The weeks are moving right along, it is honestly a little bit disorienting to realize how fast things are moving. This week we started two new classes, Dog Lab 2 and Maternity. Dog lab will be happening for two weeks but maternity is already over!
I have the pleasure of working with Wrigley again for our dog lab, she is as lovable as ever and still thinks rocks are the best thing given to “dog-kind.” Our goals are different this time as we have to train a group behavior, a behavior with a prop and teach how to use an enrichment type puzzle. I have decided to play to her athletic abilities and have her catch a frisbee in mid-air as the prop behavior. She gives a fantastic effort every time but is not quite successful with realizing that she should grab it on the edge of the frisbee instead of the middle. For the enrichment behavior I have decided to play the “shell game” with her. I put her rock under a cup, move it while she watches and then she will choose where it is. We are up to having two cups and will hopefully finish with three. We are working with Isla and Mickey for a group behavior, we (the humans) are having Isla jump over Mickey and then Wrigley will show off by jumping over both of them and then they all finish together with a spin. In the beginning we had it described as “Pets Ahoy gone wrong” but It has come together quite well.
In our maternity class we covered how facilities look at breeding (if they breed), the Species Survival Plan, artificial insemination and how facilities prepare for and care for dolphin calves. It was all very interesting as we were also able to have trainer come speak to us about her experience with Dolphin births and how/when you would start training them. For course work we looked at genetics and how that would factor into a breeding plan and how that could determine if it is necessary to partner with another facility to breed or if it was not possible to continue breeding. Know that a lot of thought and planning goes into any birth at a facility whether it was planned or not!