Thursday, March 26, 2015

Imitation Train

It's often difficult to keep the attention of four dolphins at the dock.

Santini, Cayo, Pandora and Gypsi are smart ladies with very different dolphinalities. Santini is a Teacher’s Pet who always wants to do everything perfectly. Sisters Cayo and Pandora are extremely independent, curious and need to know what is happening at every moment. Gypsi, the youngest of the bunch, is a free spirit who swims wherever the tide takes her. You can imagine with such dynamic dolphinalities a session with them would always keep you on your toes.

That’s exactly what one of our trainers, Emily, discovered as she spent time with these four ladies. They all had a bit of trouble focusing on what was going on. Pandora kept sneaking over to the side of the dock to hang out away from the pack. Cayo had a little remora hanging on her belly, so Santini did not want to sit next to her. Gypsi wandered off, which is typical, then came back and acted as though she’d never been gone.

To keep all of the girls engaged, Emily had them practice some imitations. She’d ask Santini to do her shark behavior and then ask Cayo and Gypsi to copy. Pandora was asked to bob up and down, followed by Santini and Cayo. At one point there was even an imitation train.  Emily sent Gypsi on a wave, and then asked each dolphin to follow one at a time, imitating what the girl directly in front of them did.

When they returned to the dock, Emily responded with lots of excitement , making it a huge party for the dolphins. They did so well mastering all of their imitate behaviors. Plus, it made them even more eager to hang out all together at the dock. Since each of the girls loves attention, it was a bit hard to keep them all on their flukes. By the end of the session, all four were happy to sit next to each other, even with the remora still hanging around. It was a fun time for all!