How to stop your bunny peeing on your couch or bed
How to stop your bunny peeing on your couch or bed
When you share you home with a house bunny it can also means sharing access to your bed or couch. Most of the time this doesn't cause any problems till that one time when out of nowhere your bunny decides it's their new litter tray. When this habit starts it can be hard to stop and can eventually become incredibly frustrating, spoiling the time you spend together. In this guide we run through most of the common causes and solutions to this problem. We have tips from bunny moms have fixed this problem so you can learn how to get thing back to normal.
Don't encourage problems
Avoid giving your bunny food, especially treats in on your bed or couch. It can be fun when they are mugging you for snacks however the more they fell they need to compete for food in an area the more likely it is they will want to mark this territory as their own so its important not to encourage this. Bunnies also tend to like to go to the toilet where they eat so you want to avoid any association between feeding and pooping and peeing.
If your bunny is very comfortable or is being given a consent supply of cuddles or treats on your bed or couch they may decide that rather than going to their litter tray they will simply go to the toilet where they are. They go to the toilet frequently so It's important for you to recognize when they will probably need to do this and break away from what you are doing and literally lead then to their litter tray before it's too late. Some of the signs that your bunny is getting ready to go to the toilet is they will become fidgety, often grooming themselves, they may start to try and get to a corner position backing themselves into the corner. However, this may not always be the case and they will simply pee where they are sitting!
Controlling your bunnies territorial behaviour
Bunnies like most pets want to establish their place in our homes, they are territorial when it comes to competing for the things they want and one of the ways they will establish their place on the couch or bed is by marking it with their sent. This can just be a few chin rubs however they will often go a bit further and use this area as a toilet to really establish their place there. This can be especially true if you have not had your bunny spayed or neutered as they will have stronger instincts and drives around this behavior.
If they do jump up on the bed or couch with you on it don't let them get in between you or someone else. Also avoid letting them jump about on you or on the back of the couch as this dominating behavior is likely to be a part of them trying to compete with you which could lead to them trying to mark a spot you are in. Instead encourage them to sit calmly in a space to the side of your bed or couch that they can establish as theirs then don't invade this space. If they become frigidity, kick them off for a bit, then let them try again calmly. After a while they should feel comfortable enough to spend time in this space without marking it by peeing there. Some bunny owners have said they have had success by letting their bunny have towel they are allowed to sit on that they don't clean, including if their bunny has peed on it. The idea is if you give your bunny its own spot it will lose its urge to keep marking it.
Where the vets may help
In a lot of cases people find that having their bunnies spayed or neutered can reduce the problems with unwanted toilet behaviour and we recommend this for these as well as other reasons.
If your bunny has suddenly started peeing on your couch or bed for the first time after many years of not doing this it's worth checking if this problem is being caused by restricted mobility which can come with age or a health problem. If you think this is the case its worth asking a Vet specializing in exotic pet who will be able to advise you. If it is the case, then you want to help you bunny to get on and off your bed or couch to make getting to the litter tray more easier.
What to do if you catch your bunny peeing on your bed or couch
If you catch your bunny peeing on your couch or bed it can feel like a real disappointment having to spend time cleaning things up instead of spending time playing with your bunny. However, it's also the best time to be cool headed and take steps to send a clear message to your bunny that this is bad behavior. In this simple guide we show you how to avoid this frustration and teach your bunny to share your home.
The first this to recognise is you should only tell your bunny off if you catch them in the act. If your leave it till your bunny has jumped away then telling them off will be wasted as they will not remember what they have done and why you are chastising them.
If you do catch you peeing or pooping on your couch or bed it's important not to overreact. Never shout loudly or clap aggressively at your bunny, they have sensitive hearing and this could cause them a lot of stress. Never hit or forcefully remove your bunny, unlike cats and dogs they simply will not understand this type of discipline and its unlikely to deter them, physical punishment could even cause harm if they bolt and fall and over time if can make them timid or even aggressive towards you.
Instead say their name and NO! in a firm voice, even repeating this a few times. If your bunny is used to being picked up, then scoop them up or if not usher the into their pen or an area where they cannot come back into the room.
When your bunny is safely out the way you will then need to clean up and make sure you remove any scent where the accident happened or your bunny will want to keep going back to this spot and add to it. If it's just some poops then toss these in the litter try and give the surface a quick spray with some fabric freshener. If it's a pee stain then it's important to wash any covers that can be removed and soak out any moisture and again treat surfaces with a fabric freshener.
If your bunny keeps repeating this behavior then a stronger way of breaking this bad habit is to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your bunny in the act spray a mist of cold water over them.
An unusual way so stop peeing accidents that works for some people is to use some voice commands. You can start this by noticing when your bunny on the litter tray repeat a key word like to them like 'Wee Wee, Wee Wee'. Then if you think your bunny needs the litter tray next time you lead them to it repeat the words again along the way. This will help your bunny understand what it is you are doing different to other activities. Given enough time and practice this voice command can even be given to your bunny as an instruction and if they need the toilet you will find they will often trot off on their own.
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny proofing group!
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