In October 2019 we picked up our very first dog together, Suki. Suki is our fawn whippet and the third member of Wanderwalkers. We haven’t really talked or posted much about her since we got her. Starting from today Suki is going to be included in our blog posts, Instagram posts and Youtube videos more often. It is about time we included her. It has been just over a year now since she was born, so here is our Suki one year update.
New Zealand campervan trip
In this Suki one year update we wanted to start with the time before we got her. On August 19th, 2019 Kayleigh and were halfway through a two month trip in New Zealand, driving around in a campervan. We had always wanted to have the freedom of driving wherever we wanted and go wherever we wanted. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth and driving around in a van without any deadlines is the best way to see the country. We were having a great time, seeing the incredible sights of one of our favourite countries.
You can see some of our New Zealand trip on our Youtube channel:
Planning to get a puppy
Months before this New Zealand trip we had also been planning to get our first dog together. We decided to put our names down on waiting lists for three different breeders. We decided way before Covid 19 was a thing, 2020 was going to be the year we didn’t do any serious travel. 2020 was going to be the year we start saving some money to buy a house. So, late 2019, early 2020 was the perfect time to get a puppy. We were, for the most part, not actually expecting to have any chance of getting a puppy because there were a few others ahead of us on these waiting lists.
Getting a puppy
While we were travelling in New Zealand we received the news that one of the breeders had puppies. One of her female dogs had given birth to six puppies. We were super excited by this news because we were told we had made the list ahead of a few others. The others for whatever reasons weren’t able to get a puppy, or had already got a puppy elsewhere.
There were two dogs available, a female (Suki) and a male, but before we were able to respond with our choice of Suki she was actually taken by someone else. We really wanted a female for our first dog so we weren’t sure if we were going to take the male. After a couple of days, however, we found out that the person who was originally meant to take Suki fell through so she was offered to us as well.
At this point, we were still travelling around New Zealand so we were unable to go up to the breeder to see Suki in her first six to eight weeks. The breeder was kind enough to send us photos a couple of times a week so we were able to see her grow and change during that time.
Picking Suki up
After returning home from New Zealand, we were so excited to head up to Newcastle to pick her up form the breeder. We returned home about a week before we were able to pick her up at eight weeks old. Our trip came to an end at a perfect time. We drove up to Newcastle, north of Sydney, and were fortunate enough to meet Suki’s brothers, including the one we almost had, as well as her mother and aunt. It was so exciting to go and pick her up, this was something we have wanted to do for such a long time but were unable to commit to until then.
When we first got Suki she was a handful, she would run around playing, biting on everything she could get her mouth on and tired us out completely. In those early weeks, we taught her tricks like sit, down and high five. We also crate trained her so that we could leave her if we needed to and we also toilet trained her really well. Since she was a few weeks old she has only had a handful of accidents inside the house.
At about 12 weeks old we signed Suki up for puppy pre-school. We wanted to teach her some more tricks, to be better behaved and socialise with other dogs and humans. Puppy pre-school ran for a total of six weeks and for the first three weeks Suki was so shy she literally hid under the chair with her tail between her legs. But, she eventually drew up the courage to come out from under the chair and interact and play with the other dogs in the room.
Suki has for the most part been a great dog, she is super chilled out, she loves to lounge around and receive pats. She doesn’t bark much, isn’t aggressive towards other dogs or humans and loves to zoom around the house messing up the lounge covers. However, just like all dogs, there have been some minor problems that we have had to address and train out of her.
We probably spent too much time with her in the first few weeks. This was due to the fact that Kayleigh works from home and I only work two or three days a week. Someone was always home with her and unfortunately, this started to cause her mild separation anxiety. Once we saw this starting to develop we acted quickly to prevent it from becoming a serious problem.
There were several things we did to prevent it from becoming a huge ongoing issue, we:
- started feeding her in the crate so she would associate the crate as being a safe place
- leaving her in the crate during the day. We started off with just five or 10 minutes and gradually increased it to a few hours
- walked out the front door and left her alone inside for a minute or two before returning. We wanted her to see us leave and return. This helped her to understand that when we left we would return.
I can’t stress enough the effectiveness of using the crate to train out separation anxiety. The crate has been an absolute lifesaver for us. The great thing is Suki doesn’t mind being in there at all, she just sleeps and snuggles into her comfy bed.
The number one thing we have struggled with since the very first day we picked her up has been car sickness. Early on she would throw up multiple times in even a short five-minute car trip. She would refuse to get into the car, knowing she would vomit. At first, we tried giving her treats like cookies and even pigs ears but she would froth at the mouth and drool so much that she couldn’t eat them. We believe her car sickness was a mixture of two things. She came to associate the car with being sick. She also felt sick from the motion of the moving vehicle. Car sickness is something we are still struggling with. We had made a lot of progress until recently.
For the past few months, we have been taking her on very short trips to the local dog park. Suki absolutely loves the dog park. She started to associate the car with trips to the park rather than being sick. We would give her liver cookies or chicken when we arrived. However, all the progress that we had made has recently changed. We had to take her for an hour-long car trip. Unfortunately, she threw up just as we were arriving at our destination. Now she hates getting back into the car again so we have to restart the process again.
How we celebrated her birthday
Like every parent, we celebrated Suki’s first birthday. We took her to the dog park, then we took her to her favourite pet store, the same place she did puppy pre-school, to purchase some new toys and treats. Later on that day we lit a candle on a special dog bone cake and sang her happy birthday. Suki was definitely spoiled. We filmed some of the days and combined it with some clips from the past year.
Suki one year update
Suki has changed our lives for the better. We are so happy to be able to call her ours, we wouldn’t trade her for the world. Suki is so gentle and kind and we love her so much. She is the third member of Wanderwalkers and will be ours for many years to come. We can’t wait to create more content with her and watch her continue to grow and mature over the next few years. We hope you enjoyed reading this Suki one year update.