What Does a Dolphin Trainer Do?

In most cases, a dolphin trainer works in an amusement park or a water park. He or she uses positive reinforcement methods to teach the dolphins new tricks for shows and to reinforce previously learned tricks. A dolphin trainer is also in charge of keeping track of the dolphins’ diet, overall health, and emotional well-being.

Behind the scenes, the trainer is responsible for feeding the dolphins he or she is responsible for training. Each morning, this may entail handling hundreds of pounds of fish. The feeding of dolphins takes place three times a day, and it is timed to coincide with rehearsing, medication, and habitat cleaning.

The alkalinity and temperature of the dolphin habitat must be kept at optimum levels for dolphin health. The dolphin trainer is in charge of checking these levels. The trainer usually cleans the habitat donning a scuba diving suit and entering the habitat to scrape algae off the glass sides.

Dolphins in captivity are taught to work cooperatively with veterinarians and other caretakers. The dolphin trainer is expected to train a dolphin to present itself to a veterinarian for blood work as an example of husbandry training. The dolphin trainer’s day isn’t complete without keeping records. Daily records detail how much food each dolphin consumed, when medication was given, and other pertinent information.

The trainer’s other responsibilities include rehearsing the dolphins for shows. It takes time to create new routines, build steps for the dolphins to follow, and get them to perform consistently. Positive reinforcement is commonly used to teach dolphins new tricks and to practice tricks that they have already learned. By commanding the dolphins to perform, the dolphin trainer becomes a part of the show for park visitors. Most trainers stay with the audience after the show to answer questions about dolphins.

A dolphin trainer will typically be involved in the transportation of dolphins to and from the park in addition to training them in captivity. If a new dolphin is being brought to the park to live, for example, the dolphin trainer will accompany the transportation team to pick up the dolphin. This helps to ensure that the dolphin’s stress level is kept to a minimum during the trip as the trainer works to calm the mammal.