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Dog Meets Dolphin

Updated on November 4, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

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.
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.
Interesting!
Interesting!
Worth looking into!
Worth looking into!
Teddy's making sure Kibby has no scent.
Teddy's making sure Kibby has no scent.
Fascinating!
Fascinating!
Buddies!
Buddies!

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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    • kdmarshall lm profile image

      kdmarshall lm 4 years ago

      I wonder what they are thinking

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      johnsonry 4 years ago

      very nice friendship! :-)

    • profile image

      vagcommander 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      SpaceMoo 4 years ago

      cute 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

      danymatta 4 years ago

      that is really cute, i liked the photos

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 4 years ago

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

    • MyCuteBaby profile image

      MyCuteBaby 4 years ago

      love this relationships

    • 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... :)

    • greenmind profile image

      FCM 4 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      whitebob_king 4 years ago

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

    • 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!

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Only at Sea World!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • sapientzeal lm profile image

      sapientzeal lm 4 years ago

      Amazing! Great shots!

      -SZ

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 4 years ago from USA

      Unfortunately, no. Thanks for sharing your experience : )

    • LeenaBK LM profile image

      LeenaBK LM 4 years ago

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

    • 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!

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Great story - pictures add a lot.

    • 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

    • profile image

      GromitandWallace 4 years ago

      it's beautiful.So cute..

    • jc stone profile image

      Jordan 4 years ago

      No not yet. These are the cutest photos!

    • bethann21 profile image

      bethann21 4 years ago

      Not yet! Would love to meet a dolphin.

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      KidsPartyRental 4 years ago

      Mikey you are lucky.....

    • puppyprints profile image

      puppyprints 4 years ago

      I have always wanted to go swimming with the dolphins.

    • profile image

      surabhinafdey 4 years ago

      so cute.. :)

    • EsotericAllusion profile image

      EsotericAllusion 4 years ago

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

    • catspyjamas profile image

      catspyjamas 4 years ago

      so sweet. :)

    • profile image

      Healthy0ne 4 years ago

      A story that warmed my heart.

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Yessss!!! And they are cute!!!

    • profile image

      sjdq209 4 years ago

      I like dolphin and dog ,they are so cute.

    • 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.

    • agagata lm profile image

      agagata lm 4 years ago

      Never but I would love to!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

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

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Both are very sweet

    • 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!!!!! :)

    • 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.

    • step2mai profile image

      step2mai 4 years ago

      WOW they look good together

    • JimHofman profile image

      JimHofman 4 years ago

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

    • 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.

    • profile image

      yasminpretty 4 years ago

      Great Lens:)

    • toldyaso lm profile image

      toldyaso lm 4 years ago

      I have never met a dolphin. :(

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      No. This lens is awesome.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Very nice lens and dog and dolphin images! : )

      Thanks for sharing!

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 4 years ago

      Great lens! Would love to meet a dolphin!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      These are some very cool pictures.

    • profile image

      chanqua 4 years ago

      lovely

    • profile image

      nipond007 4 years ago

      wow! wish i cud feed him a fish!

    • sue826 lm profile image

      sue826 lm 4 years ago

      Yes - while in Florida. Love them.

    • profile image

      Hey_Hailz 4 years ago

      Adorable!

    • 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

      anonymous 4 years ago

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

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      A thoroughly enjoyable visit - thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like dolphin and dog ,they are so cute.

    • GollyGearHope profile image
      Author

      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 www.dolphins.org

    • 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?

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Very nice and sweet lens

    • 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.

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      This is so sweet. Thanks for sharing.

    • 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!

    • profile image

      zoyabori 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love dolphin and dog, pretty nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would love to meet a dolphin!

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

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

    • 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

      ShreddedNeat 4 years ago

      This is a very cute lens..

    • 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.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

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

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Cute

    • profile image

      KyraB 4 years ago

      No but I would like too, what cute pictures!

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      beautiful lens, well done; thanks for sharing

    • 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!

    • 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!

    • profile image

      oceanth 4 years ago

      not yet but would really love to!

    • 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!

    • 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!

    • profile image

      miller83 4 years ago

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

    • 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)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 4 years ago from California

      No, but I would love to.

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

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

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

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

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      Never met a dolphin, but I have to tell you this is one of the more unique story lenses in all of Squidoo. Great lens!! :)

    • 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!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sound like a great experience for all involved

    • Vera-S profile image

      Vera-S 4 years ago

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

    • 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!)

    • 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!

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 4 years ago

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

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      That is so adorable amazing!