My First Day in New Zealand

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By Dr. Sophia Yin

Well, I’m in New Zealand prior to my set of lectures in Auckland, Massey University, and Dunedin. After a little over a day, here’s what I can say.

  1. New Zealand Airlines is the best airline I’ve taken so far. The flight was over 13 hours but it didn’t seem long at all!
  2. There are sheep in the middle of Auckland.

Ok. That’s a little misleading. They live in a big park. But they wander around wherever they want and people just drive slowly. The park is Cornwall Park.

Here’s one view from the top of the park, One Tree Hill.


The sheep are pretty comfortable around people so you can get pretty close for photos without causing them to run.


Here’s Karen Drummond, my seminar host, walking by the sheep . Karen owns a business called Learning About Dogs.


People in Auckland like to walk their dogs at Cornwall Park


And they are socially responsible and pick up after their dogs.

Here’s the doggie poop bin. I need one of those for my yard!


The pigeons in Auckland are preoccupied by sex. Or at least this one is. He courted 3 different females in the 10 minutes while I was watching. Hubba hubba.


Some pigeons in Auckland look really odd.

Hey. Wait a sec. That’s not a pigeon! It’s a chicken. Two chickens were hanging out with this flock of pigeons. They’d randomly decide that they should sprint through the crowd.


Dogs and owners have the same problems in Auckland as they do in the U.S.

Here a child lets her dog run up to an unfamiliar terrier.

The terrier turns to face the tailing poodle.


She decides she’s scared and needs to practice her self-defense. The spat lasts about 5 seconds.

Then she runs away.


She goes to play with her household friend, a pitbull puppy.

Then the pitbull puppy runs up to greet another terrier, who clearly is afraid of other dogs.


The owner ends up lifting his dog by the harness so that he can get his terrier away from the pitbull puppy. BTY. This is an ON-LEASH-only park. So, just as in the U.S. , bad greetings are a problem in on-leash parks because owners frequently let their dogs off leash when they have little off-leash control and let their dogs run up to other dogs, which can end up scaring the other dogs into becoming aggressive.

  8. Being a Trainer in the Detector Dog Unit, Auckland for Aviation Security Services is a cool job. I got a tour and run-down on the program by trainer, Monique Masoe. Monique has taken Susan Friedman’s 9 week online behavior course and is applying many of the principles to their detection dog program.

Here they demonstrate a dog searching for explosives. The scent is placed in one location.


But the trainer walks the path past all of the potential target locations.


Then the handler enters. He doesn’t know where the scent is. He starts at the first location puts the dog’s harness on, and then release the dog to search. The dog  quickly and methodically checks each location.

Then immediately alerts by sitting when she gets to the correct location.

The handler rewards with a game of tug. Yay!

I”ll write more about this unit in an upcoming blog. For now, time to check my lectures for the weekend!



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One response to “My First Day in New Zealand

  1. Dr. Yin, Please keep us posted and keep sending pictures of your time in New Zealand. It is fascinating and I love the “across the world” view of the same problems we see here in the US. I just wrote an article for a newspaper in Steamboat Springs, Colorado about this very thing. ( Loose dogs running up into the face of a leashed dog. ) It is so common. We teach our students skills to keep our own dogs engaged until (hopefully) the owner of the loose dog gets his under control. I was happy to see that your friend had also taken Dr. Susan Friedman’s class. I am honored to be currently taking it. (week 6) It is absolutely wonderful. Sandra Kruczek CPDT/KA

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