How To Litter Train Two Or More Rabbits
Reader asks: How do i litter train 2 rabbits who have chosen different areas as their toilet space? I have 2 new 12wk rabbits that im trying to house train. In their cage 1 rabbit has chosen a corner in the bedroom as his toilet, the other has chosen a corner in the living area.I have put the litter tray over the chosen space in the living area and change the bedding every day to try to encourage him to change is area and use the litter tray. I don't know what else to do.
Bunniez answers: Here's the problem you're experiencing. You don't actually litter train or housebreak rabbits. In fact, though we keep referring to the process by which we get rabbits to pee in litter boxes as 'litter training' what it really is is simply 'putting a litter box where the bunny wants to go.'
When we housebreak other animals, we teach them where it is and is not appropriate to pee and poop. This is not what we do with rabbits. A rabbit doesn't care where you think it should toilet, it goes where it wants to. Fortunately for owners, rabbits usually pick just one spot. It's your responsibility as an owner to simply provide two litter trays if you have two rabbits, because two rabbits quite often pick two different places to toilet.
So long story short, stop trying to convince your rabbit to toilet where the other one does. If he doesn't want to, it's not going to happen, ever. Even if you purchase a gold lined litter box and bribe the bunny with millions of dollars, it's going to pee where it has decided the right place to pee is.
Though rabbits are very smart animals, they are also very independent and very stuck in their ways. They behave the way they behave and it is up to owners to make sure that their environments won't be destroyed by their behavior. In some cases, an unfortunate owner lets a rabbit run around the house too soon and the bunny decides to pee on the couch or some other place. Not realizing how rabbits work, the owner doesn't realize that this is now likely to become a regular occurrence and chases the rabbit away and scolds it, then becomes frustrated when the rabbit returns to pee on the couch later.
Scolding bunnies is a waste of time. Rabbits don't care if you scold them, all that will come of that is that they will possibly become fearful and aggressive. You can offer positive reinforcement in the way of treats or head rubs if your bunny likes that sort of thing, but don't expect treats to overcome powerful instinctive behavior.
Rabbits are by nature very clean, but let them be clean in their own way. If you don't want them toileting somewhere, make it so they can't get to their chosen toilet space. But be aware, even if they can't get to their usual toilet spot, the likelihood that these two bunnies will choose to share a toilet is not all that high.