How to stop rabbit biting and moving ex-pen

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Gelly

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I’ve tried everything but he just won’t stop biting and pushing his ex pen. We upgraded his cage we originally bought by adding the ex pen around it but I get the feel he’s upset about it even though he more room now.

We can’t let him roam around the apartment yet since we don’t have rugs and he slides on our wood.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

zuppa

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Hi, I know it is possible but for me was very difficult. We need to know some background what age is your rabbit is he neutered, how long is he with you and when he started biting full history, when who and how. Then we can try to find why and try to correct it.
I adopted Smokey when she was 9 weeks old and when I came to collect her I was horrified by where she lived, she was an oopsie and was kept with her mother indoor, in living room but there was a very loud TV and small non-stop barking dog and people used their living room as a smoking room, was very noisy full of people I spent there 20 mins and I could hardly breath when I came home my clothes vere so stinky I had to put them into washer immediately. There were also their nephews visiting and 'playing' with baby rabbits. Needless to say she was very nervous scared and defensive, so she bit in defense because she was probably hurt by humans or dog or both, maybe she was punished, but she was using her teeth every day on me I was all covered with bleeding scars.
I realised she has no trust in humans and tries to protect herself so I tried to build trust between us. It took a few months and I don't have a recipe because it looked so hopeless sometimes I honestly thought it is just un-curable aggression it was horrible believe me I was very lost. I spent lots of time studying her and trying to understand her logic, now she is nearly one year with me and she's still territorial but she doesn't bite. She's not spayed I believe that would make her less territorial.
So just try to understand why he bites and then start correction from there.
Maybe there's one recipe for all and it's all easy I will read other comments and happy to learn too.
 

Gelly

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Hi, I know it is possible but for me was very difficult. We need to know some background what age is your rabbit is he neutered, how long is he with you and when he started biting full history, when who and how. Then we can try to find why and try to correct it.
I adopted Smokey when she was 9 weeks old and when I came to collect her I was horrified by where she lived, she was an oopsie and was kept with her mother indoor, in living room but there was a very loud TV and small non-stop barking dog and people used their living room as a smoking room, was very noisy full of people I spent there 20 mins and I could hardly breath when I came home my clothes vere so stinky I had to put them into washer immediately. There were also their nephews visiting and 'playing' with baby rabbits. Needless to say she was very nervous scared and defensive, so she bit in defense because she was probably hurt by humans or dog or both, maybe she was punished, but she was using her teeth every day on me I was all covered with bleeding scars.
I realised she has no trust in humans and tries to protect herself so I tried to build trust between us. It took a few months and I don't have a recipe because it looked so hopeless sometimes I honestly thought it is just un-curable aggression it was horrible believe me I was very lost. I spent lots of time studying her and trying to understand her logic, now she is nearly one year with me and she's still territorial but she doesn't bite. She's not spayed I believe that would make her less territorial.
So just try to understand why he bites and then start correction from there.
Maybe there's one recipe for all and it's all easy I will read other comments and happy to learn too.

Thanks so much for the reply! He’s a male mini rex, about 5 and a half months old. He was neutered on October 31st. My husband and I have no kids or other pets and the only noise is the occasional bump or child in the hallway or from the floor upstairs. He gets a ton of fresh hay every morning, romaine, oxbow young pellets, and fresh water. He has two litter boxes, one inside his cage and one outside in the ex pen attached to it. He has fleece bedding in his cage and doggy pee pads in the ex pen. He only bites and moves the cage in one spot and always pushes it out or inward. He always digs on the pee pads. I use the pee pads because he still had the occasional accident. He has a variety of chew toys like applewood sticks, cleaned pine cones, wicker balls, cardboard stuff, and some fun colorful things. What am I doing wrong :(
 

John Wick

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For both my rabbits, I've found that the knowledge that more space exists beyond the cage is a strong motivator to try and bust through the barrier. For example, digging at the bedroom door, but once I open it, they don't actually go in. It just bugged them that there was something there they couldn't access!

From a rabbit's perspective, as much as we can try to intuit, it does make sense that there's some frustration when you see "your" territory goes beyond these metal bars, and for what seems like no reason, you are being prevented from going there. We are, in their eyes, arbitrarily defining their territory. As an animal who is very territory-driven, I'm sure that's confusing. I find a visual barrier is very helpful. If you have thicker paper and just some magnets, sometimes just sticking stuff on the outside of the pen to block the visual helps. Something more robust is using binder-clips to attach cardboard, bedsheets, or something else. You can also add a ceiling as well to deter jumping out.

You can also position those toys around the perimeter of the pen as a potential distracter as well.

For one of my rabbits, whenever I put him in his 3 story, 4x3ft hutch (and he's a 2lb netherland dwarf; it's huge for him), I need to binder clip fabric to specific walls, or he will chew and bite those bars.

I hope this is helpful for you!
 

Hermelin

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Myself have a run that’s 15 sq m. Sometimes he will still chew the x-pen. This its outdoors, but indoors I just covered the side my bunnies chew on with something bunny friendly cover.

Might be he gets bored and still thinks the space isn’t enough. Some bunnies need a lot more space, specially when they are young they are spiked up with energy and wants to play. Do you let him get out and run for a few hours might also help.
 

zuppa

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Thanks so much for the reply! He’s a male mini rex, about 5 and a half months old. He was neutered on October 31st. My husband and I have no kids or other pets and the only noise is the occasional bump or child in the hallway or from the floor upstairs. He gets a ton of fresh hay every morning, romaine, oxbow young pellets, and fresh water. He has two litter boxes, one inside his cage and one outside in the ex pen attached to it. He has fleece bedding in his cage and doggy pee pads in the ex pen. He only bites and moves the cage in one spot and always pushes it out or inward. He always digs on the pee pads. I use the pee pads because he still had the occasional accident. He has a variety of chew toys like applewood sticks, cleaned pine cones, wicker balls, cardboard stuff, and some fun colorful things. What am I doing wrong :(
I must read properly next time before commenting, I understood he's biting, but missed 'and pushing his x-pen' so my comment was completely irrelevant :D
Glad he's not biting at all :)
 

April LD

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Gelly,

Does this happen when you are home only? Does it happen at a certain time of day?

It could be a ploy for attention. Though you do not have rugs he can get around on the floor. You just need to watch him, they can learn to be on slick floors but they need to be watched closely. You can also try spreading some fleece on the floor and give him a bit more room, while watching him of course.

I bet he wants attention when he is doing it. My few that chew are usually telling me they want attention or sometimes they want more hay/food.

Be careful "rewarding bad behavior". If you don't want him chewing the bars or pushing/pulling the cage don't give him attention. When he stops, you can go over and talk to him, ask, "Do you want attention?" Reach down and pet him, open the cage and sit near him, etc. Just don't do it when he is chewing the cage/moving it because he will eventually associate attention with that bad behavior.

You can try telling him "NO" or if you have a way to "reprimand" him when he is doing the bad behavior - put him in the bathtub, or something like that; so he associates something he doesn't like with that behavior. Rabbits, especially young ones, tend to be like toddlers...good luck, hopefully there is something that works that you read.
 

Gelly

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Gelly,

Does this happen when you are home only? Does it happen at a certain time of day?

It could be a ploy for attention. Though you do not have rugs he can get around on the floor. You just need to watch him, they can learn to be on slick floors but they need to be watched closely. You can also try spreading some fleece on the floor and give him a bit more room, while watching him of course.

I bet he wants attention when he is doing it. My few that chew are usually telling me they want attention or sometimes they want more hay/food.

Be careful "rewarding bad behavior". If you don't want him chewing the bars or pushing/pulling the cage don't give him attention. When he stops, you can go over and talk to him, ask, "Do you want attention?" Reach down and pet him, open the cage and sit near him, etc. Just don't do it when he is chewing the cage/moving it because he will eventually associate attention with that bad behavior.

You can try telling him "NO" or if you have a way to "reprimand" him when he is doing the bad behavior - put him in the bathtub, or something like that; so he associates something he doesn't like with that behavior. Rabbits, especially young ones, tend to be like toddlers...good luck, hopefully there is something that works that you read.
Thanks for the advice! We ended up selling his pen and putting a mat in front of his cage in the main room. It's funny but when he's in his "cage" (which is really small in my opinion- about a foot and half by 2 and half feet with a ramp up to a loft), he never chews it. He seems really relaxed in there. He just seemed super agitated having that pen around his cage. We have a camera on him and throughout the day he was biting and pushing on the pen. So I'm just going based off of what he seems to like until he gets older and we can start free roaming him. For now, we just leave his cage open with the mat and he seems so so much happier. He's binkying again and flopping and I just don't really understand the little guy lol.
 

chlbo

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Please don't ever bathe a rabbit. This could kill them. They wash themselves and please don't do something negative i.e. put the rabbit somewhere they don't like. It will hinder your relationship. The rabbit will lose trust. There's just no point.

Don't mean to be a downer but read one of the comments and just wanted to put it out there.
 

Blue eyes

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Please don't ever bathe a rabbit. This could kill them. They wash themselves and please don't do something negative i.e. put the rabbit somewhere they don't like. It will hinder your relationship. The rabbit will lose trust. There's just no point.

Don't mean to be a downer but read one of the comments and just wanted to put it out there.

You are correct that rabbits should not be bathed, though no one here suggested that. The mention of putting a rabbit in a bathtub was referring to a dry bathtub. Some people, for example, may use a dry bathtub as a bonding area when trying to bond 2 rabbits.

Nevertheless, this is an old thread. Best to look to recent threads for posting comments.
 
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You are correct that rabbits should not be bathed, though no one here suggested that. The mention of putting a rabbit in a bathtub was referring to a dry bathtub. Some people, for example, may use a dry bathtub as a bonding area when trying to bond 2 rabbits.

Nevertheless, this is an old thread. Best to look to recent threads for posting comments.
I realize that this may be an older thread, but I do think it is worth mentioning there wasn't clarification to the "dry" vs "water filled" bath tub so I think it's definitely good there be specification on that as many people don't realize this. In addition, in case anyone new to owning rabbits or new to the forum stumbles upon this thread, and needs advice, my rabbit does NOT do well in a pen ever due to the reason mentioned above where they can see other space they can't get to no matter how large the pen. Since I removed his pen all together and just enclose him in a single room (other than when we are home he gets full free-roam) he has been way less destructive and focuses on his toys above all else. Since you are unable to give your bun free access yet, I've found that these two toys can help get their energy out until you can give them more space to run around:

https://www.chewy.com/oxbow-enriched-life-rolly-teaser/dp/303637

https://www.chewy.com/oxbow-enriched-life-wobble-teaser/dp/303639

Mine is much better behaved even when he is free roam when he has higher amounts of high-energy enrichment rather than just chew toys because he has to push both around to get to what he wants (YUMMY PELLETS). Plus, these are cost effective since you can refill them rather than have to re-buy the same toys in bulk as many rabbits will go through the chew toys extremely quickly (although of course you should still provide chew toys). Mine did figure out how to open up the lock on the rolly-teaser though as a heads up in case your bun is on a strict diet, in that case, go with the wobble-teaser ;)
 

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