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Home Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Problems with Litterbox Training

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    • Lily
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      I’ve been trying to litter train my rabbit for the past few months now but nothin sems to be working. He will poop inside his litterbox, but he doesn’t seem to go out of his way to retreat there when he needs to go. Instead he’ll just poop wherever he is in the moment, scattering poop and pee wherever he pleases. There isn’t any specific corner he goes in, he just poops & urinates whenever he feels the need to do so. I have been picking up his poops and putting them in his litter box and soaking his pee with a tissue and also putting it in the box. He doesn’t seem to get it.. I removed his scent from the floor with some vinegar and water solution s his scent shouldn’t be a problem. Usually this is behavioral, but he was spayed when he was younger. I’ve tried different types of litter and litter boxes and I’m unsure of what to do.


    • Kddubya
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      Hi Lily, the fact that he is doing this all over the house sounds like he is trying to be territorial (saying this is his house). Perhaps try showing him who is boss and dominance by getting on the floor next to him eye level and push down on his head and shoulders with your hand, not hard but enough to hold him there for a few seconds. I would try this each time you catch him going to the bathroom outside of his cage/play pen.


    • Harley&Thumper
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      I would not go with Kddubya’s suggestion. That seems like a great way to teach your rabbit to be afraid of you. You might have better luck with adding a second litter box.


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      Please don’t do that to him, that will teach him to fear you not to stop going to the bathroom all over the place. There is no dominance hierarchy between bunnies and humans.

      Can you give us more information? How many litter boxes do you have when he’s roaming? Do you have hay in each litter box to entice him to go in the litter box? Has he ever been litter box trained and this only developed a few months ago?

      If this has only developed a few months ago, a vet visit could be worth while, as poorly buns can toss litter box habits out of the window. If he’s never been litter boxed trained, a good idea is to have multiple litter boxes, yes its a pain, however he’s more likely to go in at least one of them, especially if he associates his enclosure with no more roaming time. It’s also a good idea to put hay in the litter boxes. This not only encourages hay consumption, but also encourages him to go in the litter box, as most buns do prefer to eat/poop at the same time.


    • Doodler
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      Sorry you are having litter training troubles. I know it’s not fun.

      I would agree that physical punishment is not the way to resolve this. It can cause trust to be lost and probabably won’t be effective.

      edited just to say I would try multiple litter boxes and limited area.


    • Lily
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      He has two litterboxes in his cage and three when he is roaming. 


    • JLH
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      what are you using for litter? I use a soft white recycled absorbent paper from the pet store, bunnies love a soft place to pee and poop, I put a layer of the soft absorbent paper in the box and then a layer of hay. Do not use cat litter!


    • Doodler
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      Sorry for my abrupt edit on my last post but I noticed other people responded at the same time. It was originally much longer.

      When you catch him going where he shouldn’t what do you do? Have you tried any positive reinforcement when he goes where he should?

      I found what worked best for my one buck that was a little more difficult is to make it as appealing as possible for him to be in his litter box. I hung his hay and water over the box so he had to be in the box to eat or drink. It made it more of a habit for him to use the box instead of going elsewhere.


    • Lily
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      I use a paper based bedding for his litterbox, and add lots of hay to encourage him to go in there.
      When I see him going somewhere he shouldn’t, I move the poop into the litterbox and remove the scent from the surface using a mixture of vinegar and water. The times he does this the most often is when he’s more hormonal. Do you think it is possible to have failed neuter in rabbits? I keep thinking this may be a territorial issue developed by hormones. He will circle around me and honk/nip at my feet and that’s usually when he starts pooping on the floor. I brought this up to my vet and she said it’s normal for older rabbits to be sexually aggressive, and the surgery she did was successful. But it feels like he acts like an unfixed male rabbit. Maybe this is more common than I think, but it’s very excessive. She said it was a boredom issue and I’ve done everything I can to enrich him and entertain him, but it doesn’t change his behavior and I’ve increased his space by a lot. Nothing changed I did eventually get him a “girlfriend” (stuffed animal) for him to hump. Recently it got really gross and I had to throw it out, now he’s targeting me again. Sorry for rambling about his hormonal issues, but I’ve considered them being related. I would try bringing him to another vet but there’s no other ones that work with rabbits in my area..


    • JLH
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      well it’s too bad there isn’t another vet around, after your story about the stuffed toy animal I would have to say he was not neutered correctly, but I’m no doctor. But I do know it has failed in grown men. I worked with a guy years ago that had to have the surgery performed 3 times due to failure, so it’s possible.


    • Doodler
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      I have been definitely leaning towards a neuter issue or a medical issue that has caused his hormones to be off. The issues that you describe sound like a rabbit that isn’t neutered. In the post I mostly deleted I was going to ask how old he was when he was neutered.

      My buck will sometimes circle me or follow my doe and honk very quietly. He only does this when he’s excited about something, like pellets coming, and he never poops while he does it. The additional info you just provided gives more indication that it’s not just a training issue.


    • Lily
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      I don’t know exactly how old he was when he was neutered, but it was approximately around 4-6 months? I’m not certain. Would he be too old for another surgery?
      What should I tell my vet, since she’s insisting that it’s just natural behavior? I forgot to mention this, but when his penis is very visible when he’s circling me too.

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