LITTER BOX TRAINING YOUR RABBIT

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Rabbits can be easily litter box trained. You want to start by having your rabbit spayed or neutered. This will help with the process. When a rabbit is about 4 months old, he will begin to mark his territory. Having him fixed will help curb this behavior. After your rabbit has been neutered, you are ready to begin litter box training.

Fill a large litter box with rabbit safe litter, such as Carefresh or Yesterday's News and pile hay on top. Clay or clumping litters for cats are dangerous to bunnies. Pine, cedar or other aromatic wood shavings can also be harmful. It is best to use a simple paper based, recyclable litter. Rabbits like to graze and poop at the same time so keeping hay in the litter box gets them used to it and to eat more hay.

Rabbits naturally choose one or two places to deposit their waste. Placing a litter box in their chosen spot(s) is sometimes all it will take. They usually prefer to go in a corner. Start by placing a box in a corner of the cage. If your rabbit urinates in another corner, move the litter box there. It can help to add a tasty treat, such as a handful of hay, to the box giving your rabbit more of an incentive to get in. Once she is using her litter box regularly in her cage, which may take a few days to a few weeks, open the cage and let your rabbit have more room to roam. You can add more litter boxes as you gradually expand your rabbit's running space, then take some of them away later on once your rabbit is trained in that area.

It's important not to rush this process. Keep an eye on your rabbit at first so you can correct behavior. If your rabbit heads to a corner where you haven't placed a litter box or lifts her tail indicating she's about to urinate, make a loud noise like a buzzer. Gently herd her toward her litter box without picking her up. Don't act like you are punishing her. You don't ever want your rabbit to view the litter box as punishment. The first time your rabbit uses the litter box, praise her and give her a treat. After she uses the litter box in her room a few times, you will know that she is well on her way to making it a habit. It's helpful to get your rabbit into a daily routine. They are very habitual and prefer sticking to a routine.

Be aware that all rabbits drop pills around their cages to mark their territory. This doesn't mean that they are failing to litter train. Your rabbit needs to identify the cage as her property so that when she leaves the cage to explore your house, she will be able to distinguish between your area and her own. She will then avoid marking your house. Some rabbits like to kick their litter out of their box. If your rabbit appears to enjoy this, buying a covered litter box will solve this problem. It will also help if your rabbit backs up so far in the litter box that her urine goes over the edge. By placing a cover on the box, you will be able to keep the urine inside. If a few pills end up just outside the litter box as you are beginning to train your rabbit, put them in the box to help her.

Remember to change your rabbit's litter every day to ensure a clean, fresh box. This will encourage her to continue to use her litter box instead of heading for cleaner places, like your carpet, to eliminate. Patience is key in litter box training. Younger rabbits may take longer to train than older ones. It is worth the time and effort you put in so that your rabbit can enjoy her freedom and you can enjoy a closer, more bonded relationship with your pet.