Guerrero-Martin, S. M., Brill, S., Carlson, B. W. 2022. Development and implementation of a positive reinforcement training program for nonhuman primates in biomedical research. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 10(1) (January/February), 48-52.
Despite clear benefits of PRT for NHPs and biomedical research, investigators often view the investment in personnel expertise and time required to train animals as deterrents towards adopting PRT. We provide an example of how this framework could be implemented with NHPs in research settings based on our own experience in building a new PRT program. We believe that the implementation of the behavioral training program in our research group has provided meaningful benefits. The level of physical effort needed to administer the daily injections to our macaques, as well as the emotional toll from restraining resistant NHPs, has decreased greatly for the people involved in the animal work. The time needed to complete the daily injections is also reduced significantly when working with trained compared to untrained animals. We have noted a calmer environment in our macaque rooms, with trained animals displaying more affiliative and less fear behavior towards humans.