Buzzing like a nest of bumble bees, the Underwood family zoomed around the house in anticipation of their first day of school. There was so much to do: lunches to be made, bags to be packed, shoes to be tied and rides to be caught. The front door shut and all was quiet. Then a squeak sounded from the laundry room. Lucy, the Underwood’s energetic lab, didn’t understand. “Where did everybody go?” After a few hours of school, the Underwood boys settled into class, but back at home, Lucy was still confused. “They’re still not home. Who am I supposed to play with now? I need to find them!” Just as the clever pup she is, Lucy escaped from the quiet laundry room but to her surprise, found no boys. She was frantic. She didn’t know what to do. So, she tired herself out and took a cat nap. A little while longer, the kids earned recess and Lucy needed playtime too! She very carefully chose a few cherished items around the home to keep her busy while the family was away for the day.
The Underwood’s didn’t expect Lucy to throw a party, but now they’re taking some steps to prevent the chaos in the future. Here are a few main things they did:
Routine! All animals thrive on routine to add consistency to their life. Since the Underwood boys started school again, Lucy missed out on playtime that gave her plenty of opportunities to exercise. Establishing a new routine that accommodates enough playtime for any schedule change is important. Mom decided to start taking Lucy on an early afternoon walk before meeting the boys at the bus stop. All the neighborhood dogs love to say hello.
Practice! Practice makes anything new more familiar and relaxing. When the Underwoods brought Lucy home at the beginning of summer, they consistently had a family member with Lucy during the day. When the family had to leave Lucy for the day, she didn’t understand because it was out of the ordinary. After the Underwoods practiced guiding Lucy into her crate and leaving without creating a goodbye conversation with her and making leaving a big deal, she readily uses her alone time as a perfect time for rest.
Brain Games! Another great way the Underwoods keep Lucy engaged and her brain sharp is by providing her with a job, task or puzzle. Take a look at these brain games below for any difficulty level ranging from beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The Underwood’s invented their own with boxes and treats! For some ideas of great brain games, take a look at our Smart Dog’s video. Don’t forget to follow our Youtube channel!
Lucy and the Underwood’s are now prepped for school. They can relax in their routine together with ease and confidence. Now you have the tools to have the same success too! Give these tips a try and comment on our Facebook page with your family’s before and after experience!