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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum BEHAVIOR Litter box training advice needed/appreciated!

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    • ErinF
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        Hello! I am a new bunny owner and any guidance would be much appreciated. I brought home a male bunny a little over two weeks ago, then just over three months old. He’s about 95% on using his litter box within his cage. When I’m home/awake, he also has access to a small space outside his cage. My plan was to gradually keep expanding that space, and restrict it back down if his litter box use started to suffer, but he’s pooping consistently in the space and sometimes peeing – he’s not really successful in any size space if it’s outside his cage. He is more likely to drop a poop or two throughout the space, which I assume is marking behavior, and less often has what I consider actual bathroom incidents (which are happening around the same general area). In either case I’m cleaning up immediately after they happen, but he’s not getting the memo. Should I be ushering him to his litter box any time this happens and restricting his access to the larger space for a few minutes? Would adding a second litter box outside his cage help? Would doing so risk confusing him in the future and send the message he doesn’t need to return to his cage to toilet? Should I just give him more time to feel comfortable outside the confines of his cage, and maybe the marking behavior will stop? I know things could get a lot worse in the coming couple of months and change after he’s neutered, but want to be sure I’m not making things worse/confusing on my end!


      • Bam
        Moderator
        16929 posts Send Private Message

          It’s good if you can catch him “in the act” and put him in the box. Adding another litterbox could lead to him choosing that one over the cage one, but I still think it could be a good idea. My bun has 3 litterboxes around the apartment, but she has one that she favors.

          He could very well be marking outside the cage just because it is outside the cage.

          Its very good that you’ve got him 95% on the box in his cage. Even if his hormones might make him “forget” his good toileting habits, if he has the habit down, it’ll be easier once he’s neutered and doesnt feel that strong urge to pee-and poop mark.

          My bun was restricted to 6 square meters her first 1-2 months with me, after that I could let her free roam. But the time needed of course varies between individuals.


        • DanaNM
          Moderator
          9038 posts Send Private Message

            Is his litter box easy to jump into and “enticing”? I suspect that this is mostly because he isn’t neutered yet, but you can encourage him to use his box my making it “appealing”. Carefresh litter is really popular for litter training because it’s soft. Adding a nice fluffy hay layer on top and only providing hay in the litter boxes also helps (many of my buns will pee/poop anywhere they are eating hay). Making sure the box has low enough sides to encourage him to jump in easily is also helpful.

            Some buns become associated with a particular spot, others will go where every the box is… and most are probably a little of both. So if you notice he always pees in a particular spot, adding a box there will help.

            I would add another box in the room he gets to free roam in, and for now you might just want to put down some pee pads in other areas to help with your sanity before he’s neutered.

            Ushering him to the box after the fact probably won’t help. One thing you can try is to lead him to his box routinely during play time and reward him with a small treat (such as a pellet) if he uses it.. but honestly I would probably just try to get him neutered as soon as he’s old enough (4 months or as soon as his testicles descend).

            . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


          • ErinF
            Participant
            14 posts Send Private Message

              Thank you so much for your time and thoughts! I’m going to try adding a second box, and if that doesn’t seem to be working after a few days, try potty breaks/rewards. I scheduled his consultation for neutering this morning, so we’ll be ready to roll when the time comes. Thanks again!


            • ErinF
              Participant
              14 posts Send Private Message

                Update: adding a second litter box helped SIGNIFICANTLY! At least for now 🙂 thanks!


              • DanaNM
                Moderator
                9038 posts Send Private Message

                  that’s great! thanks for the update!

                  . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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              Forum BEHAVIOR Litter box training advice needed/appreciated!