Dolphins are naturally playful and perform tricks on their own or by learning them from a trainer. A popular trick seen at some dolphin shows is a dolphin jumping through a hoop. Another trick is tail walking. The dolphin raises most of its body out of the water and uses its tail to swim backwards using fast, wiggling movements.
Most dolphins have natural athletic abilities that allow them to easily jump out of the water and do tricks, such as performing three somersaults in the air. These physical gymnastics are done in the wild for fun or practical reasons. For instance, some dolphins may swim upside down underwater to search for a meal. This same behavior may also be done while playing with other dolphins. Trainers teach dolphins new tricks in several steps, and the animals are rewarded for doing tricks correctly. The dusky dolphin and the spinner dolphin are two types that appear to have the highest level of athletic prowess, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Dolphins can even teach one another how to do tricks. One smart dolphin learned how to tail walk from watching others while in temporary captivity, according to MailOnline.com. This dolphin taught her family group how to do the tail walking trick, and since then, several wild dolphins have been observed doing this movement.