Help! Bunny crisis!

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Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:08 pm

I really need some advice on litter training my rabbit, because he has not really been very easy to fit into our home (see problems 1 & 2 below) and the way he has been peeing and pooping everywhere is making me ponder whether to give him away to a good home, and its the main issue of the problems we've been having with him. This idea of rehoming alone makes me quite upset, and while it is really only a vague consideration at this point, I am beginning to think I should take it more seriously if things don't get easier. I have an incredibly busy life, I'm a full time student, I work, and I also have three cats and another rabbit to take care of. This will be a long post, apologies, but I am worried about this. Also, sorry for typos if there are any, as I am on a touch screen.

1 - relationship with Pumpkin: Binky does not get along with our first bunny, Pumpkin. I hate this, as it means that neither one is able to just run around the house, and we have to have two separate bunny proofed rooms which is messy and also makes it hard to spend time with them both equally. Pumpkin is in a room I pass through all the time, but Binky needs a wipeable floor and can't be in with Pumpkin, so he is in the living room, which used to be our only tidy, pet free room and I liked it nice and clean for guests as the rest of the flat is like a farm. This now means the rug is rolled up against the wall and our beautiful sofa (already having suffered some pee incidents) is covered up by cheap shower curtains from Wilkinsons! He was supposed to be a friend to Pumpkin, but I didn't realise at the time that two males together probably wouldn't work out, and now we have an extra bunny on our hands which we love dearly but takes up more space than we had anticipated.

2 - Relationship with other pets: Binky is indifferent to our three cats which is perfect, and if I wasn't so worried about his other issues, I'm pretty sure a good relationship could be established between them, because the only iffy thing is one cat likes to swat at him, and while it doesn't seem to bother him and I think I could get the cat to stop if I spent some time on it, I don't like them to be in a room together unsupervised. However, problem no. 3 is currently taking up all my patience.

3 - He is not litter trained. He does eat in and use his litter box, but only because he seems to think its the best place to sit and spends all his time in it, whether or not his hutch door is open. He does just over half his business in his tray, the rest all over the hutch, which is slightly annoying, but not too bad. He tends to only make brief excursions into the rest of the room for some reason, but when he does, he usually leaves a couple of poos behind him - not a problem, it's an animal friendly house, and despite how in the past I enjoyed having at least one tidy room, Binky was worth the sacrifice. But. He pees too. Usually once or twice a day, and I guarantee one will be making my sock damp at some point in the day, and the other will be on the sofa. Even if its on the shower curtain, someone usually ends up sitting on it. Sad

So.

I don't care so much that he doesn't get along with Pumpkin. I can work on teaching the cat that just because he's small, it doesn't mean it's ok to swat him. I can even resign myself to hay and bedding all over my living room, even a few poos. But the pee is seeming like the last straw. I NEED him litter trained.

He's neutered, at least a year old, so I think he's at a suitable age. The last owner claimed he was litter trained and did not seem to have a reason to lie, but I have seen no evidence of it and he's been with me for months. At least once a day I collect his poos and put them in the tray, but he isn't getting it.

So, I have placed Binky in our bathroom, the floor is covered in newspapers. This will be easier because I walk by the bathroom many times during my day, whereas the living room is usually not somewhere I spend time. He has all his essentials and enough hoppy space. I have watched about twenty youtube videos on how to do this, and my plan is thus: check on him every hour or so, collect poos and newspaper with pee on, and put them in the litter tray. I'm hoping he will get the point, and though this all seems like it's too inadequate to work, I don't know what else to do.

You might say that I should watch him and if he goes on the floor, to pick him and his droppings up and place in the tray, and if possible to get him as he is about to go. I can't do this, as he doesn't ever seem to go while I'm watching, but if I look away there'll be a poo sitting somewhere in the room, and I'll be thinking 'when did he do that??'. Equally, if you say I should reward him for going in the tray, how can I tell when he is going? His tail doesn't lift up or anything. Also, I'm not sure he would understand what I was rewarding him for, because even if I did catch him, he sits in there all the time.

Is there anything else I can try? Or should I literally spend a lot of time with my eyes peeled watching his every movement,tissues in one hand, treats in the other? Because so far I can spend hours in there with him, looking up every two minutes as I read a book or watch a dvd on my laptop, and still miss him going. So it looks like he'll need 100% attention, which will be very tedious.

I have from tonight (friday) until sunday night off work and uni, and if I have to spend every minute doing this, and I'm praying it will happen.

Is it true that some rabbits just will not be litter trained, no matter how hard you try? Please help, Binky is so friendly and affectionate, and he's a netherland dwarf so he looks adorable too and I would cry if I had to give him up, even though I know that the situation is getting kind of silly.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Ps, he can literally sit motionless in his litter tray, only his little mouth chewing away at hay for what seems like hours at a time. It's his default position - so you can see why it would be very hard to just watch him for ages.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Amelia66 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:40 pm

i would probably say try to confine him to a smaller space with a litter tray. when he is going in it 100% increase his space a little repeat till he is free in the whole room and not peeing anywhere. Also a vet check might be worth a look just to double check it is not a uti. If he persists with the sofa the only other thing to do would be to not let him on it Smile
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Zo on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:07 pm

I would try confining him to a smaller space, using a pen or something like that, if he's peeing in a particular corner then put the litter tray there, once he gets the hang of peeing in his tray gradually increase the space until he's back to having the whole room. With regards to poo's it's unlikely that he'll do all of those in his tray, Hector does poo's all over his cage & in his tray, but not outside of his cage.
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:19 pm

I can't help but wonder if the problem is ultimately that you have another buck in the house and he is repeatedly marking his territory. It does not matter that he can't see pumpkin he knows that he is there. If this is the case then it is likely that it will never resolve itself.

I would have a discussion with your local rescue and see if they can help with rehoming or finding a suitable friend for Pumpkin.


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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:37 pm

This forum has been a life saver for me. Thanks for you answers. I also found this page really helpful: http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/content/info-sheets/housetrain.htm

After reading it, I have considered that a.) he might feel that I bother him in his cage too much - I usually just put my hand in when changing bowls or picking up litter, which aparently might make him feel that he needs to establish it as his territory, or b.) I have noted his 'out of tray' poos are quite soggy. This might mean he has an excess of the type of poos he would usually just eat, because his pellets don't suit him. I will switch to fresh veg instead for a while to see if this helps.

Cheryl, your point does worry me and I think you may be right. I had thought that since both bucks were neutered it would not be a problem. I will try everything else before thinking of rehoming him, but I think I'm probably too protective of Binky to do any less than interview prospective owners personally, as paranoid as it sounds! I have actually never met anyone, even a self professed ex breeder (!), who seems to understand basic rabbit dietary needs or the 'hutch is not enough' idea.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:57 am

Ugh. This morning there was poo and three large pee stains on the newspaper. I ended up confining him to a meter square of the bathroom last night, instead of the whole room, but I don't think he's getting the message at all. I'm doubtful its a uti, as he has been this way since we got him, and he was supposedly litter trained before. It must be because he can smell Pumpkin.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Thumper2001 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:07 am

I'm sorry if you've covered this in an earlier post (it's early Laughing) what litter are you using in his tray? Have you tried using something different?

I found litter training Molly and Junior a bit difficult in the beginning and by pure chance I worked out they didn't like the wooden litter that was in their tray. I think it was uncomfortable on their feet Sad
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:09 am

Wood pellet litter. I think he likes it though, because he uses the tray half the time and sits in there a lot. Also its the same type his previous owner used.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Father Jack on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:25 am

I think the way forward here is to try and bond the two buns. It does sound like territory marking. There's no reason that two bucks can't be "modern buns" and live together as long as they are both neutered. We have Theo & Reuben together free range in the lounge without much problem. Theo does have the very occasional accident when he's excited over food and Reuben has taken a clump of fur or two once or twice but Theo is definitely the boss Laughing 

However, as they have been with you for a while I would recommend that they go on holiday to be bonded for a week or so. There won't be anywhere in your house that is completely neutral by now and you'll need to do a lot of de-smelling while they are away to make the house neutral again. It would also be a good idea to completely re-arrange their room and put lino down if you can as there will be some initial "accidents" while they get used to their new accommodation and decide where they want their trays (at least two or three trays is a good idea).
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:35 am

Bonding has been tried, and they are not having it. Binky is a third of the size of Pumpkin and immediately Pumpkin tries to bite him on sight and fur goes flying. We followed the instructions for bonding in the video on this site.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Father Jack on Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:40 am

Ah but my point is that if they go for "outside help" they will be in strange territory. No familiar surroundings and none of their own scents. This should make bonding so much easier.
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:45 pm

Thats a great idea actually but no one I know can help me, they don't know anything about rabbits or are the sort of people who could help. I have one person who could loan a room in her house for me to use but no one could do it for me. If only there was some kind of bunny training school!

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Thumper2001 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:31 pm

Are there any rescues near you? They will often do it for a donation.

I would ring round any that are accessible to you, the worst they can say is no Smile
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Father Jack on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:34 pm

Where in the country do you live halfbloodprincess?
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Thumper2001 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:37 pm

I think she said in another thread she's near Glasgow, FJ.

Sorry if I'm wrong Embarassed
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by Thumper2001 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:38 pm

Yep, just checked. "Near Glasgow"
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:51 pm

Yup, near Glasgow. I don't think our local shelter even has rabbits...I'll have to look into it.

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by iiisecondcreep on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:00 pm

Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care are in Glasgow, would be worth contacting them to see if they offer a bonding service.
https://www.facebook.com/FairlyBelovedRabbitCare

Buddies Bunnies in Edinburgh do offer bonding but thats a bit of a trek.
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:27 pm

I'v contacted my local spca centre and fairly beloved, so I shall update on what happens!

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:32 pm

If they are no help (although fairley beloved have a good reputation) then buddies are really worth contacting.


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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by gentl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:03 pm

We are having the litter training problem STILL with Rory. Pee and poo. He uses his boxes, but not all the time. I don't think we will ever get it out of our carpet...or out of the sofa cushions as much as we clean them!
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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:10 pm

It's a difficult situation, that's for sure! I recived a reply from fairly beloved and they seem happy to help bond the bunnies, but I want to give bonding at home another go. I found a useful video or two on youtube in my panic and I plan to try the techniques. I found it helped to look up 'problem rabbits', as after seeing how vicious a real rabbit fight can be, I may have over reacted when pumpkin bit binky, as they did ignore each other in favour of munching hay and treats for a good ten minutes, which is supposed to be a good thing. Maybe going for the full 20 min bunny date was too long for the first seasion. Also with Christmas coming up, I'm not sure I can afford the sessions at fairly beloved, let alone the travel as I don't drive. Getting anywhere that isn't on a main bus/train route involves multiple bus changes is a lot of money, so I will start daily bunny dates again, and perhaps move it out to the garden, or in the bath tub!

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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:37 pm

This booklet on bonding may be useful to you. Also this book is very good.

Bruce and Flo often chase each other as here



Fur flies as you can see. In fact they were behaving like this last night after Bruce decided he wanted Flo's share of the treats. Half an hour later they were snuggled up tight very much in love.


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Re: Help! Bunny crisis!

Post by halfbloodprincess on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:47 pm

Bruce and Flo look so happy! That made me smile Smile

I really want Binky and Pumpkin to be just like that.

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