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HELP - moved and now not toilet trained

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toyabrooke

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Hi,

I have a 2 and--bit year old Netherland Dwarf named Horatio. We have had him for over two years. He is an inside bunny, fixed, and until now, was perfectly toilet trained.

When we first got him, I did everything by the book - started with a small space and slowly made it bigger, only had him out for a few hours a day etc. for him to learn the new environment and also to be toilet trained well.

1 week ago though, we made a big road trip interstate to move to our new home of Sydney! He loves our new house, although he did have to learn how to walk on floor boards rather than carpet! (they are not glossed so it is very easy for him). Along with moving, I also had to get him a smaller cage as his massive 3 level hutch was not going to fit in the car or the town house! I let him get used to that new house though for a week before we moved, and he loved it and was using the toilet fairly well in it before we left (sometimes went in other parts of the cage but not often).

NOW we are in Sydney and he is not doing that great with his toilet. He uses it sometimes, and then does a random wee next to his house! He got some on the certain which I didn't realise until a few days later (after he was weeing there once a day), so I washed it and now the weeing there has stopped but he will wee everywhere BUT his toilet in his house. I even made the toilet bigger (it was just a corner one and now it is a big cat one lined with puppy pads). Today though he weed on the couch and that was my last straw!!!!! I put him straight in his house and I don't know when I will let him out!!!!

He has NEVER done this before - he was so perfect with toilet training at his last home I just don't even know what to do!

Should I start from scratch again? Only let him out when I am home and can watch him? Is he just doing this because it is a new place and he is getting used to it? PLEASE HELP!
 

PaGal

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I'm sure it's do to the new house and new cage. He needs to feel at home and to settle in. If it was me I would start over from scratch though and limit his space. Otherwise I would be worried that if it went on too long then it could become habit and be harder to retrain him.
 

toyabrooke

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OK I thought I would start to do that from today. He also had his first ever vaccination last week - could that also be a factor?

How come you have to re-train a rabbit to be toilet trained when they clearly know how to do it/where to do it from their last 2 years of doing it??? Just so frustrating >___<

Thanks for your help and advice ^__^
 

whiskylollipop

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Well, he learnt well last time because you took the effort to familiarise him with his environment in a way that he feels safe with slowly getting to know, while learning to just pee in one spot.

Now he just got plonked in a new environment, it's a new scary unfamiliar place and ANY bunny would feel the need to mark. You have to start over from scratch because it's familiarity with his old environment that let him feel comfortable peeing in that spot, NOT some sort of litter trained knowledge that he would bring over to the new house.

Feeling safe and familiar in his space is the key to what we call litter training for bunnies! :)
 

toyabrooke

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Thanks Laura you are so right. I guess he just seems so happy and normal in our new home I didn't realise I still need to take things slow with him! He hops and runs round and does big flops - I was so excited because he just seemed to instantly love it!

Do you think putting him in his house when I am out and at night will help? He only has the down stairs loungeroom which is smaller than the whole size of our apartment he used to run around in, so I thought since he already knows the area down there he wouldn't need to be slowly re-introduced? But rather just have less time out to make mistakes with his wees?

I don't know if this could also be a factor - but today I changed the lining under his cage (it has soft little plastic holes that poops can fall into as the floor of his house), from a pee pad to paper. Do you think he could smell the pee pad even under his cage and that's what might make him confused as well? I thought it was good to use the pad incase their were mistakes, but I guess I forget how amazing their smell is and maybe he could find it hard to differentiate his toilet and just the rest of his house.

Thank you so much for your advice I really appreciate it! (and i'm sure Ray does too! =^__^=)
 

PaGal

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I don't know anything about the affects of vaccinations on buns because we do not have our buns vaccinated in the States but I wouldn't think it would affect litter habits based on never having that experience with any animal I did have vaccinated.

He learned last time and maybe you'll get lucky and he'll pick it up even quicker this time.
 

Nancy McClelland

Larry
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When we moved--more than 600 miles--a couple of ours went thru changes in their habits too but eventually came back. We rented a huge van so we could move them in the hutch they'd been in their whole life. Bunnies will be bunnies!
 

BlueMoods

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It sounds like he's comfortable there only because you are, he relaxes because you do but, let to his own, that new place is scary and far too big. He forgets where things are now. Starting over with a small space should help him get settled and learn that this place is okay alone too.
 

whiskylollipop

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Thanks Laura you are so right. I guess he just seems so happy and normal in our new home I didn't realise I still need to take things slow with him! He hops and runs round and does big flops - I was so excited because he just seemed to instantly love it!

Do you think putting him in his house when I am out and at night will help? He only has the down stairs loungeroom which is smaller than the whole size of our apartment he used to run around in, so I thought since he already knows the area down there he wouldn't need to be slowly re-introduced? But rather just have less time out to make mistakes with his wees?

I don't know if this could also be a factor - but today I changed the lining under his cage (it has soft little plastic holes that poops can fall into as the floor of his house), from a pee pad to paper. Do you think he could smell the pee pad even under his cage and that's what might make him confused as well? I thought it was good to use the pad incase their were mistakes, but I guess I forget how amazing their smell is and maybe he could find it hard to differentiate his toilet and just the rest of his house.

Thank you so much for your advice I really appreciate it! (and i'm sure Ray does too! =^__^=)
Just do what you did last time - it clearly worked! Remember that even though humans can glance around a small loungeroom and "know" it, it's different for bunnies, who need to get used to sounds, smells, and all the little crevices in the room. They have to chin mark their new home, make sure they're not in any other animal's territory, and also be extra sure that predators can't get in. It's a lot of work for a bunny.

If you don't have a pen to limit his space for now, you'll have to truly start from scratch - soaking up his pee in tissues and putting them in his litter tray, the whole shebang. Putting him in his house when you aren't around is a good idea, if you aren't there to clean up his mistakes immediately he might develop a habit of peeing in bad places.

I can't say if changing lining is a factor, but for now I would try to change as little as possible until he is reasonably litter trained again. If it wasn't a factor, no harm done - but if it IS a factor, then confusing your poor bun on top of all the other changes he's dealing with isn't something we want! So, all thing considered, I'd feel safer putting the pee pad lining back under his cage for now.

Good luck! :)
 
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