Hugh's Aquarium Views Video Number 46
The high jumps out of the water, retrieval of objects and even underwater selfies taking are all fascinating behaviors that our pinnipeds were trained to do to help stimulate their minds and keep their bodies in shape but by far the most important behavior we train them to do are the husbandry behaviors.
Husbandry behaviors are those behaviors that are trained to help our animals participate in their own health care. These can include simple behaviors like staying calm and still during a visual examination to more complex ones such as getting their teeth brushed and receiving eye drops.
And it’s not just the mammals that benefit from husbandry behaviors. Fern the zebra shark was trained by the aquarist staff to willingly swim into a transfer stretcher. Fern was also trained to rest calmly in the arms of a staffer in the water so that girth measurements and other procedures could be done. All this reduces the stress for an animal during normal health exams and procedures.
Check out the short video on Shelby the harbor seal doing some basic husbandry behaviors.