Next to stoats, dogs pose the most serious threat to kiwi of all ages. Kiwis have a strong earthy musky odour that ALL dogs find irresistible. Since 2009 the Trust has been running ‘kiwi Aversion’ training sessions for dogs that may encounter kiwis while hunting, tramping, at home our just out walking with their owners.
It is a simple process of teaching dogs to avoid the scent of kiwi by using an electric collar. The collar gives a small electric shock when the dog shows interest in kiwi stimulus material. If no interest is shown, no shock is given.
Certificates are given to the dogs’ owner, which need renewing every year.
We have been instrumental in initiating other control measures in neighbouring forests, including compulsory aversion certification and micro-chips for all hunting dogs entering Ernslaw Forest’s, otherwise permits are not issued. DOC and the Ruapehu District Council have also supported a number of similar initiatives.
We work in conjunction with DOC to certify around 150 dogs each year and this helps us to raise our public profile and gain further support.