Dolphin Lab Adult Focused Career Series Course: Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment
After completing Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training, students may apply for our Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment program.
Building on the knowledge they acquired during the Marine Mammal Care & Basic Training, students take an active role in daily dolphin training sessions. They begin focusing on training new behaviors to DRC’s dolphins while exploring animal enrichment and contemplating more complex issues surrounding marine mammal care.
During these sessions, students will implement a training plan they have developed to train a new behavior to a dolphin. Public speaking skills will also be developed as students learn how to present dolphins and their training experiences to the public.
Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment is part of our DolphinLab career series and is an academically intensive seven-day program that delves more deeply into the fields of behavioral science, animal care and training.
At the conclusion of the course, students will showcase the new behaviors they have trained for Dolphin Research Center guests in a formal, narrated presentation. Students will also explore animal enrichment through directed activities implemented with our dolphins and sea lions. Under the guidance of our staff, students will create enrichment toys and activities for the animals and present these activities and toys to the animals throughout the week and observe the animals' reactions.
In order to better understand training differences between species and the need for flexibility in advanced training techniques, students will also apply their knowledge of training principles by teaching a new behavior to a canine DolphinLab participant! Each student will individually develop a training plan for the behavior to be trained, participate daily in regularly scheduled sessions with his/her canine partner, and demonstrate progress to DRC staff at the end of the week.
This course offers students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on career experience in the application of training principles under the guidance of our accomplished trainers. Class sizes average ten to fourteen students to ensure individualized instruction .
- Operant Conditioning & Reinforcement Techniques Review Advanced Principles of Marine Mammal Training & Behavior Shaping
- Behavior Chain Development
- Marine Mammal Enrichment
- Medical Behavior Training
- Dolphin Maternity Care
- Population Management
- Principles of Dog Training
- Service Dog Training
- Pursuing a Career in Marine Mammal Training
Hands-On Activities Include:
- Daily dock time (informal observation and interaction from the training docks)
- Multiple daily dolphin training sessions from the docks
- Marine mammal enrichment sessions, daily canine training sessions
- One Dolphin Encounter session
- Record keeping
- Diet preparation
- Assisting in husbandry care
- Creating and implementing a formal public educational presentation
Additional Activities Include:
- Daily dolphin & sea lion advanced training demonstrations facilitated by senior staff
- Daily discussions with trainers about the progress of behaviors being trained by students
- Marine mammal enrichment workshops
- A panel discussion with senior members of our Animal Care and Training department on interspecies differences in training
Students may elect to receive college credit for attending this course. Credit is available through the Florida Keys Community College for an additional fee. In order to receive credit, students must successfully complete all course activities and pass an end of course exam. College Credit Details.
The cost of Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment is $1800.00 (US). Tuition includes all seminars, activities, meals, and lodging. Also included in the tuition are photographs of your swim session and video montage documenting class dock sessions from throughout the week. The cost of the course also includes transportation to and from the Marathon Airport or Marathon hotels at pre-established times.
Students must successfully complete Basic DolphinLab and Marine Mammal Care & Basic Training before participating in Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment. Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in marine mammal science, careers in the field and be able to participate in an academically and physically rigorous schedule. The course is available to all students ages 18 and up.