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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 Rabbit peeing and pooping on couch

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    • HanktheBunny
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        Please excuse my venting here.. I’m afraid that I’m having bunny adopter remorse and I’m so conflicted on what to do here… =(

        We just adopted a 4 month old rabbit named Hank last week. I had a rabbit before and none of these problems existed; he did all of his business in the litter tray, never chewed on anything but his toys, was very affectionate, I guess he was the one in a million…but Hank has me so at wit’s end… He is usually good outside of his cage, and he has run off the couch to go to his litter box a few times. But several times now he’s been having fun binkying and running on the couch when he all of the sudden stops and pees and poops on the couch. He also continues to use the front door mat even though I have placed a litter bin in the same area. Basically anything fabric becomes a bathroom to him. 

         Will he ever be trained out of this random bathroom use in the house, or is this something that most people just learn to live with? FTR, he is not yet neutered. I just don’t know if I can live with 10-12 years of untrainable house messing, and I feel so incredibly guilty for saying that. Between the constant chewing, unwillingness to get back into his cage when I have to leave the house or go to bed, and urinating and pooping everywhere… sigh.. On top of this, he shows affection to my fiance but not to me. Kind of frustrating to do all the litter cleaning, feeding, and fabric washing only to watch the little bugger kiss someone else. I know he needs more time to adjust, but I’m just not sure where the line is. If he’s still doing this after one month? Two? I’ve read some people put up with this for two years, but I just can’t do that and I’m afraid I made a really big mistake thinking I could replace Bun E Bun


      • Bam
        Moderator
        16806 posts Send Private Message

          The first step is really to have him neutered. When a rabbit is a little fearful, it will spread its poop and if that doesn’t “help”, they add some urine to make the environment more “safe”. And soon that becomes a habit, and rabbits tend to stick to their habits. So I’d say you’d better not let him on the couch at all, allow him time to get ajusted in his new home without too much space to move about in (big place needs more markings to be “safe”) and have him neutered.

          My rabbit started peeing and pooping on the couch after having been with me for a year. I blocked the couch off with an x-pen-like “fence” when I wasn’t in the room, when I was in the room I pushed him off the couch as soon as he’d jump up – and now, a couple of months later, he seems to have forgotten all about the couch, he doesn’t try to get up there anymore. I also had him neutered.

           


        • HanktheBunny
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            The vet said I can’t get him neutered until 6 months. I have tried to block him off in the eat-in part of the kitchen, but he keeps figuring out how to escape. I guess we have to go buy a baby gate.

            Thanks for the input, bam.


          • Bam
            Moderator
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              Sorry, of course he’s too young still. Really just a baby. Litter-box training is much more difficult with very young rabbits. My rabbit was adult when I found him, that’s probably why he took such a long time to really make himself at home here. There’s no telling what experiences he’s had with people before me, since his former owners just dumped him in the woods I guess they weren’t what you’d call dedicated rabbit-owners.

              Best of luck with your little friend! Since he’s so young he is of course obnoxious at times, like a puppy. You need to be patient and persistent, I think.

               

              I found this info, seems to describe your situation perfectly:

               

              “Older rabbits are easier to train than younger rabbits, especially babies. A rabbit’s attention span and knack for learning increases as they grow up. If you have a baby, stick with it! When rabbits reach the age of 4-6 months, their hormones become active and they usually begin marking their territory. By spaying or neutering your rabbit, he will be more likely to use his litterbox (as well as be much healthier and happier).” http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/litter.html#age


            • Sarita
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                Peeing and pooping on the couch is marking and I suggest you do not let him on the couch – it can happen even after he is neutered. It’s not a matter of litter training but of marking – usually your bed and your couch smell the most like you and rabbits will mark them.

                4 months old is not too young to neuter as long as his testicles have dropped. But beware that once he is neutered his hormones will continue to be whacked out and it can take a few months for him to calm down – that and the fact of his age as well.

                Really at this age too he is not yet ready to free roam so keeping him confined is the best bet – usually an older rabbit who is altered is better at being free roam than a young rabbit.


              • LittlePuffyTail
                Moderator
                18092 posts Send Private Message

                  I agree with Sarita.

                  He’s just a baby and needs boundaries. Bunnies at this age are confused about litter training. Have him neutered asap and gradually give him more space when he improves his habits.

                  It’s really not fair to think negatively of him. He’s just a confused young bunny and he needs patience and understanding.


                • HanktheBunny
                  Participant
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                    Thanks for the help guys. I need to find a better way to keep him within the kitchen, then. He has mastered every contraption I’ve set up to keep him there, and I’m trying to avoid installing a baby gate. Sad that he can’t ever really be on the couch with us. =\


                  • LittlePuffyTail
                    Moderator
                    18092 posts Send Private Message

                      After he’s neutered, try him on the couch again. Once he’s older and not so hormonal, he will most likely be able to be a couch buddy.

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                  Forum BEHAVIOR Rabbit peeing and pooping on couch