Won't stop tearing up carpet

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by _Moby_, Feb 10, 2018.

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  1. Feb 10, 2018 #1

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

    _Moby_

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    Hi!

    I can't get my bun to stop ripping out the carpet.
    He is a 6 month old, neutered, male netherland dwarf. He is tearing up the carpet CONSTANTLY. It is becoming an enormous source of frustration.

    The carpet was already in poor shape when I moved in, so I'm not terribly worried about having to pay to fix it, but I don't want it to get any worse.
    He has free roam of my bedroom and the attached hallway, and there are various spots where he will dig and yank out the fibers of carpet. I don't blame him, because as bunny behavior goes, it seems like this would be a fun activity for him.

    I've tried to divert the behavior with grass mats, and that seems to distract him sometimes, but he still goes for the carpet most of the time. I even made maze for him, a cardboard box lined and stuffed with newspaper for him to tear up, which he does, but all the same he still goes for the carpet. (A kind of cute side story, whenever I do my weekly cleaning of his cage and my room, he will go into the maze-box and start tearing up the newspaper, as if he were also doing some house cleaning! :D)

    Can I stop this behavior?? I've also read that spraying the spot with vinegar will deter him, but I don't want his living environment to always reek of vinegar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  2. Feb 10, 2018 #2

    samoth

    samoth

    samoth

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    My spayed doe did the same thing when I adopted her. I had to keep both my rabbits confined to their xpen during the day to prevent damages, then I spent hours every night with her correcting this undesired behavior. It took months, but she's free range 24/7 now.

    When I got home from work, I would let them out of their xpen (her bondmate doesn't chew carpet, but I kept them together through the process). She'd invariably go to the study (the room she claimed as hers), so I'd sit in there with her reading or whatever I could do while monitoring her behavior for a few hours every single night, and during the days on weekends. If she started pulling up carpet, I would say, "CAGE TIME!" and shoo her back to her xpen, which I would lock up for 20-30 minutes. This worked very well with her, as she hates being confined to small spaces (even though her xpen was 17 sq ft).

    Eventually, she learned to go to the xpen on her own just by me saying "cage time." She bowed her head, as if to acknowledge disappointing me, before trotting into her xpen despondingly.

    And even more eventually, the undesired behavior started to slow. After 4-5 months, I was willing to leave them free when I left for work during the day. There were a couple incidents of pulled-up carpet when I got home, but even that abated.

    I still use, "CAGE TIME!" as a way to control her carpet-pulling behavior to this day -- I make sure to stop her if I even see her starting to go for the carpet. Her ability to learn and respond to human voice commands has amazed me. (Note: my buck just ignores anything I say or do, so obviously it's dependent on the individual rabbit.)

    She'll never be perfect, and I don't expect it: rabbits eating grass is natural, and the carpet in a house is pretty close to that environment. They're just behaving like rabbits stuck in an unnatural environment. It's up to us to work with them so we can all live happily together. It might take a lot of time and effort, but it can usually be done :)
     
    lavendertealatte likes this.
  3. Feb 14, 2018 #3

    Cookiemonster

    Cookiemonster

    Cookiemonster

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    if you dont mind the smell spray water mixed with vinegar on your carpet...
     

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