Kiwi Avoidance Training

Save the Kiwi’s avoidance trainers were in Rodney to deliver 3 days of training last month. The Forest Bridge Trust extended invitations to dog owners in the central and wider bridge to put their pets through a simple 15-minute training session.

The first day of training took place in a banana plantation on the Omaha flats, where dogs including Monty, Juno, Mac, Stanley and Major took turns walking through a laid-out course with a senior kiwi avoidance dog trainer.

Placed throughout the course were scented decoy kiwi, if the dogs paid any interest to the dummy birds then a correction was given via an E Collar. The dogs were quick learners, and all gave the decoys a wide berth on the second trip around the course.

The kiwi avoidance trainers reiterated that avoidance training is not the total answer to dog attacks on kiwis. Even after completing the training dog owners should always keep dogs on leads and under control in areas where kiwis are known to nest.

The training is just another tool in the conservation toolbox. If your land is close to areas where Kiwis have made their home the avoidance training will provide you with some peace of mind should you encounter a nesting kiwi whilst out walking your dog or working on the farm, hopefully, your dog will remember the scent and the correction and think twice about going in to investigate the smell.

The 3 days of training were a great success and through rain and shine dogs came to complete the programme.

It was a win-win for both TFBT community and Kiwi Dog Avoidance as several trainee trainers joined us for the 3 days of training. Here to learn how to direct future training events themselves. The Trainees were dog and kiwi lovers from all over New Zealand keen to complete the trainee training to ensure communities from as far as Great Barrier Island to Te Awamutu would also have the opportunity to get their dogs kiwi avoidance trained.

The Forest Bridge Trust was delighted to have over 30 local dogs register for the training, a mix of working dogs and pets, of all ages, and all breeds. All passed with flying colours and received a certificate and a reminder to book again for their refresher course.

Kiwi Dog Avoidance Training will be back in North Rodney next year. Refresher courses are 6 monthly for new dogs, and 2 years if they dogs are old hats at the training and showed absolutely no interest in kiwi signs.

Kiwi Dog Avoidance Training is a joint venture between DOC and Save the kiwi.

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