Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lake Gaston, N.C.
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I'd start at the beginning, much like we do with puppies when they are 3 weeks old. Get an expen for her that she can't jump out of but you can easily reach and step into. Depending on the dog, a 24" should be enough. At her age, I'd get the large size Purina litter box simply because it has high sides and the litter won't get scattered out of it easily.
In the expen she needs to have just enough room for her bed and the litter box. The bed only should occupy enough room for her to lie down comfortably in but no more. The expen will need to be folded down to a 2x4 foot size and the extra space taken up by something like an upside down trashcan or something (I use a wooden box I made just the right size-this is our second stage setup but will be needed here).
This is just so that she learns that there is a proper place for pottying and can easily be converted to outside only later if you like. Praise her when you see her potty in her box.
Hopefully, pretty soon she will use the box rather than soil her bed. The biggest problem with being raised on a grate is that they never develop the habit to hold it. Once she is using the box, you can progress from there. We use "wood heater pellets" instead of the litter sold for dogs. Try not to get any that is mostly oak since it crumbles apart too easily and also has a smell from the tanins in it. We like best the pellets made from smooth grained hardwoods like aspen, maple, sweet gum, etc. Equine pine pellets also work, but they have a bit of a smell to them too.
Since she is not comfortable with you yet, the more you can ignore her when you are around and she is in the expen, the better it will be for her. If you sit near her pen even with your back to her and make no eye contact, she will gradually feel more and more comfortable with you. There is no timeline for this. Don't rush anything.
NO baby talk. Only talk in a normal voice. Walk normally, don't tiptoe around hunched over. Don't reach down for her, but come in with your hands below her chin level.
The most important time for her will be just you being there and being the one that feeds her. She needs for you to be the strong one. If you feel anxiety, she will too.
Keep us updated and good luck.
Last edited by Tom King; 11-09-2010 at 04:55 PM.