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Dog Meets Dolphin

Updated on November 4, 2014

It's a training classic - come to life!

I love dogs.

I also love dolphins.

The two come together in the ground-breaking training manual "A Dog And A Dolphin" by the guru of positive-reinforcement training, Karen Pryor.

And so we decided, with a little help from all our friends at the Dolphin Research Center (DRC) in Grassy Key, Florida, to make it a reality!

Teddy, my now-four-year-old French Bulldog, met Kibby, who was an elder-statesman of the dolphin pod at DRC. Fran, my sister pictured in the photo, had known Kibby for many years - he was her favorite gray-faced friend at the Center. Unfortunately, Kibby died early this year from old age - he was well into his forties. Fortunately, we'll always have the memories of this and many other wonderful days to remember him.

Checking each other out

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Teddy (with the help of Trainer Linda) checks out the dolphins.Linda asks Kibby if he'd like some fish.Teddy wants the fish.Teddy REALLY wants the fish.Really, really.Really.Kibby gets the fish.Teddy's still hopeful.Kibby laughs at him.Good boys!
Teddy (with the help of Trainer Linda) checks out the dolphins.
Teddy (with the help of Trainer Linda) checks out the dolphins.
Linda asks Kibby if he'd like some fish.
Linda asks Kibby if he'd like some fish.
Teddy wants the fish.
Teddy wants the fish.
Teddy REALLY wants the fish.
Teddy REALLY wants the fish.
Really, really.
Really, really.
Kibby gets the fish.
Kibby gets the fish.
Teddy's still hopeful.
Teddy's still hopeful.
Kibby laughs at him.
Kibby laughs at him.
Good boys!
Good boys!
Teddy checks out Kibby
Teddy checks out Kibby

We weren't sure how it would go

Animals do the darnedest things!

Dogs are familiar and welcome guests at DRC.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their dogs into the facility and not leave them in hot cars in the Florida weather.

Some dogs are fascinated by the dolphins, others pay no attention, and still others get a bit "freaked out." Of course no one really knows why any animal does what it does, but the speculation is that some dogs rely so heavily on their sense of smell that they don't know what to do about dolphins. Dolphins have no scent at all!

He likes him - hey Mikey!!

He likes him - hey Mikey!!
He likes him - hey Mikey!!

Our "dolphin encounter" with Teddy was under very controlled circumstances, with a dolphin we know very well and trainers all around. I know how special this opportunity was, and cherish the memory.

Dolphins in the wild should not be approached by either people or dogs. Beautiful, wild animals should be admired from a distance, and if they choose to come near, be extremely cautious in any interaction. These intelligent mammals are not generally aggressive, but they are large and powerful animals.

Many people, in drafting their "bucket lists," include meeting a dolphin as one of the things they'd love to do before they die. Everyone who wants to, should! There are facilities, like the Dolphin Research Center, that offer many opportunities to meet dolphins, from a simple "hand shake" to a full-immersion experience, complete with a dorsal-pull swim, a la Flipper!

The Dolphin Research Center has many programs, including working with handicapped and disabled children and veterans. Dolphins seem to know the limits and capabilities of the people and adjust their behavior accordingly. Once you've met a dolphin, "up close and personal," most people are forever impressed with their intelligence and beauty.

Teddy and Kibby

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Teddy checks Kibby out.Kibby checks Teddy out!Teddy's not sure.Still not convinced.Interesting!Worth looking into!Teddy's making sure Kibby has no scent.Fascinating!Buddies!
Teddy checks Kibby out.
Teddy checks Kibby out.
Kibby checks Teddy out!
Kibby checks Teddy out!
Teddy's not sure.
Teddy's not sure.
Still not convinced.
Still not convinced.
Worth looking into!
Worth looking into!
Teddy's making sure Kibby has no scent.
Teddy's making sure Kibby has no scent.

All of the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center were either born at the facility, retired from either the military or another facility, or were rescued and unable to be returned to the wild due to injury.

It is the original home of the "Flipper" dolphins and the dolphins live in natural lagoons in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a research facility and the studies being conducted with the dolphins include cognition (concepts such as "less," and "object permanence" (i.e. "where's the toy?)), behavior (how and when calves become independent from their mothers), and husbandry. All of the studies are non-invasive and research is conducted in full view of the public, who are welcome to observe and ask questions during most sessions.

Visit the Dolphin Research Center

Teddy in agility
Teddy in agility

Same training methods for very different animals!

With positive reinforcement training, you reward for behaviors you "like" and ignore the ones you're not interested in. There is no "punishment" or "correction."

There's really no other way to train dolphins - they can simply swim away if they're not interested! It would be impossible to "make" an animal that weighs over 400 pounds and lives in the water do anything.

The dolphins "perform" behaviors because they are rewarded for them - including behaviors that enable the trainers to perform medical check-ups and make sure the dolphins in the DRC family are healthy and happy.

We've adopted many similar methods for training our dogs and we practice all the time, on our own, as members of the North Shore Dog Training Club in Obedience and Rally competition, and in Agility as members of the All Fours Dog Training team.

Learn more about positive-reinforcement training!

Have you ever met a dolphin?

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    • GatorD profile image

      GatorD 4 years ago

      Very nice lens! Yes I have met hundreds of dolphins, I'm a boat captain and guide in the waters around Ft. Myers Beach Florida and I take people out on dolphin tours. We have named several and see them on a daily basis and even though we cannot feed or touch them (against the law for wild dolphins) they still interact with us up close and personal.

      My wife and I owned a English Bulldog that was a wonderful pet. I wish I could have introduced ours to dolphins.

      Keep up the good work!

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 4 years ago

      cute, thanks for sharing.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      not yet but I'd love too! they are such cute animals :)

    • profile image

      poipounder 4 years ago

      wonderful story!

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      Yes, in Sea World, San Diego, but not this close an interaction! Beautiful!

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      Yes, I have! And, it was an awesome experience!!

    • Paul Hill84 profile image

      Paul Hill84 4 years ago

      Yes, swam with them in Dominican Republic, fantastic experience. Great Lens!

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      I have seen it from a far distance..they are just lovely!

    • RationalHedonist profile image

      RationalHedonist 4 years ago

      When I lived in Israel, on my vacations I'd go to Eilat to the Red Sea. They have a place where you can go snorkel with a guide and small group of people. The dolphins know the guides, who gesture for you to come pet the free dolphins as it comes by. When they swim alongside you, you really appreciate their grace and strength in the water, and their eyes looks into yours, looking you over in their world. They are awesome!

    • DvdMovieGirl profile image

      DvdMovieGirl 4 years ago

      Only seen the, in water parks! Love your lens and a great subject.

    • bluelily lm profile image

      bluelily lm 4 years ago

      Great! Both have proved to be friends of human beings but you can elaborate bit more.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Dolphins are awesome are Frenchies! Nice lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I helped rescue a beached dolphin along Padre Island National Seashore. She lived, but was sick for quite some time. I spent time at the rehabilitation facility because I loved being a part of her healing process and just being in her presence. This is a very interesting topic for a lens. I had never thought about the connection between dogs and dolphins. Both are such amazing creatures.

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      That is so adorable amazing!

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 4 years ago

      I've seen them in water parks and in the Moray Firth.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 4 years ago

      I've seen them, but so far I've not had the pleasure of meeting one up close. It looks like both Teddy and Kibby enjoyed the experience!

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      I had the chance to swim with dolphins a few years ago! I also love dogs (give me a dog over a cat any day!)

    • Vera-S profile image

      Vera-S 4 years ago

      I love dolfins but never was close to one of them. Great lens.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sound like a great experience for all involved

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 4 years ago

      Judging the pictures above, I think that you had fun!! I hope to have a close encounter with dolphins. Nice lens!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Not up close like Teddy - what a treat to see these pictures

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Yes, well kind of. One swam next to my kayak.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 4 years ago from California

      No, but I would love to.

    • profile image

      CalobrenaOmai 4 years ago

      Well...I've seen some at the aquarium, on television and a couple every now and then at the park (Riverfront Park, N Charleston, SC)

    • profile image

      miller83 4 years ago

      Not yet but is on my list of things to do.

    • RedShoesGirl profile image

      RedShoesGirl 4 years ago

      I wanted to be a marine biologist, but in my country there is no university for this specialization. So I became a vet in stead, but dolphins, seals, whales and sharks will always be no 1 for me. Maybe I will work at an aquarium someday!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      Yes and I would love for our pooch (the mild-mannered one) to meet a dolphin. I think this is so cool!

    • profile image

      oceanth 4 years ago

      not yet but would really love to!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      No, but I would love to as I swim and love nearly all animals and the dolphins hold a particular attraction for me, but I have never lived in a country where they are common enough!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have never met a dolphin and would the chance to see one someday!

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      beautiful lens, well done; thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      KyraB 4 years ago

      No but I would like too, what cute pictures!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago


    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      Not yet, but these photos are wonderful, well done!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Yes! My husband and I got to hang out with two dolphins and swim with them while we were on our honeymoon. Unforgettable.

    • profile image

      ShreddedNeat 4 years ago

      This is a very cute lens..

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Wow! I'd love to meet a dolphin up close like that!

      It must have been an amazing experience.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      No I have not, but it's definitely on my "to do" list. Great photos.

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 4 years ago

      That's just too darn cute. Not sure our little shipoo would be as polite as your puppy was though.

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 4 years ago

      Love the photos. what a great experience for you and Teddy (he was really brave, I'd say). I enjoyed reading your story, thanks for sharing.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

      Not yet, I would love to have to opportunity. You are so lucky to have this experience.

      Enjoyed your lens, and feel I learned a lot from it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love dogs and dolphines :) my dream is to swim with Dolphines. Great Lens I've really enjoyed this.

    • FB-Explorer profile image

      FB-Explorer 4 years ago

      I've never met one but I have great memories of fishing in the "flats" of the Florida Panhandle and watching them swim and play close by. They always seemed so smart and so friendly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would love to meet a dolphin!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love dolphin and dog, pretty nice lens!

    • profile image

      zoyabori 4 years ago

      Dolphins is miracle! I want much forward to meeting and take off your love!

    • davidtrust profile image

      davidtrust 4 years ago

      I have swam with dolphins! Both in the wild and in captivity. Dogs and dolphins are my two favorite animals!

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      This is so sweet. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mollysue LM profile image

      Mollysue LM 4 years ago

      I've never been up close and personal with a dolphin, but it's on my to do list! I have watched our resident Irish dolphin, Fungi, at play in Dingle Bay and I've been lucky enough to see schools of dolphins playing in the Gibraltar Straits. Loved every minute of it.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Very nice and sweet lens

    • Laurabpeterson profile image

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      oh, I love dolphins! And this is so amazing...I love seeing animals interact. And I didn't know that dolphins have no scent! Thanks for sharing the great pictures. Is this a place the general public can come and interact with the dolphins too?

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @Laurabpeterson: Yes! The Dolphin Research Center has many different programs for people to participate with the dolphins - from "meet and greet" programs to swims - whatever level you're comfortable with. You can check it all out at

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like dolphin and dog ,they are so cute.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      A thoroughly enjoyable visit - thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      No but I LOVE Frenchies so I had to say hi!

    • secondhandrose lm profile image

      secondhandrose lm 4 years ago

      Yes, I love dolphins. I had the opportunity to swim with a dolphin, pet and feed it. I also had adopted a dolphin at my local aquarium.

    • profile image

      Hey_Hailz 4 years ago


    • sue826 lm profile image

      sue826 lm 4 years ago

      Yes - while in Florida. Love them.

    • profile image

      nipond007 4 years ago

      wow! wish i cud feed him a fish!

    • profile image

      chanqua 4 years ago


    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      These are some very cool pictures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes. I knew dolphins were smart and powerful, but it was wonderful experiencing that up close.

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 4 years ago

      Great lens! Would love to meet a dolphin!

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Very nice lens and dog and dolphin images! : )

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      No. This lens is awesome.

    • toldyaso lm profile image

      toldyaso lm 4 years ago

      I have never met a dolphin. :(

    • profile image

      yasminpretty 4 years ago

      Great Lens:)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Only in an aquarium. I see them all the time from a distance; they swim the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchie River near where I live in South Florida, but I'd love to get up close and personal with one sometime.

    • JimHofman profile image

      JimHofman 4 years ago

      Yes! In the Florida Keys. They are such beautiful and intelligent creatures.

    • step2mai profile image

      step2mai 4 years ago

      WOW they look good together

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 4 years ago

      No, I've never met a dolphin before and I never saw a dog and a dolphin together. But they seem happy from the photos.

    • artdivision1 lm profile image

      artdivision1 lm 4 years ago

      No but my ultimate dream is to swim with dolphins and my fave programme is Flipper!!!!! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Both are very sweet

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, watched them many times but this is just beautiful.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      I've watched them - but have never been up close & personal.

    • agagata lm profile image

      agagata lm 4 years ago

      Never but I would love to!

    • EmmaBrown1 profile image

      EmmaBrown1 4 years ago

      They are so cute :) I've only been to a show with dolphins, but unfortunately I couldn't meet them.

    • profile image

      sjdq209 4 years ago

      I like dolphin and dog ,they are so cute.

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Yessss!!! And they are cute!!!

    • profile image

      Healthy0ne 4 years ago

      A story that warmed my heart.

    • catspyjamas profile image

      catspyjamas 4 years ago

      so sweet. :)

    • EsotericAllusion profile image

      EsotericAllusion 4 years ago

      I am trying to imagine a dog and a dolphin meeting each other. How interesting! Wonderful story.

    • profile image

      surabhinafdey 4 years ago

      so cute.. :)

    • puppyprints profile image

      puppyprints 4 years ago

      I have always wanted to go swimming with the dolphins.

    • profile image

      KidsPartyRental 4 years ago

      Mikey you are lucky.....

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

      I haven't. I would like to see one.

    • bethann21 profile image

      bethann21 4 years ago

      Not yet! Would love to meet a dolphin.

    • jc stone profile image

      Jordan 4 years ago

      No not yet. These are the cutest photos!

    • profile image

      GromitandWallace 4 years ago

      it's beautiful.So cute..

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 4 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Such a cute little story. Thanks for sharing this but sad to hear about Kibby's death

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Great story - pictures add a lot.

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 4 years ago

      One of my favorite restaurants has a pod of dolphins that frequents the dock outside. I love it!

    • LeenaBK LM profile image

      LeenaBK LM 4 years ago

      Not yet. But I'd love to meet one.

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 4 years ago from USA

      Unfortunately, no. Thanks for sharing your experience : )

    • sapientzeal lm profile image

      sapientzeal lm 4 years ago

      Amazing! Great shots!


    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I haven't, but my daughter has and it was an amazing experience for her. Love your photos. Pinned.

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      I love dolphins and dogs too, although I've never had the opportunity to introduce the two to each other. Happy to hear (and see) that it went well.

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Only at Sea World!

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Really enjoyed your lens, and LOVED the personal photos (and captions)! Pinned to my "Great Florida Finds" board. Congrats on Home Page honors!

    • profile image

      whitebob_king 4 years ago

      it is said dolphin is more clever than any other animals.

    • greenmind profile image

      greenmind 4 years ago

      No, never met one, but I've seen them swimming in the ocean. They are maybe the most awesome wild animal I've ever seen.

    • RitaAnne profile image

      RitaAnne 4 years ago

      I have seen dolphin before but didn't have the opportunity to play & pet them though... Would love to do that someday... :)

    • MyCuteBaby profile image

      MyCuteBaby 4 years ago

      love this relationships

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 4 years ago

      No, but I want to! Cool lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Luv this lens because I love dogs and I love dolphins!!!

    • profile image

      danymatta 4 years ago

      that is really cute, i liked the photos

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 4 years ago

      My 2 most favorite animals in the world!! Dogs and Dolphins. Love the photos.

    • profile image

      SpaceMoo 4 years ago

      cute photos! )

    • profile image

      vagcommander 4 years ago

      nice lens, both dog and dolphin are friendly with human, i just saw dolphin on TV

    • profile image

      johnsonry 4 years ago

      very nice friendship! :-)

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 4 years ago

      So very sweet! I would love to interact with a dolphin!

    • kdmarshall lm profile image

      kdmarshall lm 4 years ago

      I wonder what they are thinking

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