Why does my bunny chew my couch and how do I stop it?
Bunnies like to have areas of shelter to move between and spend time resting in and if your couch is in an area where your bunny can play freely then the underneath is somewhere they will want to frequently explore. Unfortunately, bunnies tend to do this exploring by chewing the wooden legs, soft materials and carpet below which can cause quite a lot of damage. These out of sight places can also contain unfinished surfaces with nails or splinters, materials that could cause tummy problems if eaten. It can be especially problematic if they break inside your couch and get stuck.
It's best to make under your couch a no go area to you bunny and the first step to doing this is to use some simple bunny proof measures to simply block this space off. We have lots of advice on this subject you can find elsewhere in our guides. What we want to talk about here is how these natural urges will always drive your bunnies behavior and how best to enrich you bunnies environment with lots of safe and acceptable alternative to offer shelter to satisfy this need. We have lots of suggestions as to the best sorts of tunnels and shelters to choose from as well as how to set these out around your home to get the most from them.
Also, if you do need to usher your bunny out from under your couch or stop them frequently trying to get access to this space we have advice on how to directly discourage this behavior using some gentle discipline. Follow our guidelines on how best to say No! without causing stress which can make things worse.
Using gentle discipline to keep your bunny out from under your couch
It can be very frustrating if your bunny has made it a mission to explore under your couch. Judging the right amount of telling off to usher them out without causing them stress is a fine line. Bunnies are very different from other pets and do not respond well to any sort of punishment, you may find this will even make thing worse. To help get this right follow these simple rules and learn how to give your bunny a clear message you don't want them to do this without leaving them scrabbling for cover or so scared they stop being your friend and even become aggressive with you.
Firstly, for any type of discipline to work you must catch them in the act or any telling of will be wasted as they won't relay understand why they are being punished.
Next, it's important to understand that no matter how frustrating it is you should not overreact, never scare, shout at hit your bunny. As a prey species they have a very strong flight response that can be unpredictable. They can come crashing off a couch and hurt themselves.
When you catch your bunny being naughty the best way to let your bunny know its not allowed to do something with their name followed by a firm NO! If they keep going back its best to lead them away from the situation by giving them something else more fun to do.
A stronger deterrent if this turns into a persistent problem can be to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your bunny, spray a mist of cold water over them. Only use the mist setting as squirting this with a jet ow water can cause harm.
Keep your bunny out from under your couch with these great enritchment ideas
If you want to keep your bunny out from under your couch then it's important to enrich your bunnies environment with lots of safe and acceptable alternative types offer shelter to satisfy these natural urges. Follow our guide to the best types of shelter toys and see how you can best set these out around your home to get the most from them.
Tunnel toys are a great way of making moving around a room a bit more fun. Bunnies like to move around the edge of a room and if you place a bit of shelter along these edges they will make passing through them a regular part of their routine. Cardboard, wicker or willow tubes from a pet store are great for this but just as good can be a cardboard box with a hole cut on each side.
Cloth tunnels are also very useful for adding a bit of shelter in the centre of a room. They are light weight so can be moved about easily and are not something you will worry about tripping over. That are also easy to pack away when not needed.
A cardboard box is a easy way to give your bunny somewhere sheltered to play in that they can get their teeth into. In the wild bunnies go to great length to maintain their habitats by chewing gaps in the undergrowth or nibbling back roots that grow into their burrows and they will enjoy spending hours spending time on and customizing a box to their own ends.
Solid shelters made from wood can also be very useful for giving your bunny somewhere permanent to shelter in. If your bunny has a enclosure it can be good to include one of these in their to give them somewhere super safe they will use to snooze in. These can also make good chew toys and offer an additional dimension to their room if they can jump on top of it when they are felling lively.
Bunny proof check list
Only tell your bunny of when you catch them on your couch or they won't understand why you are being mean to them
Even if you bunny is being naughty never hit or push your bunny off the couch, they have small bones that can be hurt easily
Never shout at or scare your bunny to get them to stop chewing or digging on your couch, they sensitive hearing and stress can make them timid or aggressive towards you
Provide lots of toy hideaways and chew toys to keep your bunny occupied and out of trouble
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts that love to share our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our bunnies environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our bunnies to live in.