The following Shaping Plan has been Submitted by Stefanie L. Nelsen (Primate Products, Inc.):

GOALS:
To acclimate/desensitize/train nonhuman primates to the following, while in quarantine:

  • Positive Human Contact (PHC)
  • Clicker Condition (and possibly target training)
  • Station at front of cage by cage door
  • Desensitization to the squeeze back
  • Desensitization to catch gloves
  • Acclimation/Training to the procedure cage
  • Training to enter transport box

 

APPLICATIONS:
This can be used by staff to build good trust relationships between humans and animals, which further contribute to developing the animals into “willing workers” that cooperate with staff, while fostering an environment of safety for animals and humans alike. This creates a training foundation that can easily be built upon for future training of various tasks. This will also allow staff to learn the reinforcement treat preferences of each individual monkey.

 

TRAINING INSIGHTS: If any…
All training session should be 5 minutes or less per animal. There may be large differences between individual animal training, and slower progressing animals may need more attention as time continues.

 

REQUIRED MATERIALS:
  1. Clickers
  2. Target wands
  3. Transport boxes
  4. Procedure cages
  5. Catch gloves
  6. Cart
  7. Reinforcement Treats (and treat dispensers)
  8. quarantine acclimation/desensitization/training log

 

SHAPING PLAN:
  • Week 1
    • Positive Human Contact (PHC):
      • Twice a day provide treats at the front of the cage where the door is. When you present the treat, offer for 15 seconds if the monkey doesn’t take it, place on the cage or in feeder, and go to the next monkey (only offer once if monkey does not take treat). If the monkey takes the treat, offer another, and continue to offer until you have provided 10 small treats. Let the monkey know you are finished by saying “All done”, and move on to the next monkey.
      • This can be done with treats given by hand from the trainer, or through the use of treat dispensers (i.e. syringe dispensers).
    • Acclimation
      • Catch gloves, transport boxes, procedure cages, clickers, treats, and treat dispensers will be on a cart, and brought into the animal room immediately before the first PHC each day. The cart will be removed from the animal room and placed in the anteroom following the second PHC of each day.
  • Week 2
    • PHC
      • If animals are not taking treats after week 1, repeat week 1.
      • If animals are taking treats after week 1, start introducing the clicker by clicking and treating at the same time, so that the animals begin to associate the ‘click’ sound with a treat. Eventually move to clicking the clicker, waiting a second, and then providing the treat only at the front of the cage. Do this 10 times, and end with “All done” before moving on to the next monkey. Do this twice a day.
      • For animals that are excelling at week 2, you may want to introduce them to targeting.
        • In order to proceed with target training, the animal must be stationing at the front of the cage (i.e. the monkey is staying at the front of the cage rather than taking the treat and retreating, or reaching for the treat from the back of the cage). Once the animal is stationed, begin introducing the target wand by placing it at the front of the cage, and clicking when the animal touches it with a hand or hands, and then following this with a treat. Keep presenting the wand in the same location until the animal is consistently touching the target wand, then move the wand to various locations on the cage. NOTE: if animal tries to touch the wand with its mouth, hold the wand a little bit outside the bars of the cage so that the animal can not touch with its mouth and therefore has to use its hand or hands.
    • Acclimation
      • Catch gloves, transport boxes, procedure cages, clickers, treats, and treat dispensers will be on a cart, and brought into the animal room immediately before the first PHC each day. The cart will be removed from the animal room and placed in the anteroom following the second PHC of each day.
  • Week 3 (and possibly week 4 or longer if animals are still under CDC Quarantine)
    • PHC
      • If animals were not introduced to the clicker during week 2, introduce them to clicker using instructions from week 2 for the AM session. For the PM session, move to desensitization to squeeze back for animals that are not clicker conditioned and/or taking treats from the trainer’s hand.
      • If animals are clicker conditioned (and possibly trained to touch the target wand) after week 2, move to desensitization to squeeze back.
    • Acclimation
      • Catch gloves, transport boxes, procedure cages, clickers, treats, and treat dispensers will be on a cart, and brought into the animal room immediately before the first PHC each day. The cart will be removed from the animal room and placed in the anteroom following the second PHC of each day.
    • Desensitization to squeeze back for animals that are clicker conditioned (this should be done once a day in lieu of PHC if the animals are at this step). Please use continuous reinforcement for this process.
      • When the first person approaches, the animal should be at the front of the cage by the door waiting. If this is how the animal is, click and provide syringe with continuous reinforcement. The second person will place hands on the squeeze, and observe animal’s reaction. If the animal leaves the front of the cage and jumps to the perch, the first person will remove the continuous reinforcement from the cage, and the second person will keep their hands on the squeeze. When the animal is calm and at the front of the cage, click and provide continuous reinforcement.
      • If the animal is ok with this, continue to progress at the animal’s pace with the following steps:
        • Unlock the squeeze, when the animal is calm and at the front of the cage, click and provide continuous reinforcement.
        • Pull the squeeze forward a small increment, when the animal is calm and at the front of the cage, click and continue to provide continuous reinforcement.
        • Continue to pull the squeeze forward increment by increment, continuing to reward the animal when it is calm and at the front of the cage. The end goal is to have the squeeze pulled forward enough so that the animal can still turn around and normally posture.
        • NOTE: It is important to continue to provide continuous reinforcement from the syringe while the animal is cooperating, but when the animal does not cooperate the reinforcement must be removed. When the animal returns to cooperating, the reinforcement should also return. If the animal does not return to cooperating, the reinforcement should be completely removed and noted how much of the liquid was actually provided and drank by the animal.
    • Desensitization to squeeze back for animals that are not clicker conditioned or taking treats from the trainer’s hand (this should be done once a day in the PM in lieu of PHC)
      • Offer the animal a treat for 15 seconds, if the animal does not take it place on the cage or in the feeder (if the animal takes the treat, that’s great, but still move on to the next step).
      • Gently unlock the squeeze, and pull the squeeze forward until it can be locked into position at halfway.
      • Place several treats in the feeder or on the cage, and leave the room for about 2-3 mins. to allow animal to consume treats while squeezed halfway.
      • After 2-3 mins., return to the room and note whether the animal ate the treats or not.
      • If the animal appears to accept the squeeze being pulled halfway, next session pull the squeeze forward further. The end goal is to have the squeeze pulled forward enough so that the animal can still turn around and normally posture.
  • The week post CDC Quarantine Release (typically week 4 or 5)
    • PHC
      • If animals are not clicker conditioned, introduce them to clicker using instructions from week 2 for the AM session. For the PM session, move to desensitization to training of the procedure cage or transport box for animals that are not clicker conditioned and/or taking treats from the trainer’s hand.
      • If animals are clicker conditioned (and possibly trained to touch the target wand), move to desensitization to training of the procedure cage or transport box for animals that are clicker conditioned.
    • Acclimation
      • Catch gloves, transport boxes, procedure cages, clickers, treats, and treat dispensers will be on a cart, and brought into the animal room immediately before the first PHC each day. The cart will be removed from the animal room and placed in the anteroom following the second PHC of each day.
    • Training of the procedure cage or transport box for animals that are clicker conditioned (this should be done once a day in lieu of PHC if the animals are at this step). Transport box or procedure cage will be determined by purpose of the animal, but ideally procedure cage training would be one week and transport box training would a second week.
      • If the animal is sitting calmly at the front of the cage when the cage is squeezed completely (i.e. the animal can still move around to posture), attach the procedure cage onto or hold the transport box at the home cage door. Open the procedure cage door or the transport box door, and then open the home cage door, while saying “IN”. As soon as the animal enters click and treat, then close the procedure cage door or transport box door, click and treat. Release the squeeze. Leave the animal in the procedure cage or transport box for 1 minute (increase time left in procedure cage or transport box as training progresses). Then open procedure cage or transport box door, while saying “OUT” to allow the animal back into home cage. Click and treat when animal exits the procedure cage or transport box. Shut the home cage door, shut the procedure cage or transport box door, and then remove the procedure cage or transport box from the home cage.
      • If the animal is immediately entering the procedure cage or transport box upon cue (i.e. as soon as the door opens and “IN” is said, the animal enters), stop pulling the squeeze forward, and cue the animal to enter without use of the squeeze.
    • Training of the procedure cage or transport box for animals that are not clicker conditioned and/or taking treats from the trainer’s hand (this should be done once a day in lieu of PHC if the animals are at this step). Transport box or procedure cage will be determined by purpose of the animal, but ideally procedure cage training would be one week and transport box training would a second week.
      • If the animal is sitting calmly at the front of the cage when the cage is squeezed completely (i.e. the animal can still move around to posture), attach the procedure cage onto or the transport box at the home cage door. Open the procedure cage or transport box door, and then open the home cage door, while saying “IN”. As soon as the animal enters offer a treat, then close the procedure cage or transport box door, and offer a treat. Release the squeeze. Leave the animal in the procedure cage or transport box for 1 minute (increase time left in procedure cage or transport box as training progresses). Then open procedure cage and transport box door, while saying “OUT” to allow the animal back into home cage. Offer a treat when animal exits the procedure cage or transport box. Shut the home cage door, shut the procedure cage or transport box door, and then remove the procedure cage or transport box from the home cage.
      • If the animal is immediately entering the procedure cage or transport box upon cue (i.e. as soon as the door opens and “IN” is said, the animal enters), stop pulling the squeeze forward, and cue the animal to enter without use of the squeeze.

 

NOTES:
  1. It is important to remember that animals that are clicker conditioned, will only receive one training session a day starting week 3. Animals that are not clicker conditioned and/or taking treats from the trainer’s hand will receive 2 training sessions per day for all 5 weeks.
  2. If the animal regresses, be sure to go back to the beginning.
  3. IMPORTANT: Animals progress differently, remain as consistent and patient as possible.
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