Marlin and Kelly

Shedd has added a fourth pooch to its canine lineup. Welcome Marlin, a handsome chocolate Lab mix (with maybe a little boxer, perhaps a touch of Great Dane)!

Marlin, who turns 2 years old next month, is the first Shedd dog adopted from Chicago Canine Rescue. He’s super-friendly and gets along well with people and with other dogs—and maybe with other animals, too. Marlin’s first home was in Oklahoma, where he did not pan out as the hunting dog he was raised to be.

Through rescue networks, he was brought to Chicago Canine Rescue and adopted when he was about a year old. The energetic 70-pound pup turned out to be more than the new owner could handle, and Marlin was returned to the rescue, where Ken Ramirez and his training team, on the lookout for a special dog to meet and greet guests, spotted him in December.

He’s found his forever home at Shedd, where he has plenty of interaction with people and dog buddies and lots of space to play and exercise. He’s finding fun outlets for his energy—and learning better self-control—through Shedd’s positive-reinforcement training program, which rewards desired behaviors with treats and praise. “No!” is nowhere in the training manual. Less-desired activity is not reinforced (positively or negatively), and eager-to-please dogs soon get the idea.

Marlin Coral Dory (2)Marlin’s basic training includes learning to sit, stay and lie down, to walk on a leash without pulling, and to let trainers touch his paws, nails and ears in preparation for grooming and routine wellness procedures. He’s also learning to follow instructions, such as going into his kennel, although he much prefers to sit on a trainer’s lap and cuddle. Marlin is a chewer, and this natural dog behavior is satisfied with plenty of tasty chew toys.

Marlin joins Bruce, Dory and Coral (yes, they’re all named after characters in Finding Nemo), who appear in the daily aquatic presentations. You’ll have a chance to meet Marlin this summer (remember summer?) when he and a trainer will visit with guests in line to have fun sharing tips about animal care and training the Shedd way.

Karen Furnweger, web editor