Having mastered this behavior outside, we moved the training inside. This step was challenging for a few reasons. Indoors, I have to remain outside of their enclosures, and there is a mesh barrier between the lemurs and I. The lemurs can easily grab onto the mesh with their hands or feet, taking them out of the t-stand position.
In the lemurs’ indoor enclosure, there is a bench about as high as my hip. To start, I placed the t-stand there. One at a time, I let the lemurs into the enclosure and tapped on the top of the t-stand with my finger—their cue to get in place.
VIDEO: On Lynne's cue, ring-tailed lemur Bowie gets into position.
Luckily, they were all eager to participate in this training. Although a few tried to ‘cheat’ by hanging their back foot on the mesh or the vertical part of the t-stand, I ignored those behaviors and gave rewards only when they had both hands and feet in the correct position. They quickly learned not to hang on the mesh.
From there, I moved the t-stand to the floor since that is where our vet team takes the real radiographs. It was difficult to get some individuals to come to this spot, but others did so more readily. I used that to my advantage. I allowed more nervous lemurs into the enclosure with confident ones so that they could watch the training session. Once the nervous individual saw the confident one receiving raisins, they were more than willing to come to the ground to participate!