Implementing positive reinforcement animal training programs at primate laboratories

Jaine E. Perlman, Mollie A. Bloomsmith, Margaret A. Whittaker, Jennifer L. McMillan, Darren E. Minier, Brenda Mccowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In the last decade several surveys of primate care and training programs highlight a common theme; despite scientific evidence that animal training can be effective in reducing stress, increasing efficiency and improving veterinary care, animal training is not widely incorporated into animal care and management programs in laboratory settings. This is particularly important with the recent release of the internationally recognized version of the " Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" by the National Research Council. The Guide includes multiple recommendations to incorporate training methods into husbandry and experimental procedures. To address the divide between the regulatory and scientifically based support for animal training, and a broader establishment of formal animal training programs, this paper will: describe three approaches to structuring animal training programs; provide rationale as to why facilities should have animal training programs; report on a recent survey of animal training programs at nine, large USA facilities housing nonhuman primates; discuss important elements of an animal training program; discuss negative reinforcement and means to minimize its use; and finally give a detailed description of a facility-wide animal training program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-126
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Animal training
  • Animal welfare
  • Behavioral Management
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Positive reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Animals


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