How to Housetrain a Pet Monkey
Many websites and “experts” will tell you that monkeys cannot be housetrained. This might be true for some species. The housetraining technique I describe here may work on many species but, since I have only worked with Capuchin and Spider Monkeys, I cannot tell you that for sure. (I have worked with Marmosets and this technique does not work with them.)
With a lot of effort you can housetrain some monkeys.
Keep in mind that monkeys are intelligent but not as easy to housetrain as dogs and cats. They are not den animals and do not look for a special area in which to urinate. Monkeys are used to urinating and defecating anywhere they happen to be and do not have a natural inclination to pick a bathroom area.
Housetraining an Adult Monkey
In order to train your monkey, you need to rely on his intelligence. Build a large cage, something that she will enjoy spending time in, but when she is out running around your house or yard you need to make sure that you play games with her, give her treats, and make sure she enjoys being outside of the cage.
- Every day, you need to take the monkey out so that she can enjoy your house or yard.
- Allow the monkey to spend several hours outside.
- When the monkey urinates on you, play time is over. Take him and put him back in the cage and take out all of his loose toys. It is not really punishment, more of a “time out”, so make sure he is in there for at least a half hour, enough time for him to get bored with those surroundings.
- Take him back out after this period and play with him again. If he urinates on you again, you must put him back in the cage.
- Within a few days, the monkey will figure out that he is not to urinate on you or his play time will be over.
- Once your monkey is housetrained, he will need to have the ability to run off and urinate once in a while. If he jumps off you and runs up a tree, you will have to let him. After he is finished, he will want to come back to see what you are doing.
- If you are not willing to let your monkey jump down and find an area to use as his bathroom, you will never be able to housetrain your monkey. Keeping the monkey in a cage all of time is cruel and, since diapers are not a good option for many animals, you should have a different type of pet.
Housetraining a Young Monkey
Housetraining a very young monkey is almost impossible.
Like a small child still in diapers, he will need to urinate often and has very little control of his bladder and bowels. The best way to deal with a monkey too young to be housetrained is to use small diapers made for children. (When young they are very tolerant of diapers. As adults they are more likely to tear them off.)
A monkey of any age may have an accident, and if you are not able to deal with this you should consider caring for a different pet. Last weekend, for example, a monkey was resting on my shoulder as he watched the village children playing on the plaza. One of the kids set of fireworks and the monkey, frightened, urinated on my shoulder.
Since I live in the tropics it was easy enough to take the shirt off and rinse it. If you think this is a terrible thing, and not something you can ever put up with, do not get a monkey.
Are All Monkeys Able to be Housetrained?
Not all monkeys can be housetrained, and not all people are going to be able to teach their monkeys.
If you are not able to follow through with this technique every time, your monkey will probably never become housetrained. Some people live with this issue and even their adult monkeys wear diapers when outside of the cage.
Monkeys like that usually end up spending most of their lives inside of a cage.
I do not think a monkey in that situation makes a good pet. Unless you have plenty of time to spend with your monkey and are willing to accept some failures, you are better off with a pet that is easier to train.
Shelters are full of good dogs looking for homes.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.