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Thread: Sofa woes

  1. #1

    Default Sofa woes

    Hello,

    Thank you in advance for any help and advice given, I have been a long time reader of this forum.

    Mildred is a 4 year old dwarf lop who has been neutered. She is generally a very sweet natured rabbit and has never bitten anyone. She has the run of the living room and she has a hutch which has her litter tray in it. Mildred is deaf.

    We moved house about 2 months ago. Since the move Mildred has decided that she owns the sofa and it is one of her new favourite places to sit. My partner and I were lying on the sofa the other day and she hopped onto the sofa and peed on us twice. We cleaned the pee off with bunny safe cleaning product. For the last few weeks every time one of us sits on the sofa she will hop on to the sofa and start nipping our clothing. She is persistent and it is pretty clear she wants us to get off the sofa. As I mentioned before she isn't a biter and I have been dealing with the problem by putting my hand in front of her (she won't bite skin). She will run off and then run back and try and move me again. This goes on for a while and eventually she will give up and I can sit in peace. She is quite clearly angry though and will shake her head in frustration. This is out of character, she hasn't ever shown signs of being territorial before.

    All of the guides I read say that saying no is the best way of getting rid of problem behaviour, since Mildred is deaf this isn't possible and I would really value any advice as I would really like to sit on my sofa in peace. What should I do?

    Thanks again for any help

  2. #2
    Moderator Barn Yard Bunnies's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Default

    No sure what to advise but welcome to the forum. Hopefully someone that has experienced this can help.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barn Yard Bunnies View Post
    No sure what to advise but welcome to the forum. Hopefully someone that has experienced this can help.
    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Young Bun
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    London
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    She needs to understand that it is your sofa and not hers. The peeing is marking territory as the sofa smells like the two of you. We have had similar issues with our housebun and it took MONTHS of reinforcement.
    Some options
    1. Training with positive reinforcement. We have taught Maggie her name and to come when called for a treat (basil leaves are her favourite.) If called she will hop down from sofa for a treat. I guess as Mildred is deaf it could be modified by showing her the treat first gently nudging her off sofa and giving her the treat when she comes down, reducing this to pointing to ground so she jumps off herself reinforcing with a treat.
    2. Physically /gently nudging her off the sofa when she is on it, or picking her up and putting her onto floor/litter tray. May help if there is a litter tray nearby you could put her poops she made on sofa into .
    3. Ensure sofa is cleaned with vinegar to neutralise the smell she has made marking the territory
    4. Last straw may be to ban her from sofa until she is fully stopped marking in the house.

    Overall it is just persistence, we would gently nudge Maggie off the sofa or pick her up and put her into litter tray every time she pooped.

    Hope this helps?
    A

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    IOW
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    17,742

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    I would think the move has confused her as rabbits don't always take changes easily. Also with her being deaf this isn't helping. Maybe restricting her to an area where her litter tray is for a while might re-train her to just use that again as she used to do. Everything must smell different to her in the new home and I have known perfectly litter trained rabbits to "forget" all about it if I have moved them to a different accommodation and it can take them some time to get back into good habits. Good luck.

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