If you own a dog, you know they’re creatures of habit. So, if you walk them every day after work, it won’t be long before they bring you their leash at 6:15. That’s also why altering their routine can lead to behavior problems. So, here’s how to help your dog cope with 3 common life changes:

  • Kids going off to college. For dogs, which may mean that someone else will be taking over the feeding and playing. Canine behavior specialist Laura Garber says it’s important to anticipate upcoming changes and start training your dog to adjust. So, if Dad’s going to do the feeding, he should take over that responsibility a few weeks before college starts.

  • The arrival of a new baby. According to The Humane Society, it’s time to use your pet’s sense of smell to your advantage. Before the baby arrives, start putting talcum powder or baby lotion on your hands before you pet your dog. And they’ll begin to associate the smells with good times. It’s also smart to get your dog used to any new rules months before the baby arrives, like not being allowed in the nursery. That way they won’t wake the baby by scratching on a closed door.

  • Changes in your work schedule. Lori Verni-Fogarsi is a Certified Master Dog Trainer. And she says that the anxiety dogs experience when their owners are gone at weird hours can lead to excessive barking, chewing, and housetraining mistakes. So, if you’re moving from a day shift to a night shift, slowly adjust their feeding and play times to match your new schedule. It’s also important to give your pet plenty of exercise, because that’s the best way to get an anxious dog to relax.