Summary of training session on 5/9/15
Today we had Marion Gwizdala, NAGDU President, his wife, Merry Schoch, their granddaughter, Hannah , and Marion’s dog, along with Chuck and Debbie Hietala, Area Coordinators for the Guide Dog Foundation, and 5 guide dogs in training and their trainers to tour the Zoo.
We first started in the Main Aviary and took two dogs in separately and walked about 60 feet into the aviary with little disruption. Interesting the first dog was one of the younger dogs in training and birds had little to no concern about that dog, when we brought the larger dog (Marion’s dog), they did alert; however, it was not anything of great concern. Both dogs were steady.
Next we went to the Lorikeet Landing and, again, used two dogs separately. We entered the aviary and took part in the feeding. The second dog circled the complete pathway with little to no negative reaction from the Lorikeets and the Marbled Teal were closely observing but did not leave their position next to the pool. In both cases birds fed from the hand of the trainers while their dogs watched.
We then proceeded to Wallaroo Station, walked around the station, and up to the goat petting area. The goats did alert, however I think it was due to the number of dogs – 6 altogether. No aggression was exhibited to speak of, more curiosity on the goats part.
We walked past the penguins to the service road. There was no reaction from the penguins. We walked down the service road to the manatees, stopped for a few minutes pool side, and then on to the service road behind the chimps to the Sweet Shop. The chimps were interested , the mandrill did alert, and the guenons were very interested, as were the dogs.
We finished the training tour in just under two hours and, without question, I would say that it was a great success.
We will schedule future training sessions using one or two dogs to allow for easier control and access. I will distribute that schedule once Marion, Chuck, and I touch bases. We should follow-up with an article in Zoo Chatter and a future CTTV spot as well.
We made history today!!!