Expand To Show Full Article
Why do dwarf rabbits gnaw and dig?

Why does the dwarf rabbit gnaw and dig?

The first thing we think when we catch our rabbit chewing on our new carpet or digging the parquet is “No! Stop!” Some of us instinctively make a loud noise like clapping or moving something heavy to distract and get its attention.

 

The problem with this method, however, is at the root. The rabbit will only be distracted momentarily from chewing the carpet or digging. And especially, it is not certain that it will associate the noise with the mistake. This technique, therefore, does not teach it not to perform that action and in the long run, it will be ineffective.

Training your rabbit: what not to do

Every now and then it happens to everyone, especially at first, to be fascinated by the sweet behaviors of the new companion at home. However, it also happens to completely surrender to their destructive energy when, inexperienced, we give them too much space or do not secure our belongings. Carpets are chewed, books are corroded, and floors are scratched. But how can we avoid all of this?

 

Yes, digging to create burrows and nibbling are two instinctive activities for your rabbit, but let’s see how to try to reduce the damage as much as possible.

Reward the rabbit for good behavior

Rabbits have a tendency to learn best when rewarded for positive behavior. This technique works much better than the exact opposite: not punishing them for bad behavior. Try to understand what your rabbit loves the most: cuddles, being brushed, playing with you, eating a certain food.

 

When you see them nibbling on one of their toys, the cardboard castle, or their little bridge, reward them. This will help them understand which objects they receive the reward for and will lead them on the right path.

Get fresh hay and games

If your rabbit always has fresh hay to eat, a mat or a little house to chew on, some toys of its own, or a cardboard castle to play with, it’s unlikely to focus its attention on your objects.


That’s why it’s important to always have these things available for them. Your rabbit needs to chew to continuously file down its incisor teeth, which otherwise could cause serious health problems.


Except in rare cases, you’ll need to remember to trim its nails with nail clippers. Rabbits can’t have their nails removed, as it would be extremely painful and cause serious problems with movement.

Protect the objects you are fond of

Even if your rabbit is well-behaved, it’s always better not to tempt them. I recommend keeping all cables, important documents, and other items you cherish out of their reach, in an inaccessible place.


Surely you have also read, as I have, about some theories on spreading Tabasco sauce or soap on furniture to prevent your rabbit from damaging it. From my point of view, this action is unnecessary and not very functional. It would get dirty with soap or sauce, preventing one problem but causing another.


Others suggest using sprays with different scents, the most common being lemon, but this may or may not be effective depending on your rabbit’s tastes.


Therefore, the most effective suggestion for preventing damage to cherished or valuable items is to prevent your rabbit from accessing certain areas of the house or room. You can learn more about how to do this and what tricks to use in the article “A rabbit-proof home.”


In conclusion, I hope it’s clear that the only ways to survive digging and biting are to have a bit of patience, supervise your rabbit as much as possible, provide them with toys and chew houses, and preserve your belongings. By doing this, you will surely have a long and peaceful coexistence.