You were so distracted by the cuteness of getting a new rabbit pet that you forgot to notice that they chew a lot, oops! Now that your furniture, carpet, and wires are at risk of getting destroyed and your rabbit is also at the risk of hurting herself from her chewing habits, it becomes more than necessary to do something about this. Before you give up and return her to a shelter, you should read up this post about how to stop your rabbit from chewing because it is packed with ideas that actually work.
Training a rabbit to stop chewing is not altogether difficult, however, it is possible to go about it the wrong way if you don’t know what to do and if that happens you may have to make a decision between the shelter or having damaged furniture. To avoid trial and error, tested ways to train your rabbit will be discussed below to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
How To Stop Your Rabbit From Chewing?
- Verbally reprimanding them, using words like “No”, when they try to chew some household item.
- Removing these items from the Rabbit´s reach.
- Giving them some toy to chew on.
- Rewarding them for chewing on the right things.
- Spraying your items with Rabbit repellant.
We will go more in-depth into these methods further into the article.
Why Do Rabbits like to chew?
Before you jump right into the business of curbing the chewing behavior of your rabbit you may want to know why they chew in the first place. A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing all through their lifetime and to balance this they naturally chew on things that will help wear out the teeth. So you see your rabbit actually needs to chew, it isn’t just trying to ruin your home. Other than it being a natural behavior, a rabbit will chew on anything within its reach when it is bored, this becomes the second reason why a rabbit would chew.
Even rabbits in the wild with different of nature’s activity to attend to will still chew, making more of a natural impulse that a response to boredom. It is why your domesticated rabbit will chew even if it has lived with you from a very young age.
Because they usually get around fast and have quick movements, their chewing can cause damages very quickly. You can have your furniture chamfered along all its edges in just months of having your rabbit pet, you can have your carpet chewed, your upholstery torn and even electric wires chewed. When the instinct comes, they chew on anything they can reach unless it is repulsive to them. Their chewing can not only get harmful to you and your property but can also get harmful to them if they chew on something toxic, which could even lead to fatality.
Because you care about your property and your rabbit you would want to figure out a way to stop it from chewing. The good thing is that rabbit owners have tried different ways and that has brought about success in finding a solution. Since we know that a rabbit’s chewing behavior could either be natural or out of boredom, curbing it will be to train it, to rabbit proof the home and to reduce boredom and keep it busy. These are active steps to take, a passive approach will be to keep things out of reach of the rabbit, however employing this alone will be inadequate as you cannot actually keep everything out of reach from your pet rabbit.
A more effective way them becomes to combine both the passive and active approaches to stop your rabbit from chewing.
Active ways to stop your rabbit from chewing
Training the rabbit: You can train your rabbit not to chew on the wrong things. Just the way you can train other pets like dogs. Irrespective of whether your rabbit is one of the more intelligent breeds or not, they can be trained on what to chew on. Training a rabbit is advised to start early because the younger they are, the easier it is to teach them habits.
What to do:
- To train a rabbit on what to chew and what not to chew on involves being assertive with them. Every time they chew on the wrong things, you should firmly tell them “No” to make them know it is wrong. This trains them not only to avoid chewing on things like that but also to understand the meaning of the word “No”.
- Following that, you should remove them from the area of the wrong object (taking them to their cage for a few minutes before letting them out again or simply relocating them to other parts of the room) or collect it from them.
- You can also give them a toy to chew on instead, this way they learn.
- Rewarding them for chewing on the right things also works. Find out what your rabbit enjoys, could be a head rub and do that to them anytime you find them chewing on the right things.
Consistently doing these will eventually teach them not to chew on that object, this means you need to be patient as effects will be seen with time.
What not to do:
- It is important to clap your hands or snap your finger in an attempt to stop them because rabbits are sensitive to sounds and easily distracted, and by so doing you only distract them from chewing for a few seconds after which they go right back to it. Therefore, clapping or snapping the fingers are counterproductive.
- It is also important not to make use of long phrases, even though it can get frustrating when you catch them in the act and you may feel the need to talk a lot. that will only confuse them as they cannot learn all of that.
- Punishments, like taking the rabbit and locking it in the cage for a while, is only effective when you catch them in the act. If you see the chew marks after they have done it, they will not understand whatever punishment given to them, rather they will be confused.
Simply saying “No”, removing the object from their reach and/or giving them a toy to chew on is enough. You need to be patient, with time your rabbit will learn.
- Providing enough chewing toys for your rabbit: When there is nothing to do or play with, your rabbit will get bored and this can cause them to chew on things. You need to keep them occupied and busy by providing them with toys to play with even when you are not around.
Passive ways to stop your rabbit from chewing
- Keeping things out of reach from the rabbit: While you busy yourself with training your rabbit, it is important to keep things out of the rabbit’s reach. If you didn’t already do this before bringing home your pet, it is never too late. Storing things ins selves or cabinets that can be closed is a good way to keep them away from the rabbit. However, you cannot keep everything away, for instance, you cannot possibly keep your living room chairs away, this is only effective for portable items that you can easily carry and transport elsewhere.
- Spraying your furniture with rabbit repellants: There are repellants that will keep your rabbit away from your furniture. You can spray the items that are susceptible to being chewed with rabbit repellants like bitter lime spray. However, some rabbits have been found not to be repelled by bitter lime spray, in fact, some even love the taste. Also, some repellants may contain toxic chemicals that can harm your rabbit hence be careful of which one you purchase. Unfortunately, you may not be able to spray everything as it may damage the object itself.
- Rabbit-proofing your furniture: Rabbit-proofing your furniture can save you a lot of damage. This involves covering things around the home with more resistant covers like plastic so that when the rabbit bites on them, they hold up and the furniture is safe. You can also put up baby gates to restrict their access. We had several cables from console pads and other appliances chewed by our rabbit, so you have to be careful not leaving cables around if you have your rabbit free. What we did was to have areas in the house with small portable fences for stopping the rabbits from getting into some room, like the living room where we had the TV and other appliances with their cables on the floor or hanging nearby.
As a reminder, it is important to apply both active and passive means to stop your rabbit from chewing rather than using just one.
How do I stop my rabbit from chewing wires?
Rabbit proofing wires by covering them with a plastic conduit will stop the rabbit from chewing on wires. This used together with training the rabbit will stop them from chewing wires.
How do you discipline a rabbit?
You discipline a rabbit by locking it in its cage for some minutes, being assertive and saying “No”, using a rattle and by using a water mister. All of these must only be used when a rabbit is caught in a wrong act, you must also avoid hitting the rabbit or speaking in a loud voice as that will cause fear and result to an aggressive reaction and/or antisocial behavior.
In conclusion, it is possible to stop your rabbit from chewing, it only takes patience with the right training and use of passive means, you will have a bunny you can live with without worry about your furniture.