Rabbits Online > Pet Rabbit Discussion > Nutrition and Behavior > Help with chewing/biting

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Old 01-05-2017, 02:39 PM   #1
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Default Help with chewing/biting

A little bit of backstory:

We had Gizmo for about 1 1/2 years, she's a 3 year old spayed female lop. In October we decided to get her a companion, so after speed dating we adopted Nova, a 1 year old spayed Lionhead. Bonding went great and within a month they were living together happily. We see lots of grooming between the two rabbits, and they seem very happy together.

Gizmo - a pretty lazy rabbit, she doesn't nip or bite much at things, doesn't play with toys much, overall a well behaved rabbit. We've seen her be a little bit more active since being bonded with Nova, which is great.

Nova - much more active. She likes to dig (a lot) and she's definitely more of a biter/chewer than Gizmo. She's a lot of fun, runs around and binkies, but we really struggle with her biting. She'll nip at our feet, she'll jump up on the couch with us and it's like we can't trust her around us because she'll start biting at our clothes. It's not a hard mean type bite, but more of a nipping action. She seems somewhat comfortable with us, as she will jump up on the couch with us, but she won't let us give her head pets, if we try she'll grunt and sometimes box a bit at our hands. This might just be due to her activity level though, that she just doesn't want to sit still to be pet.

We do offer plenty of toys and chew things, cardboard houses, etc. We're just not sure what to do about the biting? How do we correct or redirect this behavior? I understand that it's in rabbit's nature to chew, but we would like to try to direct her towards what is okay to chew on, and what's not. Thanks.


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Old 01-05-2017, 06:37 PM   #2
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Sometimes it's just the personality of the bunny. Sometimes it can be a lack of trust from bunny to you... like she trusts you if it's on her terms, but when you approach her for a head pet she gets nervous and bites. It's important to understand that this is a reflex for her, she's a pray animal, she's nervous, she reacts. Also I have a lionhead and they are not that trusting, and big divas. Anyways... I personally don't believe you can redirect behavior that is a reflex. I think it will take time and patience on her terms for her to trust you and not nip.

I have a lionhead as well, I've had her for 4 months and I have worked very hard and spent a lot of time with her and she finally started to trust me recently. I can finally give her head pets. My husband on the other time is less patient than me, and wasn't doing "what he was suppose to to gain her trust". Anyway, my rabbit hates him. Like as soon as he comes home she runs away from him and hides. He tries to give her treats, but she takes it and runs. And that's because he hasn't developed trust yet because he doesn't spent time with her and when he does he's constantly trying to touch her and she has no tolerance for that. So when he tries to reach out to her to pet her she is now starting to be aggressive and she lunges at him, a couple times she bite him. But she doesn't do this to me.

I hope that helped.


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Old 01-06-2017, 12:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiecrna View Post
Sometimes it's just the personality of the bunny. Sometimes it can be a lack of trust from bunny to you... like she trusts you if it's on her terms, but when you approach her for a head pet she gets nervous and bites. It's important to understand that this is a reflex for her, she's a pray animal, she's nervous, she reacts. Also I have a lionhead and they are not that trusting, and big divas. Anyways... I personally don't believe you can redirect behavior that is a reflex. I think it will take time and patience on her terms for her to trust you and not nip.
I should clarify - She doesn't necessarily bite when we're trying to pet her or when she's nervous, and I'm not thinking the nipping is due to a trust issue.

I think overall she's a chewer and a digger, which has turned into her chewing on and nipping at us, as well as anything else that's around (we've bunny proofed our house, but she's still finding things to chew on). I don't mind her being a chewer, as I know it's normal for them, but I'm hoping maybe there's a way to control it, so that we feel comfortable with our feet around her for example, or if she jumps up on the couch with us, I'd like to be able to sit there and have her run all over without worrying about her nipping at us or our clothes.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:31 AM   #4
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I don't think there is anything you can do. I know there are sprays to put on things that apparently the rabbits dislike so they don't chew it, but I don't know how well they work. As far as your bunny chewing on you, I would just move him whenever he does it I don't know what else you can do :/
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:51 AM   #5
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I have the same situation with the neutered male I just adopted. He's about a year old. I'm putting it down to personality, history and the fact that he's a blockheaded teenager. I have started feeding him pellets by hand, one at a time here and there and petting him while I do it. Trying to get him to associate petting with something nice - food. So far he is slowly letting me touch him more. As for the digging and chewing, well i offer things that are appropriate and with the other stuff he gets in trouble and gets chased off.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:56 AM   #6
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This is not my bunny in the photo, it's off google images, but I bought this bed at IKEA in the kids section for $25. It's untreated pine so my bunnies can bite it a bit. Also they love to dig and bite the bedding and "make" the bed. I think it's a great little toy for rabbits and keeps them busy for a while.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stevesmum View Post
I have the same situation with the neutered male I just adopted. He's about a year old. I'm putting it down to personality, history and the fact that he's a blockheaded teenager. I have started feeding him pellets by hand, one at a time here and there and petting him while I do it. Trying to get him to associate petting with something nice - food. So far he is slowly letting me touch him more. As for the digging and chewing, well i offer things that are appropriate and with the other stuff he gets in trouble and gets chased off.
I also wondered if it's partly due to Nova's age (she's 1) and figured maybe it'll settle down eventually. She will take treats from our hands, I should try pellets since I could sit with her a bit longer, that's a great idea. She's very food motivated


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