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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Re-training rabbits
Last Post by Kokaneeandkahlua at 8/28/2012 5:48 PM (3 Replies)
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User is Offline Bunny&Rabbit
2 posts Send Private Message
8/27/2012 11:01 AM

Hi there.  We have two male rabbits, 15 weeks old, that we have had since 8 weeks.  They have been neutered.  To begin with we only let them out in a pen but have gradually increased this and they hop round the living room and kitchen happily.  It only took about 2 weeks to litter train them in the hutch, and not much longer to litter train them when out.  When I say litter train I mean peeing in a litter box.  Haven't mastered pooing in one place... that just seems to drop out without them noticing - I assume this is unfortunately normal?  The last week or so they have started to not pee in the litter box when out.  They aren't keeping to a specific spot, seems to be all over the place, including on our lap.  they have also started pushing the litter box around the hutch and not peeing in that either.  Unfortunately I can't seem to work out their 'look' when they are peeing, so unless it is on my lap we don't catch them mid-action to be able to lift up and place in litter tray.

Is this normal?  How do we re-train them?  They really don't like going in the pen in the lounge now as they can see where they used to run and can't anymore, so chew ferociously on the bars and try to dig out.  So confining them to a smaller area to easily find the tray doesn't seem to be an option.  Whenever we let them out i try to lift them and place them down in the litter tray as a starter so they know where it is (not that it has moved).  Can't think what else to do?

As an aside, they don't seem too keen on hay.  With the current re-placing of the litter tray they are pulling the hay out of the rack and then peeing on it - I'm not sure whether intentional or not.  

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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8/28/2012 9:47 AM
Have you cleaned the area really well? If they can smell the area they have peed or pooed they will continue to use it as a bathroom.

Not all bunnies leave poo everywhere they go, so I wouldn't call it normal. When were they neutered? Are they living together? If they were neutered recently it could be the hormones settling down - many people see regression in litter habits at first. Also, if they aren't living together then territorial marking against the other bun is extremely common.

They might need to be confined to a smaller area for a little while that is set up for them to use the litter box (ie no other absorbent surfaces in the environment, everything cleaned well after they pee or poo). Using a litter box is largely a habit and instinct, rather than actual training that we do, so set them up for success and see what they do.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Bunny&Rabbit
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8/28/2012 10:29 AM
Thanks Elrohwen. Yes, that was my first thought. In the hutch they pee in the same places (which the litter trays are in two of the three spots - have put a third in tonight to cover all spots now) - and have just managed to lay my hands on white vinegar so we shall see if that has helped the situation or not in the cleaning score. But out of the hutch they have only pee-d in the same place once - on my lap! All other times it has been complete different areas of the carpet. We use a stain removal spray designed for pets that seems to remove the smell from our nose at least.

They were neutered 3 1/2 weeks ago. They have always lived together - two brothers. We separated them overnight twice because of fighting, prior to the neutering, but that didn't seem to change the peeing as they were using the litter tray at that point!

Yes, that's what I thought limiting their space meaning they couldn't miss the litter tray - but they really don't like being penned in to an area they used to run free in - the knawing at the pen gets quite distressing. Do I just ignore the knawing and digging and tell 'em to man up and get used to it?

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
Forum Leader
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8/28/2012 5:48 PM
Try more litter trays, remembering that this is a temporary thing. Put them where they are peeing. Clean the pee up with a papertowel and put it in a litter pan where they peed. They are about location rather than what that location looks like-so add the litter box where they peed. They are young so don't expect perfection, but if you can master it now with few mistakes that will make it easier. you can pick up cheap litter boxes for temporary use in the organization section of stores-small trays meant for other things are perfect to use, and you can toss them in a few weeks or months, by gradually reducing the number of litter boxes. Good luck!
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