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I have never gotten a new sofa. We’ve always got hand me downs. Why? Er, because there are few things rabbits prefer to chew on than the corners of couches. You know, the same places that cats love to scratch.
If you’re wondering if your rabbit will destroy an item of furniture, always start off by assuming they will.
The heavier and sturdier it is, the more likely they’ll chew it. If it’s easily chewable (wood or fabric) I can pretty much guarantee they’ll at least have a go at chewing it. You’re usually ok with plastic and metal – they’re apparently less fun to chew on, though some rabbits’ll have a go.
Can rabbits jump on furniture?
Yes, but they don’t always. We’ve never told our rabbits that they could come on the couch, or encouraged them to come up, but so far we’ve only had two (our little foster rex and Big Blue Isobel) that ever did.
Rabbits like to be up high, and they’re surprisingly good climbers. When one of mine was a baby she liked to jump up onto the (very high) windowsills that were only a few inches deep. It scared the bejeezus out of me.
One thing to consider is whether or not you actually want your rabbit on the sofa. I don’t care either way, to be honest (as a picture below can show you, my sofa is already under bunstruction), but I don’t actively encourage them to hop up, but if they do, that’s fine.
You see, it’s cute at first, when your cute little bun is on the couch with you, but if they then start to pee on it, chew it, or dig in it, you’ll maybe wish you’d set firmer ground rules.
How to stop rabbits from jumping on the furniture
It’s simply (hah) a case of shooing them down if they get up. My tried and tested method of getting rabbits to move is to put my hands around their midsection as if I was about to pick them up. They usually move without you having to actually pick them up. Or poke their bum.
From what I’ve noticed, rabbits pick and choose whether or not they obey verbal commands. ‘Off’ is a good one to teach, but I prefer ‘bed bed’ ( I don’t know why I say it twice, I just do) because it’s a clear command to go somewhere.
Do rabbits ruin furniture?
Rabbits are naturally destructive. It’s in their nature, and you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t let them dig and shred. You can make them a dig box to channel the destructive energy, but you can’t guarantee they won’t eat your couch.
It’s my dream to be able to free roan my rabbits, but in rented accommodation it’s not always feasible. Whilst I don’t care about my couch, if you care about yours, it makes sense to only let your rabbit near it if you’re there to supervise.
It doesn’t matter if you keep the bunny in a (big) pen or the sofa in a pen. You may laugh, but when we adopted a big, aggressive rabbit, my partner made barricades so we could sit on the sofa without her jumping up and biting us
Why is my rabbit digging in the couch?
Like I said, rabbits dig.
It’s just natural that when rabbits find something soft, they like to dig in it.
To stop Isobel destroying the sofa (the rex just used to lick it), we’d put carpet offcuts in under a throw in the parts they’d like to dig (usually the corners) so she couldn’t do *too* much damage.
I was incredibly lucky that even though Isobel liked to chew the sofa, she didn’t pee on it. She was extremely well litter trained nd never did so much as a single poop outside of the litter tray. This is very very rare.
How to stop your rabbit peeing on the couch
Your couch will smell more of you than your rabbit because typically you’ll spend more time sat there.
From your rabbit’s perspective, that is Not Cool. Furniture must smell of rabbit. If you’re lucky, they’ll just chin it (rabbit’s have a scent gland under their chin which they use to mark stuff that is theirs). Buuuuut sometimes peeing on it is their only option, apparently.
If you want your rabbit to be able to come on the sofa but not pee on it, you need to make sure you’re always there when the rabbit is. That way, the second bunny, pees, you make them get of the couch.
You literally have a five-second window between peeing and disciplining, to ensure bunny knows why he has to get down. If you wait longer, the bunny won’t understand that the peeing is the reason he’s getting kicked off the couch.
It’s also important to thoroughly remove any pee spots, otherwise bunny will smell them and assume that’s somewhere that he’s meant to pee. White vinegar is good, but I prefer sing diluted biological washing liquid, since it removes the enzymes. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly because rabbits have very sensitive skin and could get irritated skin.
How to bunny proof the couch
Firstly, start with a throw. It’ll make any pee incidents a bit easier to deal with.
I like these ones from Amazon because they’re big, cheap, easy to wash and come in a few colours.
You could also put puppy pads under the throw as an added layer of protection.
If you don’t want a throw, you could get a soft bed for your rabbit. In my experience, rabbit LOVE to pee in soft beds. Not all of them, but it’s definitely a possibility. make sure you get a washable one.
The only other thing I is try to block off any corners of the couch, since that’s Holly’s preferred place to chew. It’s not really her fault – one of my other rabbits chewed this corner a lot, so I can see why Holly thinks it’s ok. We put a little plastic step in front of the corner, which she spends the whole time trying to move – it’s a game in itself. She’s easy to entertain.
Final thoughts on bunny-proofing the couch
There’s just something about soft surfaces that make rabbits want to pee/dig.
Not all of them, but then I assume that if your rabbit behaves perfectly on the couch you wouldn’t have found this article.
Remember that unlike a dog, rabbits are unlikely to grow out of destructive behaviour. Yes, rabbits that are bored are more destructive, but it’s also in their nature to chew. They need to wear their teeth down somehow – maybe they’re trying to save you the vet fee.
If you don’t want your couch dug in or peed on (and your rabbits digs in it and pees on it), then you may have stop letting bunny up on the sofa in the first place.