Animal activists say there must be a better way other than shock collars to train dogs not to attack kiwis.
They want the training programme, which is partly funded by the Department of Conservation, to stop using the devices.
The programme scatters dead kiwi around the bush and uses its faeces to attract the dog.
When the dog shows interest in the dead bird, it’s given a shock.
Jim Pottinger has been training dogs for 21 years and says the collars work really well.
“If [the dog] reoffends you step up the punishment, so you lift the shock basically. It works really good because you want the dog to associate that [it’s] the kiwi that’s hurting it,” he says.
Mr Pottinger says he’s tried the shock himself and it’s a small amount of pain to ensure kiwi remain unharmed.
Rimutaka Forest Trust which organises the programme with some funding from DOC says it’s had no complaints despite training hundreds of dogs each year.
“It's not about being cruel, its not about giving the dog a hard time, it’s being smart about how you use it,” says trust organiser Melody McLaughlin.
A dog attack is the biggest threat to adult kiwi, with statistics in Northland showing dogs cause the average life expectancy to drop by up to 10 years.
However animal welfare groups, including the SPCA, want another method used to train dogs and not shock collars.
“They’re incredibly cruel and painful. If you want to train dogs effectively, what you should use is positive reinforcement,” says Catriona MacLennon from Animal Agenda Aotearoa.
“What [the collars] teach dogs is learned helplessness because the dogs don’t understand why they’re getting the shock and so they learn to be fearful,” she says.
Ms MacLennon says countries such as Austria, Denmark and Wales have banned shock collars all together and New Zealand should follow.
A teenage boy has died in hospital following a two-car crash in Manawatu this afternoon.
The incident occurred on State Highway 1 in Rongotea at 2pm.
One other person was injured in the crash and remains in a serious condition.
The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.