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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > My bunny thinks his litter box is a bed!
Last Post by Ginagirl27 at 8/18/2012 11:45 AM (21 Replies)
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User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 12:52 PM

Hey Guys!

I'm new to the group and could really use some help on litter box training. I think I've read just about everything there is to read on the issue. My first rabbit, Beatrix, took well to litter training, and was free roam in our house. She NEVER left presents in the house. She died 2 weeks ago and I bought a male Holland Lop from a breeder.

I love him to bits, but I am having some litter box training issues with him. The first 2 or 3 days I had him, he would pee in his box but not poo there. After a few days his box became more like a bed to him. He sleeps in it, watches tv in it, grooms in it. Once that started, he stopped peeing in his box all together. So now he won't pee or poop in it! This wouldn't be such a bad thing if he weren't such a poop factory! And I feel like we are going backwards and not forwards in his progress.

He's about 14 weeks old, and while I understand with his age we won't have over night success and it will take some time. It's frustrating when he used to pee in his box but now refuses to! I've tried everything. I've placed all of his poop in the box. Soaked up his pee with paper towels and placed it in his box. He just gets upset that I've "soiled" his box and promptly removes it all. When I place it in again, he just pulls it back out.

He even has a bunny  bed that I bought for him, before I even brought him home. But he insists on using his litter box as his bed. I've done extensive research on litter box training and have yet to come across anyone else with this issue. Has anyone else had this problem? Or does anyone possibly have any suggestions? I'd really appreciate it! I'm so frustrated I don't know what else to do with Toby 

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User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 12:59 PM
My experience is with adult rabbits (both were adopted, but never trained until I got them). Have you tried different litter? My rabbit now will only go on Carefresh litter, that is tightly packed down. (His previous owner couldn't get him trained for 2 years. That was what he was waiting for!) Have you tried putting hay in the litterbox? That can encourage snacking/pooing. My first rabbit wouldn't go in her box unless the back of the cage was covered with a blanket or towel, for privacy. Having your buns fixed once he gets old enough should help too.

User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 1:06 PM

I do use CareFresh for his litter, and he seems to like it. I' ve even had to wrench pieces from him as he tries to eat them. lol I've covered his litter box with his timothy hay. He has a corner litter box and I have his hay dispenser, food bowl, and water bottle all placed so that he can reach them from his box. He uses the bathroom in the middle of his cage, so starting Monday I moved his litter box to the middle even though it's a corner one. All he did was start using the bathroom in the corner where his litter box had been. Today I moved it back to the corner since he was  using the corner spot, and now he's going in the middle of the cage again! *sighs* I'm afraid this is a serious issue of a boy in love with his litter box! lol

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User is Offline LoveChaCha
Rabbit Warren
6569 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 1:58 PM
When I was toilet training my once baby bunny, I would throw her poop into the litter box as a way of telling her "You go in there, okay?" It worked ; )
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User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 2:04 PM
Wow! My only other guess would be a bigger litterbox or change the litter. Maybe it feels too much like a bed to him

When I got my rabbit that I have now from a shelter, he had a huge litterbox filled with litter that looked like huge pieces of food pellets. He slept in the box. When I took him home, he checked out my litterbox filled with Carefresh and used it and never looked back. Maybe the pellet stuff felt like a bed to him!

Anyone else have any ideas?

User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 2:27 PM

Ahh!!!! I do that already! Every few hours I put his poop in his box. I even show it to him and say "Now Toby, your poops go in here!" and then place it in the box. It's sooo frustrating!!! 


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User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 2:30 PM

TH004- It is really frustrating! I feel like I've tried just about everything!!! I am using a scatterless corner box right now. So his feet aren't actually touching the Care Fresh. I just put it in so the pee doesn't slosh around when I take it out of the cage. And I make sure to change it every single day. Always in the morning. I've tried putting hay on top. Nearly everything I can think of. He adores his litter box, just not for using the bathroom. He seems to think its his bed and he gets upset when I put his poop and pee soiled paper towels in it. I'm going to Petsmart tomorrow for a fresh bag of CareFresh. I may purchase a new kind of litter box and see if it makes any difference. Keep the ideas coming tho! I'll try just about anything to get Toby to use his box

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User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 2:51 PM
Have you tried getting an additional litter box? So he can keep his corner one for his bed and this new one as a litter? I would try to make it square, maybe the shape and size will help clue him in that it's different from his self proclaimed bed?

User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 2:58 PM
I'm just suggesting this because my bun has three "litter" boxes in her cage. Two of which she actually uses as a potty and the third she uses as a bed. She'll sit in there and groom herself and sleep in there. (Well, not recently though because I believe she's grown too big for it.)

User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 5:12 PM

I wish I could fit that many litter boxes in his cage. He has a big cage, the biggest one I could find in a store. But with the ramp in his cage it's not big enough for 2 litter boxes. I'd take his ramp out but he actually likes to use it. I often find him playing and sliding down it. lol I'm gonna try to snag a regular litter box at the pet store tomorrow and see how it works. I'll try it for a few days instead of the corner one and see what he does. Wish me luck!

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User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 5:26 PM
Have you thought of building him a bigger cage? Rabbits need a living space that is 4x their size and are able to stand on their hind legs.

User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/14/2012 5:38 PM

I have thought about making a bigger one but since it is much  more than 4 times his size, and he can stand on his hind legs and not touch the top of his cage, I'm not in a big rush to do it. I bought him this one http://www.petsmart.com/product/ind...0995  and since he's a Holland Lop and small it's plenty big enough for him. It just won't fit his ramp, bed, and 2 litter boxes. I can fit one litter box but not 2. 

I did find another cage online that I REALLY want! It's about the same size but they sell additional levels for about $30 that you just add to the cage. So you can add as many levels as you want. I don't think I'd be talented enough to build condo's as awesome as the one's I've seen on here. So I'd probably go that route. I just got this cage in June though so I probably won't be getting another one for him until Fall or Spring. Or if he grows a lot before then. 

Did you purchase a cage for yours? Or build a condo?

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User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 7:33 AM
I built my condo. Only because it was a lot cheaper. To buy a cage the size of the one I built was $400 which was ridiculous. I was able to build mine for half the cost and if I wish to it can always be added on. I know your Holland lop may seem small now but what if he grows? I just want to make sure that your bun is okay. =]

User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 7:45 AM
We are all rabbit lovers here, so I think we are all big on space. I think the biggest thing to do is to make sure you let your rabbit out of her cage to run. My rabbit was kept in a small bird cage for 2 years (before me!). The animal shelter had to break the door's edges to squeeze the 4.5 lb rabbit out. He is very healthy, even though he was in such a small area for so long (I've had him for 2 additional years). Bigger is better for rabbit spaces, but do what you can.

User is Offline IsabellaRobyn
Scotland
526 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 8:03 AM
Belle has just turned 14 weeks and I had the same problem when I first got her at 8 weeks. I had a corner box and she'd lie in it and pee beside it then if I moved it where she pee'd she'd pee where it was before - much like your little one. Eventually she just got the hang of it. What are you using as the base of your pen? I had woodshavings (I thought that was what was meant to be there) and when I took them out she clocked on to the litter training straight away. When you said it is scatterless and his feet don't touch the litter does that mean that there is some sort of grid there? If so try taking it away. He might be less inclined to lie in the box if he is actually touching the litter and the pee. Just a suggestion. Belle still lies in her box, but she pees and poops in it too now :S. How long have you been training him for? Keep at it, he'll get it eventually.

On a side note - when I clicked the link to your cage it didn't work so I don't know what you have just now but the cube cages are actually really good. I just built Belle a big one and she is so much happier (and she is still little, but the more space the better! ). They are actually much easier to build than they look. I have no building talent and I've managed to construct one . There are some online tutorials for building a bunny condo out of nic cubes (or other storage cube panels) that you can use as a guideline. Definitely look into it and don't just rule it out because it saves quite a lot of money and it's good to keep an open mind for when you do decide to upgrade to a new pen .
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User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 8:08 AM
Skipper's Momma- we actually don't have room for a big condo. I wish we did. I'd love to build him one. But he is a free roaming bun, so I think he is okay. I let him out at 6 in the morning and he goes up around 9 pm for bed. He typically only uses his cage to sleep and potty (which we are working on! LOL) He is a free roaming bun and just hops in to take a nap or use the bathroom and then he's back out. Is that size of cage okay for a free roam bunny??? I'm such a moron I doubt if I built him a condo it'd be safe to live in LOL So I'm hoping to save up and purchase one for him. Right now my big concerns are a good litter box, what hay is best to use, getting a harness and a few other things for hurricane season. And of course getting him fixed once he's 6 months old. Ahhh!!! The responsabilities of being a bun mom!

TH004- Oh that's terrible!!!! My bun has the run of the house. He hops in and out of his cage freely to nap and use the potty. And I put him up at night for bed around 9 and he is let out at 6 am everyday. Mostly his cage is just used for sleeping and bathroom. So I think he'll be okay for a few months until I can afford to get him soemthing bigger. Although due to space it'll most likely be slightly bigger in length, but taller so he can have more levels to play in.

Right now I'm trying to shop around for a harness for him. It's hurricane season here and I live right on the coast. I got him a carrier and a bag packed in case we need to leave suddenly. The only thing I'm missing is a harness and leash. I was wondering what everyone on here uses and recommends? Do you have a particular one or did you just purchase a small dog one?
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User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 8:17 AM

Oh that's a brilliant idea!!! I use CareFresh and he likes it. I'll try taking the grating off today. That way as you said, he can touch his poos and knows they belong there. Plus he may not actually like using it as bed once he is actually touching the poo. YAY!!! You have given me hope!!! =) Thank you for your brilliant suggestion. I've been training him for a week and a half. I know it won't happen over night but I was just getting frustrated since he was not making any progress but actually going in the opposite direction.  

I bought is cage at Petsmart and it's a deluxe rabbit one. It's 42 inches long by 22 inches and its 19 inches deep. He's got plenty of room for a cage that he only sleeps in. I actually found one last weekend that I like because it's slightly bigger but you can purchase additional levels that snap on to make it as large as you want. I'd build him one myself but I'd be scared that it wouldn't be safe for him. Knowing me it would fall apart. So later on I'll most likely go that route. Right now the biggest priorities are getting him ready for hurricane season and getting him fixed when he's a bit older. A bigger cage is on the back burner for now since he only uses it to sleep in and use the bathroom. 

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User is Offline IsabellaRobyn
Scotland
526 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 8:27 AM
Well he's quite new to it then. Belle took quite a while avoiding the box too but once they start to use it the work pays off . Let us know if taking the grate off works any better for him! Good luck!

That sounds cool that you can buy new levels and things. Your cage sounds like it is quite a good size if he is out all the time anyway.
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User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/15/2012 9:18 AM
I got my first buns a harness that was made for small kittens. It worked really well. They sell rabbit ones too. I had to get one later, because she got a hold of the first one and chewed it. I got the long retractable leash they sell for dogs, to give her more running time. I don't use anything for my rabbit now, but we have a privacy fence. He gets corrected if he tries to get near the fence. I tried using a leash on him, but he would just lie there, limp. It was creepy.

User is Offline Cristina
Texas
128 posts Send Private Message
8/17/2012 4:58 PM
IsabellaRobyn- You dear sweet girl, deserve an award for best bunny advice EVER!!! lol Yesterday I took the grating off Toby's scatterless corner box. I even went one further and removed the rabbit cage liner and towel that I line his cage with. He has a habbit of peeing on the towel, and it soaks it up, so he never has to lay in it. I figured since rabbits are so clean, he wouldn't want to pee on the cage anymore since there is nothing there to absorb it. It worked like a charm! At first he was rather upset with me. He dragged his litter box all over the cover. Chewed it up quite fiercly and its now mishapen from all his tugging at it. He even dug ALL of his litter and feces out and dumped it all over his cage. I kept putting it right back in, determined to not give up. I Typically I make sure all his poops are in his box when I go to bed, and I did that last night. In the morning I wake up and there's enough poo scattered in his cage to fill a 16oz cup! This morning I woke up and all of his pee was in the litter box. The cage was dry as a whistle! And I'd say 2/3 of his poo was in his litter box! YAY!!! I cleaned it out this morning, and as of this evening all pee is still in his box, and a good 7/8 of his poo winds up in his box. Eeeek!!! That is MAJOR improvment! Thank you soooo MUCH for your amazing advice! I am seriously endebted to you! hehe

TH004- aww that is really creepy! Maybe he feels resetricted with the leash? Who knows! I took Toby out for a shopping day yesterday. We went to Petsmart and Petco. Petco had this fabulous harness's for small dogs. They are soft, and they breathe and even stretch a bit so they are super comfy! The best part is they velcro on so you don't have to fuss with the hooks and stuff. It was a snap putting it on Toby and he looked adorable in it! They didn't have a good leash for it, but we found one in the cat section at Petsmart. He loves his harness and doesn't try to take it off or anything because of how comfy it is. I'ts a little pricey at $17 but totally worth it! I live on the gulf coast and we typically have to evacuate for hurricane's every year. I wanted to be able to walk him at rest stops if we have to leave. That way he can get exercise. He went for a walk last night and this morning and he adores it! We have 2 acres so I can't let him loose otherwise I'd have a horrible time catching him. He loves going for walks and even will try to put the harness on himself. LOL

It looks like Toby's Litter Box Love Affair is coming to a close! Eeek! And I have all of you amazing bun lovers to thank! You guys ROCK!!! =)
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