As the previous owner of several lovable bunnies who provided years of unforgettable joy, I also remember some of the less enjoyable moments, namely the destructive phase. Although I always owned one bunny at a time, there was always an initial destructive period I had to deal with. My rabbit would explore the house, not just with his eyes and nose, but also with his teeth. I remember the teeth marks in the wooden table legs to this day. Here are some things I did to stop the destructive behavior.
A Nasty Taste
When I first caught my rabbit nibbling on the legs of the table, I blocked his access to the room with a baby gate. Then I went to the local pet store for advice. They told me to try a taste repellent. I was to spray the repellent on the table legs and the nasty taste of the spray was supposed to deter my rabbit. I was supposed to reapply the spray regularly to ensure its effectiveness. After using the spray, I was disappointed to find that my rabbit didn’t seem bothered by its taste. This might have been a rare occasion, because the rabbit I owned after this one, did stay away from areas that I sprayed with commercial repellent.
A Quick Shower
To teach my rabbit that he table legs were off-limits, I armed myself with a water-filled spray bottle. I would watch him closely as he hopped around the room. When he got near the table leg and tried to put his teeth on it, I instantly sprayed him with water. This method doesn’t just work on cats and dogs, it also proved effective with rabbits. The sudden squirt of water startles the rabbit, and if done consistently, he’ll associate it with nibbling on the table let. He might just leave the table alone, just to prevent the unpleasant shower.
Use Loud Noise
Rabbits are quite sketchy and easily startled. You can use this when trying to teach them right from wrong. Because I didn’t carry around a water bottle 24/7, quick thinking was essential to safe my furniture. When I caught my rabbit chewing items that were off-limits, I would clap my hands loudly and say “Na-ah.” This would startle him just enough to get him to stop misbehaving.
Redirect Your Rabbit
To teach a rabbit right from wrong, you can’t just teach him what not to do, you must also show him what he can do. After each correction I gave my rabbit, I would show him a chew stick or chew toy, or I would pick him up and redirect him to his digging box, which was just a cardboard box with shredded newspaper in it. When he used to alternative items, I would praise him lavishly to reinforce his good behavior. Although correcting undesired behaviors in rabbits does require some patience, with consistency you can get the job done just like I did.