Meet Leo and his handler Rhys: (not the best pic of Leo!)
I met this pair about 6 months ago and took Leo through kiwi and weka aversion training. It was time for him to be re-assessed and certified. Rhys and I met and found an empty space in a busy part of Christchurch.
I set up Lyall (my ‘new’ freeze dried great spotted kiwi) some other birds and props on a trail as authentic as I could make it. Firstly Rhys walked Leo on a lead past the props and what happened was truly amazing. Both Rhys and I were thrilled and a bit surprised. When Leo was walked past the kiwi he took a wide berth and actively avoided them. The course was repeated off lead and Leo gave the same response. Of course this is the desired behaviour, but Leo was the first dog I took through the training and I couldn’t help but wonder how successful it had been. I now have my answer – 100%! Leo is a text book case! 🙂
I feel pretty pleased with the result and confident I am on the right track with the training. Rhys is happy because Leo is now certified for 12 months as trained to not actively encounter kiwi or weka (as well as a dog can be – of course no guarantees). And Leo .. well who knows – but he enjoyed the run and all the attention!
Leo is my star!
I’m looking forward to working with more dogs and their handlers and taking them through the programme. I’ll be doing my little bit to help keep our native birds safer from one of their most dangerous predators.