A dolphin trainer’s diary (Book review)

This holiday season, I’ve decided to share twelve books with you.
At the bottom of this post, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.
You can also visit this page to find the entire list of books and giveaways.

What would you do if someone gave you a whole bunch of dolphins to train?

Here’s the catch, you know a little bit about animal training, but not a whole lot. In addition, you know only a little bit about learning theory and the science of behavior or about dolphins, for that matter.

But, you’ve been asked to do this job because you’ve done some animal training in the past with your dogs and some ponies. This is at least more training experience than anyone else on your team!

So, you have a bunch of dolphins, a few willing human helpers, and a written manual that outlines some of the basics. Oh, and by the way, this is the early 1960s. So, you don’t have access to Google, Youtube or anything else of the sort. Phone calls are even difficult because calling long distance is expensive.

In 1963, this was the situation that Karen Pryor found herself in. Her husband at the time, Tap Pryor, was helping to launch a new oceanarium in Hawaii, Sea Life Park. Several people had been hired to train the dolphins, but they just couldn’t figure out what to do.

A picture of the cover of the book Lads Before the WindKaren took the job willingly and dived right in, so to speak. She spent the next decade immersed in dolphin training, exploring the best ways to teach dolphins and learning all that she could about dolphin behavior.

Karen chronicles her adventures in the book Lads Before the Wind. This is one of my favorite of Karen Pryor’s books. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is as popular or as well known as some of her other books.

What I like best about this book is that the whole book is filled with a sense of discovery. Karen tells stories about the early days of training dolphins at the park, explains different things the trainers tried that worked (and that didn’t work!), and even describes research projects to learn more about dolphin behavior, including the work that she did on creativity.

Also, through her stories of training the dolphins, Karen weaves in pieces of advice about training theory and good training practices. For example, I’ve written on my blog in the past about two ideas that Karen discusses in the book, shaping recipes and going back to kindergarten.

This is one of those books that is just fun to read. As I page through it to write this review, I’m remembering how much I enjoyed reading it and have realized that I want to read it again. So, I’m going to add it to my list of books to read during the holidays.

If you’re looking for an interesting book to read or a great gift for a friend, I encourage you to consider Lads Before the Wind.

Enter to win a copy of this book

To enter the giveaway:
1) Leave a comment on this post to earn one entry.
2) Fill out the Raffelcopter box below.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
One lucky reader will win a new copy of this book.
Winner will be chosen at random.
This giveaway ends on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.
Winner will be notified via email on December 15.
If the winner does not respond by Dec 17, he/she will forfeit the prize.
Void where prohibited.
Entering the giveaway form means you agree to the terms listed above.

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