bunny punishments?

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by baobeithebuns, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Apr 12, 2019 #1

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    how do you guys feel about bunny punishments/timeouts?

    bei, my holland lop bunny has been so evil this last week, shredding up my carpet, digging into the hardwood, chewing up their pen matt, digging in the litter, purposely hoping onto my couch and looking me dead in the eye and letting out all the pee in her system, but she pees everywhere, inside their box castles and on the pen matt... she is even humping her sister (although bao is trying to hump her as well, and i know it’s a dominance thing, i only interfer when it’s face humping... which bei has only ever attempted from what i know once)

    bao is far far less misbehaved than bei, she doesn’t dig or purposely pee anywhere other than their bed (which is in my room where they never have access) and the litter box.. she does try to chew on baseboards but listens for the most part when told “no”.

    i have started this thing, only have done it twice.. but if bei does something outrageous after being told “no” or “get down” i put her in the pen for about an hour and leave her sister out to roam.. is this ok? how do you guys punish your buns?? sometimes i do the nose push down and say “no ____” but that usually doesn’t work. the pen is not small at all, it is about 6ft by 4ft and has about maybe 2ft of second level as well, they are very spoiled bunnies who are only in the pen when i am not home, or at night.. but they’re acting up a lot lately, is it just spring?? any other suggestions? it’s stressing me out, bei is so evil lol.

    my bunnies are still babies, bao is almost 15 weeks and bei is almost 14.. i cannot wait until i can get them spayed. i am so ready for it.
     
  2. Apr 12, 2019 #2

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    A time out might work, but an hour is far too long. Think more of toddler size time. Rabbits have short attention spans, so they will have no concept of an hours time out being associated with any undesirable behavior. Think more like 5-10 minutes. And you would have to be very consistent for it to do any good(just like with kids). Just make sure to not end the time out while your rabbit is exhibiting other undesirable behavior like chewing on the bars, or that behavior will get reinforced. Then it's also possible your rabbit will have no clue and it will have no impact on her behavior.

    Anything new or changes to a rabbits environment, or an underlying health issue could spark unusual changes of behavior. It could also be spring fever and with that you just have to wait it out. But with your two it's likely to be the coming in of hormones since they are at the right age, which can drastically alter a rabbits behavior. They can start showing undesirable behavior due to pent up hormones and sexual frustration. Think of the terrible teens, it applies to rabbits too.

    I would also suggest doing some bunny proofing. These are natural rabbit behaviors she is exhibiting. Many times you can't really teach the rabbit to stop the behavior because it is being driven by instinct, and sometimes the only way to stop the behavior is block off access and divert to an accepted behavior or object such as providing a dig box, cardboard, and other rabbit safe things to chew and dig in.
    http://bunnyproof.com/

    Because your buns are getting to the age of hormones and maturing, I would suggest either separation until they can get spayed, or keeping a very close eye on their behavior towards each other and any signs of aggression or irritation with one another. Two hormonal rabbits can go from fine to wanting to cause serious injury(even fatal injuries). So you should be aware of this possibility if you choose to keep them together until they are spayed.
     
  3. Apr 13, 2019 #3

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    they got into a little fight about 2 weeks ago, and i separates them for just over a week, and the whole time they were very sad, didn’t eat much and just pooped everywhere.

    i think i can separate them again, but it makes me nervous they will get depressed or sick from lack of food.. i would go to work and come home and the food is still full, and not much hay gone.

    they have been together since 8 weeks old.. maybe i will try separating again, although they don’t seem aggressive towards each other, even when the humping starts they aren’t that aggressive no biting or circling..

    i might start restricting the free roam to only their pen and the rest of the living room (apartment lol it’s not that big)
     
  4. Apr 13, 2019 #4

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    are they spayed?
     
  5. Apr 13, 2019 #5

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    not yet. they aren’t old enough
     
  6. Apr 13, 2019 #6

    jsjjane

    jsjjane

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    My Khaleesi is 2 now and I’ve had quite a time of her shredding the carpet. She’s doing it infrequently now and this is what I have done: first when I see her shredding I make a loud noise - beat on the floor or clap or other such noise and I shout “Hutch time”. She knows that means it’s time to go back to her hutch and if it’s in the middle of her play time she’ll thump and not like it but I ALWAYS enforce it. She seems to now get the connection and rarely shreds.

    The other thing I’ve done is give her alternatives to vent her natural inclination to digging and chewing - like cardboard under the bed (where I can’t see if she’s going after the carpet but she loves shredding and digging on the cardboard), boxes in the corner behind the chair filled with clean packing paper that also acts as a hidey house, bitter apple spray where she just shredded, and chew friendly toys around. This all seems to be working and the carpet shredding has almost stopped. Thank goodness!
     
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  7. Apr 13, 2019 #7

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    thank you!! only thing out of this i haven’t tried is “pen time” and i will try to look for the bitter apple spay... but do you think it is bad if i only put one in the pen? because i don’t feel like i should punish both if it’s only one..
     
  8. Apr 13, 2019 #8

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    --yeah, sorry, I didn't fully read your prior post. :oops:

    I would 2nd Jenny's caution about their hormones causing behavior issues. Punishing them for hormonal behavior doesn't seem quite right since they really can't help it. Once they're spayed, that will be a different story.

    The caution about them potentially fighting is also quite valid. Many times have we heard this story on RO ("but they got along so well... what happened?")

    As for putting them in time-out...(I'm not a fan of that but I know some have had success) I'd consider creating a separate, small space for this that is not their usual housing area. Their housing area -- where they stay when not allowed free roam -- should be their sanctuary, their 'home,' their safe place. I don't think it is good to make it their place of punishment. You want them to like their space.

    Maybe create a separate, less desirable little space that is just for these time-outs.
     
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  9. Apr 13, 2019 #9

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    i don’t punish right away, it’s only after i’ve said no or get down multiple times, example yesterday i was sitting on the couch and normally they hop up, get some pats leave a poo and get down once told... but bei just looked at me at peed everywhere, after being told no, i know when she is going to pee as well she always does this pose/look lol... so that’s when i would put her in the pen, but leave her sister out..

    yeah i keep reading those “getting along fine” as well and it does make me nervous that they will fight and it could get ugly.. especially if i am not home.. but they really dislike being separated, like i mentioned they don’t eat or drink, they usually just poo all over the place and lay there.. i did separate them for over a week (when they got into a small fight i guess a tiff) and they just seemed sad, always laying beside the separation gate..

    i am getting pretty anxious now keeping them together when everyone is saying i should separate them... can they get sick from not eating??
     
  10. Apr 13, 2019 #10

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    i am making a day trip down to the united states and i have separated them, they are looking very confused and sad licking each other through the divider.. also trying to climb up it to get to the other side... but i’ll keep them separated because now i am paranoid...
     
  11. Apr 14, 2019 #11

    JBun

    JBun

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    Not all unspayed females will fight. It's just a possibility. I had unspayed mom and daughters together for several months until I could get them all spayed and they were fine together, with the occasional 'I'm boss' chase, but no fighting or aggression. But I was also very careful about watching for any signs of irritation and aggression occurring(which it didn't).

    If your rabbits get depressed when separated and stop eating, that is actually a really bad sign and as long as they weren't showing outright aggression towards each other(which a little bit of fur pulling and chasing isn't necessarily aggressive behavior), I would be inclined to keep them together and just closely monitor their behavior. Closely bonded rabbits certainly can get depressed when separated, stop eating, and some can actually end up getting quite sick. So if you do ever separate them, you need to keep this in mind to determine what the best thing is for them and how to handle any separation so they don't make themselves sick.
     
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  12. Apr 14, 2019 #12

    jsjjane

    jsjjane

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    I would only pen one but I would use that one's name when i say 'pen time' so they start getting what the deal is.
     
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  13. Apr 14, 2019 #13

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    yeah, i agree with this.
    they bonded right away at 8 weeks old, now they are 15 and they don’t get into huge fights.. i thought they had once, but my friend said it was more of a tiff the way i was describing it... but after this i separated them for a week and yeah, they didn’t really eat, specifically bao..

    i went on a day trip yesterday and i came back really late last night and they both didn’t finish their food, which is rare for my hungry monsters. i don’t want them to become depressed.

    they don’t fight, they just “i’m boss” each other here and there... i think i have an idea who will be the dom just by behaviour but who knows. i think they’re still confused. there is of course
    some little fur tuffs i see here and there and whenever i see face humping i stop it immediately, and bao is pretty small compared
    to bei so when she does get face humped she gets out of it faster then i can even go over to them.

    everyone on here was making me paranoid they will kill each other and that is the worst thing i could come home too... i check them both every day once i come home to make sure there is no bleeding or any sign of severe injuries..
     
  14. Apr 14, 2019 #14

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    thank you for the feedback! i will try this, this week!!!
     
  15. Apr 14, 2019 #15

    JBun

    JBun

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    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    If you read this other thread about 2 unspayed female rabbits just starting to mature and ending up in a vicious fight, you will see that it does happen, and hence the general recommendation to separate. So these things are possible, and in some instances the fighting can have serious consequences. Not all unspayed rabbits will react this way though, but because it's possible the general recommendation has to be to separate rabbits before they become hormonal and before they are fixed.
    https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/urgent-questions-please-help-rabbits-fighting.94288/

    But there are also exceptions to the rules. I haven't always gone by the general recommendations, because rabbits also have individual personalities and sometimes the general recommendations aren't always going to work out the best for the rabbits involved. I'm not saying what you should or shouldn't do, but that only you can determine what's best by knowing your own rabbits behavior, comparing it with aggressive rabbit behavior, and what you determine is best for your own rabbits. But to make this determination it's also very important to understand what the warning signs are of increased agitation and actual aggression(circling, tails up, ears back, kicking, locking on with teeth). So if there is any concern at all of an actual fight occurring, then yes you should separate and try and sort out the separation anxiety issue once you've separated. If you are unsure what actual aggression with the intent to fight looks like, there are videos you can look at to see. There are a few of them in these links on bonding.
    http://saveabunny.org/rabbitcare/bonding-guide
    https://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/
    http://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Bonding_rabbits_together
     
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  16. Apr 15, 2019 #16

    baobeithebuns

    baobeithebuns

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    thank you for those links, two of them i have seen, but those videos are new!! that is great visual reference.. i feel a bit better knowing my bunnies act nothing like the ones in those videos. i have never seen them act that aggressive, definitely little “leave me alones” for sure but for the most part they really just co-exist.

    i know they are getting horomonal now and something could set one of them off in a second, which is why i will probably separate them if i am going to be out of the house for a longer period of time.

    thanks for reply it really helps!

    most of the time they are like these photos i will attach.. it’s really cute when they aren’t being destructive turds.

    they are 14&15 weeks old now.. if it does become aggressive i will keep them separated. thankfully i am home with them the entire month of april so they are super monitored. once i go back to work, i might put the cage divider in.. they can see each other and communicate through it so they aren’t totally separated.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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