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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Impossible to train bunny?
Last Post by TheEstherBunny at 2/15/2019 10:03 PM (3 Replies)
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User is Offline Lacycrow
6 posts Send Private Message
2/11/2019 3:20 PM
We’ve had our bunny since he was able to wean from his parents. He is a Rex, not afraid of anything and quite.....rebellious. He’s always been a bit of a nipper and even telling him no, (heck, even yelling it) or gently pushing his head down (a tip I heard was asserting your dominance) or pushing him aside does not work. If we leave he still does it when we come back.

He pees and poops everywhere. I can’t put fabric in the cage because he will pee and soil it since it becomes his potty. I can’t put loose wood chips or litter because he will fling. It. Everywhere. It looks like a tornado went off in our apartment and somehow it gets flung beyond his pen. I can only use puppy pads in his litter box because he will flung the entire contents of it everywhere. I layer woodchips under the puppy pads but then he PULLS OUT THE PUPPY PADS, CHEWS AND EATS THEM, AND DRAGS POOP EVERYWHERE. I even show him when I put the poop back but he doesn’t get it. Most of his poop is outside the box. I’ve tried it in locations he seems to go, but that encourages him to go elsewhere. Even if I put his food and hay by it, it makes a bigger mess.

He spills his water everywhere so I try to stick to the bottle even though he will constantly jerk it and it makes a loud sound that tends to wake us up.

We cannot let him out of the pen because he will soil the carpet or somehow find and chew on wires (with my boyfriend being a gamer they are impossible to hide all of them which is expensive and dangerous for the rabbit). He won’t walk in harnesses.

I seriously can’t take this anymore...I’ve tried everything I can think of and yes, he hasn’t been neutered yet since his testicles haven’t dropped yet but I’ve even seen people who have tried that and the behavior did not change. What can I do?

I am sweeping a giant mess twice a day, I keep the food and water and litter clean and give him toys to play with. I don’t think I can handle this for an entire bunny lifetime

User is Offline Asriel and Bombur
Boston, MA
872 posts Send Private Message
2/11/2019 5:43 PM
Yes, neutering would help unless there’s an underlying medical condition that causes him to soil everywhere. There’s a possibility he’s intersex or a female which is why nothing would be present.
instagram @asriel_and_bombur

User is Offline Doodles
180 posts Send Private Message
2/15/2019 9:44 PM
Hi Lacycrow. I can understand your frustration.

Please don’t use the head pushing technique. This can make them become fearful and this type of punishment/dominance tactic doesn’t typically work. Can you describe the situations that cause him to nip? Are you just sitting on the floor with him when it happens?

I agree with A&B that neutering should help with the litter box issues.

Some of the other things, like pulling the puppy pads, are just what bunnies do. With bunnies it’s a lot of figuring out alternatives. If the litter box set up doesn’t work, then it’s best to try something different. If he spills water it could be the bowl is too light and you need to get a heavier bowl. These are just examples.

I do have concern that you said you can’t let him out of his pen. Bunnies really need daily exercise out of their pen. I understand it’s not ideal when they aren’t litter box trained but even if he was you still expressed a cord issue. To have a bunny you need to be willing to bunny proof. This may include not letting them in particular rooms but they definitely shouldn’t be confined to a pen 24/7.

User is Offline TheEstherBunny
4 posts Send Private Message
2/15/2019 10:03 PM
Hi Lacycrow,

I apologize if any of this is stuff you already know or have tried!

The first thing, is it sounds to me like your bun is physically uncomfortable and under stimulated. Yes, neutering will help with some behaviors, but not all. The good news is some or all of these behavior issues might be his habitat and therefore easily fixed! You mentioned he's in a cage/pen. If that cage (no matter how big it is) is his only personal space, he almost certainly feels cramped and territorial, which might be contributing to his bathroom problem. Additionally, (I'm sure you know this, but I'm obligated to say) cages are really hard on bunny paws and physically painful to them. Regardless of whether rabbits have carpet or bedding, they're going to dig at their ground because that's what they do, but if you line his space with 1' carpet squares he can hop comfortably, and you can throw them out once he's destroyed them. Personally, I bought a carpet that I know mine would destroy with digging and I have to buy a new one every 9 months. That's life!

I'm a musician and my apartment is covered in cables, wires, and expensive instruments. It took literally hours to cover every cable is split loom tubing, and find a storage method for instruments, but it's worth it because now my bun can hop around, explore, and run off her excess energy. You can buy this stuff online or in any hardware store for dirt cheap. It'll mean your bun can blow off some steam (supervised, until he's committed to his litter box!) and you'll also be able to bond with him, which I'm sure you are both craving!

Regarding the litter box training, there are some really great youtube videos on the matter, as well as several threads on this forum- definitely check them out! Also, make sure his litter box is the right size. Esther is a digger, so her box has higher walls and is big enough for her to fully stretch out in- this really helps to contain more of her mess! I've also heard a lot of people buy fully covered litter boxes (like cats use) to fully contain any digging. By using a mix of paper bedding for the business half of the box, and hay in the other half of the box, she also has something to do while she's in there beside use the bathroom and dig. Distracting her with hay is the perfect answer. Try it out for your guy if you haven't yet! Also- wood pellets can be too hard and uncomfortable for more sensitive rabbits, leading them to dig around looking for more comfortable ground to sit on.

Another thing that makes me think he's physically uncomfortable and acting out is that you mentioned a water bottle. I totally understand the frustration of spilled water, but he's probably not getting enough water unless he has a bowl. A variety of sellers make great no-tip-over bowls, either with rubber bottoms, or combo water and food bowls that are stainless steel set into molded plastic. Something like this will remove both the rattling water bottle problem and the spilled water problem, and you can get either kind of bowl for about $10 with some sleuthing.

Last thing- the nipping. Esther is very communicative, but at first I thought she was just mean. She growls, she nips, and she needs a fair bit of alone time, which I thought meant she was rude and hated me BUT she is truly sweet, affectionate, intelligent, patient, and very loving. I just didn't speak Rabbit at first. The more one-on-one time you spend just watching your bun and sharing time with him the more you will learn his signals. Esther nips because she wants me to move, or because I'm too close to her very special spot on the carpet that's just for her, or most often because she's already tried to tell me something with her body language that I missed. When she nips or growls at me, she's shouting because I missed her signals the first three times that she is scared, or tired, or that petting time is over. Learn his signals and earn his trust. Rabbits notoriously do no respond well to punishment. Rewarding good behavior will get you further than punishing bad. You sound overwhelmed, but I promise you're going to fall in love with the little guy with some reevaluation, adjustments, and time!


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