Bunny behaviour emergency!

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by bunniculadude, Oct 19, 2013.

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  1. Oct 19, 2013 #1

    bunniculadude

    bunniculadude

    bunniculadude

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    Let me start of by saying, I am not an experienced or knowledgeable rabbit owner and I can already tell just from googling my problems that I have been an extremely lax rabbit owner as far as enforcing litter training habits, accidentally of course. I'm pet sitting for an extended period of time as a favor to a friend and I was admittedly clueless about caring for a rabbit. She's a free roaming and (supposedly) litter trained year old rabbit that has been staying with me for two months now. My bed is just a mattress plus a boxspring without a bed frame, so it's low to the ground and she comes onto the bed with ease. She's pooped on my bed before but never more than a couple droppings every so often that I promptly threw back into her litter box without much thought, and it never really bothered me much other than having to wash my sheets more frequently.

    For the past week, nearly daily, she's been peeing in my bed non stop and I've been so busy with a particularly hectic week at work that I haven't had time to try to deal with this problem until now. At first I chalked it up to her acting out since I've been gone for longer during the day thanks to work and even though I was annoyed, I just scolded her when I got home and either changed or washed my sheets again, and this time she's gone too far. I had just gotten home from work and I laid down in bed, the rabbit hopped up on the bed with me and I pet her and cuddled her for a while. When I went to read my book, she turned around and peed on me! Not only was I utterly disgusted, I had no idea what to do. She's never actually done it in front of me before so I knew I had to make it known that was not okay. So I put her in her cage as punishment and then set up a sectioned of part of my room where that is the only part of the room she can freely go when she's used to having free reign of my room.

    I asked the original owner if she had ever done something like this before and he said it was very odd of her to do. She does not normally pee anywhere but her box and she never had a lot of droppings around the house but I came home today to a bed full of presents and more pee stains. In case she was sick, I put some probiotics in her water. What else can I do? I'm at a loss here, this is a really gross problem to have. What do I do?
     
  2. Oct 19, 2013 #2

    Bville

    Bville

    Bville

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    I'm not the most experienced rabbit owner either, but I do have a couple of thoughts. I think for now it's good that you have her in a smaller space in your room. I think if her litter box habits improve, you could gradually increase the area that she is allowed to roam.

    I think she thinks your bed is a litter box at this point. If she smells her pee and poop on there she will use it over and over again. You might want to try adding a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine when you wash your sheets to get rid of her scent.

    Is she spayed? If not, her hormones could be causing this behavior.
     
  3. Oct 19, 2013 #3

    kmaben

    kmaben

    kmaben

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    Agreed with the not being spayed part. If she is spayed she's losing her litterbox habits because whats the point in hopping allllll the way back to her cage when she can just go anywhere.

    You were right to give her a smaller space. Make sure she's using her litter box. If she's not add another one over the places she's peeing the most. Giver her about a 2 week period of smaller living then gradually increase the size if you can. Also if you are not home I strongly recommend confining her to her home and attached pen. You can also make your bed off limits but it's going to be difficult at this point. Rabbits can respect space (if they want too.)

    Also getting a rabbit to poop in a litter box 100% of the time is a **** near miracle. Peeing in a box 100% of the time is considered "litter box trained." Still expect stray pellets

    In our home rabbits and dogs are not allowed in our bed because of hubbys allergies. However when our bad rabbit is in a mood she'll hop up there and pee or poop just to thumb her nose at us so to speak. Good luck!
     
  4. Oct 19, 2013 #4

    missyscove

    missyscove

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    I wouldn't put anything in her water supply unless directed to do so by your vet but if you do, be sure to offer a second source of just clean water for her to drink.

    Unfortunately some bunnies just love to pee on soft things. For now I would thoroughly clean your bed and give her access to a smaller area to reinforce those litter habits.

    Rabbits (and most animals) don't really understand the concept of being punished. Doing something in the moment the behavior is happening (no! or clapping, etc.) may work but anything after that moment they won't connect to having done something "wrong."
     
  5. Oct 19, 2013 #5

    JBun

    JBun

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    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Getting sprayed with pee is disgusting, but it is also usually a sign that a rabbit REALLY likes you, so they are marking you with their scent. The bed peeing probably doesn't have anything to do with a loss of litter habits. Beds seem to be prone to scent marking behavior by rabbits, I think because our beds also have our scent on them, so the rabbit feels the need to add their scent to it. Some rabbits can be retrained not to do it, with a lot of diligence and consistency. Putting a litter box up on the bed may help redirect the behavior, but sometimes you just have to restrict bed access.
     
  6. Oct 19, 2013 #6

    tamsin

    tamsin

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    Beds and sofas can be trouble spots for otherwise well trained bunnies - it might be at home she doesn't have access to a bed? I'm guess it's related to the fact it's where we spend a lot of time so has a strong scent (to a rabbit) and she wants to add her scent too.

    One thing you could try for when you aren't there is popping a spare litter tray on the bed - that way she can scent there without making a mess. You can then gradually move the tray to a more appropriate location eg next to the bed. It may be just enough to break the habit.
     
  7. Oct 20, 2013 #7

    bunniculadude

    bunniculadude

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    Now she won't poop anywhere BUT my bed. I kept her penned up with a fresh litter box and it was completely empty of poop for a full day. Worried, I let her out of her area and she immediately hops on the bed and unloads the biggest pile of it in a matter of seconds! How do I even remedy that?
     
  8. Oct 20, 2013 #8

    whiskylollipop

    whiskylollipop

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    You need to keep her penned up with a litterbox that already has her poo/pee in it. Pick her poos up from your bed, put them in her litterbox, and leave her in the pen for most of the day till she learns to associate the litterbox with pooping/peeing.
     
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  9. Oct 21, 2013 #9

    annabelle00

    annabelle00

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    You could always set up a pen around your bed to stop her from getting on it...? or put a plastic sheet and fleece on top to catch the pee/poos?
    I don't let Dusky on my bed anymore as he has started peeing on it... He jumps up just to pee/poo on it and then jumps down :[ Every time he's on it I put him down or in his cage if he pees... what I want him to know is that his litterbox is where his poo/pee goes and the bed is where I sleep, he can come up if he doesn't poo/pee. He isn't neutered yet though...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  10. Oct 21, 2013 #10

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    Blockading the bed seems to be the best solution. Some just get it in their head to mark things as "theirs".
     

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