Joey the Pug and His Fear of Swimming

Here is a picture of Joey, for those interested.
My brother and his girlfriend recently adopted a pug. He is about ten months old and mostly well behaved. They want to take him swimming but every time he gets near the water, he begins walking backwards and whining to avoid it. I discussed with them to provide the puppy with treats as they get closer to the water and maybe stand in the water themselves as they give him treats. This method can work with his favorite toy as well. Gradually introducing him closer to the water while providing him with stimulus that he enjoys or relaxes him will hopefully get Joey comfortable enough to swim.

As discussed in the text, Mary Cover Jones used systematic desensitization to treat a two year old boy named Peter who had an extreme fear of rabbits. Jones's treatments involved giving Peter cookies while presenting a rabbit in front of him. Over the next few months, numerous sessions resulted in the rabbit gradually getting closer to Peter as he ate cookies. Eventually, Peter would eat cookies with the rabbit on his lap. The gradual conditioning procedure eliminated Peter's fear of rabbits through systematic desensitization. 

 Powell, R. A., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior (4th ed.). Belmont ,
Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


  1. Aww, he is so cute! Hopefully he will enjoy it soon! My family just adopted a New Finland and he is scared of the water too, so maybe I will try what you attempted with Joey and see if it works! Best of luck!!

  2. When my cousin moved into their house they are at now a few years ago it was the first time their dog had ever seen a pool and she was terrified. To get her to be okay with it they would stand on the steps and talk to her while petting her and giving her attention. Once she was more comfortable with the idea they would add a raft to the pool and eventually she would get on the raft if he held onto it. She feel off a few times but after those few times of falling off she realized it wasn't so bad and now from time to time she jumps in all by herself and goes for a quick swim around the pool.


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