Auckland's pest-detection dogs get to work in style on the city's waterfront

A team of Auckland pest-detection dogs have a new way of getting to work on the waterfront each day. 

The dogs are helping sniff out pests before they board barges and ferries bound for pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. 

Pest-detection border terrier, Kosher, gets to work in a buggy on the back of an electric bike - bound for Auckland's wharves to sniff out stowaway pests that could be headed for the Hauraki Gulf. 

"First of all, I check the barges with a rodent dog because the highest risk is a rodent getting on board, and then I use the plague skink dog - they're absolutely expert stowaways," Auckland Council dog handler and Biosecurity Advisor, Lois Clayton, told Newshub.

Clayton uses a team of dogs specially trained to detect everything from weasels to possums to rats - such as the rat spotted in the wheel of a car before it boarded a car-ferry three weeks ago.

 "Those are the species that we don't want on those special islands in the Hauraki Gulf that are pest-free, or do have some pests and not others," says Jonathan Miles, Auckland Council's Biosecurity Team Manager.

The dogs are playing their part in keeping the Hauraki Gulf pest-free, but their reward for spotting a stowaway is very simple. 

"They're the best buddies because they want to please me - if they can find their target and please me, they get a pat and a cuddle and they think that's fabulous," says Clayton.

And for rodent detection dog Kosher, it's all in a day's work.