Bunnies not using litter boxes after bonding??

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akat

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I bonded my two bunnies (both spayed and both litter trained) about four months ago, and while my more dominant bun is still a bit territorial with food, they seem to be doing well. They don’t fight at all, they groom each other, sleep beside each other, and (usually) share food.
But for some reason, ever since I began bonding them, they’ve been peeing on the carpet. They have 4 litter boxes in total and were both good about using them prior to bonding, but now even after they’ve been together for months and share their space with no other issues, they go on the floor by choice.
I’ve tried “re-training” them to no avail, since they are both technically litter trained but are just choosing not to be. I use a carpet-cleaning machine and vinegar to clean up after them every time, but it never lasts.
I’m really unsure of what to do, and it’s becoming aggravating as they destroy the carpet in my rented house.
Is this something that may just take more time, or is there something more to it?
 

JBun

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By 're training', did you reduce their space and then only gradually expand that space after they were using their litter boxes consistently? Are they free roam of your whole house or just a room or certain rooms? Are the areas where they're allowed, all carpeted, or is any of it hard flooring?
 

akat

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By 're training', did you reduce their space and then only gradually expand that space after they were using their litter boxes consistently? Are they free roam of your whole house or just a room or certain rooms? Are the areas where they're allowed, all carpeted, or is any of it hard flooring?

Yes, I reduced their space to a playpen, but it didn’t help at all. They have free roam of the second floor of my house, with a large sitting area in the hallway as their “home base.” The whole upstairs is carpeted except for the bathroom, which they avoid for that reason.
 

JBun

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When you reduced their pen size, did they have carpet in their pen or was it hard flooring?
 

JBun

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I'm suspecting the carpet is the problem then. Even though they didn't used to do it individually, bonding creates a different dynamic, as there are dominance and territorial behaviors involved. And also, some rabbits just won't stop peeing on soft things. But it's possible that maybe with some retraining, that you may be able to allow them on carpet again eventually.

I would suggest trying the reduced pen size again, but this time put solid flooring over the carpet. Something like a cut of textured linoleum would work, or maybe a rubber exercise mat. Just something that's waterproof with a somewhat smooth surface that will discourage peeing on, but also textured enough to give them some grip, and something they can't or won't chew up.

Then see how it goes and if it restores their litter habits. If they keep having some issues, then further tweaking might be needed, but this is usually what works. Then the smooth floor works, I would give them several weeks of this before gradually trying them back on the carpet again.

 

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