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I am recently divorced, and my ex and I had 2 dogs together. In the divorce, he got his dog and I kept mine. The problem is my dog has been with my ex's dog since he was a puppy, so 2 years now. He's a neutered 2 year old Black Lab/Coonhound mix.

This is the first time he's solo dog in the house and I've been having some issues with him. He seems to have forgotten all training, such as come, sit, stay, wait, etc. He also now does this thing were I'll let him out in my fenced yard, but he refuses to come inside (goes back to the training issue I'm guessing). He usually scarfs his food down in less than a minute, but now it's a task to get him to eat. He seems to only want to eat when I'm petting him or hand feeding him which is a habit I do not want to start. He also wanders around the house whining.

I think I need to keep him occupied more, but my only issue is, it's winter and freezing outside, so walks are a little difficult. I also work 8 - 5, so it's dark in the AM and dark when I get home, which adds to the trouble.

Any suggestions on how I can keep him occupied in the house and get him back to listening to commands?
 

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You can train indoors. :)Teach him some tricks. Teach him to hand target. The list of fun things you can teach are endless. 101 things to do with a box is fun. The find it game is popular at our house on rainy days when I don't want to do much outside with the dogs.

You can also train your obedience cues inside. :) Remember to use food reinforcement when he gets it right. A high rate of reinforcement is the key to effective training.

Get some puzzle toys for him when you're not home.

Hopefully some or all of the above will help both of you. The change in his world is significant and you're a good dog owner to recognize that he needs a little help from his best friend to get through this time.
 

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I'll just give a little advice for the human in the picture.
I walk 365 days a year, and stick to a schedule which means walking in the dark. I wear a traffic vest (the flourescent pink with yellow reflective bars); it's highly visible to traffic from a long distance. I also have a petzl headlamp, which I set to flashing red mode and perch on my arm. (I used to perch it on my head until I realized I was 'outing myself' everytime I peer into someone's living room window, yeah, I know, but what else is there to look at in the dark...).
I dress for the weather, good boots with traction, multiple layers, wind breaker top and bottom.
About stress. Your stress can be part of your dogs behaviour problem. Sometimes our stress affects the dog, and then they behave differently or even aquire health problems. My own dog started peeing pink during a stressful period of my life. Not much I could do about my stress, but I tried to identify my stress behaviours that might be affecting my dog. Some I couldn't fix (crying jags and outbursts, loud arguments), some, though, I could control, and it actually helped my dog a lot. Everyone's list of stress behaviours is different, but here are the things I was doing at that time that I could change.
Racing about the house prior to leaving the house<--> plan ahead, get ready early, walk slowly and softly.
Breathing fast<--> slow down those breaths
Jack rabbit starts and stops and fast turns in the car<-->drive like a reasonable mature person, leave early for appointments.
Slamming doors<--> shut them slowly and softly.
In case you're wondering what the heck triggered all that, it was mom-in-law with middle stage dementia & dad-in-law in hospital not getting better. I have not been through divorce but I'm guessing it's a high stress situation that may affect your own behaviour and maybe you are really calm about it and don't need this advice, but maybe you may find a few things you can change and for those you can't, forgive yourself.
And, yes, my dog really appreciated the changes I made, as did I.
 

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You can train indoors. :)Teach him some tricks. Teach him to hand target. The list of fun things you can teach are endless. 101 things to do with a box is fun. The find it game is popular at our house on rainy days when I don't want to do much outside with the dogs.

You can also train your obedience cues inside. :) Remember to use food reinforcement when he gets it right. A high rate of reinforcement is the key to effective training.

Get some puzzle toys for him when you're not home.

Hopefully some or all of the above will help both of you. The change in his world is significant and you're a good dog owner to recognize that he needs a little help from his best friend to get through this time.
Oooh oooh, second all that. Forgot about how much fun indoor games can be.

Even large dogs can play clicker games indoors.
 

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I'd encourage you to investigate some social options for your dog, beit doggy daycare or spending a Saturday morning freezing your butt off at a dog park. Labs are very social and he may just need to be around other dogs for a little while.
 
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