#114: Wanna Hold Hands? or Flippers?

Onto the next training challenge with Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle. For the past few months Myrtle hasn't been very interested in training. Every year, sea turtles fast; this means they stop eating or eat very little for up to several months. I still attempt to train her twice a day, which mostly leaves me at the top of the Giant Ocean Tank watching her sleep on the bottom.

When she did participate I took advantage of working a new behavior with her; a flipper presentation. We teach this behavior to our seals so I figured it was worth a try with a turtle. Plus it kept me from dragging all of the taining tools to the platform that mostly went unused while Myrtle snoozed. The following video shows some of the beginning steps of getting Myrtle to place her right flipper onto my hand. She needed a bit of prompting with some of her reinforcement to guide her head in the other direction but you can see her flipper raising to go to my arm.


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