Last Post by Sarita at 10/09/2012 9:13 AM (11 Replies)
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User is Offline Murasaki
Kanagawa, Japan
89 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2012 5:26 PM

I am new to rabbits and like to know about keeping a rabbit with out a cage, I do not like animals caged and as Yuki chan is part of my family I want he/her to roam free in the house, which she does, but the problem is I am trying to toilet train her and failing, he/she is going everywhere, I spend most of the day running after her cleaning up.. 

I have a litter tray and have put a tissue with her pee on it in the tray, she goes to the train, looks and then takes off and 10 minutes later I am cleaning up again. Is there any way of training with out caging ?

Thank You


User is Offline DaisyBinks
66 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2012 6:14 PM
I recommend limiting her space at least, with an x-pen or grids, if not a cage. It will be much easier to train her in a smaller space and then expend as she learns and can eventually expand to however much space you want her to have. Also, what are you using for litter?
Litter training will take time, but is definitely worth it and will allow your rabbit to have so much more room to explore and run around My bunny learned pretty quick, but then lost her training a bit as she hit puberty but still VERY rarely has accidents.

User is Offline Murasaki
Kanagawa, Japan
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10/06/2012 6:26 PM
For the litter tray am using shredded news paper ... somethings Yuki will go in the litter tray and other times she will not. Where I live the pet shops have nothing really for pets. I need to take a 3 hour train ride to Yokohama to buy the things I need.. but at the moment Yuki is too young to be left alone... today Yuki has been sleeping next to me all day... when normally Yuki is hopping about the place like a crazy person.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Forum Leader
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10/06/2012 10:01 PM
Hello again, i just read your introduction post.

Since Yuki is so very young, keeping her in a cage or small pen is better at this age. Don't give too much space too early. The smaller space will make her feel safe and it will help with the toilet training.

When she's older, you could start to allow her more room and perhaps do away with the cage.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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10/07/2012 3:23 AM
I agree with the others. It's best to use a small space for litter training and once you conquer that, gradually give her more space until she is free roam. A large area is very confusing for a bunny trying to become litter trained.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless

User is Offline Murasaki
Kanagawa, Japan
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10/07/2012 5:47 PM
I live in a Japanese apartment it is what they call 2DK .. 2 rooms and one room that is dining and kitchen .. Total area is about 35m2 if that so very small already ... the room Yuki chan in is it 2.5m x 4.5m or there about ... she is using 1 corner of the room as her pee area I have noticed. Last night I stayed awake all night watching and I put the littler tray in that corner ... when she wanted to pee she went to the corner and hopped in the tray and went. She has done it in the tray a total of 6 times in the past 12 hours ... but she is dropping pellets all over the place, can Yuki be trained to use the litter box for number 2's?

Edited ... Today Yuki chan has been doing "Binkies" and "Sprinting" about the place .. also she has been "softly biting" my feet... I know Binkies and sprinting means :

  • "Binkies": A binky is when the rabbit jumps really high in the air and flicks its back legs and tail or twists its body around mid-air. A binkying bunny is a really happy bunny just having fun. Interpretation: "Life is Great! I'm so Happy!"

  • Sprinting: Bunnies usually sprint when they are really excited. A sprint is when the rabbit runs really, really fast, then stops, then runs really, really fast again. This is sometimes called the "Bunny 500." 

  • Thanks to the net ... but what do the soft biting mean?

    User is Offline RabbitPam
    South Florida
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    10/08/2012 6:26 AM
    The soft biting is just to get your attention. It's like she's saying "I'm here. I'm playing. Come play with me, or even better, give me a treat!" If she sets her teeth it's normal, but if she bites hard you need to squeal in a high pitched voice so she thinks she's hurt you and is more gentle the next time she uses her teeth.

    You seem to have connected the litter pan use with the spot she wants and she is now remembering to go there. The pee is most important. For the poos, pick up every one and toss them into the litter pan as soon as she's made them. (Tedious, I know, but it will take a few days.) If you catch her making the big pile of poos in the litter pan (about once a day or less they do what looks like 20 or more poos in a small mountain) and not outside of it, praise her while she's still in the pan, or just coming out of it, and give her a little treat. You can even leave her a treat in the litter pan to find when she goes in and does her business. You want her to associate using the pan with a reward at first.

    Oh, and you can put a small pile of hay in one corner of the pan also. They often poo when the eat hay, so it all stays in the right place this way. Hanging her hay basket over the litter pan is another way to make that happen. Make sure she has a large litter pan and try to switch to real litter instead of newspaper. She needs it to feel different. Soft litters like Carefresh or Aspen shavings are good, pellet style like Yesterday's News, Aspen pellets or Feline Pine or untreated wood stove pellets are also good. (Never use cedar or pine shavings, however.)
    SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

    User is Offline RabbitPam
    South Florida
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    10/08/2012 6:28 AM
    Sorry for being so long, but I just want to add that an enclosure for a bunny, like an x-pen, even a cage, is not viewed by them as a "cage". They need a safe place in their habitat that is enclosed or covered to feel protected, especially when they sleep. That's why they like hidey boxes (just a cardboard box upside down with a cut out door). If you think of their cage or pen or enclosed habitat as a burrow, it's where they go back to and call home. It's the way bunnies are, unlike dogs or cats.
    SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

    User is Offline Stickerbunny
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    10/08/2012 7:23 AM
    I don't have a cage or x-pen for my rabbits - I tried having one to start with, but Powder flipped out and I was scared he'd break his back the way he was acting, so he became free range real quick and the cage got dismantled. I put the litter box where he preferred and never had much of an issue, still some stray droppings, but not many and not often. When young they tend to leave them more often though, they feel more of a need to mark the area as theirs. He has a closet he uses as his den, rather than a cage, which is fine by me. Then I got Stickers, she came in a tiny cage, but I let her have free roam and left her litter pan in her cage with the door open, she was trained in about a week to go in the cage. Once she moved in with Powder and they bonded, that cage got dismantled as well and she also uses the closet. Problem areas in the house (certain corners, under beds, etc) are blocked off by baby gates since for some reason they insist on going potty in them no matter what, but otherwise they stick to their own area.

    Being as young as she is, you will probably not 100% litter train her until she's older and spayed. But just keep her hay in the litter pan and keep putting her stray droppings in there, clean up any accidents with vinegar/water. She should get the hint.

    User is Offline Murasaki
    Kanagawa, Japan
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    10/08/2012 1:12 PM

    She went in the litter box a few times and I was happy, droppings are sill every where , but from about 2000hrs last night she decided enough of the litter box and was peeing all over the place my living room now smells of vinegar. 

    Last night I was really tired as not sleeping for nearly 2 days watching over my little girl, so last night put barriers around her house and put Yuki chan behind it ... OMG one very angry baby rabbit, Yuki chan was not a happy bunny. I had her litter box, hay, food, water everything there and she decided PAYBACK ...

    I woke up this morning at 0600 and went to let her out ....  she never used the litter box once anything that was dry last night is now drowned wet with pee, she pulled out all the hay and made a complete mess of the area ...  she must have done laps in her water bowl because it was almost empty of water, the pellets in the food bowl were everywhere also .... today I am not a happy Bunny Slave ....But I do love my little girl.! 

    Right it is now 0711hrs and I need a strong black coffee.

    User is Offline Beka27
    Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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    10/09/2012 4:45 AM
    I strongly recommend some type of enclosure. A dog exercise pen is ideal b/c it's a safe space but still large. Getting her used to being enclosed while young will help you later on if she needs to be penned for some reason.

    And having her caged/penned does not make her LESS a part of the family.  It is for her safety, the same way you would use a baby-gate to protect a young toddler from falling down the steps, or going into an unsafe room.  When very young, rabbits need to be limited, just like children.  If you let your 2 year old human baby run around with no guidance or boundaries, you WILL have problems.

    There are so many reasons to have a rabbit penned, or at least familiar with having a pen:
    1) As you're experiencing now, litter training can be difficult when there is no defined space.
    2) Housing situations change. If you move to an apartment or house with a larger, open space, she will need to be penned in order to be safely, slowly introduced to the new area.
    3) If you are going away on a vacation/holiday, she will need to be confined, either in your home with a pet-sitter coming in daily, or confined in a pet-sitter's home for her safety.
    4) If you ever get another pet (dog/cat) they will need to be protected from each other and this is best accomplished by slow introductions, and penned when not supervised.
    5) Before a rabbit is spayed or neutered (and sometimes after), they can be very destructive... chewing carpet, wood molding, walls, personal belongings, and furniture. These behaviors can last until over a year old and the rabbit may need supervision when out.

    Caging/penning a rabbit isn't a punishment if they are used to having their own safe space. And in some situations, it will be a necessity. I can't stress the importance of this enough.

    LoveChacha hasn't responded in this thread yet, but I was thinking about her situation. She lives in an apartment with the most precious little girl bunny who has "free roam" 24 hours a day. But she still has an "open condo" for her rabbit that she can go into whenever she wants. She has to close her in sometimes if management comes to do an apartment repair, so it is very important that this space exists.
    Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

    User is Offline Sarita
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    10/09/2012 9:13 AM
    I know you wish her to run free but in my own opinion, at her age, she's just too young and it's just too dangerous. It's really not cruel, that's just what you perceive.

    I can say that I have had quite a few free roamer rabbits and have one now that is a free roamer. He is about 4 years old though and is altered and he is farily good with his litter box (not perfect poop wise but almost perfect) and he goes up and down my stairs. He also does not cause any damage due to his age and the fact that he does not have all of his teeth due to dental disease. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't let him run free.

    It's not for every rabbit though. I've had rabbits who while they were wonderful, they just had destructive tendencies and it was best for my home and my sanity to keep them confined and truly, they were fine with this.

    Bottom line - don't let her run free run too soon - she is just a baby and has no good habits as of yet to allow her free run.