Training rhesus macaques for venipuncture using positive reinforcement techniques: A comparison with chimpanzees

Kristine Coleman, Lindsay Pranger, Adriane Maier, Susan P. Lambeth, Jaine E. Perlman, Erica Thiele, Steven J. Schapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


As more emphasis is placed on enhancing the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates, many research facilities have started using positive reinforcement training (PRT) techniques to train primates to voluntarily participate in husbandry and research procedures. PRT increases the animal's control over its environment and desensitizes the animal to stressful stimuli. Blood draw is a common husbandry and research procedure that can be particularly stressful for nonhuman primate subjects. Although studies have demonstrated that chimpanzees can be trained for in-cage venipuncture using PRT only, fewer studies have demonstrated success using similar techniques to train macaques. It is often assumed that macaques cannot be trained in the same manner as apes. In this study, we compare PRT data from singly housed adult rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta; n = 8) with data from group-housed adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes; n = 4). All subjects were trained to place an arm in a 'blood sleeve' and remain stationary for venipuncture. Both facilities used similar PRT techniques. We were able to obtain repeated blood samples from 75% of the macaques and all of the chimpanzees. The training time did not differ significantly between the 2 species. These data demonstrate that macaques can be trained for venipuncture in a manner similar to that used for chimpanzees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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