TDI 2001Home1245678101112131415fin

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2001

Today was mostly a typical lab day. We all were close to being late because of the extra cleanup we had to do in preparation for the landlord coming by the house to fix the garage door.
Leonard and Brian play around with Phoenix (click for larger picture)
First session, Geoff, Ashleigh, and I were assigned a local with Akeakamai with Craig as trainer. Well, Craig hadn't shown up by the time the trainers were called up for first session. I was worried that he wouldn't get to lab in time for the locals to continue, but it wasn't too big a deal. Peter filled in for Craig for the first 5 or 10 minutes and kept Akeakamai in good spirits. Geoff went first, and had a very good session. I filmed the entire session from the side of the tank.Geoff had typical problems between behaviours thinking of things to do, the same problem I have every time, but was very good at coming up with combination behaviours to ask for. In fact, his comments after the session was how well Ake performed at the high energy jumps and combinations he asked her to do. That is definitely a common thing with Ake. She really likes her fish, and if she does big jumps, she knows she'll get more fish. We're not complaining!

When I stepped up, I had hoped to adlib the session more than give commands. Problem is, when your dolphin is sitting there, ready to do something for you and waiting patiently for you to think of something, what can you do to tell them it's ok to do what you want? I tried a few basic commands and a few combos I thought of, tried to let the behaviours flow, but failed.
Craig gives Phoenix a quick little kiss (click for larger picture)
I felt like I was back doing my first local again. I brought up a ball to let Ake show off her balancing and tossing abilities. WOW. I gave her a command to catch the ball with her pecs, and afterwards, she tossed it onto her head and bopped it up in the air, back to her pec fins, and then jumped at me and tossed the ball towards me. My jaw almost dropped! I'll be sure to put some video up here once I get the chance to...

She was also very good at balancing the ball on the top of her head. I made the motion I was going to put it on her head, and told her to go for a swim. She swam in a circle, balancing the ball on her head the whole time. Watching her correct for it's movement was amazing. How'd she get so good at that?

The rest of the day was mostly research and stuff like that. I was timer for visual to visual cross-modal with Phoenix, as well as session monitor for that session. I was kept quite busy!
Hiapo does a double pec grasp with Mike (click for larger picture)
For lunch I just hung out and ate lunch in the tower working on this website again, watching the dolphins play in the water spout for a half hour or so.

Third session I also helped with cross-modal, doing sample exposure timing for Hiapo visual to visual like I did last time. Geoff traded with Sophie to be TA position, the person responsible for doing the pay attention sign and showing the dophin the object to match. A very important position, one that Sophie didn't feel comfortable doing but Geoff was happy to take over for her. He did a great job, much better than some of the people I'd seen do the job. The only funny thing was how he did the pay attention signal. The first couple of trials, he was holding his finger pointed straight out like he was pointing at the other side of the tank. Seeing him frozen in that position wearing the blacked out goggles like that was actually quite funny. The trials went well and Hiapo was in good spirits for the session.

For fourth session, Becca gave us a training lecture into the basic concepts and ideals behind animal, and particularly, dolphin training.
Here I am working on one of the computers in the tower (click for larger picture)
I had the same lecture last year, but it still interested me. I'm still intregued behind the ideas of how to train an animal with novel, and complex ideas, and how you can work up from something as simple as knowing to touch the end of a target pole, to something as complex as a twisting straight jump. It really helped to change my ideas behind training an animal how to do something.

After third session, we all went to Compadres for 1 dollar tacos again, except for Geoff. After managing to get a table off of some people leaving, we commenced scarfing down our tacos and chatted with Scott and Craig from the lab. Julia, Emanuelle and I left shortly after finishing eating, leaving Shannon, Leonard, and Sophie to fend for themselves with the guys from the lab. They had a good time from what they told me. I guess I should have stuck around, but I wasn't feeling too well after power eating those tacos in about 5 minutes and all I could think of was getting back to the house. I'm feeling fine now, thankfully.

Better get to bed, I'm up at 7 tomorrow!

<- Previous Next ->


All written articles, pictures, and movies contained in this page are © Rob Harrison, unless otherwise noted.

You may use the pictures and content from this page for school and personal use ONLY. Please feel free to use the pictures as your desktop background, in school projects, or give them to friends, as long as they are unmodified. The material on this site is NOT permitted to be used on other websites or for comercial use without written permisson from Rob Harrison.

Feel free to email me if you have ANY questions or comments, and be sure to sign my guestbook!