McMillan, J. L., Perlman, J. E., Galvan, A. et al. 2014. Refining the pole-and-collar method of restraint: Emphasizing the use of positive training techniques with rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). JJAALAS 53(1), 61-68.
The pole-and-collar method is one of several techniques that enable the safe transfer of a nonhuman primate from its home environment into a restraint chair without the need for sedation. It has been used within the scientific community for decades. Traditional methods to train animals for pole-and-collar use rely primarily on aspects of negative reinforcement, with very little incorporation of positive-reinforcement techniques. With increasing emphasis on animal training and welfare, research facilities are incorporating positive-reinforcement training into husbandry and experimental procedures. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of training rhesus macaques [juvenile (4 male, 4 female) rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) ranging inage from 2 to 4 y.) to cooperate for pole-and-collar transfer to a primate restraint chair. By using predominantly positive-reinforcement techniques, with supplemental elements of negative reinforcement, macaques were trained in a mean of 85 training sessions (a mean of 1085 min of training time). We also provide tools for investigators using the pole-and-collar method to help them successfully incorporate positive-reinforcement training into their procedures. This refinement has the potential to improve animal welfare and enhance the value of nonhuman primate models in research.