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Free kiwi avoidance training for dogs encouraged

Avoidance training for dogs is a tool which helps reduce the threat dogs pose to kiwi.

Since kiwi were reintroduced in the Brynderwyns in 2013, Marunui Conservation has been organising annual training days.

“As more people hear about it the demand for avoidance training has increased,” says Marunui’s John Hawley. “Our next session at the end of April is attracting bookings from both sides of the Brynderwyns ”

Domestic, farm and pig hunting dogs can all receive training. The method used is the same whether for a first timer, or a refresher to make sure the dog remembers what it has previously learnt. It takes about 10 minutes and involves walking the dog past various kiwi props such as nesting material, feathers or poo. The trainer fits the dog with a special collar and if it shows interest in any item it receives a short, sharp shock. While this teaches the dog that kiwi are something to stay away from it is not necessarily a guarantee that the dog, if uncontrolled or roaming, will not attack a kiwi.

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