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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry this is a novel, I've just accumulated a bunch of questions recently!

1.) I've been wondering about leash/harness training. I bought Cheeto a harness when I got him and I tried putting it on him...once. He freaked out and was mad at me for like a week. I felt so guilty, I haven't tried it again. That was like a month ago.
Should I just forget it? (which I'm totally okay with, I just thought he'd enjoy some wandering outside in the spring) or is this common?
I know that you have to get them comfortable with the harness and then the leash and then gradually let them walk you, but my problem is actually getting the thing on him.
It's a reasonable size--one of those that comes with the bungee-leashes, so I don't think that was the problem.

2.) I've recently let him explore under my bed. I cleaned it up, vacuumed, bunny-proofed it, ect. and now it's his favorite place to run around. My only concern is that he's making these loud THUMPing noises and I'm concerned he's hurting himself. Am I being an over-protective mom? It's definitely his back feet thumping (I've seen it) so what do you think that means?

3.) Now comes my food question. I know that these answers are up for debate, but any personal experience is appreciated. So now that Cheeto is 7 months old, I switched him from unlimited pellets (Oxbow Bunny Basics 15/23) to 1/2 cup a day according to his weight on rabbit.org. I still give him the same amount of veggies and unlimited hay, but he seems SO hungry. It's not like puppy-dog "I need all of your food" hungry, it's like "I'M STARVING" hungry. He's growing like a weed and doesn't seem underweight. Is this just something he needs to adjust to? (By the way, I did it gradually, I didn't just stop giving him pellets.)

4.) I'm also having a hard time picking him up. I know that you're not supposed to--he doesn't seem to like it--but I need to know that I can if something happens and I need to pick him up, like in an emergency. Before (when I first got him) I'd pet him nicely and pick him up quick and easily and he actually seemed to like it (purring and falling asleep, ect.; now he's bigger and he knows exactly what I'm about to do. He even nipped me (didn't bite me, but let me know that it was not okay.) I'm new to bunnies--I know how to hold them and pick them up, but I've never owned one before him.

5.) Recently, I put up a playpen blocking my closet doors, so at night Cheeto will be secure in his cage. I had it around a larger area before and it was blocked with cardboard boxes so he couldn't chew on the wire. Obviously, I can't use cardboard boxes now, because he'd have absolutely no space to run around at night. I also don't want to block the pen so he can see out; I would hate to be enclosed like that.
Now here's my problem: he keeps chewing on the cage to be let out. Usually, petting works, and occasionally I'll give him half of his breakfast to keep him occupied, but I don't really enjoy losing so much sleep.
Last night, my brother had to be up at 7, and didn't get to sleep until 6 because of Cheeto's noisiness. I felt really bad because I didn't think he could hear him at all. I experimented and slept in my parent's room, and it's as loud as it is 3 feet away. Also, I hear wire-chewing is bad for his teeth.
I've heard about the bitter apple sprays, but I was wondering if something homemade is an option? What do you use to keep your buns from chewing? Cheeto seems to be a pretty picky guy; even his now-favorite snacks took days of coaxing for him to try, so I think he'll probably be one who stays away from odd scents.
Any suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks to all the replies; I'm new and I just want to make sure that I'm doing everything right!
Again, any suggestions would be great. Thanks!!
 

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1. If it really freaks him out, I would just forget about the harness. You could always bring him outside in a pen (supervised, of course!) or let him hop around a deck/porch/patio. I've done a bit of outdoor training with my boy, but IMO just letting him hop around on the deck is the easiest and most stress-free thing to do, LOL!


2. Does he like to hide under there when he is scared? If something freaks Smudge out, he will hide under my bed and thump until he feels safe enough to come out again. He is just letting you know that he is either a little creeped out by something, or frustrated.


3. Until they are a year old, bunnies need unlimited alfalfa based pellets, alfalfa hay, and their veggies too. He needs all the energy and calories he can get right now, so let me have an many pellets as he wants. Once he is a year old, you can go back to limiting his pellets, and switch the pellets and hay to Timothy instead of alfalfa.


4. Just give it time. :) He should get better about being picked up as he gets older. Also, make sure that being picked up isn't associated with a negative experience... Like, if every time you pick him up you trim his nails for example, he won't want to be picked up because he knows something bad will happen. When he does let you hold him, make sure to give him his favorite treat and lots of loving!


5. Sounds like you have a bored bunny on your hands! Smudge wake me up around 7:00 every morning on the weekends, and if I don't provide him with entertainment then he won't let me go back to sleep! Ahh, the joys of having bunnies in your bedroom. :rolleyes:
Giving him toys to play with and chew on (unpeeled willow is always a favorite!), cardboard to destroy, different types of hay to forage though, ect should help keep him entertained.
Something that I think every bun needs is a Slim Cat ball. They are actually cat toys, but the work for just about any animal. They are these little balls that you put food in, and the have holes in them so your bun has to roll the ball around to get the food out. When Smudge gets annoying, I put him food in his Slim Cat ball and he keeps busy with that until when I wake up. Best $3 I ever spent!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1.) Yeah I agree; and the spring is far away--maybe he'll still hate the harness or maybe he won't. I would think that a play-pen is probably the easiest lol.
2.) Hmm, well he doesn't really get scared of anything anymore. He's kind of fearless lol. He used to get scared a lot at first, but now he'd adapted to everything, so I think he just likes to run around down there. I posted this at another forum as well and they were saying that it's also an attention thing? Like he just wants everybody to hear him. I don't know lol he doesn't seem scared or abnormal, he just looks like he's playing. I just wanted to make sure that he wasn't in pain or anything.
3.) The thing that confuses me is that I've heard that 7 months was the time to switch them, and I've also heard that one year is. Recently, he hasn't really acted hungry, but I'm still concerned. Hmm maybe I'll up the pellets for now and see how he acts.
4.) Yeah every time I've picked him up, I've given him treats and pets and he seemed to enjoy the whole experience---but it's been a while, so he's probably forgotten all about that.
5.) I wish I had a pic of his pen right now; lol you should see it. It's crammed with play things. He has a ton of toys, a couple stuffed animals, and two logs to chew on (and I rotate them,) but he still wants to be let out at all hours. (I'll look into that cat toy though, it sounds like a bunny owner's dream.) I'm pretty sure he sees me and gets jealous that I'm not paying attention to him. Have you heard of vinegar as a method of keeping them from chewing? I'm just nervous to try anything new.

It's funny that they crave schedules; I haven't exactly set him to one so that he doesn't get anxious for food; I do give him his food at certain times during the day, but I'll wait an hour or do it twenty minutes early. I work nights so my schedule is all messed up, and Cheeto's my little alarm clock. I'll go to bed at 6am and he'll prance around his cage to make sure I don't sleep too long. lol.
 

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Thumping can mean a few different things, so if he doesn't seem scared or upset, he probably is just looking for attention LOL.


For the diet, I just checked the HRS site, and they must have changed it? Hmm. I always thought it was unlimited pellets until they were a year, but maybe I'm wrong, because it does say to limit pellets at 7 months now. Just keep doing that I guess... Sorry, it's been a very very long time since I had young bunnies! :rolleyes:


Hmmm, so it's not that he has nothing to do, LOL. I've never used any anti-chewing sprays or anything, so I can't really give you advice on that. Have you tried thinner chewing sticks? Since those are thinner like the bars, maybe he would like them better? Just a thought.
Hopefully some other people will chme in soon. I'm pretty sure that Michelle (Dragonrain) has used some of that anti-chewing spray for her buns... Phooey, I think it's called?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Last night I emailed Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary and asked about the food. They were really helpful and advised that if he seems plump to slowly thin out the pellets, but if he's just growing and isn't looking fat then to keep him on unlimited until he starts to fill out (or until he's a year.) I filled his bowl (man was he excited lol) and he didn't make a noise all night. Hopefully this will last, but that seemed to solve all my problems...so far haha. Thanks for all of your help.
I will continue trying to pick him up occasionally; somebody on another forum accused me of not handling him enough--if they only saw how he has me trained to pet him lol. I think I'll try again when he's a little sleepy. Again, thanks for your help.
 

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No problem. :) I'm glad you found a food/night time solution!
 

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Blek, I have used Phoey bitter apple spray when Acacia was a youngster. I despise it and unless you want to taste it for days after applying it then I suggest something else. Another thing was that once Acacia got past the awful taste she chewed the door and wall anyway she would just eat extra hay afterwards. She really IS the devil. When you spray it, particles are free into the air- YOUR breathing space and somehow everything ends up tasting like it later -_- it's truly gross.

Maybe, like Jess suggested, distract him with toys. Since my city is only super new to road side recycling (I know -_- Backwards much?) I was previously left with re-using old papers and boxes rather then throw in the trash. Every time I emptied a box (oatmeal, crackers, etc. . .) I save the box and fill it with hay and treats and even pellets hidden amongst the hay. That way there's something for bunny to do all day. And it costs nothing!! lol (I'm frugal and love it :p)
 

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Blek, I have used Phoey bitter apple spray when Acacia was a youngster. I despise it and unless you want to taste it for days after applying it then I suggest something else. Another thing was that once Acacia got past the awful taste she chewed the door and wall anyway she would just eat extra hay afterwards. She really IS the devil. When you spray it, particles are free into the air- YOUR breathing space and somehow everything ends up tasting like it later -_- it's truly gross.

Maybe, like Jess suggested, distract him with toys. Since my city is only super new to road side recycling (I know -_- Backwards much?) I was previously left with re-using old papers and boxes rather then throw in the trash. Every time I emptied a box (oatmeal, crackers, etc. . .) I save the box and fill it with hay and treats and even pellets hidden amongst the hay. That way there's something for bunny to do all day. And it costs nothing!! lol (I'm frugal and love it :p)
I agree with this, distracting/redirecting usually works better than negative reinforcement when it comes to rabbits. And honestly, a rabbit determined to chew probably won't even care about the taste--they're stubborn!

Try weaving toys and chews through the bars. Palm shredders (found in the bird section of pet stores), grass mats, and willow work especially well for this. Also try all different chewing textures and flavors. For example, one of my rabbits doesn't chew anything except willow, grape vine, and yucca. I had another who went nuts for cholla wood and another who only liked flavored toys (like fruit flavored wood blocks) and apple branches.
 

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I used Phooey before on wires. In one apartment I lived in for awhile I just couldn't find a good way to keep 100% of the wires out of the rabbits reach. The apartment had plugs in weird spots so we had to use a lot of extension cords and stuff and it was just a mess.

At the time I had one rabbit who was particularly fond of chewing wires, and even though I always kept a close eye on him I was always paranoid that he'd take a nibble out of a wire and get electrocuted.

I covered the wires in wire covers but then as a bit of added protection sprayed the wire covers with Phooey.

It worked, my rabbit hated the taste and left the wires alone after that...but the Phooey stuff is gross. When you spray it it goes into the air and gets all over other stuff. You have to hold your breath while spraying it because if you accidentally breath it in it tastes really nasty and it's hard to get rid of the taste. Then for weeks afterwords you have to be careful not to touch what you sprayed because the spray will get on your hands and it's hard to wash off, if you eat anything with your hands the taste gets on the food. It's really really gross tasting lol.

I would recommend you really only try it as a last resort. Also, my rabbit actually liked the taste of one of the bitter apply sprays I tried. The only one he didn't like was the Phooey, but that stuff was horrible to deal with.
 
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