HANDLING AGGRESSIVE RHESUS MONKEY BEHAVIOR
Written By: Sheri Chambers
Aggressive behavior is a natural way with most all monkeys, a little more so in Rhesus Monkeys than other kinds of monkeys. In bringing your monkeys home as a baby you will not see his behavior for months into your baby's life. But one day at somewhere around six months will come the first sign of Aggressive Behavior, your little baby will decide to challenge someone in your family or even yourself. Generally the aggression is aimed at what appears in the family a the weakest or smallest member in the family to the monkey. With a Rhesus it could even choose the biggest and strongest just to see if he can start at the top of the ladder and work his way down in rank, they have attitude way bigger than they are in size.
Generally the first act of aggression is a tag and a bite and sometimes with no warning when it's a baby. How do you react to that? Most people would have an impulse to spank the baby for biting, but with a Rhesus this could lead to a second bite. When Rhesus is mad, generally reacting physically with monkey like a hit, could be a dare back to the monkey to try again. The best thing to do instead of adding fuel to a aggressive monkey's challenge, is to take the monkey firmly in hand, put it down in your lap, or on the couch, ect. on his back and get over them holding them down and tell them "NO"! "BAD"! Following that with showing your teeth like a dog would show his teeth, sounds silly but it works. The monkey now sees you as the bigger bad monkey that is stronger, showing your teeth like you might bite him back plus the fact you have them pinned with little defense.
You have now just shown him you rank over him, after you have done his and he has calmed somewhat, pick him up, then in a firm voice let him know of your disappointment in him and show him the bite. In showing him the bite tell him more of your disappointment in him and tell him baby baby! Start teaching him or her at a young age shame, in what they do wrong, show emotions to them letting them know they have hurt you, always followed by bad boy!
Put them in the cage after that and tell them that they are bad, trying to make them understand your mad at them, and don't want to play with them now. Leave them there for awhile and tell them in passing the cage "BAD" and show them the bite again, as not to let them forget they did badly. Let them know that being angry with them will last for a while. They are not like kids in that they hate to get negative reaction instead of a hug. (Note) Make sure that the voice you use in discipline is firm and angry, this is important in that they understand the severity of what they have done.
Now you have disciplined them in a non abusive way, yet let them know you are the boss, not them, and bad behavior is not expectable. After say 15 to 20 minutes of showing disappointment in their behavior that is enough negative reaction, now take your baby out and forgive them. Give them some positive reaction, play with them or share a moment of grooming together, this will let your monkey make up to you. After play or grooming give hugs and kisses, in so that they can learn the difference in getting along with you by being good, or being shamed by you for being bad and not getting to come out and interact with their human.
This unfortunately will not be the end of aggressive behavior with your monkey but with each act according to the severity of the act of aggression you must do this each time being extremely firm with them and always showing emotion wither it be angry, disappointment, or down right mad. This makes your monkey start learning about you their alpha and that you are boss not them. You must make sure that who ever the act of aggression was made on is the person who disciplines the monkey, this shows rank to the monkey, and that he is the bottom of rank in the family mom, dad, and kids rank higher. Monkeys will dominate if they can and if you have small kids, keeping them away from the monkey is probably best if they can not discipline. The first chance the monkey gets they will try to dominate that child again. Why? Because they can, it's weaker in nature and is afraid of the monkey when being bitten or attacked.
Besides showing the monkey who's boss by always putting him in his place, putting him down, you must never show fear to this monkey or it will play on your fear till it has made you back down. If this happens you will have a very hard time in regaining your alpha status, cause he will figure if he ot you to tuck your tail and run once, he will try to get you to that status again. The biting may be something that hurts real bad, but you must let it make you mad instead of fearful, in so that you have the courage to stand up to your monkey in spite of the hurt you have received. Remember animals can sense fear, some say animals can smell it, as they can also sense anger, so make sure it's anger they sense and not fear. Another factor in showing them who's boss, is looking them strait in the eyes when reprimanding holding their head so they must look into your angry glare, this is something they understand by nature.
Again with constant reprimanding for challenging or biting you will end up not getting challenged in the long run once he understands you are boss and that will remain the status always! Never use physical abuse on your monkey as it will see it as a fighting status and try to fight back, as well as have a trust factor later on wondering if you will hit them again. They will re-think the aggressive act and calm down since they see you as being stronger with little hope of winning a fight with you. If you follow through with always putting them down, along with making them behave, always set time aside every day to spend with them on a regular schedule as this makes the bond between the two of you more strong. My monkeys look forward to our time we spend together every day when I get home from work, they know the schedule and demand my time at that time of day cause that's when mommy spends time with them and plays. My monkeys are lucky in that they have human contact all day cause there is always someone here with them, most of the day is spent in caging wither it be inside or out. At night after dinner they get to be out for the whole evening every evening with family members to play, watch TV, or even snack with.
I am no authority on monkeys but I have two Rhesus monkeys myself, and my male is going on three and my female on two, and neither would think of challenging me or sot seems at this point. I have been challenged in the past and have done what I've explained in the above paragraphs and my monkeys have not made an aggressive act towards anyone in my family as we have reminded our monkeys with every aggressive act where they rank. I really feel at this point my monkeys understand very well how angry it makes us when they try to be aggressive from constant reprimanding in the past 3 years. My monkeys even seem to show remorse to hurting one of us in play when they get to rough, and want to see the Ouchy so they can see what they have done. I sometimes will pretend to cry and tell them "Bad monkey you hurt mommy", and my male will push my head back to see my face, then lip-smack ad groom me to make up, followed by a big wet kiss.
I hope this article is helpful to someone out there facing the challenging stage of their monkeys life, I can only speak of my experiences with my babies, I still have a ways to go before mine will get to the stage of maybe never thinking of challenging any of us be the time my monkeys are considered adults. At this point so far, so well with this approach. I've only raised kids, so I guess I use some of that common sense approach, as monkeys have a lot of child like qualities. So if you have raised kids this might help in figuring out your monkey kids, but do remember they are monkeys with the need to be on the wild side, as well as being very active. They also need a lot of reminding to be good as children do at this young age. Also not to be confused with children they have needs children do not, so be very understanding of them, and learn all that you can to make it easier on you and your primate so that you can have a good loving relationship with your monkey kid.
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