Hubs and I lucked out. We found a shelter dog, who despite a few separation issues at the beginning, is pretty as good as we could have imagined.
He is house-broken. He roams in our un-fenced yard without running away (during the daylight hours). He doesn't jump on people when he meets them (occasionally he jumps on me while playing and I have bruises to show for it). He loves his crate when we are gone and when we are home. He's healthy. He's adorable. And, he has become part of our family.
It didn't start so nice, though. Ransom was like other labs and it was after the fact that I did research to find that Labradors are more prone to separation anxiety more than other breeds; that they have a lot of energy and need to expend it; that they need mental stimulation often; and that they shed everywhere.
And all these issues (besides the shedding) lead to excessive chewing. "Labs are genetically predisposed to chewing. The same instincts that make them great retrievers also make them want to expend their energy chewing."
So, although the separation issue has been resolved and we have learned to find outlets for his energy by walking him and taking him to the dog park to play with other dogs, he still loves to chew, chew, and chew some more.
Let me just give you an example. Today, Ransom was in his crate while I was at work. I came home at 3:30 and got ready to workout. I worked out for 46 minutes and this is what Ransom did:
Remember this piggy? Earlier today, his nose was still there. By this afternoon, the nose has been digested and his face is now lacking all stuffing.
This rubber toy is fun to chew on whole, but once you bite the pieces off, you get those little pieces in your mouth to chew on. It makes for some bouncy chewing!
This giant ball-o'-rope was a new toy. It is thick, sturdy, and heavy; but no match for killer-jaws. He unravelled an entire loop.
This was all done in less than 45 minutes. For the last 12 minutes of my workout, Ransom tried to join in with my workout, which resulted in tripping and getting stepped on.
Needless to say, we go through a lot of toys at this house. But that's okay. I would much rather put money into toys than see him chew our furniture!