Orly Has Serious FOMO

Golden puppy sniffs spice jars on a pull-out shelf
Orly investigates the spice rack

Orly never wants to be left out of anything. Her FOMO — fear of missing out — is extreme; she’s a true adolescent of this digital age, even without any social media accounts (that I know of …).

She has to meet everyone we pass on a walk, canine and human alike. She’s fascinated with children. She must explore every inch of everyplace.

I’m balancing teaching her manners, like greeting new friends without mauling them, with wanting to encourage safe exploration.

At home, she pokes her nose into everything. No corner of the back yard has escaped her explorations, which unfortunately include lots of digging. Inside too, she’s curious. She’s only allowed into the living room with adult human supervision, and she’s very curious about this forbidden room.

Even the very familiar kitchen offers exploration opportunities any time I open a cupboard or drawer. I’m constantly warning her to move her nose before I close anything, racing to get the trash bag out of the bin before her nose goes in, and tripping over her when she sidles over to watch and sniff what I am doing.

Her favorite is the pull-out spice rack. She’d spend hours with her head buried in its many scents if I would let her.

I love that she’s so curious about the world. I love even more that she’s investigating and learning using only her nose. Not once has this young puppy, who’s been teething for weeks, ever chewed on furniture, kitchen items, or any of my belongings. She does chew sticks and pounce on leaves outside (and there’s the digging …). And of course she has many, many toys.

Confident & Curious

3-month-old Orly, a golden retriever, peers from a red play tunnel
3-month-old Orly loved her play tunnel the first time she saw it

Orly is a confident puppy. She’s curious about everything — and afraid of nothing.

Those are generally good traits. Fearful dogs are challenging to train and to live with, and the very fearful or anxious ones sometimes lash out with their teeth when they feel threatened.

But Very Curious Puppies bring their own challenges.

Orly loves to explore. She’s fascinated by open cabinets and closet doors. More than once, she’s explored deeply into the basement while I was starting laundry and nearly gotten trapped behind a closed door when I finished.

I always have to warn her to move her nose before I close a cabinet or open the back door — since her nose is millimeters from the moving door. She investigates trash bins and empty boxes and pounces on every moving leaf or stick outside.

She’s also willing to try anything. She’ll tug and dig into the biggest toybox to find a buried treasure, climb on a wobble board or wobbly cushion at puppy kindergarten to test her balance, investigate any noise or movement … and walk up to anyone, human, canine, feline, or sciurid (squirrel), eager to make friends. She’s certain that they all want to be friends and will welcome a jumping puppy offering kisses and a wildly wagging tail. And she’s fascinated by the birds who frequent our feeder — they seem to know that she’s harmless.

I’m sure that this level of confidence is the result of both excellent genetics and her fabulous early puppy exposure and socialization. Her first 9 weeks were spent safely exploring and experiencing an enormous variety of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.

What she doesn’t have (yet) is impulse control or much common sense. I have to be sure to keep a close watch on her, especially outside, so she doesn’t investigate anything unsafe. I have found, though, that once I warn her off of something indoors — electrical cords, say, or chomping on a chair leg — I don’t need to tell her again. For some reason, she does not apply the same discretion to digging and chewing on things outdoors; we’re working on that…