Friday, November 6, 2009

Litter Training and Bottle Training

Litter Training
This process is a little different then a cat's litter box. With a rabbit, they choose which corner they decide to go in. To make litter training a rabbit a little easier, here are a few steps.

1: Choose a litter box style. I prefer the scatterless version. The litter lasts longer and my rabbits aren't sitting in their wastes. Be careful with the scatterless if your rabbit has a history of sore hocks.
Regular animal litter box.
Scatterless Litter box. I prefer these.

2: Choose your litter. For a rabbit there is only one choice. Carefresh. Since I am cheap, I go for the grey stuff. Rabbits aren't picky.

3: Decide how you want to place/hang hay around the litterbox. Rabbits like to eat while on the pot. This will help the process along.

4: Place litterboxes in a few corners. I normally put them in three corners when I bring the rabbit home.

5: Positive reinforcement. When the rabbit "goes" in the litterboxes, give them a treat. Dried cranberries, dried banana chips, etc.

6: Gradually reduce the number of litterboxes.

7: If the rabbit is not altered be prepared for them to "mark" towels or rugs you place in their cage.

8: Set your rabbit up for success. They will do what they want. If they don't like a litterbox in the corner, they will move it. They also decide when to switch corners for whatever reason if they aren't altered. This can be a frustrating thing to deal with.

9: Rabbits are all different. Some are more prone to litter boxes then others and litter training might take longer.

10: If you are going to give your rabbit free range of your apartment, slowly add more space that they are able to roam. Start them in a cage for a week with supervised time out. Open the cage and give them range of a room. The rabbit needs to remember where the litterbox is so don't go too fast when adding more room. Rabbits are creatures of habit and are a bit OCD. As long as they know where the litterbox is, they will go there most of the time.

Bottle Training

This is actually easier then it seems. When I bring a foster rabbit home I place the bottle somewhere that might be comfortable for them to reach. (Should be about head height when they are sitting.) I give them a crock of water for a day or two. Then I remove the water crock before going to bed. This gets them a little thirsty in the morning. When I wake up I take a dried cranberry and place it in front of the bottle spout. When the rabbit tries to take the cranberry, take it away for a second, and tap on the ball at the end of water bottle. I place my finger in front of the rabbit now that my finger is wet, smells like cranberries, and they are thirsty. I repeat this process a few times. If the rabbit doesn't catch on at first, I put a crock of water back in the cage and remove it before bed again. I work on it the next day.

I have yet to have a rabbit take more then 3 days to learn to drink from a bottle this way.

No comments: