Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jax Trains his Crowd

Jax's trainer, Christina, decided to bring the handsome dolphin over the causeway for guests to get up close and personal.
Next to humans, dolphins are the best imitators in the animal kingdom. However, they’re more than just great imitators, they’re also great trainers themselves. Many times during sessions, we have to be careful that we’re not the ones being trained by the dolphins! It can be something tiny, like them backing away from a tray and luring us to reach out further to do a handshake, or something more, such as when they aren’t interested in hanging out and leave the dock entirely. During a Fun Facts session, Jax’s trainer Christina took Jax over to the rocks at the edge of his lagoon to get the crowd involved in the session and Jax showed them just how easy it is to train us silly humans.

The first thing Christina asked Jax to do was pay attention to her, by stationing him. All of the trainers do this by lifting their index finger into the air to indicate that they’re going to share information. Then, she asked him to imitate the crowd by giving him the “imitate” signal, which looks like karate chop. She had already told the crowd to wave at Jax to see if he’d do it back. After a few brief seconds of watching the group of guests, Jax rolled onto his side and began to wave enthusiastically. Christina blew the whistle and then took Jax further down the causeway to get a school group involved in the fun.

Next on Christina’s list was to ask the kids to spin in a circle. As she gave Jax the imitate signal, he took a brief look at them and then rolled onto his side again. He waved his little flipper until the crowd began to wave back. Can you blame them? Who wouldn’t want to wave back at a dolphin as handsome as Jax? His trainer asked if he was being silly, to which the little booger replied with a raspberry sound. One more time, Jax was asked to pay attention to the visitors and imitate what they did. It seems like the little squirt had his heart set on doing the wave because he raised his flipper and strutted down the lagoon, making sure to give everyone a hello.

Dolphins are unbelievably smart animals and it makes sense they’d show off their smarts whenever possible. After all, no matter what they do they’re awe inspiring. Jax showed everyone watching why we always say the dolphins are the bosses here at DRC. Whatever they’ve got in their minds for the day is often as fun as what we had planned anyways!