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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mariska is doing great, but she has one habit we'd like to curb. She has never ever bitten or nipped us, but sometimes she will hop up to us and kind of pick at our clothing (especially sweatpants and socks). Not only do I have holes in my clothing, but it also can be painful if she accidentally grabs skin. Any ideas why she might be doing this? More importantly, how can we discourage this behavior?
 

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Speckle and Simon do this too!!!! I've been getting kind of scared of this because I know they're not doing it because they want to bite me, but they're trying to chew on my clothes, they often start by making digging motion and then nip on me, it's not fun :( I'd like to know what everyone else says too.
 

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Bitter apple spray that people use for their dogs also works on rabbits too. Push them off and say "no". My rabbit did that at first and eventually he just stopped :/
 

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I have had rabbits before with this problem. I kept a plant mister by my side. When the rabbit was biting, I would squirt the rabbit in the face. This seems to work well, but it doesn't help to squirt the rabbit after the fact, it has to be done while he is biting. Some have told me that this would keep the rabbit from trusting me, but so far, I have found that not to be true.
 

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is a little "special"
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Make a high pitch squealing noise when they do this, walk away a few steps with your back facing them, and ignore them for a few seconds. In "bunny language", it means that they are hurting you and you are upset with them, so they should get the message quickly.
 

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Betta Bomb
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Bitter apple spray that people use for their dogs also works on rabbits too. Push them off and say "no". My rabbit did that at first and eventually he just stopped :/
That bitter apple spray has only ever caused me grief. I used to spray the walls of my old room when I first got Acacia and the particles for the spray are released into the air and you'll never get the taste off your tongue! It's a horrible way to go. Once she got used to the taste, Acacia didn't mind chewing again. I hated it.
I have had rabbits before with this problem. I kept a plant mister by my side. When the rabbit was biting, I would squirt the rabbit in the face. This seems to work well, but it doesn't help to squirt the rabbit after the fact, it has to be done while he is biting. Some have told me that this would keep the rabbit from trusting me, but so far, I have found that not to be true.
I would never squirt my rabbit with water in the face. Sure if it works. But I would not want to even put my fragile trust on the highway. I simply snap my fingers and say "no" when Acacia used to bite me. She used to do it if I was in her way and she wanted to get passed. But now I find with her taking the whole room she doesn't mind walking around me. Using body language is far more effective than using physical means.
 

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Hamm usually does this when he wants attention. I don't find it too bad and will reach down to give him love when he does.

Biting, on the other hand, is something you can stop pretty quickly. Water on the body (not the face!), a loud, high pitched squeal followed by turning yer back and ignoring it, or picking them up for a time out in the cage. I think there's a couple other things you can do but those have always worked for me (including the chewing. But then I give him warnings of 'Oi!' and if he doesn't quit he goes for a time out.).
 

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almost sounds like there doing it because there bord durning out time perhaps try giving them toys to play with when they start to nip push them away say gently no and give them there toys. hopefully that works
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the tips everybody!! I knew some people said to discipline rabbits with a squirt bottle, but I felt bad doing it when I know she isn't trying to bite/nip our skin on purpose. She does have a lot of toys she likes that are out for her during playtime, so I don't think she's doing it because she's bored.
 

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Toys do not necessarily mean stimulation. Having your rabbit involved in a game is more stimulating than leaving toys on the floor. Perhaps you could build him a cardboard box house, nothing perfect (it will be destroyed anyway), maybe make getting his food into a game. I always keep small boxes around like oatmeal boxes or small food boxes, toilet paper tubes work great too. By distracting their boredom with a puzzle, you can virtually eliminate boredom.

Like I said, my bunny nipped if I was sitting in her way in her old pen and many of the bunnies mentioned above might just feel rewarded for nipping. Spraying them with water might break any fragile trust issues with bunny. I would never risk that. Bunnies can nip if they want attention or if they are simply feeling naughty. It could be pent up hormones if they're not fixed and smell another animal or you. Some like to chew fabric and that's simple enough. When they nip tell them "no" and walk away from them. Circling is another un-ideal behavior similar to the non-aggressive nipping.

Before you act harshly and punish him, try to distract him with a game or puzzle. What worked for me early on was I would pick up Acacia's rattle and ask her to "toss it". She caught on and every time she did I would praise her. It almost wiped out her pen-nipping. I just do not agree with negative re-enforcement. Positive has always been best kind for me and my girls.
 

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Slim Cat balls = Love.


Mine has probably saved my a lot of furniture and carpeting, LOL.
 

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Mine was $2 at Fleet Farm!


Smudge is usually pretty nice too it, but some times he picks it up and throws it down like "Pellets, come out NOW!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I guess I don't know if she has toys that are mentally stimulating, but she has several jingly cat balls, a pan with balls of paper she digs in, a few toilet paper rolls she likes to toss around, a plastic bucket with stuff to chew on, a small dog tug rope she flips around, a tunnel, and at least two people to pet and love her :D I would love more suggestions!

A slim cat ball? I've seen those at fleet farm. Do you put treats in them? What do you use?
 

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Your toys sound fine as long as it seems like she is engaging in them. You can use almost anything for bunny toys. Acacia likes rattles. Some bunnies prefer to chew, some bunnies prefer to toss stuffies. It really depends on bunny. But as long as there are things for them to do, and lots of safe things to chew they should be fine. And yes, drop some pellets in there and watch bunny's distraction as she tries to get all the pieces out!
 
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