Colby is 10 months old!
It is hard to believe that Colby is already 10 months old. This past month, Colby’s trainers have been focusing on strengthening the foundations of bridge and target training. Colby is now able to hold his nose to a target for a total of four seconds! Though this may not seem like a long time, for a young pup, it is a milestone! Eventually, Colby will hold his nose to the target for long periods of time to allow his trainers to shape new behaviors. To help make Colby’s training successful, his trainers break down each behavior into small baby steps. Once the trainers are confident in Colby’s ability to touch a target with his nose, they can begin to slowly shape new behaviors. Just wait and see what next month holds for our little star!
And the training has begun!
We are thrilled to say that at 9 months old, Colby has officially begun his formal training! Colby is now consistently eating about 7 pounds of capelin and herring on a daily basis, which his trainers split into 4 to 5 training session every day. During these sessions, Colby’s trainers are working on building a strong training foundation. Colby already understands his name very well, so the focus during these sessions is target training. By teaching Colby to target, we are providing him with a focal point which will become the building block for all of his future behaviors. At this stage, Colby is learning to patiently touch the target with his mouth closed. Before long he will be following the target with his nose and learning simple behaviors such as sleep. Colby continues to grow and learn in leaps and bounds and before too long, we will have a new star in our shows!
Colby is 8 months old!
It is hard to believe that Colby is 8 months old already! This past month has brought with it a very large milestone – eating fish! To start the process of eating fish, Colby’s trainers had to be very creative in the ways they introduced fish. Trainers introduced fish-cicles, or fish frozen in ice, fish on string, and fish in Jell-O for Colby to investigate. By far, Colby’s favorite fish toy was live fish! In his baby pool, small three-inch bait fish were added and Colby loved chasing, catching, and tossing the fish around. This provided hours of fun for Colby and encouraged him to taste the fish. Live fish were part of Colby’s day on a regular basis. And at last, the trainers’ hard work and creativity to entice Colby to eat his first fish paid off, and we could not be happier; on Valentine’s Day, Colby took his first taste of fish all by himself!
Now that Colby is eating fish, his formal training can begin. The trust that has formed between Colby and his trainers is crucial to making this training successful. Colby views his trainers as positive and fun, which means he is eager to be with them and follow them. Name recognition and learning the meaning of a clicker is the first step in creating a strong foundation for Colby’s training. The clicker, called a bridge, is used by trainers to communicate with Colby and his flippered friends. Colby will soon learn that a click means “Good Job” and that reinforcement, or fish, will be coming soon. Once Colby understands these basics, the sky is the limit! Be sure to visit us this summer to see how Colby’s training is progressing.
At 7 months old, this pup never seems to slow down! Always finding something new to play with, or simply romping through the pools with Diego, Colby is one active little guy. Though he has yet to begin his formal training, his passive training is well underway, and is very successful. For these past 7 months, Colby’s trainers have made it a priority to spend as much time with him as possible so he sees them as something positive and rewarding and we are sure seeing all of that time pay off!
Colby is not afraid to be in the middle of the action, whether it be among the other animals on the front wall during sessions or on a ramp watching Slick get a rub down from his trainer. One of the most obvious places we have seen his passive training pay off is during weekly weights. Every two weeks the trainers pull out a large metal scale to keep track of Colby’s weight to make sure he is on track and healthy. He no longer has to be lifted on to the scale; he voluntarily goes on by himself! Even when the large scale platform comes out to weigh all of the other animals, Colby is right there on the scale through the whole process having a ball. The last time Colby climbed on the scale he weighed in at a whooping 68 pounds!
Eating fish is the next big stepping stone for Colby. Introducing capelin, a small minnow like fish, in the most intriguing ways possible is the key to inciting him to take that first bite. Soon he will be offered live fish in hopes that it will peak his curiosity enough to give it a taste. Once Colby is consistently eating fish, his formal training can begin. His trainers will be able to start teaching him the basics, such as how to target, or touch, a target pole or trainers hand, which will allow him to begin learning husbandry behaviors. These behaviors allow the trainers to assess his health in a stress-free environment on a daily basis. Until he begins his formal training, Colby will continue to be introduced to as many new objects and situations as possible, all in the hopes of developing his curiosity and comfort with his pinniped pals, trainers and visitors to Oceans of Fun.
Colby is 6 months old!
Time certainly flies! Amazingly our adorable little youngster is now 6 months of age! Colby currently weighs in at 63 pounds and appears to be growing by leaps and bounds. While currently he is still nursing, weaning time is approaching and our staff attempts to entice him with fish daily. In the wild sea lion pups may nurse for up to a year but commonly an interest in fish develops around 6-9 months of age.
What does Colby do all day? In one short word - PLAY! He is a typical youngster, full of energy. His favorite playmates are Diego and Sonoma which results in a pool of whitewater routinely. Abby is still his favorite auntie and Bumper still a curiosity to be dealt with! Keeping trainers on their toes, pup- proofing our pool provides unique challenges. In an effort to engage his natural inquisitiveness, our trainers are kept busy daily providing enrichment through toys, hoses, and obstacle courses for Colby to explore. Nicely he has become desensitized to a great deal at a very young age. Putting a smile on the faces of our trainers is a talent which Colby seems to embrace naturally. Still cuddly, when nap time arrives, there is nothing better than a trainers lap! We are still spending a great deal of time with this little pup every day building relationships of trust through play. The trust that we develop with him today will set the foundation for a lifetime of solid relationships with his trainers.
Colby is 4 months old!
Time sure flies when you're having Oceans of Fun playing with all your seal and sea lion friends! Colby is already 4 months old, weighing in at 58 lbs! As a young pup, he is still nursing from his mother and is slowly putting on blubber that will help keep him warm this winter season.
He has truly found his own place as the youngest member of our pinniped family. Everyday brings new adventures to this little pup's world, especially when exploring the vast 18 ft deep main pool environment. Colby spends his days checking out the main pool at Oceans of Fun, splashing in the pool, playing with enrichment and greeting all of his new friends as he gets used to the sounds of the microphone, show music and crowds that visit daily to learn more about marine mammals, animal training and the environment.
Colby is still a little unsure of all of these new aspects of life and approaches his seal and sea lion companions sometimes with shyness and at other times with spunk, energy and curiosity! Stop by Oceans of Fun this fall for your chance to see Colby in person as he continues to build relationships with flippered and human friends alike.
He is getting big!!! Too big ...and wiggly to hold in our arms anymore, we have begun the process of desensitizing Colby to a crate so that we may transport and weigh him. Adorably, Colby finds his new crate fun to sleep on as well as play in these days. The joys of a pup! He weighs over 45 lbs and is now an expert swimmer. He has met all of the sea lions but is not quite sure about the harbor seals in his pool. Bumper, a 3 year old harbor seal who joined us last fall, finds great fun in chasing and teasing Colby. No worries, Colby will soon decide that Bumper is a lot of fun and whitewater will be created as these two splash and play! For now however, we are building Colby's comfort level in the main show pool area by making certain that mama Makaia is always nearby in the event he needs assistance. As with any toddler, Colby's days are now spent playing, napping and nursing. He loves napping in the sunshine with his mom and playing with the many toys our trainers provide him with! Shows are still occurring on the weekends this fall. Stop by and say "HI" - you just might get a chance to meet our newest star!
Watch Colby play! Our youngest star enjoys playing with toys of all shapes and sizes. Today, he was introduced to ice cubes which proved to be very entertaining!
He is 6 weeks old! Time has flown by this summer and Colby is growing by leaps and bounds! He currently weighs in at 33 lbs - almost doubling his weight since birth! He is delightful! Trainers have invested countless hours playing, bonding and developing a strong relationship with this little sea lion. His favorite past time remains naps cuddled on his trainers laps....there is absolutely nothing better than a good belly rub while napping! Colby's development grows daily and over the past couple of weeks he has been working hard on developing his water skills.
Swimming lessons began with trainers a couple of weeks ago. Making the transition from kiddie pool to a larger holding pool meant building confidence and developing the ability to exit the pool successfully. In the wild sea lion pups have a sandy beach to play on, here we have an 18 foot drop off. This meant that Colby's trainer swam with him daily until his skill set was established and he was confident swimming, diving and exiting the larger pool. The new pool is always intimidating at first but with trainer reassurance Colby quickly learned that there was an abundance of fun to be had! Colby is now very comfortable and confident in the water. He is holding his breath for approximately 30 seconds at a time and able to dive about 6 feet down. Toys are everywhere ....and everything represents fun!
Once trainers were no longer required to assist Colby, we brought Makaia, his mother into the picture. He loves riding on her back, chasing her and attempting to wear her out as every toddler does so well! She is turn works diligently to improve his swimming and diving skills all while keeping a very watchful eye his safety.
Splish Splash....Colby is three weeks old and is loving his pup pool! Morning swims seem to be favored as he is full of energy bright and early! He has his favorite toys now with a squeaky snowman and set of gummy rings in close competition! He is holding his breath for about 20 seconds and loves trying to catch the water spray coming from hoses! Trainers are still very busy developing strong relationships with our new little friend who now recognizes that trainers mean playtime, back rubs and cuddling. These are all important aspects to building a strong relationship built on trust that will last a lifetime.
He's two weeks old! Perhaps it's the intense heat here in Wisconsin that has driven Colby into water exploration - his timing is perfect! Colby has spent this week learning how to hold his breath, blow bubbles, play with water hoses and explore. His trainers have invested a great deal of time in starting to build a trusting relationship. It didn't take him long to realize that their presence meant back rubs, scratching and fun! Now 24 lbs, Colby splits his time between play, nursing and napping. Life is very good for this little youngster!
Check out the newest slideshow of Colby! He is busy exploring his home, playing with new toys and bonding with his trainers. This playful little guy is learning from all of these important interactions and is doing wonderfully. Click the link below and enjoy these charasmatic photos, he sure has a curious personality!
Colby is growing stronger every day! He is getting comfortable with his trainers and showing interest in new toys. Each day, trainers play with Colby to help him to build comfort and a trusting relationship with his caretakers. His mother Makaia always keeps a watchful eye on him while he explores the new people in his life. Today, we were able to get another weight on Colby and he is weighing in at 22 pounds. This little boy is sure growing up quickly!
RealMilwaukee stopped by today to meet our littlest star! Enjoy this video from our morning of fun with Tony and the RealMilwaukee crew!
It's a boy! Confirmed this weekend with his first health assessment. Born in Wisconsin, we wanted to give this little guy a name representing his home state and the wonderful patrons which will share in his life. Meet "Colby" who today weighed in at 20 lbs even. He has nursing down to a science and is not skipping a meal! Although little today, by the time he turns 10 years of age we expect Colby to weigh approximately 600 lbs! He'll continue to nurse from his mother this year and begin eating fish between 7-9 months of age. We are still monitoring him around the clock, charting sleep and nursing patterns. Makaia is keeping him very close by so far but today allowed him to begin interacting with trainers who provided a gentle spray for him to play with from a hose. He'll get cuter by the day so stay tuned!
Mom and pup are doing well! Mothers and pups bond with one another through nursing and greeting each other with their noses. Click below and check out their first video on YouTube and enjoy our littlest sea lion as he bonds with mother Makaia!
Mom Makaia is doing a great job taking care of her brand new pup, who is 17 hours old here! Pup is very strong and appears extremely healthy! We assess the pup's condition by monitoring the mother-pup bond through their interactions and consistant calling patterns. The calling helps to establish a strong relationship between the two.
Finally, the day has arrived! On June 20, Makaia blessed us with the birth of a beautiful pup. Born at 8:02 pm, this little one was standing within an hour, nursing within two and appears to be strong and healthy. We have yet to determine whether we have a boy or a girl, but this little one is already melting hearts!
For photos and news updates about mom and pup's progress, be sure to follow us on Facebook!
< Back to Current Events