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Chicago's Shedd Aquarium features rescue dogs to greet visitors

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Just in case you think Shedd Aquarium is just about flippers and snorkel masked trainers giving "high fives" to dolphins and penguins, don't be surprised when you feel a wet nose or two from a four-legged, tail wagging canine greeting guests at the door reported Friday's CBS Local.

Earlier in December, trainers at Shedd announced the arrival of Marlin, an adorable black Labrador retriever mix adopted from Chicago Canine Rescue. The playful, two-year-old bundle of energy has been learning self control and basic commands using positive reinforcement with praise and rewards.

According to Shedd Aquarium:

"“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 is now being taught to sit, stay, lie down, walk on a leash, and other commands. His trainers touch his paws, ears, and help him feel comfortable with the human touch so he can be groomed and is stress free when veterinarians attend to his routine health needs.

Marlin is expected to be greeting visitors early this Spring.

All four dogs at Shedd are rescues from various city shelters. There is Bruce, the male pit bull mix, Coral, the female Airedale mix, and Dorey, a female shepherd mix. Trainers at Shedd hope the message to adopt a shelter dog rings loud and clear.

Just in case you're wondering about the dogs' names, you just can't take the water out of the aquarium - the dogs have all been named from characters out of "Finding Nemo."

The rescue program integrating dogs began last summer. The production "One World" demonstrates the strong connection between humans and animals and introduced the "Shedd Way," animal care through positive reinforcement.

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