Weekly Update 19

Happy New Year Everyone!

I rang in the new year working in…the fish house. Just like any animal facility/ farm and ranch anywhere, the animals are not out partying and need people to take of them and get them their food! I happened to be one of those people. We are nearing the end of our nutrition course and this looks to be our last full week of preparing the diets.

There is a somewhat competitive feeling in the air lately, as the trainers have entered into a friendly competition with one another to see who can spend the most time training new behaviors. There is so much going on in a session, I almost don’t know who to watch. There are dolphins learning new sounds, new jumps and new husbandry behaviors. The Sea lions are even getting in on it and are learning scent training, when a particular scent is present – it will lead them to do a certain behavior.

As I will hopefully get to train a new behavior soon, it has been good to see all of the different approaches that trainers take. While all of the concepts are similar, some of the trainers have different ideas of how to accomplish that goal. We are really seeing that there is not necessarily “one” way to train/teach a behavior. The one behavior I have seen with the most progress is a paired behavior – one dolphin will swim on its back and another dolphin will come dive over them. It was “dolphin-itely” exciting when we saw them accomplish it for the first time!

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