Kiwi avoidance training for dogs

Dogs and kiwi should never meet. But just in case they do, kiwi avoidance training could help protect the kiwi.

Kiwi and dogs don’t mix. All dogs, regardless of their size, breed, or temperament, have the potential to kill a kiwi.

The best option is to keep dogs on a lead and away from kiwi areas. But for dogs that need to go into areas where kiwi live, avoidance training is a tool that could help reduce the threat dogs pose to kiwi. 

Why is a dog so harmful to kiwi? 

A kiwi’s skeleton is very fragile. Just a gentle nudge from an inquisitive dog has the potential to crush its very delicate ribcage and internal organs.  

That’s why Save the Kiwi is working hard to raise awareness that dogs have a critical and devastating impact on our kiwi populations. This could be avoided with the help of dog owners.

    Kiwi dog attack

    Kiwi avoidance training explained 

    Before a dog can be trained to avoid kiwi, it must have been taught basic obedience so that it does what its owner asks. 

    As part of the training, dogs are walked, usually not on a lead, past a few different props like a stuffed kiwi or kiwi nesting material. If the dog shows an interest in these objects, it gets a short sharp shock from the trainer, via a special collar. The dog quickly learns that these objects are something to stay away from. 

    The dog is then walked past similar props and, if it avoids them, is certified as having shown consistent kiwi avoidance behaviour. Refreshers are held, usually after around 12 months, to make sure the dog remembers what it has learnt. 

    However, kiwi avoidance training does not make a dog ‘kiwi-proof’. It should only be used for ‘dogs with jobs’ such as hunting dogs or farm dogs that have to be in kiwi areas. Other dogs should not be taken into kiwi areas. 

      Does kiwi avoidance training work? 

      Kiwi avoidance training is not a silver bullet. Even after a dog has been trained, an uncontrolled or roaming dog may still attack a kiwi, especially if it is not regularly retrained. 

      The best option is simply to keep dogs away from places wild kiwi live. If it is unavoidable to take a dog into a kiwi area, it should always be under control. In many cases this means on a lead, regardless of whether it has been avoidance trained. 

        Kiwi avoidance dog training

        Photo credit: Colin Salt

        Get your dog kiwi avoidance trained

        Keen to get your dog kiwi avoidance trained? Contact a certified trainer in your region for more details about future training days.

        Northland and Far North

        Pete Graham
        (Certifier no. 1)

        027 4837 050
        Northland

        Glen Coulston
        (Certifier no. 1a)

        027 290 9448
        Northland

        Lesley Baigent
        (Certifier no. 2)

        09 408 7800 or 09 408 6014  baigentsnz@gmail.com

        Far North

        Jason Hanham and Wallis Cocks
        (Certifier no. 3)

        027 4837 050
        Northland

        Hunua, Thames and Coromandel

        Brian Shields
        (Certifier no. 7)

        09 301 0101 kiwiaversion@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
        Hunua

        Liz Whitwell
        (Certifier no. 9)

        06 869 5639
        lwhitwell@doc.govt.nz
        Coromandel

        Malcolm MacFarlane
        (Certifier no. 10)

        027 235 8424 or 07 868 9912

        Thames/Coromandel

        Christine Friis
        (Certifier no. 11)

        07 867 9080
        cfriis@doc.govt.nz
        Thames

        Sheila Westley
        (Certifier no. 40)

        021 716 514
        avertmydog@projectkiwi.org.nz

        Kuaotunu

        Waikato & Bay of Plenty

        Peter Evans
        (Certifier no. 12)

        07 856 4611 or 022 600 5783
        pete@nzoutdoorexperiences.co.nz

        Waikato

        Guus Knopers
        (Certifier no. 13)

        027 5927 737 wildlifecontractorsnz@gmail.com

        Te Puke/Western Bay of Plenty

        Tiki Hutching
        (Certifier no. 14)

        07 325 2142 or 027 809 8185
        thutching@doc.govt.nz

        Opotiki/Whakatane

        Andrew Glaser
        (Certifier no. 15)

        07 315 1001
        aglaser@doc.govt.nz

        Opotiki

        Tim Allerby
        (Certifier no. 19)

        07 312 9659
        tim.a@ngaituhoe.iwi.nz

        Whakatane/Te Urewera

        Tom Brown
        (Certifier no. 41)

        027 359 0146
        66waimana@gmail.com

        Whakatane/Te Urewera

        Hawkes Bay, Taranaki & Central North Island

        Willie Marsh
        (Certifier no. 21)

        06 376 5155, 027 3858191 or 06 834 3111 (DOC Napier)
        willymarsh@inspire.net.nz

        Hawkes Bay/Manawatu

        Rod Smillie
        (Certifier no. 24)

        06 349 2100

        Whanganui

        Myles Gembritsky

         06 3854748 and 027 353 9824
        mgembritsky@xtra.co.nz 

        Whanganui

        Paul Drought
        (Certifier no. 34)

        027 287 6772
        paul-drought22@hotmail.com

        Taranaki

        Jared Coombes
        (Certifier no. 35)

        06 759 0350 or 027 2159 199
        jcoombes@doc.govt.nz

        Taranaki

        Joe Carson
        (Certifier no. 37)

        027 577 3869
        jcarson@doc.govt.nz

        Taranaki

        Blake Cole
        (Certifier no. 38)

        022 3422 191
        blakejet@gmail.com

        Ohakune & Rotorua

        Jim Pottinger
        (Certifier no. 27)

        021 259 8299 or 07 8922691
        hunter4hire@windowslive.com

        Central & Southern North Island

        Dean Flavell
        (Certifier no. 28)

        027 360 4129
        dean.flavell@xtra.co.nz

        Central North Island

        South Island & Stewart Island

        Ian Cox
        (Certifier no. 30)

        027 243 5592
        icox@doc.govt.nz

        Marlborough, Nelson & Golden Bay

        Sandra King
        (Certifier no. 20)

        03 2191102
        paws4conservation@gmail.com

        Stewart Island

        Anya Kruszewski
        (Certifier no. 39)

        027 591 2259
        akruszewski@doc.govt.nz

        Franz Josef

        Stephen (Billy) Barton
        (Certifier no. 42)

        021 022 77173
        phoenixspbltd@gmail.com

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