Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ready for a Session

Sea lions have excellent hearing so it’s no surprise that Karen, Kilo and Lina are often ready for a session before their trainers step foot in their habitat. During a narrated presentation on the sea lions, that’s exactly what happened. Kilo went to the front door that leads to the wooden boardwalk of the habitat while Karen and Lina swam around and listened to find out where their trainers would station them.

Once Lina saw her trainer, Loriel, walk out onto the bridge of their habitat she eagerly jumped onto the dock and took a seat in her chair. As Loriel got ready, Lina patiently waited to see what the session would hold. Lina learning to wait is a huge part of the training process. As a younger sea lion, she often has a short attention span or is easily distracted, but that day she was ready and eager to interact.

Loriel introduced new objects. She held out a Frisbee and asked Lina to touch it. At first, Lina wasn’t sure what to think about the new toy but slowly she got closer to it and touched it. Then Loriel showed her a dive ring and asked her to touch it as well. However, Lina didn’t seem to be as interested in the toy as she was with the Frisbee.

After a few introductions, Loriel ended the session on a positive note. She asked Lina to spin and wave goodbye to the crowd that excitedly watched the session, and then gave her ice to signify they were done. It’s very important to leave an interaction on a positive and fun note so that next time Lina sees her new toys or does a session, she’ll be just as enthusiastic.