Our current heat wave has appropriately coincided with National Dog Day, Aug. 26. The sultry days of late summer have been called the Dog Days since Roman times. The warmer-than-your-furry-friend weather was associated with the prominence of Sirius, the Dog Star and the brightest feature in the constellation Canis Major, or Greater Dog.
We’re quite Sirius when we say that Shedd’s trio of talented canines—all adopted from Chicago-area shelters—are both great and stars.
Continue reading "Dog Days at Shedd: Meet Dory and Coral" »
You get an idea of Bruce’s life before Shedd during a short video in the new aquatic show, “One World: Make a Difference,” which officially debuts on the Fourth of July. The brindle bundle of energy who shares the spotlight with dolphins was adopted by Shedd from Chicago Animal Care and Control through Safe Humane Chicago. Bruce was a “court case dog,” rescued from what was suspected to be an abusive situation. Bite scars suggested that he was being trained as a fighting dog.
That’s all in the past.
Continue reading "Bruce's Story" »
In October we blogged about International Cephalopod Awareness Days, a word-of-mouth celebration that has been gaining suction, if you will, since it was conceived five years ago by an online community of octopus, nautilus, cuttlefish and squid enthusiasts. ICAD was embraced by Shedd’s octopus team—seven aquarists plus one of Shedd’s marine mammals training experts—which trains Odie, our giant Pacific octopus.
Yes, we train the octopus.
What’s good for the dolphins and belugas is also good for the rest of Shedd’s larger animals, including the river otter, sea turtle, snapping turtle and monkeys. Training is an opportunity to give animals physical activity and mental stimulation. But even more essential, training establishes behaviors by which the animals can participate in their own healthcare routines. It allows aquarists and trainers to easily examine them or, when necessary, ensure that our veterinarians have safe and ready hands-on access to them.
Continue reading "The Well-mannered Octopus, Part 1" »
See you later alligator! Finding alligators in the Chicago River is interesting, but it’s also dangerous for the animals and for our ecosystems on many levels.
The two non-native reptiles recently sighted in the North Branch of the Chicago River—and now rescued—most likely weren’t émigrés from southern swamps. Instead, sadly, they were probably pets that had become a problem and were dumped.
Continue reading "From pets to eco-threats" »
Electric eels (South American knifefish, Electrophorus electricus) can grow to 6 feet long, are coated in slippery slime, breathe air through their mouths and have electric organs over three-quarters of their bodies capable of delivering a 600-volt jolt to anything—or anyone—that threatens them.
Continue reading "Handle with nonconductive gloves" »
Thanks to those of you who have visited our show, Pet Training the Shedd Way! Below is information about positive-reinforcement training and additional resources. And don’t forget to check back here for regular pet-training tips.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER WHEN TRAINING
1. Positive – Use positive reinforcement. It is the most humane way to train, and it helps develop an even stronger relationship with your pet.
2. Consistent – Whatever rules you choose to use, make sure everyone in the house that interacts with your pet follows the same rules. Consistency will keep your pet from getting confused and will set him or her up for success.
3. Fun – Make every interaction with your pet fun! Training should be a game that you and your pet look forward to.
Continue reading "Pet Training Tips and Resources" »
Starting in October, regular dog-training presentations will show you how the techniques we use to train our dolphins and whales also work great with pets. Meet our new resident dogs:
An interesting mix of border collie and basset hound, this 3-year-old male is long but not too low to the ground. Barney was surrendered by his owner and came from the Anti-Cruelty Society.
The 2-year-old male black Lab was adopted from the Wright Way Rescue Organization, which rescues dogs in southern Illinois and brings them to adoption events in Chicago. Harley was given up by his owner. At 98 pounds, he’s the largest of the six dogs.
Another big boy, weighing about 70 pounds, the year-old American bulldog mix was found tied up in an abandoned building. He was adopted from Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Continue reading "Meet the Pet Show Pooches" »