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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2014 Jan;53(1):61-8.

Refining the pole-and-collar method of restraint: emphasizing the use of positive training techniques with rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).

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Division of Animal Resources, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Division of Animal Resources, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


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 (Macaca mulatta; n = 8) 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.

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