The Adventures of Harley & Koda

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Yes, the rumors are true. We got another puppy. Are we crazy? Maybe a little.

A lot of you kinda felt like the whole puppy thing happened out of nowhere without much warning from me, and you’re totally right. As most of you know, we have an almost 4-year-old Australian Shepherd mix, Harley, that we adopted from Unleashed Pet Rescue when he was just 8 weeks old. Harley has thoroughly enjoyed being an only child throughout his almost four years of life, and I love him a ridiculous amount. Ethan got him before we were even engaged, so we didn’t live together for several more years, meaning Ethan had to deal with all the hard puppy stuff (like potty training, sleepless nights, etc.) and trust me, he will never let me live that down. Nonetheless, I have been present throughout Harley’s whole life, and he is a HUGE momma’s boy, whether Ethan wants to admit it or not.

I have always really wanted to get a second dog, because I want Harley to have a buddy when we are away at work, running errands or whatever, and because, well, can you really have too many puppies? I have a lot of love to give, and since we aren’t ready for human babies of our own yet, this seemed like the obvious thing to do. ; )

I have been pestering Ethan about the puppy thing for a while now. He randomly decided that it would happen in April of 2019. His justification for this time was because it’s “not too hot” and “not too cold” for potty training, and gave us enough time to mentally prepare, and who knows what else. I had honestly accepted that it wasn’t going to happen this year. A few of our close friends recently got second dogs and told us that their older dogs were surprisingly accepting, and that it seemed easier with an older dog around to “show them the ropes” if you will. My parents also have two dogs and they are best friends & totally inseparable, which is another huge reason I wanted a second one.

About a week before we ended up bringing Koda home, Ethan randomly started sending me pictures and links to several different mini Aussies. I didn’t take it very seriously at first since I knew it wasn’t really happening until next spring. But then, we laid our eyes on this one special little pup. I could tell Ethan was even warming up to the idea, because all of the puppies were “so freakin’ cute”. I personally felt like it was meant to be when I saw Koda. I knew he was meant to be ours. Is it possible to fall in love at first sight with a dog? If so, that’s what this was. Within a matter of a few days, Ethan had officially changed his mind and this was really happening.

For some reason, I was just so nervous that something was going to fall through with the breeder, or something would go wrong, so I was hesitant to make any big announcements until it was official. But I am so excited to say that Koda is now a part of our little family!

A few people asked how we landed on the name Koda, and I wish I had a cool story about it, but sadly, it’s one of the few names we could agree on – ha! We went back and forth between several different names, but none of them felt right. Even the night before we picked him up (when we were at the Ed Sheeran concert, in fact), I brought up the name Koda to Ethan, and he actually liked it! We agreed that it seemed fitting for him when we met him in person, and so it stuck. I’m glad y’all approve because I lost some sleep over this name-picking thing over the past week or two. Just wait ’til I have to name some human babies someday…

Where We Found Koda

I’ve gotten several questions about where we got this little cutie, so I wanted to be sure to include this for you all. We found Koda online at a place called Hillside Kennels in Abilene, KS, close to Manhattan, where we both went to college. The drive wouldn’t have been too bad if it wasn’t rainy, dreary and 40 degrees in early October. After looking into the breeder a little further on their Facebook page, I saw they had tons of amazing reviews and people were very happy with their experiences, as well as the detailed records that were provided. Everyone we came in contact with at Hillside Kennels was very friendly.

We knew we specifically wanted a mini Aussie, which is how and why we chose this particular breeder. They have Australian Shepherds only (including full size, mini and toy Aussies). A few others that we have been following on Facebook for months (in anticipation of our second dog “someday”) include: Sunflower Mini Aussies and Willow Creek Mini Aussies group. A few of these might require a “request” to be in the group, but if you are seriously interested in getting an Aussie puppy, you will want to be in the group so you can stay up to date on when they have litters available, etc.

Side note: I mentioned this on my stories the other day, but making the decision to get a dog from a breeder is a personal choice, and I don’t want to get any negative comments about it. 🙂 So many of you sent kind messages to me over Instagram in agreement with this, and I so appreciated that. Like I said, ALL dogs need love and a good home. Koda now has both. As does Harley, who was a rescue. 

We ended up going with Hillside Kennels because they had puppies available now, and like I said, I truly felt like Koda was “the one”. Although his previous name was Hobo… lol.

The 2.5 hour drive home from the breeder was a little rough. Koda would not stop whining for the first half hour or more, and then he proceeded to poop right on my lap. (No wonder he was whining…) We neglected to let him potty before we hit the road because it was freezing and raining, so it was totally our fault. Thankfully we had laid a blanket on my lap so the damage was minimal. It could’ve been MUCH worse. Eventually, we got him to lay down and go to sleep, so the second half was less stressful.

Introducing Koda to Harley

When we got home and opened the door from the garage, Harley was waiting to pounce. He could hear and smell the puppy through the door and he was already less than thrilled about it. He tried to nip at him pretty much immediately, but we set him straight and let him know that was NOT okay, and he started to back off a little. He is still a little unsure about this new “friend” at times and has continued to put Koda in his place and let him know who’s boss. I have read a few different articles that say it takes about 3 weeks or so for the adult dog to accept the new pup and actually start playing with him. Although, I feel like they already are playing with each other sometimes, but then Koda bites Harley’s tail or ankles, and Harley gets pissed and they are back to square one. Haha – per the research I’ve done, it’s okay to let adult dog let the pup know what is and is not okay, since puppy is still learning proper communication skills and how to socialize with others.

That’s why I think it is super helpful having two. Harley can teach Koda so much for us and hopefully set an example for what to do and what not to do, like pooping in the living room for example. *face palm*

At bedtime, we have pushed Harley & Koda’s kennels together so they get used to being close to each other, and so they know the other isn’t doing something fun without them. If they were on opposite sides of the room, I think Harley would be distraught and think that we were letting Koda sleep in the bed with us or something. Unlike most people, we actually do not let our dogs sleep with us, because we enjoy actually getting sleep and having some personal space. Imagine that! : )

As you can see from the many photos below, Harley is definitely warming up to Koda and they are actually doing a lot of cuddling and playing, which is one of the cutest things I’ve witnessed probably… ever.

This was a super cheap bed that Ethan got for Harley a long time ago and he NEVER used, but Koda loves it! We definitely need to get him a new one that is cuter and smaller.  🙂

New Puppy Purchases

So far, Koda is doing okay at night. It seems like each night has improved just a little bit. Someone recommended this Snuggle Puppy Toy (Amazon affiliate link) to help him adjust to sleeping alone in his kennel at night. It simulates a heartbeat and also has a heat source to mimic being with his litter, so it helps calm them and reduce whining. It is only $40 and I honestly think it has helped. We have only used it twice since it came in the mail, but so far so good!

We also ordered these bells (Amazon affiliate link) for Koda to ring to help with potty training. We hung the rope from the back door and are teaching him to ring it when he needs to go outside and potty, and giving him lots of praise when he rings it AND of course when he actually potties.

I’m also going to provide a link for these new dog bowls (Amazon affiliate link) we got. Harley’s old bowls were looking pretty sad, and I like that these match, and they don’t slip around. The rim around the edge prevents water from getting all over the floor, which is also important. They are different sizes since Koda is about 1/6th of Harley’s size right now, and will only get to be about 20-25 lbs (we think). Harley is 40 lbs, if anyone was wondering.

Another thing that we have found helpful so far is ANTLERS for him (and Harley) to chew on. A lot of people recommended Bully Sticks, but a trainer I spoke with told me that he prefers antlers because they are not digestible, and I agree with that. Antlers have been pretty effective as far as helping with teething recently, so I definitely recommend them! We got a pack of 6 off of Amazon. They seem a little expensive at first, but each one is supposed to last a while, so that helps!

Popular Puppy Training Tips

Koda is very busy, and teething, so he wants to chew on things and we have to keep a close eye on him. I asked you all for some puppy tips on my Instagram post, and lots of you suggested getting a Kong to fill with peanut butter to help with this. It is on our list! I’m hoping a variety of toys plus playing with Harley will keep him occupied enough  that he doesn’t destroy all of our furniture. Haha, fingers crossed!

Many of you also recommended crate training him, which we are definitely doing. As I mentioned above, even Harley still sleeps in his kennel, so we definitely want Koda to get comfortable with his kennel and learn to love it some day. It is supposed to be kinda their “safe space” after all, although I know he doesn’t feel that way quite yet. We are trying to give him treats and things to cuddle with in there, and hoping he adjusts soon.

Several of you also recommended socializing him with other dogs. He has Harley to play with of course, but there is a dog on our street that he has already met and made friends with, and our family has tons of dogs, so he will have lots of puppy friends! We will take him to the park as soon as he’s vaccinated and I’m sure he’ll be a social butterfly. 🙂 He has also already met my 9 month old niece so I’m glad he will be familiar with babies and we can teach him how to be nice & gentle with them. Good practice for our future kids!

Work Week Situation / Local KC Resources

Luckily, Ethan and I both have the ability to work from home a few times a week, so we can kinda divide and conquer by watching him at home during those times. Otherwise, he will be in his kennel during the day while Harley is out, which is tough, but we hope they adjust to that quickly. We also have both of our families close by, and we know that they will be willing to help out occasionally as their schedules allow.

I just found out about a local service that I have to share, because I think it is something we will likely take advantage of at some point in the near future. If you are local to Kansas City, check out Katie’s Kennel LLC on Facebook and/or @katies.kennel on Instagram. Katie offers personalized pet services in the Kansas and Missouri area. She helps families with dog walking, simply paying them a visit mid-day for some interaction or for feeding, dog sitting in your home and dog boarding in her own home. She is extremely friendly and has a very obvious love for dogs. I would totally trust her to take care of my pups, so if you are needing some help with a puppy, or even an older dog, during the week while you’re at work, you should definitely check her out!

Lastly, someone recommend KC Elite Dog Training to me, so I looked into them & they seem to have an awesome reputation in Kansas City. They are most active on Facebook, so go check out their Facebook page if you’re interested. I have set up a free consultation with the owner, Dave, to see if this would be a good fit for us with Koda and Harley. He recommended focusing solely on potty training and loving on him for his first 12 weeks of life, and starting real training (sit, stay, come, etc.) after 12 weeks.

That is all I have for now! Stay tuned with our adventures on my Instagram. I’ll try not to blow you guys up with puppy videos and pictures, but from what I hear, most of you wouldn’t be opposed lol. No, I am not making an Instagram account for Koda, for anyone out there wondering. I barely have time for my personal IG these days! ; )

Let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t answer!

Thanks for reading! 🙂



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  1. We just did the same thing, Shanna!! Dale had been talking about a new puppy and showing me different puppy pictures online for a while and I was kind fine with it but not all excited – until I saw the picture of the one we ended up getting, and I immediately fell in love! (I actually had tears come to my eyes when the breeder put her in my arms!) Our older dog Bella was SOOOO mad at us for getting her (not to mention the cat, who is still not a fan), but Bella finally decided to play with Lindy and now they are great sisters for each other. It has been so much fun having this funny little love added to our household!!

    1. Awww I love it!!! Sounds like the exact same scenario!! Haha too cute. 🙂 It’s a lot of work for sure, but they are worth it!!! I’m so glad Bella is warming up to her!!!

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