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Loony Farm Bound (bed bug dog talk)

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  1. UESbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 14:30:04
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    Hello old friends... I've been watching from the sidelines, getting great nights of sleep since the move (which was post Vikane treatment - if you remember the story, it too, was a nightmare full of theft, lies and video tape)

    Recently, have been finding some small bites. I will remind you here that boyfriend's office is still suspect for me, AND, I still have my small apartment, which I VISIT for a few hours daily to work, always removing my clothing upon entering/exiting, etc. I haven't slept there since March 6. Anyway, this doesn't mean I was foolproof in possible transfer, nor does it mean the Vikane treatment was foolproof either.

    For the last two weeks, I've been having nightmares about four times a week, and suffering from the post traumatic stress disorder. For months, I've been praying to G-d to never let this "happen" to me again. Ive warned boyfriend time and time again that should this ever "happen" again, he will have to pay to send me to the loony bin, because I know inside I will lose it.

    Sorry for the rant, just a refresher for those who may not remember me. ONTO the reason for the post. I hired a bed bug sniffing dog. I know I cannot say the name of the company because everyone knows I am already being threated to get sued by the last PCO I dealt with. Anyway, the dog showed up this morning. She is a rescue dog (and not sureif this matters or not, but NOT a hound by any stretch of the imagination). Her tail was between her legs the entire time and supposedly does not like humans.

    The dog went through the entire 3 bedroom apt, sweeping through like it was nothing and with GREAT results. After she sniffed the bed area and walked out of the room I was so relived, but I had to tell the handler "are you SURE?, bc I think I may have been bitten last night". He walked back into the room with the dog and rechecked the bed, and it just seemed FISHY to me. The dog went back to my side of the bed and let out a bark, but only AFTER the handler said "Shooooooow ME", in a stern voice. I know this whole thing feels skeptical to me now, and even more so, when the dog found a pile of boxes that were sitting in the closet in the separate guest bedroom far, far away from the master. The guest bedroom has NEVER been used, slept in, or the like. It's like a spare room that we never even walk into. The closet had about 6 small empty boxes in there that I had just unloaded brand new dishes from those boxes about 4 days ago, and hadn't had a chance to throw the boxes away yet. (Do you think the handler finds those boxes and says... hmmm, boxes... those must have come from old apartment.) Again, I am skeptical. He says to the dog "SHooooooowwww MEEEE!" and she barks and waits for her treat. This seems like a far departure from the eager little dogs I see on YouTube that run around without a leash and scratch with their paws without being egged on, so to speak?

    Boyfriend pulled out my laptop (which came from my small apartment, which I had wrapped in layers upon layers of Saran) and asked him to have the dog sniff that. Again, the dog seemed disinterested until the handler said in his stern voice "SHoooooowwwwW MEEEEE", and the dog barks and gets a treat. In fact, the dog seemed disinterested the whole time, and was on leash. Boyfriend says out loud "damn it! brand new laptop down the drain!"... HANDLER says... wait for it.... "Just put it in the freezer for 24 hours and they'll be gone".

    Something in my brain snapped. I started bawling, crying like a psycho, I had warned my boyfriend that if this ever happened to me again, I would have to get checked into a hospital... I was not kidding. I looked at the handler and said to him "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? YOU ARE WRONG. LOU SORKIN, A LEADING ENTEMOLOGIST IN THE COUNTRY HAS STATED THAT FREEZING ITEMS REQUIRES THREE WEEKS AT A CONTSTANT SUB FREEZING TEMP. YOU CANNOT GO TELLING PEOPLE THAT AND MISLEADING THEM. IT'S WRONG. YOU NEED TO EDUCATE YOURSELF IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE MISINFORMING PEOPLE THAT THINK YOU'RE A PROFESSIONAL IN THIS FIELD AND TRUST YOUR WORD LIKE GOSPEL."

    Fine, the guy leaves. He was scheduled to come to my small apartment and bfriends office following that, but I was hysterical and having a breakdown, and suspect, and pissed, so I called it off. Bfriend and I got into a mass fight. He gave me a 1/4 xanax to calm down. It's NOT FUNNY. I am going to absolutely lose it. The new apartment has CARPETING and UPHOLSTERED WALLS behind the bed. The bed is a KING and has a giant custom made WOOD frame. I'm already demanding that the carpet get pulled up and the fabric walls come down. Bfriend is ready to dump me for good bc he is worried that I won't be able to handle things properly in front of our "children"... if we ever get married and have them (it's all hypothetical and ridiculous). I would never spaz that way in front of my imaginary kids, of course. Lt. Dan... I am in for another lifetime of this madness... pretty much dealing with it on my own.

    Anyway, SORRY for the LONG post. In closing, I want to say that I checked the NEDSCO website and saw that although the company I used was registered with other dogs, the dog that visited us today was NOT registered with NEDSCO. I was told by the handler, before we started the tour, that she was "the first bed bug sniffing dog in the country", and when she did her bark that "she NEVER barks unless she finds something"

    ANY WORDS OF HELP ARE SO VERY WELCOME AND SO VERY NEEDED.

  2. Itchybutdealing

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 15:06:09
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    My family and I have been living with this for about 3 months. THought they were gone but keep getting a few tiny nicks and bites here and there (TINY!). At first I freaked out, but then I remembered how blessed we were that this is our biggest problem. We have our health. My daughter spent the first 2 months of her life barely holding on in the hospital and this is not as bad as that. People in Mynamar do not have clean water to drink and this is not as bad as that. Go for a run, practice yoga, be careful but try to enjoy life, this too shall pass (and I am still waiting). Remember to keep a perspective and cry when you need to, but don't get angry at the handlers and PCOs, this is pretty new to them too. Best of luck:)

  3. SPDIBBK9Handler

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 15:14:52
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    I'm curious to know if the company you scheduled the inspection with told you that you would be having a certified canine inspect your property, and pulled a bait & switch on you. If you were told you were getting a certified inspection, I would ask for a (NO COST) re-inspection. Even if you weren't, I'd suggest having a 2nd (different dog)inspection to verify or dispute the findings of the first dog. Since I wasn't there to witness the inspection, I must bite my tongue on an opinion. I know our dogs were obviously trained using a different protocol. They do tend to work pretty much on their own with only occasional direction from the handler. Certainly not a verbal command before every alert. Is the person who did the inspection a PCO? I ask as it appears they were giving you treatment advice. I'll send you a PM with a couple of other questions. Best of luck.. and my hope is you don't actually have an infestation.

  4. UESbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 15:30:20
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    Thanks for the reminder to try and enjoy life. I've been enjoying a bedbug free, brand new apartment, postt-vikane treatment life for four whole months. I've been a member on here since last summer. Since then, my boyfriend got cancer and my 36 year old sister's husband died leaving her a widow of four small children. Everyone has problems, and those problems are relative. We are not on this site to discuss those problems though, we are here to discuss bedbugs, and right now, I do not need to hear about the starving children in Africa. Am grateful to have clean water, but the truth is, I do not believe I have my health. I think my health has been deteriorated severely since the first infestation last year. In fact, no, I know it has been depleting my health in a major way. I OFFICIALLY LOST IT TODAY.

    The last thing I need (aside from my boyfriend playing cool), is someone on here telling me to "relax". I've been living with this for almost a year and yes, it might kill me. It is not a joke when I say I had took take a xanax and subsequently fell asleep on my boyfriend's couch in his office for two hours.

    I never said I got angry with the PCO *(there was no PCO). But, I did not get angry with the handler either. I told him very clearly that freezing a laptop for 24 hours will do nothing, and he should be more careful to not misinform people. Also, if he's "new to this", then why is he charging me $275 for 15 minutes of work? He's not that new to this. He makes house calls ALL DAY LONG in Manhattan and is part of a bigger company. If I can sit and read reports from entomologists and spend months and months of my time on bedbugger.com to educate myself from experts, then why shouldn't people who are getting PAID to be a part of this, do the same? I felt it was my responsibility to clarify to the handler that he couldn't have been more off base on the 24 hour freezing suggestion, because guess what? not every one of his clients comes to this site and reads about what works, and what doesn't. It's unfair to allow him to go around telling people to do ridiculous, ineffective "treatments".

  5. UESbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 16:22:47
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    "I'm curious to know if the company you scheduled the inspection with told you that you would be having a certified canine inspect your property, and pulled a bait & switch on you. If you were told you were getting a certified inspection, I would ask for a (NO COST) re-inspection."

    - I found out today that the dog who came was not certified only after the inspection, when I checked out the NEDSCO website. I have since contacted the owner and requested that he kindly give me a second opinion with a certified dog. That has now been rescheduled for two days from now.

    "Even if you weren't, I'd suggest having a 2nd (different dog)inspection to verify or dispute the findings of the first dog."

    - Also, I have contacted another company which seems very reputable, which has only one dog, who is certified, and the owner seems rather passionate about his work. I am looking forward to his visit (and praying for good results in my favor.. please G-d)

    "Since I wasn't there to witness the inspection, I must bite my tongue on an opinion. I know our dogs were obviously trained using a different protocol. They do tend to work pretty much on their own with only occasional direction from the handler. Certainly not a verbal command before every alert."

    - I found it so odd that the dog swept through around the bed with no alert. When we exited the master bedroom, I told the handler about my being suspect of a potential bite last night, he re-entered the bedroom and went straight to what appeared to be the women's side of the bed (creams, potions, blah blah) and said "seek here, seek here, seek here". he told me the dog sort of stops and pulls against the leash, at which point, the handler then says in his low tone "Shoooooow meeeeee, shoooOOWWWW meEEEE", and the dog then barks and gets a treat. I made him do it over and over again, every time the "shooow meee" and then the bark, treat came in the same spot on only one side of the bed.

    "Is the person who did the inspection a PCO? I ask as it appears they were giving you treatment advice. I'll send you a PM with a couple of other questions. Best of luck.. and my hope is you don't actually have an infestation"

    - The person is NOT a PCO, which would make me think there would be no conflict of interest, and is actually what made me choose that company to begin with. The only treatment advice he gave was to put the laptop in the freezer for 24 hours, which, as we all know here, is laughable. That's when I broke down in tears right in front of the guy, and told him thank you, but that I couldn't continue with him to the other destinations we had planned to inspect (bfriend's office and my small apartment).

    - Also, thank you, I am praying for no infestation either, but if the dog was correct in his findings, it seems rather limited and hopefully very early stages. With my experience in this war, I am armed with lots of knowledge and know-how, so I can start the attack asap. The only new elements are the wall to wall carpet in three rooms, and the dreaded upholstered wall behind the bed. crying.

  6. Itchybutdealing

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 18:42:41
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    Goodness. I really think that you need some help (not kidding). Perhaps you should seek help from a psychologist. No need to be snippy. We have been dealing with this hell too and have two toddlers in the house, it has not been fun. I just was trying to help you see the larger picture. I am sorry about your infestation and your boyfriend's cancer. Best of luck with getting rid of the bbs.

  7. MixedFeelings

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 19:53:07
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    Hi UES,

    I sympathize with your crazy moments - I've had them too, and may yet again. I also cried in front of our canine handler, but for different reasons.

    You are allowed to feel badly, and to come here asking for support. We all have our ups and downs with this issue, especially the longer it goes on. Currently, I'm in an up moment (we've been dealing for 6 months and counting), but as our treatments fail one by one, I can see the slippery slope looming again before me.

    Good luck with your next canine inspection, let us know how it goes.

    MF

  8. Bugologist

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 4 2008 19:55:09
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    UESbugs, 1st of all this is, in a roundabout way, a support site. Itchybutdealing was trying to offer some supportive words to help you deal with your situation and in no way deserved the lashing you gave. He/she was absolutely right to say that approaching this situation in a frantic, out-of-control state is not the way to go about it and in order to make level headed decisions you have to try to remain calmer. I'm sorry for the tough hands you've been dealt lately but in no way did itchybutdealing deserve that.

    OK, on the the dogs. To me, and I'm supporter but skeptical supporter of the dogs, it sounded like this handler walked his dog into indicating on the bed. I've worked with dogs in the past and if you take them back to locations repetatively, the dog isn't dumb and uses that as an indication that it may want to indicate and that it's missing something. If you take a dog back to a certain spot enough times, it may eventually indicate. That being said he only took the dog back there a second time which SHOULDN'T stimulate a false hit but we don't know how the dog is trained and it could be a training flaw.

    I also hate the "show me" command for most dogs. If it's done properly, it can really improve dog confidence in what they are doing but if the dog is unsure about what he is smelling and maybe tests the water a bit to see if he is doing what the handler wants, a "show me" could illicit false positives.

    Bottom line, I would be skeptical of the results and if you want to go the dog route, look for a NESDECA certified dog handler that will help you out.

  9. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 5 2008 2:20:02
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    UESBugs - Because, as Bugologist correctly points out, this is partly a support site, I think I understand where you're coming from and why ItchyBD's comment set you off, even though she was trying to help. If the bugs are eating you up (so to speak) mentally, it often is no help to hear something to the equivalent of, It's not so bad, I could be worse, Look on the bright side, etc. Because what you often need at a time like that is for someone to acknowledge your feelings. It IS that bad, if it makes you feel that bad.

    Because the bugs have affected your life and health so negatively, it seems getting a few dog inspections, until you are more satisfied with their accuracy, is a good way to go. Expensive? yes. But you would spend the money if it were any other serious health issue.

  10. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 5 2008 12:38:29
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    UESBugs

    I respectfully disagree with Bugologist's comment that repeated searches of a suspected area will cause to dog "to eventually indicate".

    Although I follow his rationale about why the dog could be influenced by the handlers actions, a properly trained K9 should not indicate falsely due to repeated searches. Rather, this kind of false alert scenario is almost always due to errors on the handlers part.

    The handler in question is NESDCA certified.

    If the same handler is going to bring a different NESDCA certified dog to perform the inspection....I personally would still be very skeptical.... The issue isn't usually the K9's ability, as much as the training practices & the skill of the handler.

    We train our K9 teams to perform a visual search at the location of the alert for confirmation. Was a thorough visual search performed by the handler in the area of the alerts?

    Unfortunately, the bad advice about freezing items is widespread. I found the same recommendation on the Mayo Clinic website.

    I also feel that IBD was trying to be helpful with her comments.

    One of the things that I have learned from my participation on this website is that saying some variation of... "it really isn't that bad"....is usually not helpful for the client.

    The comment is usually well intended, but doesn't result in the desired effect of providing reassurance to the client. Fight or Flight's comments about having your feelings validated are very insightful & much more helpful.

    A competent professional can be an invaluable asset when you are dealing with this kind of life changing experience. The mental anxiety can be much worse than the physical bites.

    David Cain in London offers a decontamination service for electronic articles like your boyfriend's laptop that you may want to investigate. Otherwise, a careful cleaning utilizing an air washing approach & soft brushes should be available from a local computer shop.

  11. UESbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 9 2008 14:07:58
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    Hi all, first of all, to IBD, I apologize for being snippy, it's just that as some others mentioned above, the last thing I needed at that moment was a see-the-big-picture, all chill, yoga and laid back sort of advice. I was literally having an attack. So, again, I do apologize. I understand where you advice is coming from, and also should have realized that you're not familiar with my long story. I've already done a vikane treatment and lost $15,000 worth of stuff which was stolen off the truck. I cannot get into that here though. I'm sorry you're dealing with this with two toddlers. I cannot imagine all the toys and laundry and ugh, just everthing. Didn't mean to be so rude. I was unable to remain calm, being that the bfriend"s new apartment, with ALL new things in it is carpeted, the walls are upholstered... the nightstands and bedframe are wood, etc. Just thinking about the road ahead and what I'm going to have to deal with, no to mention sleepless nights (incredible general fear of bugs), nightmares, bites... I'm so depressed over it.

    Moving on, the same company sent a certified dog, free of charge a few days later. I will post on what happened with that later on, if anyone is still interested.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 9 2008 14:51:37
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    UES,
    Please do let us know about your experience with the second bed bug dog.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  13. Bugologist

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 9 2008 19:56:47
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    Doug, I completely agree that the error I was talking about is in the training skills and handler error. If I was vague, I apologize.

    Believe me when I say that I wholeheartedly believe in a dogs ability to detect bed bugs. I know dogs can differentiate between something as abstract as different colors of ink so I know they can detect the bugs. My skepticism is in the handlers and training after the dogs leave the facility they are trained in. I think that good dog handling is a skill that few possess. I also think that getting dogs to perform day in, day out, in the inexperienced hands of most of the bed bug scent detection companies is a big task that isn't easy.

    You have every day guys saying "I'm going to start a scent detection business", going down, buying a dog, getting some training, and off you go. After doing it myself and hearing a lot of the stories I'm starting to hear, I just don't think it's that easy. I think there is value when you get a very experienced, very knowledgeable dog handler/trainer to come in and perform an inspection and I'm not saying that you're not going to have your good company pop up here and there (it sounds like Tre and Cesar at Freedom Pest are off to a good start). I just think that you're going to get more bad then good when these dogs get into the hands of your every day guy. I think as you get more and more experience you'll get better and better but I think that's a process that takes longer then some of the experts think.

    Everybody has to start somewhere and I'm not saying that companies can't try. But you have to understand that some client out there is going to be the scent detections team first search, 10th search, 20th search, etc... and when you're inexperienced and learning as you go as most of the companies are, when you get unsure results in a clients home who's sanity is riding on your inspection, it's a scary venture. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of these new companies are. Providing service/inspections where a lot of times they are unsure of their findings.

  14. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 9 2008 23:28:15
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    Bugologist

    Okay, we are basically in agreement on the handler being the key variable affecting the performance of a K9 team.

    I feel this is a key point for the consumer to understand.... When there is a problem with a K9 team's performance.... The problem usually lies with the handler rather than the K9.

    Even an experienced handler can become sloppy & provide a substandard inspection.

    Practical knowledge & a willingness to take the time to perform a proper visual search to confirm any K9 alerts are the keys to producing accurate results for the client.

    The scary scenario is an unqualified person who thinks that because their dog Fluffy can balance a biscuit on her nose that she will make a dandy bed bug scent detection dog.

  15. BeeBee

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jun 10 2008 0:59:20
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    I think we all have to remember that bed bugs could easily become a sort of cash cow to many POs and dog handlers, and that sooner or later shady folks will try to start taking advantage of the panic. I'm sure that the majority of POs and handlers are earnest and hardworking. But I think it's like finding a good car mechanic: You sometimes have to get a couple of bad and expensive repair jobs before you hit about a winning mechanic. Maybe this dog was being prompted. Maybe the handler was out to make a quick buck. Maybe there really were bed bugs in the boxes. Maybe the dog was hungry or exhausted or .....
    As far as perspective: Got bites last night, first time in over five nights. A real bummer. But my editor is dying of cancer, today was his last day. I know perspective isn't always welcomed when you're in the heat of a bad moment. But man oh man, I'll take bites over dying any day. At least when I rub them (mine don't itch, they simply hurt) I know I'm alive. Bumpy and lumpy and miserable, yes, but damn it, I'm alive.

  16. SPDIBBK9Handler

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jun 10 2008 21:29:14
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    Few things...
    A NESDCA certified handler running an non-certified dog isn't certified under the NESDCA guidelines. I can take my (utterly untrained) Great Pyrenees out to do an inspection, but it won't do the customer much good. I am frankly surprised that NESDCA is allowing someone with both certified and non-certified dogs to claim certification.. as confusion on the end consumer's part is inevitable. (but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.)

    Doug, as to your thinking that bringing a dog back around over and over can't lead to an alert, even with a well trained dog, it can get frustrated and alert because it thinks it must be missing something. It can also be a lack of constant re-training, or mis-training after the handler gets the dog. If the handler uses verbal cues in controlled situations and only uses them near the hides, the dog will learn to alert on command. It may not be intentional on the handler's part, but it can happen. I have heard some police K-9 handlers talk about "making" their dogs alert so they can get the probable cause the want to search a car... so even in the more trusted professions there is always the possibility of abuse.

    Back to the concept of using a non-pco inspection team... quite frankly if you don't trust your PCO to look out for your best interests, get a different one. In the state I live in, no one is allowed to even try to ID, let alone treat an infestation for money without a license.. (or working directly under a license holder). Why is that? so that the consumer is protected by the licensing process... and there is a direct liability to that consumer if they are misled, either intentionally, or not. It also takes a minimum of 2 years working in the field before you can even apply for the license. Also think about which PCO is going to be better at handling your infestation... one that has to rely on visual inspection and a 60 day wait period to determine if they got the bugs, or one that every 2 weeks through the process can pinpoint areas they missed. Which is going to learn how to treat more effectively over time? I know I have learned tons from our dogs when we go back out for 2nd and 3rd treatments.

    I understand the argument that the handler team that isn't treating doesn't have a fiscal incentive to find bugs. That's a nice theory... but if they find them, they will most likely be back to do a re-inspection post treatment anyway... so that argument falls apart at the outset.

    They also may not have the training to figure out what else you might be facing. I know in the last month and a half I've dealt with cases where it wasn't bedbugs but... chiggers... or chitin hypersensitivity (reacting to carpet beetle larva)... or one case that was biting mites... Goodness knows it would have been easier to just say it is bedbugs and (mis)-treat.. since the bedbug treatment would knock out the other issues... So it gets back to trust, and finding a PCO with references, and that you feel comfortable with. It's the same process with finding a good doctor or mechanic... or really and service.

    I know many will disagree with me, but I'm used to that too.

  17. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 11 2008 4:20:33
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    I honestly don't imagine that in the real world there is much conflict of interest with a PCO who is also a certified K-9 handler. This would involve a scenario where a pest control company invests the time and money to get a dog just so the dog can alert and create business? My understanding is that PCOs in many places are almost getting more bedbug jobs than they can reliably handle.

  18. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 11 2008 4:26:10
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    Okay that said, UESbugs's dog inspection sounded quite fishy, which could be accounted for by conflict of interest. But it still seems that less-than-competent dog handling would be the more common cause of situations like this.

  19. itchynscratchy

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 16 2008 21:57:04
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    Hi. I just found this post. I had exact same dog. Skittish rescued dog, first bedbug dog in country, I wasn't allowed in same room as dog was inspecting. "Shoooww me!" All of it. I was skeptical but desperate for answers and based on the dog indicating, I have spent $2,000 and exposed my kid to toxic chemicals. To this day, no evidence of bedbugs aside from my bites has ever been found.

    Please someone advise. Even if this company reinspects with different handler and dog, can I trust them? Paid $300 cash. This is a company that has appeared in local and national news stories as a reputable company.


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