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September 28, 2011

Clever Dolphins - training the trainer

 Dolphins are very clever animals. So very clever that scientists believe that they are the closest that any animals can come in matching human intelligence. Visitors at a zoo are awe struck by the clever tricks that the dolphins can pull off effortlessly. 

One trainer had trained his dolphins to pick up the scrap, plastic and other junk that is thrown into the pool by the visitors and bring the junk to him. A fish was given to the dolphin for every scrap was brought. The trainer noticed that one dolphin seemed to get more fish than the others. In other words that particular dolphin had privy to more waste material thrown in the pool than others. 

The trainer wore his driving gear and dived into the pool. To his surprise he found a crevice at the bottom of the pool. The clever and enterprising dolphin was hoarding all the waste, scrap paper, plastic and other material in the crevice. He was carefully shredding the waste material into smaller pieces and giving the trainers a piece as and when he wanted a quick snack. 

The dolphin not only understood the concept of a bank but could also decipher the meaning of breaking the bulk into smaller parts akin to what a retailer does. In other words the trainee was training the trainer. 

One of the tricks that keep everyone spell bound is the one where the dolphins gracefully lift off the water go into the air and go over a rope strung may be 10 feet above the water. It is like seeing a pole vaulter go over the bar. But even dolphins clever as they are need to be trained. 

The trainers first keep the rope at the water level and encourage the dolphins to swim over the rope. Once they do swim over the rope the dolphins are rewarded with a piece of fish (rewards act in aiding repetition of positive behavior). Slowly the rope is raised and over the next 6- 12 months’ time it is raised to a level of may be 10 feet over the water. The dolphins are mentally conditioned.  

The lesson for all the trainers is that even the most clever and intelligent have to be given training over a period of time. They need to be encouraged and motivated continuously. Once this is assured each of our team members will be as graceful and as successful at achieving the target just like the graceful dolphins.

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