Why does my bunny chew my doors and how do I stop it?
There are many reasons why your bunny may be chewing at your door and door frames. It could be they like to chew on soft wood to help wear down their teeth, they may be bored and want you to let them into the next room or they could be looking for food.
What ever the reason it can be very frustrating if your bunny is waking you up in the morning chewing the door frame or chewing the door to a kitchen looking for food.
Unfortunately no matter how many times you say No! it's unlikely you will be able to deter your bunny from these basic natural instincts. The only way to stop this unwanted but natural behavior is to to understanding the reason why it's happening so you can change a few things to stop it.
In this article we give examples of these different types of bad behavior that builds up and give you some suggestions on what to do to stop it.
We also have suggestions to appropriate discipline to help gently guide your bunny as well as enrichment ideas that will act as a tasty or fun distraction to keep them out of trouble.
Some of the reasons behind your bunny chewing their door or door frame
The main reason for a bunny to chew and scratch at a door is because they are bored. Bunnies are sociable creatures and if they think they are missing out on something, especially if they can hear you through the door, they will happily chew away at the door till something happens.
There are two ways to help with this problem, the first is to provide them with lots of toys to keep them occupied. Toys where they can forage for food are good like Puzzle toys or chew toys. You don't have to spend any money either as cardboard boxes are a great distraction toy, your bunny will love making noise by tearing ribbons of paper off the side or perforating the edges with their front teeth. If you leave it out near the door your bunny will diffidently take an interest and hopefully spend time customizing this and leave the door alone.
The second way to stop your bunny getting bored is simply to make sure you are spending enough time with them either roaming in a room with you sharing their company or with you in their enclosure. It is recommended that you spend a minimum of 1-2 hours a day with your bunny so you should set this time aside.
Another reason your bunny may be chewing or scratching at a door is because it's a way to get your attention and food. This is why you should not try and keep your bunny quiet by giving then treats. It's important to recognize this behavior in yourself and to break this habit as you will end up making thing worse by teaching your bunny to be naughty.
Make sure your bunny has lots of chew toys to stop them chewing at their door or door frame
Lastly its worth checking that your bunny is getting a plentiful supply of hay and other things to chew as they may be eating your doors because to them, they are food. A bunny on a good diet should be eating a stack of hay at least as big as them and they should also have lots of other interesting things to forage on. Make sure they always have fresh hay.
Always give your bunny a good supply of chew toys that they can munch instead of the door. Willow balls and chew mats will always be more fun to chew then the door itself and will help give your bunny their quota of fiber and help wear down their teeth. Make sure you change them out regularly to keep them interesting.
How to use gentle discipline to help stop your bunny chewing your door or door frames
If you have tried everything then you may want to use some gentle discipline but no matter how frustrated you become it important to understand that if you scare or behave harshly towards your bunny you could make the problem worse, causing them to become timid or even aggressive towards you. Follow these examples and learn to offer gentle guidance.
Only use discipline when you catch your bunny in the act or any telling off will be wasted.
The best way to let your bunny know it's not allowed to do something is by saying their name followed by a firm NO! If they keep going back to it then lead them away from the situation and play with then and some other chew toys to re-enforce good behaviour.
A stronger deterrent can be to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your bunny in the act spray a mist of cold water over them. Never squirt or spray water directly at them.
Bunny proof check list
Make sure your bunny has lots of chew toys as an acceptable alternative
Even if you bunny is being naughty, never hit or shove your bunny away as they can be hurt very easily
Never shout at or scare your bunny to get them to stop chewing something they shouldn't. Stress can make them antisocial towards you
Don't keep your bunny quiet with treats, you may be teaching them bad behaviour
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny proofing group!
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