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Thread: Litter training problems with older bun

  1. #1

    Default Litter training problems with older bun

    Hi,

    My bun has basically decided that litter training doesn't exist anymore and I don't know what to do.

    For context, he's around 6 years old, neutered, we've lived in the same house for a little over 2 years, and he has had free roam of my pretty large kitchen throughout the day for most of that time. He was completely litter trained, peeing only his cage and his litter tray, which he has done for years and is fine with me. He goes into his cage at night, and I let him out first thing in the morning. He has free access to water, hay, and generally a diet that his vet says is fine for him.

    Over the last year or so, he's decided that he's going to pee anywhere he pleases on my floor. I've tried everything I can think of; moving his litter tray, cleaning up the mess and putting the rags in his cage/tray, I mop with odour neutralising cleaners, and I've even reduced his space recently to make it easier, which is something I read can help.

    The vet says there's nothing wrong with his bladder, and honestly it feels behavioural rather than medical or age related. I say this because he often pees on the floor shortly after we put him back down after cuddling for a while (he's a snugglebug who likes grooming us), or he pees if he doesn't get picked up when he wants attention, but he has also peed on my partner a couple of time because he stamped after being put down.

    It definitely feels like a mucky protest to not getting all the attention all the time, but he's always been a solo bun, and my partner and I are often at home at random hours because we've both worked shifts so it's not as if there's been a dramatic shift in the attention he's getting during the lockdown...

    I just don't know what to try to get him litter trained again, but we can't keep mopping puddles off the kitchen floor very couple of hours throughout the day, especially as with our jobs both my partner and I will be going back to work after the lockdown ends. He used to be so good about it as well.

    I'm sorry if that's a bit complicated, I've kind of info dumped!

    If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it!

    ~Inky

  2. #2
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    Hi, and welcome to the forum

    Have you changed the flooring, or made any changes to the cleaning stuff you use? Trying to think of anything that could have triggered it. Have you had any other pets come to visit or live with you?

    Do you have hay in the litter tray, so he can eat and poop and wee in there? Can he get in and out of it easily? Can he fit in it easily? A large shallow underbed storage box makes a good litter tray. You could try using more than one tray, and put it where he goes most often. You could try neutralising where he has done a wee with vinegar/water mixed 50/50.

    Id also get the vet to check him for any mobility issues or urine infections.
    Last edited by Zoobec; 21-11-2020 at 09:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    It might be a dominance thing, but I have no answers sorry.

  4. #4
    Warren Veteran bunny momma's Avatar
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    My Raven does this so I will be interested in solutions.

  5. #5
    New Kit Eloise6's Avatar
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    Sounds a nightmare!

    You may have already checked, but can your bun still get into and out of the litter tray easily now he is older? We have a large seed tray for ours which gives plenty of room.

    If so the only advice I know is the quicker you clean up the pee (and pee smell), the better. Putting the soaked up pee in the litter tray (like the kitchen roll or whatever) can also help if the bun is somehow confused as to where he's supposed to go.

    If it is just naughtiness, my parents used to (very gently) discipline their house rabbit when she acted out, by gently but firmly pressing her head down to the floor (it's a dominance thing) and putting her in her cage for half an hour. It generally cleared up any behavioural issues (chewing up the sofa mainly) and did not do her any harm - she lived until she was almost 11 and was a very binkyish, happy creature who used to lick people fingers after she'd been petted. Obviously for this to work, it has to be done almost straight away so the bun can make the connection. The important caveat here too is that my parent's rabbit was never SCARED of my parents, even when put in time out - just pouty. If a rabbit were scared, it wouldn't be a good tool to use, so depends on the relationship you have.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the advice, Zoobec. He's been using the same litter tray for years with no problems, and nothing in his environment has changed particularly. He pees literally anywhere in the room when it's happening, so short of having full floor litter, there's not a lot I can do with extra trays, but I am definitely going to try the vinegar trick! The vet has said there's nothing physically wrong with him, but if all else fails I'll take him back for another check.
    ~Inky

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the advice Eloise6. He spends a lot of time in his tray and get in and out no problems; he likes to takes naps in there during the day and he often goes to sit there when he's sulking with us. We do put him in his cage for a short time after he pees on the floor, and any rags from cleaning the pee go in his cage with him so he can get the idea. He sulks for maybe 5 minutes after he's let out again, but then he's back to climbing up my legs and demanding to be picked up and cuddled and bullying my partner into playing, so he's definitely not scared or traumatised by it. He's incredibly spoiled and affectionate, and scared of literally nothing.
    ~Inky

  8. #8

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    Hi, I thought I'd give everyone an update!
    The vinegar worked for about a day, and then he started up again as if I'd not bothered.
    He does seem to have improved recently, however! I changed his setup around a little bit, with an open overnight area instead of his closed cage for bedtime. There's a blanket he likes that I've spread over the floor as it's been really cold recently, and like magic he's peed on it once in the last fortnight, and out of his overnight area only once! He's never avoided peeing on the blanket before, so if anything i was expecting this to maybe make the clean up easier, but hey, whatever works!
    Thank you all for your advice!
    ~Inky

  9. #9
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I hope he keeps this good behaviour up!

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