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Teaching a seal to do a "back flip" under water!

Updated on July 27, 2014


“Back” can be used as a show behavior that demonstrates how seals use their rear flippers to swim in a "cool" way. This behavior is done under water. So now lets show these kids how a seal can do a back flip!


Steps to follow

1) When teaching this behavior use a long target poll to help with reaching into the water and it enables the animal to follow below water level

2) Give the Sd "Target" so the animal knows to put his snout on the end of the target pole.

3) Lead the target pole over their head towards their back and start making a large circle underneath of the water. Move slowly so the animal follows through with the circle.

4) As the animal surfaces say “good” and jack-pot. Repeat this behavior rewarding only when the animal does not break from the target.

5) Now add the Sd. Take the long target pole have the animal “target”, swing over their head smacking the water saying the word “back”. The animal should follow the target pole through the water without breaking from the target. As they come up “jackpot” and repeat.

6) Step 5 should be done repeatedly throughout the week for short sessions.

7) Once this is completed and the animal completes the full circle with out hesitation you can move on to the next step. Show the animal the target pole and place it at the surface of the water.

8) The animal should automatically target to the poll. Taking the poll up and over its head saying the word "back" clearly, smack the water but this time do not make the circle under water. Pull the target poll off the water. This step should be completed through out the week for short sessions.

9) After the animal responds to step 8 well, you can try to simply smacking the surface of the water to make a splashing sound as you say the word back. There you go!

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A behavior like this can move along fairly quickly or take some time. It is dependent on the animal that you are working with. Please remember to work step by step and do not rush through. If any of the steps appear to be difficult for the animal it is ok, just go a step back. You do not want to continue pushing if he is not ready. This will only stress the animal out and make this a very unwelcome behavior for the both of you.

How to make a target pole

1) 1/2 inch pvc pipe ( cut to the required length)

2) Floats (purchased at a dive or boat shop)

3)Attach pole to the float through the opening designed to string rope

Thank you!

Thank you for reading and for following my posts! I will try to post new items at least once a week so share with your friends!



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    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      I clicked this because I recognize the Maritime Aquarium's harbor seals.

    • Ariel-Cal profile image

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 3 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      You are correct Melissa

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      this is amazing Ariel..

    • Ariel-Cal profile image

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 3 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thanks Frank!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      your welcome :)

    • profile image

      Kurt/Paul 2 years ago

      very good hub interesting too

    • Ariel-Cal profile image

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 2 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thank you kurt/paul

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