Does kiwi aversion training reduce canine (Canis familiaris) predation on kiwi (Apteryx spp.)?

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dc.contributor.advisor Elliffe, D en
dc.contributor.advisor Podlesnik, C en Dale, Arnja en 2014-12-02T19:03:31Z en 2014 en
dc.identifier.citation 2014 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract The use of positive punishment in dogs (Canis familiaris) is controversial, in particular, the use of electric training collars. The aim of the research presented in this thesis was to investigate the effectiveness and potential welfare compromise of using electric collars in dogs. This was explored using the New Zealand Department of Conservation Kiwi Aversion Training (KAT) programme which was developed to mitigate the significant predation risk that dogs pose to the endangered, ground-dwelling kiwi (Apteryx spp.). KAT aims to balance kiwi conservation and the need, or desire, for dogs to be used for hunting purposes within kiwi habitat. It involves a training session in which a dog is presented with kiwi aversion training stimuli (taxidermist and frozen kiwi; kiwi feathers, faeces and nesting material; two-dimensional kiwi) and a brief period (0.5-1.5 s) of aversive electrical stimulation from an electric shock collar is applied when the dog makes contact with the training stimuli. This research indicates that KAT effectively produces aversion towards the training stimuli that generalizes to another location, is independent of the electric collar being worn, and that lasts at least one year after training. Lower levels of avoidance were seen in older dogs being trained for the first time, dogs from single-dog households, dogs used to hunt pigs, non-sporting breed dogs and dogs that had a three-year gap or longer between KAT sessions. Increased sessions of KAT, increased the avoidance the dogs displayed to the training stimuli. In simulated hunting conditions, the majority of dogs avoided the training stimuli with the presence of human or canine conspecifics not significantly changing the dog’s behaviour, although there was less avoidance exhibited when the dogs were with their hunting pack. Hunting dogs showed more avoidance than pet dogs to the training stimuli, took less time to detect it, and did so from the furthest distance. The individual aversion training stimuli were investigated to see if they were ecologically valid when tested with a live bird. The majority of dogs did not generalise from the training stimuli to the live bird, however, all dogs that underwent KAT using a live bird did. All dogs displayed behaviours indicative of pain and stress from the electric shock, with the response being significantly affected by the shock intensity, number and timing of the shocks. Post-shock the occurrence of stress behaviours significantly increased, with the majority of dogs displaying at least four stress behaviours. When presented with the training stimuli one month later, all dogs displayed stress behaviours, with the majority of dogs displaying at least four stress behaviours. When present with the training stimuli one year later, 87% of the dogs displayed stress behaviours with two-thirds of the dogs displaying at least four stress behaviours. Significant differences were seen between the training competencies of the KAT trainers. 64% of dog owners considered the use of electric collars to be an effective training technique, with 59% considering that their use poses a welfare concern for the dogs. This study found that the use of electric collars was extremely effective at producing avoidance to the KAT training stimuli, however this avoidance did not translate to the avoidance of live birds; and negatively impacted on the short-term and long-term welfare of the dogs. Whilst it is acknowledged that there are ethical and practical difficulties, it is recommended that the use of live kiwi for aversion training be explored, on the proviso that it can be categorically proven to effectively reduce canine predation on kiwi. Further investigation on the minimum electric shock intensity required to produce avoidance using live kiwi is required, in conjunction with improvements to training standards in order to safe guard the welfare of the dogs, combined this may make this aversion training justifiable from a kiwi preservation and conservation perspective. Key words: Canis familiaris, Apteryx, aversion conditioning, electric collar training, shock, depredation en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Does kiwi aversion training reduce canine (Canis familiaris) predation on kiwi (Apteryx spp.)? en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 466648 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2014-12-03 en

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