In my wildlife chemical immobilization courses (see my Seminar Schedule) I teach about connecting with the animals. Even when I approach a black or grizzly bear in a Culvert trap, administer immobilizing drugs, radio-collar them and release them, I still create and feel a connection with the animal which improves how well I can care for them while they are under the drugs.
My understanding of connecting totally changed after I was given a behind the scenes tour of the San Diego Zoo. Animal caretakers must monitor and treat the health of their animals which can involve blood collection and nail trims even with animals such as giraffes, tigers or polar bears. To reduce the risk and invasiveness of drugging the animals they create a close bond with the animal through training and ask the animals to help.
I was in awe as the caretaker asked the Siberian tiger to bring it’s huge tail through the bars so he could collect blood!
This is not just physically forcing an animal to do anything. It is asking the animal to cooperate and participate. And the caretakers recognize that the animals have their good days and bad days. There is give and take between the animal caretaker and the animal.
This is a wonderful connection.
Part 2 Relating this to dog capture and handling will be posted tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 19)