Dolphin Research Center practices a variety of medical behaviors with the dolphins to reinforce preventative care. One of these behaviors is beaching. This originally begins as the kids learn to boost themselves up on floating platforms as a form of play. They use their tail to propel themselves out of the water onto the dock. The others then take turns pushing them off. We saw this happen a lot last year when Delta and Flagler moved into a lagoon away from their moms. Trainers use the opportunity to get them ready for learning to beach onto a scale on the dock so we can check their weight.
|Flagler tries to bring himself up on the dock.|
Recently, the front lagoon weighed in. It was interesting to see the different ways that each of the kids got themselves onto the dock, posed, and got off. Flagler, Delta, and Louie were able to pull themselves from just the dock onto the scale. However, they couldn’t lift their tails out of the water yet. This requires a lot of core strength, but with each attempt they made a little more progress.
The girls, Luna and Gypsi, had completely different experiences. Luna, who has a more reserved dolphinality, couldn’t get all the way on the dock. Her trainers will continue to work with her to make it fun and exciting. Gypsi, on the other hand, has abs of steel. She’s known for her backward tail walk and can go all the way across the front lagoon. It’s no surprise she was able to get on the dock with little struggle, pose, and hop right back off several times in a row.
|Luna works on beaching without using the scale.|
With so many youngsters in the lagoon, it’s fun to see how each of them grows and learns differently. We’re sure that soon enough all of the kids will be beaching like pros. Until then, it’s fun to encourage them as they continue to do their best to learn the behavior.