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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > In Major Need of Help.
Last Post by Skipper's Mama at 10/11/2012 9:39 AM (19 Replies)
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User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 5:32 PM

I recently posted a forum topic similar to the subject -- but am still having a HUGE issue with it and just don't know what to do.   There's actually two issues and ANY AND ALL help anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated... It's really causing a stress on the household. 

First of all, I CANNOT get my neutered bun (3 months ago, 7 months old) to stop feeling the need to "mark" the play area whenever we let him out.  I don't know what to do anymore, mainly because he gets so angry and flustered when I try and correct his behavior.  To the point where he'll spend the rest of the day being anti-social and quite obviously stressed out.  He's been checked by a vet for physical issues and came back with a clean bill of health.  I re-read all the BB ideas on LitterBox problems and the problem is that he gets so aggressive about it so none of the hints/ideas have been very helpful.  He's not a mean bunny and I can't stress enough how this aggressive behavior is ONLY when he is trying to mark on the floor and we try to get him to his litter box.  We've tried herding, we've tried picking him up and putting him in, we've tried treats.... I just don't know what to do with him anymore. 

 

The second problem is digging at the carpet.  All three of our buns are digging freaks and recently made two holes in our carpet.  We've tried the spray bottle but sometimes it takes 3-4 sprays before they'll move and by that time a couple of strings of carpet are already hanging from their mouth... Whenever we make the area inaccessible for them they just choose a new area to dig.  They have quite a wide array of toys to play with so I'm not sure why they feel the need to just dig apart the carpet.   I really don't want to have to put them in a smaller area with only a piece of plastic or something over the sort over it -- mainly, because they are a "running" breed so I was told they need a good area to exercise in and so I'm afraid they won't have enough space to run around with a smaller play area.  (They really do use the whole space for running about which also makes me think it's not really an option.)

 

These issues have been causing SOOO much trouble in our household and I really want to figure out a way to correct their behavioral issues in the best way possible.

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User is Offline Monkeybun
Hillsboro, Oregon
10463 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 5:45 PM
Give them a diggy box Squirrel loves a box full of shredded paper. It may distract them enough, if you keep it interesting.

For the marking, what do you use to clean it up? You'll have to remove his scent from the area, so he isnt inclined to refresh it.

User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2006 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 5:53 PM
Is it possible to block off the area he's been marking? Or put a litter box there?

Diggy box would be good, I've read tans are a handful, I can't imagine having 3. Maybe try some clicker training with them? Stimulate them when they start to dig so they forget about it?

User is Offline Memarie
88 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 6:04 PM
Luna recently started digging and tearing up the carpet (in the same place where my previous bunny liked to dig...). I put a phone book on her "favourite" digging spot and now she tears that up to her hearts content. So maybe try giving them an alternative, such as the diggy box monkeybun suggested?

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14984 posts Send Private Message
9/27/2012 8:52 PM
You really have your hands full. Tans are prob high energy type buns and you've got that x 3 PLUS adolescent ones.

Maybe try some clicker training with them? Stimulate them when they start to dig so they forget about it


Ditto on clicker training. Not just litterbox use but to interact with him, stimulate him. If he gets the hang of it from some exercises, you'll be able to use the click to reward his behaviour when he does choose to get in the litterbox. Positive reinforcement.

It's really hard, but when he marks you have to avoid letting him pick up on your reaction. By the time he's marked, the opportunity to intervene has already past. Any attention he gets at the time (even if negative) could reinforce the behaviour.

I really think its those smart rabbits that can be challenging behaviour wise. By engaging his intelligence (with something like clicker training) I think there's hope.

Gah! I have a bun whose habits have been terrible for 3 years. I need to take my own advice! it all makes sense in my head but....

Regarding all 3, do you have anywhere outdoors you can set up a safe exercise area?
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 11:22 AM
MB -- for the cleaning, we have been using Resolve and last night we steam cleaned and vinegared their WHOLE play area.

I'm going to try the "diggy box" idea and hopefully it works -- giving them somewheres to dig outside their cage that is acceptable. They have soooooo many toys but I guess not much besides their litter boxes to dig in so that could possibly be the solution! When I gave them a phone book though, one of the buns started eating the paper so I'm not really sure what to put in it if he's going to eat it!

Jerseygirl -- we actually don't have anywhere outside to set up an exercise pen since we live in the city. And I'm not sure I would ever be able to take them outside without having a heart attack that a dog may come by and eat them! LOL. We live in a really nice neighborhood here but with the nice neighborhood comes LOTS of dogs, always on the streets with people everywhere.

In regards to clicker training - I've read a little bit about it but don't really understand it. I've thought about it but my buns are so hyper I was always a little ... whats the word... to intimidated to try with them! LOL (total bun slave comment right there). Anyways, do any of you know some good sites/possibly books to get clicker training hints and explanations from?

I'm starting to think you guys are right... clicker training MAY be my answer! I've heard it can do wonders for a rabbit and their behaviors though!
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User is Offline Malp_15
British Columbia, Canada
601 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 12:21 PM
Clicker training may be hard with 3 buns, you will probably need to try and seperate them during training The key with clicker training is to click IMMEDIATELY after the desired behaviour. It seems intimidating now, but really your buns will probably be very easy to train (once you tackle the one-on-one factor). The hyper, troublesome ones are usually very willing to channel their energy into something. I have 1 extremely lazy, chill bun and he wants nothing to do with training. His attitude is that "Mom gives me more than enough good food, why would I get up out of my flop to WORK for treats". Whereas I have another bun who is very energetic, always getting into trouble, and generally being a pain in the butt. He was VERY easy to clicker train. Once he realised that the clicker sound meant yums, then he would do ANYTHING to get it. I don't have much time to work on it, but so far he comes when I call, jumps in my lap, periscopes, and spins on command. It also helps to have the buns FAV treat on hand, Tait's is dried papaya (even more so than craisins)

The BB store has a book on clicker training. This years Rabbits USA has a great article on targetting as well! That's another route you can try instead of a clicker, they have the same principles though. http://store.binkybunny.com/books-c13.aspx3 . I'm at work right now, but there are lots of good sites around explaining it too.

I also try and utilize the dog training principle of "Nothing in Life is Free". So before I give Tait any kind of treat or toy I make him do a "trick" first. Because if you can get good stuff for free, why would you work for it later

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14984 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 10:14 PM
"Mom gives me more than enough good food, why would I get up out of my flop to WORK for treats".

Heh heh!

Tanlover, I know what you mean re confusion. I have ultra basic knowledge of it but know enough that the concept holds promise. I'm too lazy to have applied myself to learn more. I need someone to clickertrain me!

In I nutshell, I suppose it is that the training redirects their energy. And the types of behaviour you want to see they'll be more inclined to do naturally because its being positively reinforced.
Plus it's a good way to bond. Malp has explained better.

If you do choose to try it, I'd start with the boybun you're having the marking issues with. That sounds like priority at the moment. He'll know more what to expect and not show that fear-aggression so much. Fingers crossed.

I'd stick to basics for now and go with book Malp recommended. There are others that go more indepth into the workings of the animal mind but but if you want to get started right away, keep it simple.

Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14984 posts Send Private Message
9/28/2012 10:23 PM
I'm babbling today so here's more. Lol

If you can't turn him around, what about confinement but giving more vertical space for their activity level? I think I saw you have a condo for them. So you could build up so they have room that way but helps contain the mess at home. Doesn't have to be forever.

With the carpet pulling, how about getting seagrass mats and fixing them down (cable ties?) on heavy boards. Pop them over the problem spots. So they can tear at the mats instead.

Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
10588 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 2:36 AM
I agree about the clicker training. It may take longer, and some of your buns may catch on better than the others, but it is really worth it. The book is in the BB store, and here is the website by the author: http://www.clickerbunny.com/
Just reading the website will help you with tips and explanations.

I wouldn't attempt to bring them outside. You need this behavior to accommodate your indoor living situation. I do like a diggy box suggestion, and you can have several if they need to claim each one for their own. Also, a yellow pages is not harmful for the bunny even if eaten a small amount. They usually discover it's not food that they like, so they just rip it up and stop ingesting pages. It is made from soy-based ink, which is safe.

A very simple and direct (and slightly expensive) solution to try is to cover over the rug until they tire of trying to pull it up. You can get linoleum or plastic, but I'm thinking of dropping a low pile area rug like the 4'x5' I got from Target for $20 to make them stop attacking the main carpet.

Also, extra large seagrass mats can cover a lot of space and can be set around the room on top of the spots they dig the most. If you make pulling the carpet harder, and give them rewards for doing something else instead, the combination may change their interests.

Soak up all pee from marking with a paper towel and toss it in the litter pan right away. Don't spray the bunny, but put the pee smelling paper in the litter pan, the bunny in the litter pan, give the bunny a small treat like a raisin and praise him when he is in the pan immediately. Click once and give him a treat if he goes into the pan before you put him there. The idea is to make it worth his while to have soaked pee and himself in the pan.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 5:25 AM
Thanks so much for all the advice everyone!!

Malp_15 -- I figured I'd have to separate them... as soon as one bun gets a treat, I end up getting tackled and mauled by all three until they all get one! LOL. I tried to sneak Fleury (the major marking problem bun) a treat because last night I caught him getting ready to mark and I edged him to his litter box and he hopped in and went. So I gave him a treat immediately after. Which was shocking. But I swear they all have bunny treat radars because the next thing I knew I had 2 buns on top of me, one jumping up my back and trying to hang on and the other grabbing my pant leg with her mouth and pulling. They get major hyper for treats! But we have that issue of Rabbits USA so I'm going to take a look in there also!

Jerseygirl -- I would and we had talked about doing it at one point but their activity levels and need to run just seems so high I'd be really worried of not giving them the exercise they need. They are very active bunnies. I swear, sometimes they don't get out until later at night if we have a really busy day and by that time they are literally tearing their cage down for the need to get out. Shaking and banging on the doors! LOL. And then when they come out they will spend a good half hour doing nothing but high binkies and Bunny 500's around the kitchen table. And then the rest of the time getting into trouble, of course. The breeder we got them from told us that they are so high energy that they need at the very least a half hour a day of being in a wide space to run around and get their energy out.

RabbitPam -- the seagrass mats are a great idea! I may have to convince the boyfriend to get some and try that as an alternative. We usually buy the Oxbow hay mat for them to tear apart in their cage but the last one we bought was gone by the end of the week. LOL. I will give the phone book another shot then. They really did love it. All 3 of them spent a good amount of time attempting to destroy that instead of everything else. It's sooo bittersweet. I love watching how hyper and active they are but booooy is it hard to keep them entertained. Thanks for the last idea with the litter and clicking! I will definitely start doing that immediately so hopefully he will catch on. He's such a great bun but boy -- this litter habit thing has been out of control since his neuter!

Anyways, since my buns are now on limited pellets I was thinking I should probably just use pellets for the "treat" part of it. I worry about using craisins or any type of actual treats because I'm a little worried with him taking time to catch on I may need to use more and I'm paranoid about making him a overweight. I'm definitely going to try with Fleury first (like Jerseygirl said). The more I read about it, the more (like Malp says) I think it would give him something to channel all his energy into. We have 2 boys and a girl and the boys are the most hyper for sure. Sidney (the girl) is just really goofy. But a little skittish but has learned to love us so maybe after I try Fleury and Tanger I could try her and see if it helps our bond! I'm kind of excited for this now!

Thanks for all the help guys!!! I really appreciate all the advice and help with my little terrors!!! I'm looking for clickers as I type this so I can start right away.
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User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14984 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 5:56 AM
And then when they come out they will spend a good half hour doing nothing but high binkies and Bunny 500's around the kitchen table.


Please please film this.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 6:43 AM
My boyfriend has told me a million times I should so maybe I'm gonna have to now so everyone can see just how insane my bratscals are!
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User is Offline FrankieFlash
Michigan
1715 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 6:47 AM
Posted By jerseygirl on 09/29/2012 08:56 AM
And then when they come out they will spend a good half hour doing nothing but high binkies and Bunny 500's around the kitchen table.


Please please film this.

I second this! I hope clicker training helps TL. I want to try it for Bunjamin soon.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
9/29/2012 8:48 AM
Well, I suppose now it's a must!! I promise within the next week I'll post a video so everyone can see his binkies and bunny 500! It's really my black Tan boy who does them like a maniac. He gets hyper. I have another video of him bouncing off the wall! Literally... LOL

Does anyone know any other websites or stores you can get the I-Clicker that is on the BB store? They are all sold out but I put in a notification for when they get more in. I wanna start right away! I saw a ton of dog clickers of the same brand on Amazon but I heard they were louder and I specifically wanted the one on the BB website but couldn't find it anywhere else.

Also, you guys will be glad to hear -- I let the brats out about an hour ago and we herded him towards his litter box immediately AND he hopped in without any trouble and got a treat and then peed! I was so proud of him. I've been making sure we don't over hug him and get excited when he goes. We used to get really excited and pet him while he was peeing -- which I'm thinking now may have made the problem or possibly made it worse? If he felt we were invading his territory while he was trying to go? Who knows but sounds possible?

I'll keep you guys updated on his progress for sure! And post the thread post on here when I post the video of his crazy bunny runs!
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User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14984 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 7:09 AM
Tanlover, I keep meaning to ask you this. Is Fleury the one you discovered had been banded?
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 7:39 AM
Actually, no! Tanger, the chocolate Tan, was the one who was banded! Which btw, he had his annual check-up from the vet and it was fine! Done as okay as could be and healed perfectly. Phew. Thank the Lord.

Update: Fleury has been getting a LOT better about the litter box. Since we've moved it to all Positive, he's been MUCH better. Will still make accidents and we have to watch him like a hawk but he's finally understanding when we say "Fleury Litter!" He's beginning to jump in his box. So hopefully the slow process of him understanding is helping. Still waiting for the BB store to have in I-Clickers! Ugh. Couldn't find that exact one anywhere else! Hmph. And it's helped our bond with him also! He's started being back to his lovable, hanging all over us self!

And the towel on the floor has been helping a lot with the carpet issue. They've been obsessed with digging the heck out of that for a good week, haha. Still attempting to make the diggy box! Looking for a phone book to put in there since they LOVED them before.
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User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 12:39 PM
I actually e-mailed them asking when they might be getting them in and the stuffed lop. One of the BB store personal told me they are expecting them in within the next week or two. So just to give you a heads up and to keep your eyes peeled. =]

User is Offline tanlover14
3419 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 6:23 AM
Thank Goodness! I definitely will! I'm glad you asked -- I even took the brand and make to the local pet store that I get all my stuff from (doesn't sell animals AND has all organic and perfect materials AND willing to order things just for you! LOVE THEM!) and asked them if they would be able to get it either but from the sounds of it it doesn't look like they could order it either! So I've been impatiently waiting for them to come back into stock!
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User is Offline Skipper's Mama
Florida
1252 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 9:39 AM
Me too! Especially the little lop bun stuffy. We're moving in two weeks and the cats aren't coming with us. Skips will be terribly lonely without them. So I'm hoping that the bun will help her. I have been dying though to teach her some simple tricks. Especially coming to her name. She's just too stuborn to listen. Maybe the clicker will help her listen. >.<
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