Effect of positive reinforcement training on physiological and behavioural stress responses in the hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas)
Behavioural and salivary cortisol responses were measured in hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) (n = 5) undergoing positive reinforcement training (PRT). Compliance was assessed by collecting behavioural data on desirable and undesirable responses during each training session
(33–46 training sessions per male). Saliva was collected before implementation of the training programme (3–4 baseline samples per male) and immediately before and ten minutes after a training session (24–53 saliva samples per male). During training, the incidence of leaving
the training area, vocalising and threat displays changed across time. Performance of the desired behaviour(holding a target for increasing increments of time) improved for all males during the study period. Concentrations of salivary cortisol were similar for pre-training and post-training
collection times, but both were significantly lower than baseline concentrations. The overall decline in undesirable behaviours and the absence of constantly elevated salivary cortisol suggest that PRT had no adverse effects on animal welfare.