Man’s best friend might be, well, man’s best friend but when it comes to our national icon, dogs and kiwi are not a good match.
It doesn’t matter how friendly or cute Murphy, Fido or Spot are, or what breed, gender or size they are, all dogs have the potential to kill a kiwi. They might be obedient at home but if they encounter interesting and new smells or are let off their leash in new and exciting places, it’s possible that they could become unmanageable.
This summer, as Kiwis book quintessential camping and bach holidays instead of heading overseas, please consider what you do with your dog first.
Check if kiwi live where you’re going
First things first, do some research on the area you’re visiting. Do kiwi live near where you’re camping or in the bush that you’re planning on tramping through or hunting in? If kiwi do – or could – live nearby, avoid taking your dog with you or be on high alert if he has to come along for the ride.
Keep your pet pooch out of known kiwi areas
Leaving Max at home is the best way to protect our vulnerable national icon. If you’re heading on holiday, book a house sitter who can look after your dog while you’re away or a spot at your local kennel. The only dogs that should venture into areas where kiwi live should be ‘dogs with jobs’ like hunting dogs or farm dogs.
Keep a leash handy
A happy dog is one that gets daily walks. But if your pooch is wandering through the outdoors with you, keep him on a leash at all times. Similarly, if you’re staying at a canine-friendly camping ground or any other accommodation where your dog will spend the night too, keep him tied up or inside so there’s no risk of him escaping while you’re asleep. Dogs like to go on adventures (some like to do their adventuring without their humans knowing about it), so it’s better to be safer than sorry.
Enrol your dog in aversion training
Kiwi aversion training is a great way to train your dog to avoid a kiwi should he stumble across one in the wild. It’s particularly useful for hunters. In fact, more and more landowners are only approving access to hunters with kiwi trained dogs. Aversion training isn’t a silver bullet though. Just like humans should regularly participate in first aid training, once Charlie is aversion trained he needs to be regularly retrained.