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

        Find a kiwi avoidance trainer

        Keen to get your dog kiwi avoidance trained? Certified kiwi avoidance trainers are located all over New Zealand; contact your nearest one for more details about future training days.

        Northland and Far North

        Clea Gardiner

        027 483 7050
        (email preferred way of contact)


        Lesley Baigent
        (Certifier no. 2)

        09 408 7800 or 09 408 6014

        Far North

        Jason Hanham and Wallis Cocks
        (Certifier no. 3)

        021 872 476


        Thames and Coromandel

        Liz Whitwell
        (Certifier no. 9)

        07 867 9080


        Malcolm MacFarlane
        (Certifier no. 10)

        027 235 8424 or 07 868 9912


        Christine Friis
        (Certifier no. 11)

        07 867 9080

        Sheila Westley
        (Certifier no. 40)

        021 716 514


        There is currently no trainer in the Auckland Region.  Please contact Guus Knopers or Malcom Macfarlane.

        Waikato & Bay of Plenty

        Guus Knopers
        (Certifier no. 13)

        027 5927 737

        Te Puke/Western Bay of Plenty

        Tiki Hutching
        (Certifier no. 14)

        07 325 2142 or 027 809 8185


        Andrew Glaser
        (Certifier no. 15)

        07 315 1001


        Tim Allerby
        (Certifier no. 19)

        07 312 9659

        Whakatane/Te Urewera

        Tom Brown
        (Certifier no. 41)

        027 359 0146

        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)

        Hawkes Bay/Manawatu

        Myles Gembitsky

        06 349 2100


        Paul Drought
        (Certifier no. 34)

        027 287 6772


        Jared Coombes
        (Certifier no. 35)

        06 759 0350 or 027 2159 199


        Joe Carson
        (Certifier no. 37)

        027 577 3869


        Paul Prip
        (Certifier no. 43)

        027 522 2303


        Blake Cole
        (Certifier no. 38)

        022 3422 191

        Ohakune & Rotorua

        Jim Pottinger
        (Certifier no. 27)

        021 259 8299 or 07 8922691

        Central & Southern North Island

        Dean Flavell
        (Certifier no. 28)

        027 360 4129

        Central North Island

        Joe Metekingi
        (Certifier no. 44)

        027 244 5224 or 07 895 8188

        Ruapehu District

        South Island & Stewart Island

        Sandra King
        (Certifier no. 20)

        03 2191102

        Stewart Island

        Anya Kruszewski
        (Certifier no. 39)

        027 591 2259

        Franz Josef

        Stephen (Billy) Barton
        (Certifier no. 42)

        021 022 77173

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