Starting to actually hate my bunny.

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by LadyKat, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Jul 1, 2011 #1

    LadyKat

    LadyKat

    LadyKat

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    I am at wits end with my little Smudge and she stresses me out so completely. :cry2

    I have been letting her run around my living room kitchen area but now I no longer want to. She continually goes behind the couch and chews on it. pulling stuffing out and will not leave this little cabinet I have alone. I am worried about the fact that she eats the stuffing and plasticky type covering on the cabinet. I spend the whole time she is out chasing her away from these two things.

    I covered the baseboards and lower parts of the walls with this plastic fencing things, but there are a lot of corners in my little living room and kitchen area, so now she gets up on the couch stretches up and chews on the corner of the wall from the couch. I rent so this is a huge problem. She has a large variety of stuff she is allowed to chew on, a hay hutch, edible log, popsicle sticks, a cat bed, cardboard box full of newspaper and more.

    Then when she is out she rarely wants to go back into her cage. She can freely walk in and out of it, but when out she really only goes back in to use her litter. This creates a problem when I want need to leave the house and she does not want to go back to her cage. She obviously needs to go back in her cage when I am not home otherwise there would be no couch left when I got back.

    So if I need to get her back in the cage I need to grab her on the first try and if I miss then she gets supper aggressive really fast. Not scared, she does not lay flat or anything, she just growls, charges at me and of course bites. She bites hard and scratches me a lot. I can't clip her razor sharp nails since she will not let me hold her paws, and if I wear gloves she goes after my arms. Even when bunny burritoed she bites me when I try to do her nails. It is summer where I am so I clearly do not want to change completely in long sleeves and pants before I go to pick her up. Try as I might I can not lure her into her cage anymore with greens or treats, she caught on to that trick.

    I have ordered a play pen for her and when it comes in I am no longer going to let her run around the apartment. She has her appointment to get spayed mid August.

    I just don't get her at all, she will let me pet her, even wrap my hands around her belly with no problems. If she jumps on me when I am sitting on the couch I can hug her and she is ok with that, she will even groom my forehead. She is even fine with me messing around in her cage when she is in it. However, as soon as she senses I want to pick her up, all hell breaks loose.

    I just hate having chunks taken out of me when I need her to go in her cage and she does not want to. I am tired of walking around with scares on my hands and arms that were caused by her. Sometimes I wish I had never adopted her. :(

    Now I just don;t know what to do.

     
  2. Jul 1, 2011 #2

    MikeScone

    MikeScone

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    LadyKat wrote:
    Rabbits are very food-driven. With both Scone (RIP) and Natasha, I trained them to go into their cages on command by offering them treats when they did. They very quickly learned that "go in" meant "you're going to get a craisin or carrot when you do". They both knew "craisin" and "carrot" and "treat", so I started by calling the rabbit and saying any of those words. The bunny would come running. Then, I'd point into the cage and say "go in", until they did - and then they got the treat.

    That works with other concepts, too. Today, all I need to do is say, "it's bedtime, Natasha", and before I can get to the refrigerator for her bedtime snack, Natasha is standing up on her balcony watching for the incoming broccoli.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jul 1, 2011 #3

    gmas rabbit

    gmas rabbit

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    Part of the problem is the horomones and some of this should settle down once she is fixed. Do you have a room you can put her in, such as the bathroom or storage room when you are out. Put on long sleeves for awhile when you go to pick her up to protect your arms. Get the vet to trim her nails. I guess you could even wear gloves if you have to. Push the couch tight against the wall and block off both ends so that she cannot get behind. But a big old quilt on you couch to protect it. Put something in front of the wall that she chews on, same with cabinet. Bunnies are like puppies, a real pain at times when they are little. I have been where you are, before we had a rabbit neutered he used to charge me and attack my legs, I was getting to the point that I hated him and was scared of him. After he was neutered he really settled down. Not Benjamin, it was a rabbit that we had about 10 years ago. Get a water pistol, and spray her when she is misbehaving, rabbits object to water. Good luck, hang in there. I would be strict about her going in her cage when you are not home. Maybe just add an addition onto the cage. Try the long sleeves ( sweat shirts are good and gloves.)
     
  4. Jul 1, 2011 #4

    DandelionHollow

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    So sorry you are going through this. My friend is having the exact same problem with her Holland Lop and I can tell what we have done to help that situation (wont promise it will work for you, every bunny is different, but I ndo think it will help).
    Since your buns issues arent "marking" or "spraying", etc... then fixing her wont likely affect too much of a change in her destructive acting out. It may curb some aggression, but it seems your bun has alot of bad habits that need to be changed. Please, definetly get her fixed, but just dont expect that alone to be the cure-all.
    Seems like your buns issue are mostly about territory & chewing. First things first, you must stop allowing her to be free-roaming (some buns when they get too much freedom start to get territorial and aggressive when they then have to be confined again- not all buns are like this, but yours clearly is). Give her a small area(approx. 4ft x 6ft, or more if possible) and place her cage in this secured area as well. This is now "bun's space"... its all hers to be as territorial as she wants with- Place up barriers talle enough that she cannot get out of her new space. Also, you can bunny-proof this area quite simply (rather than having to bunny proof your entire home).
    This will also help with the chewing (its natural for a bun to chew so there's no curing this...I have lil' nibbles on my baseboards, too). In her Bun Space her chewing will be limited to the things she has in her immediate surroundings so she will then revert to using chew blocks, etc... since the living room sofa will no longer be an option.
    This is a process and your bun will have to get used to the change... she will adapt and do nicely and maybe save you a lil' stress, too. :)
     
  5. Jul 1, 2011 #5

    lagomorph

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    I know exactly what you mean, Ladykat, and don't blame you at all for wishing you had never adopted her. I really think that it is exceedingly difficult to provide a home for a rabbit that gives them the opportunity to express their natural instincts and live a satisfying rabbit life. It's normal for them to resent confinement, and normal for you to feel frustrated when they make their displeasure so obvious.

    In the wild, rabbits are much more active and use far more territory than most people can provide them with. It amazes, me actually, that those kept in standard cages all their lives don't go insane. So, my reaction to your problem would not be to give her less freedom, but to give her more. No one wants to sit in a small space all day.

    I have never had much success training mine with food. They seem to value freedom much more than food. Every afternoon, we have to herd ours from the yard, back into their shed, where they have a total of about 120 square feet of space. Even with all of that, they want to stay out in the yard. But I can't blame them. I would prefer the yard, too.

    I have a friend who keeps his rabbits indoors in a room all to themselves, where there is nothing they can damage. Not many people can do that, I realize, but if there is any way you can give her more space and freedom, that's the way I would go.
     
  6. Jul 1, 2011 #6

    Myia09

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    LadyKat wrote:
    I am sorry you feel stressed but nothing sounds out of the ordinary for a rabbit. Fixing her would help, and health wise it is the best choice. Spraying isn't the only sign of a unfixed bun. Her territory issues is also a factor of not having a fixed bun.

    I have spent probably at LEAST $1000 fixing things my rabbits have chewed or torn up. It comes with the territory. I would suggest just trying to give her play time in the bathroom.

    From your photo, it looks like she is in a wire bottom cage, that looks like one you get from petsmart. While it is normal for a rabbit to want to be able to have free time, being confined in a small uncomfortable cage isn't nice to go back to. Plus, rabbits are very active and need tons of playtime. So if your only giving her an hour of playtime a day, she is probably very frustrated.

    When she bites you emit a loud sqeak or a high pitched "no" and she will understand in bunny terms that is not okay to do.

    I do not suggest the water bottle method as it can actually increase aggressivenes.
    Please understand though that this can be normal rabbit behavior.
     
  7. Jul 2, 2011 #7

    DandelionHollow

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    In my experience, I have never found territorial issues to dissipate whenabun gets fixed... but all buns dont necessarily respond the same way to being nuetered, etc...so who knows. Personally, it seems like bun needs a large "space of her own" where she has freedom, but still is safely contained. If you designate an area of your home just for the bun she will not have to be confined to her cage... you can place her cage in the secured area and leave her cage door open at all times. As I stated earlier, just make sure the walls of the secured area are tall enough sobun wont beable to get out or you may come home one day with a destroyed house! LoL!



     
  8. Jul 2, 2011 #8

    GizmoTheMiniRex

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    what size cage do you have her in? if it is a small storebought cage she may be fighting against you simply because she doesnt like it. my friend had bought a purple superpet cage for her rabbit and we thought it was all fine and dandy but thumper didnt like it. we built her a c+c cage and since it was so large she didnt mind going back in it. all her bad behaviour stopped that same day and she lets my friend pick her up all the time now. also, rabbits can sense when you are angry. gizmo does and i swear it makes her act even worse so try to pretend it doesnt bother you...good luck
     
  9. Jul 3, 2011 #9

    mmfh

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    i so sympathize with u!! I'm going out to buy a new couch because Cleo thought it was a great chew toy. Like others said it comes with the territory, but she won't have access to the new couch. I also trained mine with treats to get her back in her cage. It takes a while but it worked. Good luck.
     
  10. Jul 15, 2011 #10

    Kizza

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    I feel your pain, I had a little cry tonight because Rocky peed on me about 6 times and I am over washing my clothes and mopping the tiles.

    I am a little unfamiliar with girl bunnies, but I think they tend to show more aggression and bad behavior like that than boys. I am also pretty sure it has a lot to do with hormones.

    Also, one thing I learned with Rocky was that i needed to get him used to me picking him up for good reasons, not only when i am going to do something he doesnt like such as putting him in his cage. Now I can pick him up whenever I want. He used to scratch me a lot too, hands, arms and chest.

    He is mostly pretty good with going back in now because he doesnt know why i am picking him up, and thats the only place he will get food! Try putting a treat or two in there ready for when she gets put in so she knows that when u pick her up and put her in she gets some yummy stuff and hopefully if you are consistent she will stop acting up.

    Try to teach her that when she gets picked up she gets good things like cuddles or treats, not that when she gets picked up that means she is going back inside. Maybe that and having her spayed will help.

    As for the chewing and being naughty, I cant offer much assistance as I dont really have that problem.

    Just remember that she is doing what a bunny does and it is normal to her. Try not to get too cross and worked up over the things she does as it isnt going to help the situation and she doesnt understand that you are upset. I hate Rocky sometimes too but he doesnt do naughty things on purpose to make me angry, he is just doing what a bunny does

    I hope things work out for the better for you soon and just remember that she loves you and you love her :)
     
  11. Jul 16, 2011 #11

    funnybunnymummy

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    Aw, sorry to hear you're going through this. :(

    I missed how much time she gets out of her cage? Is it all day or just a few hours? And what time of day is it? I find Gus is much naughtier in the evenings than in the mornings or afternoons. Also, as someone mentioned upthread, sometimesmore time out of her cage is actually better than less. Give her time to expend some of that pent up energy!

    However, you may want to look into some other ideas on bunny proofing to keep her out from behind the couch and off it. I've heard bubble wrap on thecushions is a good deterent. And NIC cubes work really well to fence off areas.

    Also, try bunny time outs when she misbehaves. It's possible chewing the couch and getting chased for it is a game to her. If you get the sense she's just doing it to annoy you, she may very well be! I've found time outsworked well with Gus when he was being really destructive.

    As for her current cage set up, I think the play pen is an excellent solution. She obviously doesn't like her cage and that's why she resists going back to it. Many of us have trained our buns to go into their cages with food. Try timing her pellet time with cage time and she should hop into her cage whenever you want her to! ;)

    Definitely get her spayed, that will settle her down a bit. As she ages, she'll mellow out too. She's still young and going through the terrible teens, as they say. But eventually she will get better.

    Youdo need to work with her to get her used to being held, picked up, nails clipped, etc. Maybe not right now, but after she's moved into her new pen and has been spayed, etc.It takes time, but really for her own good she should learn to tolerate it. Just pick her up and put her down at random times every day. Don't hold her long--especially not long enough to start scratching and kicking--just keep doing itover and over again. Eventually she should tolerate handling without much issue. Ditto nail clipping, etc.

    It takes time, patience, and some ups and downs. Gus still has days where I want to wring his furry little neck. We just got back from vacation and I could tell he was miffed with us for leaving him for a week, but today he got lots of time out in the backyard and I could tell he was really happy and content. No bad bunny today!:)

    Hang in there!

    Hope that helps!

    Rue
     
  12. Jul 16, 2011 #12

    sgbinky

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    I think the idea of having rabbit roaming a small area would helps to minimize your frustration. My Binky gets a 4 feet by 4 feet fence in front of the cage when I am at work or out of the home. When I am at the house, Binky gets to roam around the house. I just road-block some restricted areas that need work on the rabbit-proofing...lol. I think your rabbit is doing great by going back to the cage to use the litter. You can slowly work from that, expanding the roam area when you have rabbit-proof it.

    I think you do need some help from a friend or vet to clip the nails, it does help to minimize scratches or marks on the wall.
     
  13. Jul 16, 2011 #13

    LadyKat

    LadyKat

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    I actually did manage to get claws trimmed so no more scratching. My friend who owns rabbits came over and held her while wearing gloves. She kept Smudges face away from me so I could clip, she got bit a few times through the gloves but no broken skin.

    Smudges temper has also died down now and she will normally let me pick her up when I need to.
     
  14. Sep 20, 2017 #14

    Fukusu

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    1st of all, rabbits (unlike with kittens & puppies) aren't picked up & carried in their mother's mouth. This means that predators would be the ONLY ones to even try and picked them up. This causes your rabbit to go into fight or flight mode.
     

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