So first you ask what is FOMO? FOMO is Fear of missing out.
So if you walk away from your dog and leave him behind so he can see you e.g. behind a gate or see through fence does he walk the other way or cry or bark or try to get to you? Some males take a little while before their brain clicks you are gone because they are busy smelling something much more interesting and their ears are acting as if they are painted on. Another term that is often used is separation anxiety. So how can you test this is a safe place. Next time your dog is out on a walk with you and you have them in an off leash area and you call and get no response turn and walk away – don’t keep calling them, stay quiet, if possible find a spot to hide behind a bench or tree or building and see how long they take to find you. When they find you praise them and if you have a treat give them one. They have had to work out where you are and come to you so they have had to think for themselves. If they came quickly once they realised you were out of site they most likely have FOMO. So how can FOMO be helpful? If you are forever calling your dog and get the two fingered salute then here’s what you need to try. Go somewhere there is very little distraction for a walk and it is safe to let the dog off leash.
- First you have to learn to give the call only once. It’s hard I know to resist continued calling but do it.
- Walk away in the opposite direction from your dog (about now your body is screaming at you Are you mad! Go back call him – ignore it!
- Hide somewhere where he can’t see you (or she) and grab a treat out of your pocket to be ready
- Once your dog arrives praise, praise, and more praise including giving the treat.
- Don’t put your dog on the lead but continue off leash walking and repeat this a few times on a walk, make it a game be sure to always praise when s/he is coming to you as you will find positive exudes a dog to try even harder next time.
- You should notice your dogs increased speed to you if you follow these steps carefully.
This is Koda he is a boy I bred who is learning that I will only ask him something once. This morning he wouldn’t come so I turned the other way and my pack followed me we went through a gate and shut it behind us, and walked out of his sight into the orchard, somewhere he hasn’t been for a walk yet on this stay. Well he tried so hard when he realise we were going without him that on my return he raced through the gate, sadly for him the wrong way as my pack and I were going the other way back down the drive for a walk to the stock bank, he watched this and was unimpressed at being left behind again. He cried barked and tried to work out how to get through the fence. When we returned I waked through the gate with the pack and we went over the paddock to meet Lace who can’t walk with us any more. I ignored Koda and praised Lace for waiting for us. We all spent some time in the front paddock then I asked Koda to come to me – he was there so quickly I only asked once and he got lots of praise. As I write this he is sitting outside my window watching me, the others are inside behind my chair but he wants to see me so he doesn’t miss out on anything again .