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Punishment for Rabbits

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Liquidtravel

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Hello all,

Just curious how everyone reprimands their bunnies. I don't mean in a harsh way but to correct behavior. When you catching them chewing on something or more to my issue when they are peeing on something. My flemish male is litterbox trained, and yes, he is neutered, but lately, he has decided to pee right outside of his kennel. This is about 4" from his litterbox. First, he started pooping there. I assumed it was because that was where I put his plate of green twice a day and he poops while he is eating. It was never a lot and I just swept it up and put it in his litterbox. But now he is peeing in the same spot. I am guessing I should not have started putting his plate of greens there but where would I put them if not there because I have been allowing him free range. But now the pee. When he does this, I grab him quickly and put him in the litterbox and have started closing the kennel door as punishment. He stays in the kennel until I have time to clean the mat under this kennel and while it dries.

Any thoughts? Thanks
 

Catlyn

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Is he still doing his liquid stuff in his box or is it completely off and out? Where do his poops land then? If both land in that spot where you mentioned, try shifting the box there and see if that helps. If not, then the scoop-me-up is a great way and next time it happens, you might want to dab a paper towel in the pee and put it in the litterbox, wipe off the excess pee and sanitize with vinegar solution. That should help ease the problem!
 

Liquidtravel

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I "assume" he is peeing in his litterbox still. I mean, I don't find any messes anywhere else except he was jumping up on the bed (I laid a tarp across it when I saw he was doing that) and he did pee there a few times. I removed his ability to get on the bed for now so he does not pee there. So, the only place I am noticing he is peeing is right in front of his kennel. Unfortunately, there is not room enough for me to move his litterbox to that spot. For now, I am grabbing him, which he hates, and dropping him in the litterbox and then closing the kennel door for a couple of hours but that has yet to matter.
 

Hermelin

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Myself just tell my bunnies to stop it when they do something they aren’t allowed for example jumping up in bookshelf, tipping things over the edge from furniture, jumping up on the kitchen table, scratching doors and so on.

In you situations it can help placing out another litter box and just keep on cleaning his spot. Closing him for hours won’t correct his behavior, they won’t understand why they are closed into the cage. Try rewarding when going to the toilet and stopping him before he do it outside his litter box.

In rare cases changed toilet habits can be because of health issues.
 

Liquidtravel

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Putting another litterbox where is he peeing would be tough. There just is not enough space. What is odd is that he likes hanging out in the kennel during the day. The door is usually always open and he will just hang out in there and sleep which is right next to the litterbox. Around 5-6pm he comes out and runs around a little bit or hangs out sleeping next to the kennel or under the bed. He uses the litterbox for the most part unless he is eating. When he eats, he poops while he eats and I was putting his plate of greens just outside of the kennel where he is now peeing.
 

Blue eyes

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For now, I am grabbing him, which he hates, and dropping him in the litterbox and then closing the kennel door for a couple of hours but that has yet to matter.
I would discourage this. Using his kennel/cage as a place of punishment is not productive. It can make the very area that is supposed to be his personal space, his "safe zone", his happy place, into something associated with punishment. You don't want him to dislike being in his kennel.

I'd be looking to see what may be causing this change. Was he very consistent with urinating in his box before? How long has he been neutered? Did it only start when you put the plate of greens there? Have you used vinegar to clean the area (sometimes we can clean an area where we don't smell anything but they still can)? Can you post a photo of your setup showing where he's been going?

If he goes potty while eating, I'd consider having a shelf or such that his food can go on that requires him to be inside his litter box while he's eating.
 

Liquidtravel

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I would discourage this. Using his kennel/cage as a place of punishment is not productive. It can make the very area that is supposed to be his personal space, his "safe zone", his happy place, into something associated with punishment. You don't want him to dislike being in his kennel.

I'd be looking to see what may be causing this change. Was he very consistent with urinating in his box before? How long has he been neutered? Did it only start when you put the plate of greens there? Have you used vinegar to clean the area (sometimes we can clean an area where we don't smell anything but they still can)? Can you post a photo of your setup showing where he's been going?

If he goes potty while eating, I'd consider having a shelf or such that his food can go on that requires him to be inside his litter box while he's eating.
He has been neutered for a few months nows. I would say that once he got used to using his litterbox on a consistent basis, he the only time he didn't use it was when he was exploring a new area. Unfortunately, it was the first and second time he got on the couch, the first few times he got on the bed (the bed is covered with a pee resistant covering by the way) and now just outside of his kennel. This same place is where he has started dropping more of his poo.

I used to put his plate of green to eat twice a day on this spot and he started dropping there as he ate. I have since started putting his plate of greens inside of his kennel hoping he would stop doing that on the outside but he has continued. I have thought about putting his plate of greens in the kitchen to see if that would help to really disassociate eating with that area.

He still using his litterbox but I certainly don't see him in it nearly as much as before but he has to be using it otherwise he is holding it a really long time because he has only peed on the outside a handful of times in the last 7-10 days. I also put hay in the litterbox so that concerns me if he is not using it because that would mean he is also not getting as much hay as he should.
 

Blue eyes

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I'm wondering if maybe he needs a do-over. Maybe he needs to be confined in his kennel for awhile until he consistently uses just the litterbox (urinating). Then use an ex-pen to severely limit his roaming space around his cage. Keep that up for a week or so, again, making sure he is always returning to his litter box to do his business. Then just gradually and slowly increase his space, always making sure he remains consistent. That would be my thought anyway.
 

Liquidtravel

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Yeah, that is what I was thinking as well. He does really well in all areas of the apartment except for 3. The couch, the bed, and right in front of his kennel. From 6 pm to 6 am he is either under the bed, next to the bed on my side while I sleep or next to his kennel and he never once pees. If he gets on the bed, he pees. If he gets on the couch he pees and from time to time he might pee in front of his kennel. For the bed and couch, I was told it is either being territorial or trying to own my smell (me). For now, he does not get on the couch, this is his choice, he no longer likes the living room and for the bed, I took away a box he was using as stairs so he does not get on the bed. So really it is just the time to time in front of his kennel. I just went and checked on him and he was sitting in his litterbox peeing. So he does use it. I saw online some spray you can use to deter rabbits to urinating in areas so I am going to go find that name again and see if I can find it and give it a try.
 

Diane R

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I would not use a spray. Anything with a strong smell can affect their delicate respiratory system. And you never punish a rabbit. I agree with Blue Eyes' advice above.
 
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