Monkey Zone: Your Primate Resource Center for Education & Information

Taming Your Monkey


Lui taking bath with trainer Lisa
"I would like to take a minute of your time to tell you the importance of this web site and the training that Lisa offers, if you are going to buy a monkey or as I did bought one and then was left all on my own to figure out how to raise her correctly be advised there is no books out there to tell you how to raise a capuchin, I have searched and search. the lady who sold her to me will not return phone calls or e-mails. so I looked and looked for help, finding this web site was a God send!  I signed up 2 weeks ago and have learned so very much about my baby and how and what to fed her and when, also the trick to no more cutting diapers :) after Lisa tips and proper nutrition my baby has become so much more active and has stopped biting and even loves her baths. the best thing you can ever do for yourself and your baby or even a grown monkey is hook up with Lisa, you will not only find a wealth of knowledge but even better a good friend."
About Lisa Whiteaker, trainer
Lisa is a Certified Trainer, of
by Lisa, President & Founder of MonkeyZone

Monkeys are a one-person pet and will not be too responsive to strangers or other family members of your home. If they are not bothered or teased by a stranger, chances are they will not bite. They are clannish and suspicious of anything new or strange; so when friends drop in to see your new pet, advise them to go slowly (do not just extend your hand), keep at a distance and do not try to make a quick friendship with your monkey. If you buy your monkey from a pet shop, chances are it will already be wearing a collar or harness. Even so, you should inspect the collar or harness to be certain that it is the right size and kind. I have found a small dog or cat collar or harness to be the most satisfactory from the standpoint of safety and comfort, they are a soft nylon. They do not wear the hair off the waist of your primate. They are much cleaner and last longer than a leather collar or harness. Until your monkey becomes collar or harness wise, it will twist and turn, trying to escape.

Let your monkey get use to it, by letting your monkey drag the leash behind them when they are out of the cage. I always leave my monkeys restraint on while they are out of the cage at all times so I can have control at any time. Until your monkey becomes accustomed to you and its new home, it will be best to leave the collar or harness on all the time when they are out of the cage. Never leave a collar/harness and leash attached to them while they are in the cage. Your monkey could get tangled up and not to mention seriously hurt. By learning how to restrain your monkey from inside the cage while you are attaching the collar or harness and leash, you can prevent them from darting out of the cage. By restraining your monkey when you open the door also helps to break them of the habit of darting out and trying to escape. They soon realize that they have to wear a collar or harness with a leash attached before they can come out. If you have adopted a juvenile or adult monkey, for the first few days or even weeks it is best to leave it in the cage to get use to its new environment. Getting a collar on it might be difficult in the beginning, you need to build trust and respect from your monkey. Place the cage where the monkey can be with you while you are watching TV. or at work. Monkeys do not like to be alone, so keep the TV on for company.

Every time you go near the cage, stop and speak to your monkey, call it by name, and offer food or a treat. If your monkey grabs for food, try not to jerk your hand away; the sudden movement not only startles the monkey, but also gives it the idea that you are frightened, it will try to bluff you whenever possible. In a few days or weeks, you will find that your monkey isn't as frightened when you approach the cage. Now is the time to try and open the door a little and have direct contact. Have treats, food available while having contact, be careful not to tease or intimidate your monkey. You may get bitten, but don't jerk away, take it very slow. There are monkeys that will attack right away and others that really want your direct contact and attention. All monkeys are different in personalities, but if you feel your monkey wants to come out of the cage, be certain that when you open the door you have a firm grip on your monkey, whether it be a arm, tail, scruff of the neck, ect.. Open the cage door slowly, your monkey may either do one of two things, make a wild dash in hopes of escaping, or it will cower in the back of the cage and refuse to come out. If the first occurs, you will be glad you had a firm grip on it. Should your monkey become timid and afraid to come out, don't be impatient! Sit down and talk to it while reaching your hand towards it. Offer a piece of its favorite food. Try to coax it out, but never grab your monkey and pull it out. If you still haven't succeeded in getting it to come out after trying for ten or fifteen minutes, don't get excited. Close the door of the cage and walk away and try later. After you have succeeded and have attached the collar or harness and leash, then you should take your monkey out several times a day for social enrichment and exercise and also a get acquainted period.

Lead your monkey around so it will become accustomed to the collar or harness and leash. If your monkey fights against being led at first, sit down and talk to your monkey in a calm, caring voice until it overcomes its excitement and fright. When adopting a juvenile or adult you shouldn't put your hands on a new monkey--to pet or play with it--for several days or even weeks. I offer the newcomer something special, such as a few raisins, some nuts, fruit, vegetables or a mealworm. I hold the treat until the monkey comes to take it from me. In this way, it learns to trust the hand and knows that I am not going to grab it or hurt it in any way. When using food to get acquainted with your new monkey, be careful to avoid teasing it, even if unintentionally. Never offer a tidbit and then jerk it away. This will accomplish just the opposite of what you are trying to do. If you are trying to get the monkey to come to you, hold the food far enough away so that it must move to you and let it have the treat when it reaches you. When it is time to put a new monkey back in it's cage, you may have to use a little persuasion, especially the first time or two. You can guide the monkey in the cage first and unfasten the collar or harness and leash and shut the door. Usually if you give the monkey a piece of it's favorite fruit or a treat and let it see you put it in the cage, it will go in after it.

After a few times, it will realize that the cage is it's home where it is fed and protected, and should it get out, it will return to the cage instead of running away. To help imbed this idea, always give your monkey it's first real meal in the cage. By watching to see what your monkey selects first when you feed it, you will soon learn which is it's favorite food. Then use this particular thing to the best advantage by letting it help you tame your monkey. Most monkeys prefer grapes, so I use them as a special reward. I repeat, never offer a monkey anything and then hold it so that it can't get to it. This creates resentment, not trust. Try not to let the monkey bite you. Even a trial nip by your monkey requires an immediate reprimand! Grab your monkey by the scruff or it's neck and unleash the monkey and place it in the cage and shut the door. Walk away, do not look at it or talk with it for at leash fifteen minutes. By giving a Time-Out, it will teach your monkey that you won't tolerate such behavior, be firm in letting it know you will not stand for such actions. A monkey can inflict a painful pinch, not to mention a serious bite!