What it Takes to be a Dolphin Trainer



Courtesy of seaworlddolphintrainerpics.com

“With the dolphins it’s not always fun and games. It gets really messy, and takes a lot of work and patience,” stated Laurie Richards, Sea World San Diego dolphin educator/trainer in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

“The first thing that can help people become a dolphin trainer is having a good degree,” explained Richards who has been a trainer for 18 years.

“For example, studying zoology, animal behavior and theater will help with your chances of becoming a trainer. You will have knowledge on the skills you must know,” Richards added.

The swim test is the next requirement for potential trainers. They have to be able to swim a 225 foot freestyle underwater, dive 24 feet underwater while picking up a 5 pound weight and bringing it to shore with no wet suit in 70 degree salt water, according to seaworld.org.

An important part of training dolphins is to be able to call them to the trainer. For a marine mammal that command is a tap of the water with the open palm. Trainers must also be very familiar with specific diet requirements of each dolphin they train, according to understand dolphins.tripod.com.

“While feeding the dolphins, the trainers must prepare their fish while thinking of the dolphins’ diet. Each dolphin has to get their own type of fish. For example, one dolphin, named Sandy, has to get extra protein in her fish because they found her stranded and sick a few years ago. Sandy wasn’t eating enough fish that contained protein,” Richards explained.

 “Don’t let anyone hold you back from your dreams,” Richards stated in the interview.