedtime bribe, he turns his twitching nose up. It feels like he is laughing at us.

Toast, however, is the game changer. Our rabbit goes crazy for the stuff. He can clearly smell it being prepared, as before any has even been offered to him, he will happily return to his cage, waiting patiently and expectantly for his reward. I half-jokingly suggested to Claire that once he has returned himself to his cage, she secure him for the night and eat the toast herself. A mix of compassion and fear of the consequences meant that she didn’t consider my suggestion to be a helpful one.

We are now left in a situation where the only way in which we can put Roman to bed, without triggering World War III, is to give him some toast. This is not feasible to do on a daily basis… it’s unhealthy for a rabbit to consume bread so frequently. Toasting bread takes time. We haven’t always got bread to give him. Most importantly, why the bloody hell should he blackmail us into giving him toast every night?

We will continue to feed Roman toast, but not every evening and only if he behaves himself at bedtime. In the meantime, we will continue to search for another treat he’ll go mad for. Maybe I should try Pringles – I find them incredibly addictive.

Intimidation
I’ll be honest, Claire and I don’t like this method and have jointly decided to not use it anymore. Besides being a little turd at times, Roman is our fur baby. He relies upon us for his safety. We also cannot abide inflicting any form of distress upon a living creature.

In the past, when it became clear that Roman was not going to willingly go to bed, we would remove all his toys, tunnels and hay box from his run. He always had access to food, water, hay and a litter tray – except these had all been moved into his cage – somewhere he had full access to, but would avoid entering like a cooking pot!

SPOT THE BUNNY

Once his run had been cleared of every possession to his name, the downstairs lights would be turned off and we would pretend to retire to bed ourselves. Of course, Romy was never left in this state for long, and after brushing her teeth, Claire would return downstairs to find our rabbit still out of his cage.

It was following the first and only occasion, where our bunny looked scared and upset, that we vowed never to do that again – regardless of how disobedient he may be.

Trapped!
Unfortunately, we have had to resort to this technique a lot lately. Fortunately, it doesn’t frighten or distress the boy, although has been known to piss him off.

‘Trapped!’ is exactly what the name suggests. You trap Roman in the corner of his run, with his open cage. This leaves him with a choice of where to spend the next few hours – on a small patch of carpet, or in a spacious cage, with warm hay, fresh food, water and toilet facilities.

He does return to his cage eventually, but it takes far longer than anyone would imagine. Personally, I think at that point he knows it’s game over, so in one final act of defiance, he forces Claire and I to sweat it out.

This approach may sound like the best way of getting Romy ‘home’, but it really is not! When the time arrives for him to get to bed, it is late. Claire and I are usually both knackered. Given how my wife has to do all the physical work, the last thing she wants to do at the end of a long day is play chase with the Duracell Bunny.

Wait
The fourth and final option seems the most logical. That is because it is. Place open cage next to open run and wait for rabbit to enter cage. Simples. The only flaw in playing the waiting game is that Roman is happy to play for a very, very long time. I don’t think we have ever waited beyond thirty minutes, before resorting to the ‘Treat’ option. Considering how he holds all the cards – and is very much aware of that fact – I suspect he would be willing to hold his ground for longer than us.

And that is it. We are all out of ideas. Currently, feeding Roman toast appears to be the only reliable means of getting him to go to bed.

As we have already refused to reward him with toast each night, we are slowly, yet begrudgingly, getting used to a nightly clash. The only way out of this mess is to hope we discover a treat that rabbits find as irresistible as toast. Either that, or hope Channel Five commissions a show featuring the bunny equivalent of The Dog Whisperer, or Super Nanny.

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