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Bunny Misbehaving? (ripping up carpet, chewing through cords, etc.)

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EclipseTheLionhead

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Hi everyone,

So about a month ago, Eclipse and I with my boyfriend moved into our own apartment. We lived at my parents house for a while and she was always caged up 24/7, so I promised myself once we moved in I will let her free roam all day (because I felt so bad she didn't have enough room to run around and such). The first two weeks she was great (pooping and peeing in the litter box, not being destructive or anything).

It first started with her chew thought my boyfriends wires (to the point where it is in pieces), so to prevent that we caged up all the wires so its hard for her to get to them. That helped for a while, until this past week. She started to push the cages away and she chewing up all the wires, digging up at all of the corners of the carpets (the whole apartment is carpeted) and just not being as nice as she was. What can I do to make her stop this destructive behavior? She is almost 8 months old and isn't spayed yet. She super healthy and has crap ton of toys to chew on just doesn't chew on them. Its really stressing me out and it doesn't help that I'm in quarantine due to me having COVID the last 3 days. PLEASE HELP ME OUT!
 

Madelyn L.

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Push her nose down away from whatever she is chewing on gently, but hard enough that she backs off. And you can put plastic wire covers (found at places like Home Depot) over your wires. Wire covers work great for me! And for the places in the carpet where he chews the most, try placing a heavy tile over it, or if it won’t mess up your carpet, some bitter apple spray. If the toys are plastic, she may not like them because they have no taste and are slick in her mouth. Simple toys like toilet paper tubes stuffed with hay are a favourite for my bunny. Also, if you want, you can take some long stands of hay and braid them together as a chew toy. Maybe also get some balls for him to push with his nose. Back to the digging problem. If you get a deep cardboard box, you can fill it up with shredded paper and toys as a digging box. I don’t know if your rabbit will like this, but my rabbit loves playing with pieces of cloth hung from a chair or a desk. Maybe your rabbit will like that? And once she gets spayed she will calm down some, too. Hope this helped!
 

gelliebean

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I got mine lots of toys and fun things she is allowed to chew on. Most of my wires are covered by wire covers but some things (keyboard wire, mouse, headphones etc) are not covered, when I see her wanting to play with them I gave her a little bop on the nose and firmly say NO. Nothing to hurt obviously, but to annoy the living crap out of her. She's actually not very interested now and I'm not afraid of her eating through my phone charger while I'm sleeping. I still unplug my keyboard and headset when I'm not using it though. Annoying but she's already chewed through one of my mice and two headsets.

I gave her a dig box for the carpet and same thing, if I saw her digging I would just tell her NO and bop her on the nose. You can try getting blankets to put over the carpet where her area is. Also I found that if I pet her or gave her a tiny treat while she was playing with her toys, she'd use them more often. I have this one baby toy I got her that she never liked until now. It will be frustrating but soon your bun should associate naughty behaviour with something annoying and good behaviour with pets and treats.
 

JBun

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She's just exhibiting normal rabbit behavior. In the wild rabbits chew through vines and branches to clear paths, and dig burrows for their homes. Chewing through wires and digging at carpet is just a manifestation of this natural behavior, but moved indoors. Some rabbits will show this natural behavior more than others, particularly unfixed hormonal rabbits. Though spaying her may help the behavior some, or even a lot as hormones can help drive this behavior, it doesn't always as it's just something that is part of their genetics to do. So you'll only find out how much it helps once the surgery is done and a few weeks after recovery.

The first few weeks of letting her free roam she was just getting used to her new environment, mapping everything out. She hadn't claimed it as her territory yet so was less inclined to show these behaviors. But now she is used to her new area and is claiming it as her territory, basically fixing it up the way she likes it. All that can be done is getting her spayed, restricting her to safe areas using x pen panels, and major bunny proofing. Electrical cords especially, which are not only an electrocution hazard to you and your rabbit, but also present a serious fire danger. Wire panels, untreated pine boards, ceramic tiles, and cuts of linoleum are great bunny deterrents. Because your rabbit has shown an aptitude for moving your bunny deterrents out of her way, you will need to securely affix these things so she isn't able to do that.

You can occasionally train some rabbits to not exhibit this natural bunny behavior when you are present(and even on the rare occasion when you aren't around), but usually all bets are off when you aren't looking. Some rabbits can be decidedly stubborn and independent when it comes to telling them what you want them to do :p

So bunny proof everything if you want her to free roam, and restrict her to her own bunny proofed area for now.

 

Pumpkin

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Your rabbit isn't misbehaving on purpose. In his eyes, you gave him a bunch of chew toys and he's just playing with them. Protect your wires with coverings, don't leave things on the floor, use corner protectors if he likes to chew on your walls, and grid off parts of the house that are impossible to protect. Put cardboard boxes on the places he likes to dig at on the rug. He'll just destroy that instead. And of course give him plenty of natural toys like willow balls and seagrass mats. Good Luck!
 

samoth

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My buck was a perfect house rabbit from the first week, but my doe was rather destructive. She was a 3.5yo rescue only recently spayed, with many behaviors pretty solidified from years in a non-house rabbit environment.

To attenuate her behavior, I kept her & my buck (much to his dismay) in a dedicated rabbit-proofed bedroom during the day, then let them roam upstairs supervised all evening; basically, I sat around with her reading books/magazines for hours, sending her on "cage time" (to the rabbit room) for 30 minutes whenever she chewed carpet. There's no true way to reinforce positive behavior (i.e., a lack of inappropriate chewing), so I had to respond to her quickly when she started chewing carpet, with a firm "NO." Cessation of chewing led to pets & "GOOD GIRL;" failure to stop the behavior led to "CAGE TIME" and me shooing her to the rabbit room for a timeout. She disliked being stuck in the rabbit room (she greatly preferred a different room), so I found this effective.

It took 3-4 months straight of this to get her to the point I could leave her unattended for longer periods. After that, I was able to leave her unattended upstairs 24/7, though with some minor carpet chewing incidents. Another six months later, I opened up the downstairs for them to be true free-range house rabbits.

It has been over four years now, and she's a great house rabbit, and ecstatic with her space, freedom, and chosen "territories." However, it wasn't a quick or painless road to get here. Effecting behavioral changes is more of a marathon than a sprint.

My generic recommendations are (1) patience; (2) understanding of rabbits' natural behavors; and (3) time. Oh, and also JBun's post above :)
 

NotaCocoaPuff

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I place all my exposed wires in plastic tubing from home depot. I get the thick clear vinyl tubing in the sprinkler section and splice it down the middle then feed my wires through it. It has worked great with all 4 of my rabbits. Anything that I can't put in tubing I stuff behind furniture and if its against the wall I use Command cord bundlers to hold my wires high off the floor. I also use pool noodles to keep my bunnies from going behind cabinets and other furniture and cardboard under dressers/cabinets that they can squeeze under.
I still can't keep my male bunny from plucking at my carpet depsite many chew toys, attention, a companion and treats. I think he does it for attention but we're working on it
 

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