Last week, we were given a behind-the-scenes tour of Dolphinaris Arizona.
We were able to meet with the veterinarian and trainers responsible for the dolphins everyday care and meet some of the dolphins.
While we were there, the trainers conducted a training exercise with Bodie and Sonny, two of the male dolphins.
You can watch a video of the exercise above.
The outdoor pool has a transparent wall that lets staff and guests see the dolphins swim beneath the water, something aquariums and zoos across the country have.
The goal of the training session was to have Bodie and Sonny swim to the wall and successfully hit a specific mark.
Two trainers were on one end of the pool with each of the dolphins and two more trainers were with us on the lower level facing the wall. One trainer was in the pool with her arms spread across the glass, her hands acting as targets, and the fourth was outside the pool communicating with the trainers above.
On the first attempt, Sonny hit his target successfully while Bodie was a little "low," as one of the trainers said.
On the second attempt, same result.
Despite being "low," the trainer in the water slid her hand up from where Bodie was to encourage him to move higher in the water. He didn't move, which was OK. There was no yelling, sighing or complaining. Only encouragement.
Each time the dolphins were recalled to their starting points, they were showered with positive affirmations.