Chair restraint training of non-human primates

Use of a specifically-designed restraint chair is the most common method of restraint for various research studies that require non-human primates to ‘sit’ in place for sustained periods of time. Despite widespread use of restraint chairs, there is little published information about the methods used to train monkeys to accept this form of restraint, which can be a stressful procedure for these animals.

Working with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, we led an international survey to document current practice and to identify opportunities for refinement. The work is published in Comparative Medicine.

The survey identified large variation in the types of chair used, the methods of transferring the monkey from the home environment into the chair, the time allowed to prepare the animals for chair restraint equipment before research procedures begin, and the roles of the personnel involved.

We make several recommendations for refining the use of chair restraint, such as greater discussion of training procedures between laboratories, more pre-study training based on positive reinforcement techniques, use of standard operating procedures to increase consistency in animal training and monitoring, and seeking advice from specialist training consultants.

Ensuring that the chair restraint process is as fully refined as possible will reduce any stress and discomfort to a minimum, facilitating good performance from the monkey and good scientific data.

Workshop funding

To support the research community to refine restraint training of non-human primates, we have co-sponsored for four consecutive years an 8-hour training workshop on ‘Teaching monkeys to cooperate with restraint: using positive reinforcement training and temperament testing methods’ at the AALAS National Meeting in the USA.

Working group membership

Dr Mark Prescott


Dr Jennifer McMillan

Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Dr Mollie Bloomsmith

Yerkes National Primate Research Center


McMillan J, Bloomsmith MA, Prescott MJ (2017) An international survey of approaches to chair restraint of nonhuman primates. Comparative Medicine 67(5):442-451.

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