Bar Chewing

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Bar Chewing

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Aizui » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:42 pm

Moe has gotten into this habit of biting/chewing his cage bars! I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to train a rabbit to stop this bad behavior. Right now I have toys across the bars to keep him occupied and they work to an extent; until he moves to a portion that isn't covered with toys. My theory is that he's doing for attention. He stops when I come over (most of the time) and lifts himself up to be pet/let out of his cage. Is there a better way to get his point across without being destructive? I let him out daily and he has plenty of chews in his cage.

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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:12 pm

There are few things more enticing for chewing than a fresh branch from a safe species of tree. Since you have not added your location to your profile, it is impossible to advise you of safe trees in your area.
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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:52 pm

It sounds as if your rabbit has things in his cage to keep him occupied and things to chew to wear down his teeth. So he is probably not doing this out of boredom or the need to gnaw on something.

You are probably right; your rabbit is conditioned (and to a certain extent you are too) to get your attention this way. Especially so if you notice that he doesn't try chewing things outside of his cage. If you want him to stop doing this, then you could try not coming over when you hear him rattling his bars. It is very difficult to train an animal to "not" do something. (e.g., you can't really train a dog to not bark and jump when someone is at the door, but you could train it to do something specific like to go to a certain spot in the house when someone is at the door)

So either could either deny the positive result of his action (you coming over and giving attention) or introduce a negative consequence to his actions (coating the bars with a bad tasting substance, perhaps lightly spraying with a water bottle, or a loud NO!). I personally would just stop coming over and hope that eventually he may unlearn the behavior.

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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:06 pm

I agree... Moe has got you trained good.....

put some hot sauce on the bars
Give him a bell.
Pet him when he rings it.
That way he won't chew the bars.

You will be his bell slave.... but he won't chew the bars any more.....
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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#5  Unread postby shazza » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:34 pm

i've found the best way to stop an animal from doing something for attention is to totally ignore it. that's how you train a dog not to jump on people when they come in the door - tell everyone who visits to totally ignore him and eventually he realizes that's super boring and he move on to something else. my cats used to howl at the bedroom door in the mornings too, and i did the same thing. the sound drove me crazy, but they learned that howling didn't get me up and pouring food in their bowls. it only took a couple days before they got it.

training to use a bell for attention or something is fine as a distraction, but then you're just going to get him constantly ringing the bell. not as destructive as bar chewing, but still pretty obnoxious and you're still conditioning him that making noise = attention. i say just ignore him. randomly give him treats or pets when he's chilling and being still and quiet. i don't think he's lacking in entertainment, maybe just feeling a little needy and knowing he'll get what he wants when he chews. just make sure he's not going to break his teeth or anything on the bars. he should get the picture quickly though so you shouldn't have to really worry about it that much.

i've found with animals that negative correction like spraying with a bottle doesn't really work that well as they either become afraid of YOU, because you are the one making them uncomfortable, or they realize that they can do what they like as long as you aren't in the room to spray them. that's why people famously are surprised when they find their cats on the counters while they're at work.
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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Sireenica » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:52 pm

You could use barchewing as a cue to leave the room, so chew bars object if wanted attention leaves. Pair that with the bell idea an I bet he'll learn fast

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Re: Bar Chewing

Post Number:#7  Unread postby olafthebunny » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:46 am

I have the same problem with my rabbit. This was very helpful to me as well! I hope Moe stops ( and Olaf too!) or we'll have to become their bell slaves. Gotta go get the hot sauce... :lol: I'm not to bothered with him chewing the bars. The only time he does it is when I am waking up and he wants he pellets ASAP. But I can't get them ASAP so he has to wait. That's when he chews the bars.
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