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THE NEED FOR BETTER TRAINED BED BUG DOGS AND OWNERS

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  1. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Jun 8 2009 21:32:51
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    Never does a day go by where there is a thread or a post questioning the procedures of bed bug detection dogs and the owner/handlers. It is beginning to look like the bed bug dog industry is more of a scam then a beneficially accurate service. The companies and their representatives seem to have more excuses for the dogs inaccuracies then Carter has little liver pills.

    The dog is sick.
    It ate too much.
    It didn't eat enough.
    It is giving false positives.
    It is giving false negatives.
    I forgot to give him/her their vitamins.

    Their have been contributors to this forum in the past that have attempted to set the record straight informing the readers that false negatives and false positives behaviors represent an untrained dog and handler. Their is no reason for a false positive. or false negative.

    Either the dog knows that the scent of the search item or, article or it doesn't. As a K9 officer for 14 years I know this to be true. If I have a k9 looking for a dead body and my dog
    alerts me, I dam sure, better produce a dead body. And if I didn't, I would never be a a K9 officer again.

    Here is another example; If we have a vehicle and the dog alerts to the presence of drug and no drugs of quantity are found we will cut the carpet out of the car placing it in a special container turning it up side down collecting residual drug product. We then collect the particles. putting them in to a test packet. The dog has never been wrong. And we make an arrest. In the past we would have called that scenario a false positive where the k9 alerts but no quantity or weight was found.

    The other scenario is where scent is is masked. Drug runners are notorious for this, They will attempt to pack drugs in coffee of urine soaked diapers. After brain storming with my fellow k9 officers we have determined that the likely hood of masking should, not be a factor in the detection of live bed bugs

    What I and my fellow K9 officers are amazed at is that people can go buy a dog that was supposedly trained for bed bug detection, spend one week with the people who sell the dog,
    learning the does and don't of dog handling and then feel they have enough confidence experience and knowledge to do bed bug detection work. That is just not reality.

    When I was first assigned to my dog I spent twelve weeks with my dog and instructors learning dog behavior while learning about environmental and scent factors. We did over one hundred training scenarios. It takes a canine officer a year with their dog before they feel any degree of confidence. So, when see individuals who go buy a bed bug detection dog and make the claims as professionals charging real money for their service it makes me mad.

    When I hear about K9 bed bug services that have dogs that alert and no bed bugs or eggs are found or, the client continues to get bit but no bed bugs were found, I cringe.

    Bed bug detection dog sales and detection work is big business. If the bed bug dog company sells 100 dogs they make $850,000 at $8,500.00 a dog. A bed bug detection dog can make over six figures in a year.

    It appears the bed bug detection dog industry lacks the integrity to police itself. What is needed is for respective state agencies in charge of pest control to assure that bed bug detection dogs and their handlers can do what they claim they can do.

    Someone is probbly going to respond with the comment that having a bed bug detection dog is better than not having a bed bud dog. Not if. the dog and handler make mistakes and don't know what they are doing.

    Someone else will probbly make the comment that, not all bed bug dogs and handlers lack accuracy. If they are getting their dogs from the current providers which, there appears to be only two, then they are.

    Joe

  2. KillerQueen

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Jun 8 2009 21:37:11
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    Joe ... didn't I talk with your wife and tell her she does not have bed bugs over the phone?

  3. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Jun 8 2009 23:04:39
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    Joe

    I realize that Gary is a friend of yours... I am wondering if he is ghostwriting these comments.

    There are numerous factual errors in your comments.

    Nobody is selling 100 dogs a year currently... which means that your figures are seriously skewed.

    You are making broad assertions based on some really sketchy evidence.

    You read a handful of negative comments questioning handler accuracy... then try to make the case that the entire K9 industry is a "scam"?

    Where is your evidence?

    Most of the negative comments are about one particular company... but you wish to indict every handler in the country as being dishonest... I am personally offended by your comments... We have many ethical, honest, hardworking handlers that do a great job for the consumer...

    You say that it takes a full year of field experience to gain confidence... Did you work for free for your first year? ... What about the cases that you made while gaining that year of experience?

    I don't disagree that an experienced team can produce better results... but if the PCO was offering inspection services without a dog... How will the PCO be any less accurate, if he has an additional tool... Everyone has to start somewhere before they can become highly experienced...

    If you are going to make outrageous claims ... you as a police officer (of all people) should realize that you need to produce some solid evidence to back up your statements.

    I have posted hundreds of comments regarding K9 scent detection and I defy you to point out any specific instance where I have offered up any of the silly excuses that you have cited in your comments.

    Gary was the one that was talking about low blood sugar affecting a K9 inspection... not me.

    (In fact, I will give you one hundred dollars for each time you can quote me saying that a dog ate too much or too little as an excuse for a problem inspection)

    To the contrary... If you actually perform the research... You will discover that I have been consistent in educating the public that K9 alerts must be visually confirmed to be valid... the K9 team is a screening tool with regard to scent detection, but any proper bed bug inspection is ultimately a visual inspection for physical evidence of a live infestation.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Jun 8 2009 23:20:36
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    BEDBUGGEDWIFE - 1 hour ago  » 

    Someone else will probbly make the comment that, not all bed bug dogs and handlers lack accuracy. If they are getting their dogs from the current providers which, there appears to be only two, then they are.
    Joe

    So, Joe, you're willing to state in a public forum that all dogs from both of the firms training dogs for bed bug scent detection are inaccurate?

    You really want to stand behind that one?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 0:05:06
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    Curious here: how much training does a handler receive when purchasing his bedbug canine?

    There are so many stories of false positives and conflicting results from different dogs. Even people (customers) who've described their experience with detection dogs in glowing terms will talk about two dogs indicating for bugs in totally different parts of their home. Or one dog will yield a positive result while the other a negative. Then, I guess the customer just picks the result they like. People are desperate and will fork over a lot of money for what can sometimes sound like a tea leaf reading.

    The public loves dogs. And we're used to canine detectives beings models of reliability and control in the context of law enforcement. So, a lot of us were open to bedbug detection dogs being a worthwhile tool.

    At this point, as a consumer, I would try out a cheap interceptor or monitor before hiring a canine.

  6. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 0:43:16
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    Persona non bugga

    Make no mistake.. False positives & conflicting results are a problem.

    Unconfirmed results can create a dilemma for the consumer & professionals alike. Inaccessible areas pose a challenge for any bed bug inspector.

    When the K9 evidence cannot be confirmed... the PCO should take the same action that would be taken if no K9 was present. Visual confirmation is a requirement listed on most pesticide labels & is also required by statute in many states.

    The best scenario is when the K9 screening leads us to physical evidence of a live infestation. If the dog alerts... and we find live bed bugs in the location of the alert.. then we can say that the K9 was 100% accurate.

    The difficult scenario is when we have "bites" with alerts, but no confirmation. The K9 alerts should be considered in the decision process, but those alerts should be properly described as "unconfirmed K9 alerts", if we cannot locate additional evidence.

    I am an enthusiastic fan of passive monitors... We can all benefit from a good passive monitoring device, especially if it is reasonably priced & effective.

    I believe the combination of effective monitoring devices & routine dog inspections in concert with well designed educational programs will prove to be the best proactive approach for the prevention of the spread of these hardy parasites through our communities.

    We are likely more than a decade away from any type of device that can approach the accuracy & flexibility of an experienced K9 team.

  7. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 12:09:25
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    Thanks for replying, Doug, and addressing some of my concerns.

    The best scenario is when the K9 screening leads us to physical evidence of a live infestation. If the dog alerts... and we find live bed bugs in the location of the alert.. then we can say that the K9 was 100% accurate.

    In this scenario, the dog was accurate in that particular situation - in that place and time. A dog is either accurate or not. It's a binary thing.

    You probably did not mean it this way at all, but using "100%" .... someone scanning this forum might see that number and get the mistaken impression that, in this field, there is such a thing as 100% accuracy across a statistically significant sample of several canine teams in the field.

    I believe the combination of effective monitoring devices & routine dog inspections in concert with well designed educational prograrasites through our communities.

    Well, routine dog inspections are pricey. If the results cross a certain threshold of unreliability, then it's a poor use of time and money.

    Right now, it seems there isn't reliable information on how reliable these dog/handler teams actually are. Without that, the expense doesn't seem worth it, especially for a private homeowner - as opposed to a large business like a hotel chain.

    There are too many compelling stories of people who underwent bedbug treatment unnecessarily because of a dog alert. People who agonize because the dogs yield conflicting info. Like I said, people are desperate. Even when a dog has not been accurate in the past, a customer so craves an "answer" - any answer - they'll hire the same K9 team to check out their home. People should be informed of how imperfect bedbug dog/handlers are in the field.

    Is it true that handlers get only a week or so of training after purchasing these dogs? That was disturbing to read. The dogs may receive the best training available. But if a handler has limited experience working with dogs and she just gets some basic instruction, then problems are inevitable. You can't learn, retain, and practically apply complex info like that after a week.

  8. Scared and Frustrated

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 13:11:55
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    Hi,
    I am getting a k9 inspection this Thursday and when I asked him how long it would take, he said for a small apartment, the inspection should only take 20 minutes. Does this sound fishy at all?

    Thanks

  9. Emmm

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 13:21:40
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    I know an apparently reputable K9 unit took about 20 minutes in my boyfriend's very small apartment. Another handler under the same company took almost 45 minutes in my large-ish two-bedroom, so maybe that's correct?

    What I want to know is how often false negatives happen. We keep hearing about false positives, but what about false negatives? I had a dog in to confirm my suspicions, and he didn't do a visual confirmation. I also believe he fit me in last minute, so I'm not holding it against him as we did wind up finding a dead bug. When we had another dog in for the all clear, it was over two months with no signs, post treatment. The handler was a former dog handler of another kind and had been brought on for this line of work, and she was very nice and seemingly informative, considering. The dog was very, very young, though, about eight months.

    I understand these dogs continually get training all the time, and in this case it's with a vial of bed bugs. What I want to know is do the dogs become too used to THOSE specific bed bugs and such, and thus can't find others? It must seem like a silly question, but there's been talk of different bed bugs from different areas cause different reactions in bites, etc., so I don't think I'm out of line to ask.

    Also, it's a vial FULL of them. The first dog found nothing on my not very stuffed couch, but the PCOs think they saw a nymph when treating it. Could a dog miss one or two bugs, or an egg, if they're used to so many?

  10. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 13:52:03
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    Hi,

    I wrote a section for bed bug beware on scent detection a few months ago but this thread has stimulated some thoughts on what else should be added to it.

    Because its a consumer advice site and information portal I am going to start adding questions that I think people should ask of a dog and handler service before they make a decision on who to engage (assuming options are available).

    I also wanted to add a little about how we approached the issue in the UK. We have had a K9 scent detection service available as an option for some months now. We tend to use it in non standard environments more than hotel rooms or domestic settings such as offices and public spaces where hand searching is just not feasible.

    We engaged the services of a dog trainer and provided them with the specification for the scent we wanted detected and provide them with samples on a regular basis to ensure that the scent is kept representative of the colonies we work with. We chose to keep the two sides of the company apart because in QC terms you cant cook the food and act as taster. The dogs are used to indicate and my team of screeners is used to confirm the situation and treatment people treat as needed.

    With the advent of economic passive and proactive screening tools I still see K9 detection as having a vital role to play as random QC screening, rapid screening of high risk parts of the hotel or public spaces and supplementing other control steps.

    We control the specification of detection because we want to know what lower levels of detection to aim at and what is routinely feasible.

    I would say from our limited experience it is the relationship between the dog and the handler which is most critical to the extent that we try not to even be in the same room as I am sure the residual scent that we must carry could be confusing to them, that and the fact that my puppy died of a mysterious virus a few months ago and I am banned from contact with dogs for the next 6 months.

    I look for different skills than pest control experience in my technicians but with dog handlers its a skill unto itself.

    It is likely to take a week or so to condense my thoughts and put them online but I will take as many of the points and questions raised on this thread on board when I do so.

    I do however think that are more important set of standards to develop are what inspection should entail and how to work out what is going on if no evidence to support the level of reported activity is found. I have touched on it a little in the book at a consumers level but need to develop some work flow charts that are a lot more detailed. The problem is however that when there is little or no sign of anything there are few pointers to go on.

    Regards,

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  11. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 14:44:23
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    I would like to add my thought on this subject if I may. First there are more that two companies offering canines for bed bug inspections. On experience and training, after I spent a week being trained at the facility in Dec 08 I did not start work until March of 09. I used this time to work with my dog so we could learn each others behaviors under real world scenarios. I am not saying that everyone should do this but it made me better understand how to handle stress and how that can affect results.

    Accuracy- again this is another reason I took the time I did before I started charging for my services. I have heard as have most that canines are accurate to +90%, since I don't know the team or teams that this stat was based off of I thought I need to find out how accurate my team is. From the very first day that my dog (Sara) landed in Las Vegas to live with me I have kept a training log, I still do. Every time we do training I keep track of the start time and end time and also how many vials she found correctly.
    What I have found as far as false positives or negatives for us is:
    False positives happened very infrequently and in the very beginning. I attribute this to elevated stress levels (mine) that induced self rewarding behaviors(hers) Something like I was allowing her to use her brains (watching me, tension on the leash, etc.)during the inspection not her nose. Once I became more comfortable and confident in what I was doing false positive disappeared. False negatives I attribute to me, again under stress I would tend to change my pace (typically going to fast and not allowing her to go where she needs to go) So I have learned over time what our pace is and I just need to maintain that pace to maintain our accuracy .

    Onto the training vials, I use many vials with varying amount of bed bugs in each. From one with 2-3 to one with up to 20, I also include field strains and laboratory strains.

    And finally, I explain to the customer what we will be doing during the inspection. I tell them I use Sara to point me in the direction where I need to do a visual inspection.

    What started out for me as an interesting business opportunity, has quickly turned into lifestyle change. No matter what else is going on Holiday dinners, Superbowl parties, Vacations we train every day twice a day. I also think the talk about what training academy is better or having a Superbowl to see what teams are better is kind of a waste of time. The only people I care to prove myself to are my customers, if they are happy that's all that matters to me.

  12. btaggart

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 14:47:10
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    Emmm,

    "Right now, it seems there isn't reliable information on how reliable these dog/handler teams actually are. Without that, the expense doesn't seem worth it, especially for a private homeowner - as opposed to a large business like a hotel chain. "

    Just to let everyone know there actually is realiable scientific data from the University of Florida regarding bed bug scent detection that proves just how accurate properly trained dogs could be.

    Also to all i just got back onto this forum recently due to a personal emergency as well as a very busy few weeks with work. However im glad to be here

    Doug,

    Thank you for your words you sent as a pm. I was not offfended in any way when you responded to me post a while back while i was dealing with a death in my family. I enjoy corresponding and educating people on a topic with both work very hard on. I was just wondering are you going to be at pestworld in Las Vegas in October. There is an open opportunity for all dog teams to be certified thru NESDCA. There are no fees associated with NESDCA certification. You had mentioned this to me that NESDCA was a marketing organization that charges for certification, I dont know who gave this false info but i can tell you first hand that it is indeed false If any organization was to charge for certification that would make it an invalid certification due to a finicail conflict of interest. I think this would be a great opportunity for all dog teams to come together and show what our dogs can do. I would really like to invite all pcos on this forum to come to this conference. As well as our gracious host Nobugs i think we can all agree you are a non biased judge and you could see what scent detection as well as professional bed bug control is all about. Pestworld is not just for k9 teams a wealth of knoldege on bedbugs will be given out to all attendees.

  13. Emmm

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 14:54:16
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    btaggart - 6 minutes ago  » 
    Emmm,
    "Right now, it seems there isn't reliable information on how reliable these dog/handler teams actually are. Without that, the expense doesn't seem worth it, especially for a private homeowner - as opposed to a large business like a hotel chain. "
    Just to let everyone know there actually is realiable scientific data from the University of Florida regarding bed bug scent detection that proves just how accurate properly trained dogs could be.
    Also to all i just got back onto this forum recently due to a personal emergency as well as a very busy few weeks with work. However im glad to be here

    I don't believe you can attribute the above quote to me... I asked some questions, but didn't necessarily question the science... and didn't say anything regarding hotels.

  14. losingit

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 14:58:17
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    Given the experts on this thread let me ask: what are the chances/odds/percentage of getting 3 false negatives in a row from the same dog/handler spaced out at 5 weeks or so between visits?

  15. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 15:32:58
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    Persona non bugga

    You are correct, I did not mean to imply that we would see 100% accuracy across K9 teams in the field. To the contrary, I was saying essentially that the only time a K9 can be said to be 100% accurate is when we have physical confirmation at the location of the alert.

    Prices are coming down as more teams enter the field... If a co-op of residents hires the team to screen the entire building... the price may drop to $30 - $70 per unit depending on the size of the units and the region of the country.

    Screening the entire building is essential... if you only treat the complaining units, then you will always lag behind the growth curve of the infestation in a multiple unit building.

    We have a large housing authority that purchased a dog & provides K9 screenings at no charge to the residents.

    I expect that in the future, we will also see health departments & other government agencies utilize K9s to investigate complaints & identify problem locations in the community.

  16. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 16:08:30
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    Just to let everyone know there actually is realiable scientific data from the University of Florida regarding bed bug scent detection that proves just how accurate properly trained dogs could be.

    btaggart,

    I think you were quoting me. IIRC, that study happened in a laboratory. It was testing whether the dogs would alert to a container/vial of bedbugs while refraining from alerting to a control container. Presumably, the handlers were experienced.

    That's very different from a real-world situation with all its variables and complications. A real-life work schedule and pressures. A handler that lacks training or thoughtfulness. It's not a simple matter of pick-the-right-vial.

    I have huge faith in the abilities of canine noses. It's the lack of control and tracking info about how canine/handler teams operate in the real world that I find troubling. This segment of the industry is fairly young. Hopefully, they'll improve control measures.

    Every time we do training I keep track of the start time and end time and also how many vials she found correctly.
    What I have found as far as false positives or negatives for us is:
    False positives happened very infrequently and in the very beginning. I attribute this to elevated stress levels (mine) that induced self rewarding behaviors(hers) Something like I was allowing her to use her brains (watching me, tension on the leash, etc.)during the inspection not her nose.

    Hi LVK9 - That's really interesting.

    I had this question for another bed bug dog handler who trains/tests his dog by hiding vials of bedbugs, but never got an answer I understood. Maybe you can help.

    While training, do you conceal the samples yourself? Or does someone else hide them so that you are "blind" to the location of the samples while Sara searches?

    Like you indicated, in addition to being expert scent detectors, dogs are brilliant at reading our body language, tension, mood shifts (partially by scent?). If a handler knows where the concealed vial is located, the dog may begin to rely on changes in the handler's expectations, eg. handler becomes subtly less tense/anxious as dog zeroes in on location of vial. It's the Clever Hans effect (the horse that could do arithmetic.)

    Are handlers aware of this risk, and do they take measures to control it?

  17. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 16:18:54
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    I expect that in the future, we will also see health departments & other government agencies utilize K9s to investigate complaints & identify problem locations in the community.

    Doug, as the industry develops and training/handling procedures improve, that could be a very good thing.

    I guess the focus of my criticism is on behalf of individual customers based on the info (or lack thereof) we have now. Customers (with limited budgets) who are shelling out hundreds of dollars repeatedly for results that yield no meaningful information.

  18. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 17:11:33
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    Persona non bugga, no I do not hide the vials myself. I have someone else do it so I do not know where they are located.

  19. Grindstone99

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 21:07:22
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    Well I had a dog in and he found 2 of them by scent that I found with my own eyes. That was proof enough for me. At least I knew where to spray. Better to know this, as I never would have guessed they were where he found them!
    We also had him check out my mother's home and he apparently sniffed out two spots, but we see no signs of bugs. Could have been a false positive, but whatever the case, I would rather have the dog than no dog!

  20. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Jun 9 2009 22:32:12
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    There's a big difference to what bed bug scent detection teams CAN do, and what individual teams will do.

    It's a given that dog/handler teams vary in terms of skill and effectiveness.

    Some handlers are advertising themselves as xx% effective, presumably BASED ON the U Florida data. So you see handler's websites saying "bed bug dogs are 95% effective." You can't apply the results of the study to all canine scent teams, nor to all teams trained by the same trainer.

    If a handler cites any percentage of effectiveness, one should ask what this is based on.

  21. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 9 2009 23:42:03
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    [Admin note: deleted at Doug's request.]

  22. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Thu Jun 11 2009 19:45:48
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    Very interesting! Saying nothing can often say everything. Not one person that is associated with the sales or ownership of bed bug dogs felt that the state oversight for testing of bed bug dogs was a good or a bad idea. Does anyone favor state regulation and testing of bed bug detection dogs and their handlers?

    Joe

  23. btaggart

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 11 2009 19:48:11
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    I'm fine with taking any test that anyone whats to give me

  24. btaggart

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    Thu Jun 11 2009 20:34:18
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    here is the link for the bed bug canine study from the university of florida. there is a section titled field study where the dogs were tested in hotel rooms

    http://www.jkk9.com/Bed%20bug%20detecting%20canines.pdf

    Doug you have said university of florida is biased and rick cooper is biased so i will add this link from cornell university under bed bug dogs it states "The dog handler team should be
    recognized by a certifying organization, such as the National Entomology Scent Detection
    Canine Association".. Is cornell biased to?

    http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/bb_guidelines/files/bb_guidelines_nyc2.pdf

  25. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 9:27:44
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    The university of Florida Study seems flawed, in many ways.

    1. Research handler relationship.
    2. Site preparation
    3. Nothing indicates that human scent cross contamination was prevented.

    A scent detection canine seeks the source or totality of scent that they are told to find. The canine will also show interest in anything that is unique to the environment. In this case interest can mean a preoccupation of sniffing.

    In that scent aggregate the container used can be contaminated with the human scent that has been on other containers of bed bugs. I saw nothing in the research that prevented this.

    That is why when a handler says they staged a vile in a sofa or chair prior to doing the inspection I wonder why for two reasons.

    What is their to say that that scent article was not placed in an area that has bed bugs in it.

    The vials to hold bed bugs that are used I understand are plastic. Plastic is porous and will retain human scent. How does the handler know if the dog is not hitting on the handlers scent on the plastic vile?

    Mr. Taggart, if I was a bed bug canine handler I would not join the NESDCA because of the
    apparent conflicts of interest between those who sell bed bug dogs and those who buy bed bug dogs. Nor would I join any organization that Mr. Summers promotes because of his association with those dogs which his company has sold. The state government oversees pest control. I am also curious why people that once were certified by the NESDCA chose not to get re certified? There appears to be four companies.

    Joe

  26. DougSummersMS

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 9:38:36
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    Joe
    Most states require anyone performing an inspection for insect infestations to be licensed to perform pest control anyway.

    The K9 is a detection tool like the use of an active monitor... I think a special license category for bed bug inspections that included K9 detection could make sense, but I fear that it would just add another layer of bureaucracy on PCOs without improving the competence of the professionals that are already regulated pretty tightly in most states.

    Brian,
    I didn't use the word biased, Rick & Phil are closely associated with Pepe & they certainly act as if they are paid spokesmen... both served on the board of NESDCA.

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: Doug has asked me to change this to "advisory board," since "board" was an error.]

    You might also note that there is a major falsehood contained in the book that Rick co-authored. It claims that NESDCA was formed by the University of Florida Entomology Department.

    Larry Pinto said he got his info from Rick & U of Florida... I'll let the public come to their own conclusions about whether Pepe's associates are biased or not.

    You will not hear any criticism of Cornell University or Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann from me. We have spoken with the authors of the IPM guide. They wrote the K9 section in good faith & We don't have any problem with the document. Note the wording "such as..."

    They were not aware that NESDCA has never certified a dog that wasn't trained by Pepe or that NESDCA only represents a small percentage of the handlers working in the field.

    We have offered to consult with them in the future, so that the rest of the industry is represented in any future publications.

    We are in the process of organizing a trade organization that will provide an alternative to NESDCA for handlers that are deliberately excluded from challenging the NESDCA exam.

    BTW, I am still curious about your previous statement that "NESDCA teams have failed the exam".

    Where do we go on the NESDCA website to see which teams failed the certification exam?

    How many of Pepe's K9 teams have failed the exam to date?

    What happens when a team fails the exam? Are the K9 teams that fail the exam listed as Cert Expired on the website until they retake the test?

  27. losingit

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 12 2009 9:41:40
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    Why would a dog alert to a human scent, say on a plastic vial, if it was trained to detect for bbs?

  28. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 9:50:08
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    losingit

    I will give the reason why when I get back from a training seminar on Sunday.

    Joe

  29. LVK9

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 10:40:33
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    losingit, I suspect that what Joe is referring to (I maybe wrong) is when you are training your dog and place a vial, that vial also contains the scent of whoever placed the vial. Now when the dog alerts to that vial and is rewarded I believe Joe is saying that the dog is being rewarded for the scent of bed bugs and the human scent. When we do training there are multiple vials placed some are hot and some are dummy vials so every vial has the human scent but the dog is only rewarded on the scent of bed bugs. When I use planks we make sure every container is touched so the dog does not get clued in to the hot vial by picking up on the human scent. That is my best guess, I will wait until Sunday to find out.

  30. Emmm

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 11:15:56
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    I think in a video with Mike and Kody (Toronto bed bug dog), it sort of illustrates this without pointing it out. I read LVK9s description and it reminded me of a very short clip within the video. (It was linked on the main page a few months back)

  31. DougSummersMS

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 11:39:20
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    LosingIt

    You could think of human scent on a training target as being much like playing cards with a marked deck. If we are doing research on canine scent detection... then the manner in which the containers are handled is critical to ensure that we can exclude other variables that can influence the outcome of the experiment.

    Joe is correct in expressing concern that the dog might search for the handlers scent. LVK9 explained a couple of the measures that we use during training... but the research setting is different.

    If you look at research that has been performed by K9 experts on scent detection... there is always a detailed description of the procedures that were used to isolate & prevent cross contamination of the samples that are used during the trials.

    If you read the U of Florida study that Brian linked.... You will see that the handling procedures are not well specified... There are detailed descriptions of how the insects are handled, but no info on how the samples were isolated during the trials to prevent cross contamination.

    Brian is correct that some of the trials were conducted in hotel rooms in this study... But I believe that most of the trials were conducted at J&K over a 10 month period.

    A preliminary study that was performed by Dr. Faith Oi was also performed in the J&K training room.

    Perhaps, Brian has a link for Dr. Oi's study... the overall results of that study resulted in much lower numbers than Margie's study.

    My earlier point was that Margie Pfieister's study has too many limitations to be generalized to represent the accuracy of K9 teams working in the field... Instead of using the dog's normal handler (which was the condition in Dr Oi's first study)... all of the dogs in Margie's study were handled by Pepe, personally (the trainer). This fact alone greatly limits the applicability of the study with regard to other handlers in the field.

    Dr. Oi did a second study that was more of a true field study when she observed K9 teams working in multiple occupancy buildings... but they did not focus on determining the field accuracy of the K9 teams in that study. She primarily documented how the K9 teams were used on a large project, as I recall.

    Regardless of any flaws in Margie's research... She deserves full credit for publishing the first article detailing scientific experimentation that attempted to measure K9 accuracy for bed bug detection & she was also the first to evaluate the use of psuedo-scents for this application.

  32. lil_bit_obsessed

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    Fri Jun 12 2009 14:42:11
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    lvk9 - i am interested by your training techniques. specifically regarding the planting of vials, some with and some without bugs. i imagine that this would control for the possibility that it is the scent of the handler that the dog indicates on.

    i am also intrigued by the idea of state regulation/testing of bb dogs. although it is worth noting that the state, like any corporation or organization, is not without plenty of corporate bias of its own. just my two cents.

    and emmm, i have in the past hired mike and kody (the dog in toronto). i was pleased with the results. he brought two bb dogs to my home (a small apartment) and inspected using first one, and then the other. both dogs clarified that there were no bugs in the apartment. years later i can tell you that they were correct. they spent approximately 45 minutes doing the inspection, and were very thorough.

    personally i have had a good experience my one time hiring a bb dog, but obviously this is not statistically representative and does not apply to all dog handlers. for a consumer, the best bet is to prepare a long list of questions on the basis of recent research regarding bb dog protocols, and ask those questions to the handler when you contact them to do the inspection. if they cannot answer the questions that you have prepared, or do not answer them to your satisfaction, do not hire them. i realize that this unfairly responsibalizes the consumer, but currently (from the standpoint of a consumer specifically) that is the best we can do.

  33. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 12:14:34
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    Lvkk9, I found your comments about your first training experience with your dog out of the ordinary for most bed bug dog handlers. Your points were honest and forthright. You mentioned "not allowing your dog to go where she needs to go." "Stress". And "tension on the lead" as being factors that generated inaccuracies. I think no one has made a better case for working a detection dog, (bed bug), off a lead than you.

    It seems that you found out that your dog knows better on where to go than you. The shame of it is that you had to learn it on your own. My suggestion is that you need to try to get your dog to work off lead which will allow both of you to develop more confidence. Take some time to teach it some additional utility behaviors and both you and your dogs confidence will grow.
    If you do attempt to teach your dog some additional utility behaviors reward it only after it has
    performed the behavior the first time with a food treat and lots of praise. There after only praise or, its favorite toy if, it has one for its reward.

    Here is the problem with setting vials of bed bugs at a pre-location to determine if your dog is working: how do you know if where you are setting the bed bugs, is not occupied with bed bugs or eggs?

    Are you checking your stash a head of time to insure that only live bed bugs and eggs are in the vials? My understanding is that you don't want your dogs to alert on dead bedbugs.

    By touching all of the vials we believe that a handler creates the potential for cross contamination scenting that can lead to scent reward association. It has happened with our dogs. This is why we only use rubber gloves when handling a scent article.

    We believe that you would have more accurate results using containers that are not porous and that are handled always, with with rubber gloves. Possible a glass canning jar. Take caution of how the rubber gloves are put on so as, to only pick them up by the ridge opening.

    Joe

  34. DougSummersMS

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 12:46:24
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    Joe

    Many of our handler utilize gloves & glass vials. Many of our handlers work their dogs off lead...

    We provide support to our teams in the field... Teams like LVK9 continue to seek guidance from us on these issues... Your hostility is unwarranted & inaccurate in this case... Do you always jump to conclusions & make claims without any evidence?

    You are also confused about the live scent only training... PepeDog handlers utilize both live & dead scent targets to teach their dogs to ignore droppings, cast skins & dead bugs.

    FCA utilizes live bed bugs during training, but our methodology is different from the NESDCA approach that you are referring to in your comment.

  35. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 13:12:24
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    Mr. Summers, I have no idea what you are talking about. I think you are out of line. My comments were directed to LVK9,not you. I don't believe I was hostile to LVK9 in any way. Actually, my comments show that I commended him for his being honest and forthright. That's not hostility.

    Joe

  36. LVK9

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 13:38:30
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    Joe I have no problem with being honest about my experiences so far. I do many things (some you mentioned) in my training, I do not mention all of them here because I would like other K-9 companies to be involved in this conversation and maybe offer their insight. You have assumed that I have learned only on my own and that is just not true. Florida Canine Academy did my initial training and is always available to answer any questions I have.I do think that they gave me a good start and continue to give guidance when necessary. Your comments on the need for working the dog off the lead (I do sometimes) is a two way street though, why not learn to control your stress and allow the dog to work without tension on the lead?

  37. DougSummersMS

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 14:16:31
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    The shame of it is that you had to learn it on your own
    .

    I was referring to the tone of your words & also to your previous posts where you have made unsupported claims that were directed towards the company I work for... You are trying to pass yourself off as an expert... But you do not appear to have much insight into the protocol that you are criticizing.

  38. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 15:10:48
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    LVK9 My response of suggestions to your post were based solely on what you wrote. I did not know who you got your dog from until Mr. Summers offered the information. Stress is always and will always be a factor when handling a K9. There is that element of excitement. Stress becomes less of a factor as confidence grows between you and your dog

    We believe that true and complete control of a dog is when a K9 is off lead and directed by hand and voice signals.

    What is the value that you believe, having your dog on lead offers? Putting it another way, why do you have your dog doing detection work while on lead? You yourself talked about "not allowing her to go where she needs to go." Were you not trying to point out that, your dog has the ability to know, where to go, better than you.? If that is that case , why not eliminate any and all potential restrictions during the detection process.

    We depend on our dogs nose. I depend on my dog to show me, what we are looking for. Those of us with scent detection K9's have an old saying, " leading our scent detection k9 to find the article, is like a blind person showing a seeing person where to go." We can take them to the area of approximation. This information that I have shared with has taken me along time to gather from thousands of hours of experience.

  39. LVK9

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 15:27:48
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    What is the value that you believe, having your dog on lead offers? Putting it another way, why do you have your dog doing detection work while on lead? You yourself talked about "not allowing her to go where she needs to go." Were you not trying to point out that, your dog has the ability to know, where to go, better than you.? If that is that case , why not eliminate any and all potential restrictions during the detection process.

    Joe when I spoke about not allowing her to go where she needs to go that was when she first arrived home(rookie mistake). Looking back it was as if instead of a lead it was a stick that attached us. While attending my initial training with Bill I was amazed at how calm he was working a dog. It was as if they were in constant communication with each other without saying a word. This is something that I will always remember and strive to achieve. Like I mentioned in my previous post I do sometimes work with without a lead but other times a lead is necessary, like say when a large facility mandates it. So I train with and without a lead.

  40. DougSummersMS

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 16:07:10
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    The main issue for us is the safety of the K9.

    There can be many hazards in an occupied unit.. improperly applied pesticides, rat traps / poisons, antifreeze, weapons, dirty needles, exposed electrical wiring, aggressive animals or other safety issues... I once pulled my dog short of bumping into a fragile work of art that was worth more that my annual income... Watched my career flash before my eyes as everything went into slow motion...

    Feel free to refer to me as Doug... I've been calling you Joe

  41. LVK9

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 16:23:25
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    Doug I agree about the hazards one can run into. In my short career I have run into noxious chemicals(who knows what) place by the home owner even though when asked before the inspection they said nothing was applied. Just recently while inspecting a couch a steak knife popped up from between the cushions, this was a time I was grateful that Sara was on a lead.

  42. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 17:25:54
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    When a K9 officer goes into an area of question that is going to be searched they do not have the luxury of gathering chemical, pesticide history that you do. The presence of chemicals is the nature of the beast. Proofing your dog from these potential problems is very easy. Our dogs are road and snake proofed off lead.

    Every effort is made by the K9 officer to do a pr-examination of the area before the dog goes in. If I were doing what you do with a K9, I would do the same and make an extra effort to remove and secure any valuables that could be damaged: like a picture, to a safe area. I would also, consider getting some sort of damage insurance policy. I am actually, surprised that you don't carry insurance.

    Maybe once you get damage and accident insurance and start doing a pre-inspection, you will feel more comfortable letting your dogs search of lead.

    Joe

  43. LVK9

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 17:44:39
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    I would also, consider getting some sort of damage insurance policy. I am actually, surprised that you don't carry insurance.

    Joe again you are assuming I do not understand why you would assume such a thing? It is statements like these that tend to make people not want to carry on an open and honest discussion . It's appears that this is not a discussion at all, it's your way or the highway. I think this conversation has only one satisfactory ending for you, you being right. I thought this was a conversation about sharing ideas, learning and becoming better at what we do. If you have learned everything there is to know why continue on? It must get boring knowing everything and knowing that you will never learn anything again.

    Our dogs are road and snake proofed off lead
    When you say " Our Dogs" what does that mean? Local, State, Federal government?

  44. KillerQueen

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    Sun Jun 14 2009 22:58:03
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    Guys you can argue till the cows come home . These threads with K9’s always take the same direction. The bottom line is the dog is a tool to bring the person into an area in question. The human still needs to find the bug the dog is alerting to.

    I for one don’t need a dog to tell me where a bug is hiding. I do treatments everyday and know how to find them. And I also know the amount of time needed to do a proper inspection. When you don’t trust the eye or knowledge of a human .. you hire a K9 team … But it’s still going to be the human at the end of the rope … that will need to locate the bug. And from what I have learned most people can’t, be it an exterminator or a K9 handler. What pisses me off is the handler that will not even try and find the “hit”. There are too many teams out there doing this and ruining the k9 industry... and fast!

    Yes some inspections are easier than others. The quickest to date for me is 9 seconds. This after both husband and wife were looking for 3 weeks. Just yesterday I found a live bug during an inspection in about 2 minutes. This is also after the gentleman told me he has found nothing in the last month. I have been called in after a person had just one bite .. three days later I’m called .. go in and find 2 eggs. Again, I know where and how to look.

    Another thing that pisses me off is the treatments people take on without evidence. Then after 4, 6, 8 months of treatment (I have seen even longer) …. people want to know why I’m still getting bit. The answer is because you never had bed bugs to begin with. It’s your money... I just hate seeing people spend it the way they do.

    I mean for god sakes there was a person on here the other day making a recommendation about how great the K9 was .. and yet again … no bug or evidence was produced. The k9 is not the crystal ball of inspections. It’s the guy that produces the bug .. who is the true magician the rest is hocus pocus …. or however you spell it!

    And ...... to date .. I have not had a single call from anyone telling me I was wrong after doing an inspection ... why is that?

  45. DougSummersMS

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    Mon Jun 15 2009 8:59:09
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    The bottom line is the dog is a tool to bring the person into an area in question. The human still needs to find the bug the dog is alerting to.

    Amen, The K9 is a screening tool.... Alerts need to be confirmed... Ultimately, any proper bed bug inspection is a visual / physical search for evidence... The K9 screening helps define the search area.

    In forensic applications,... If a drug dog alerts to a car trunk ... We still need to get a warrant... open the trunk, ...find a suspicious substance and ....have that substance tested before we make an arrest... We don't just say, Oh no need for any of that... a similar dog was 97.5% with his trainer when we tested him in the lab... no need for any stinking trial... the dog is always right.

    There is a reason for the requirement to identify the pest before treatment is started... If the K9 alerts cannot be confirmed... then the PCO should take the same action that would be taken if the K9 was not present... K9 alerts raise the level of suspicion in the presence of unidentified "bites"...but the "human at the end of the rope" still needs to exercise their best professional judgment based on the evidence... otherwise the dog is making decisions that the PCO should be making based on training, experience & statutory requirements.

    As David pointed out earlier... physical confirmation is an important quality control measure. In the protocol that David utilizes the results of the K9 team search are routinely confirmed by the treatment team.

    I am impressed that you have never had a callback after giving a clearance... We can always prove the positive case with a specimen... but establishing the existence of a negative is tricky... always a judgment call on the part of the inspector... clearly a credit to your skill.

  46. sleepin tight

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    Wed Jun 17 2009 22:18:41
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    Before purchasing a bedbug detection dog I was skeptical of how effective or reliable such a tool would be. After acquiring a bedbug detection dog in Jan'09 to this point we have completed over 120 bedbug inspections. 40 to 50 of our bedbug inspections resulted in no alerts from our dog and no visual confirmation of bedbug presence. In every case the client is informed that the dog is NOT 100% accurate and should we have missed something contact us and we will credit the K-9 inspection towards treatment to resolve the bedbug issue. To this point we have yet to recieve that phone call saying "I think you missed something."

    I am not writing this as a testimonial for K-9 bedbug detection just sharing some personal experience. I am sure there are great K-9 detection teams out there and I am sure there are some lousy ones too, just as there are some great PCO's out there and some lousy ones. So I think it always comes down to "buyer beware" and it is important to ask lots of questions regarding: experience, references, success rates, etc. and that would apply to K-9 handlers and PCO's before enlisting their services.

    If it sounds too good to be true it probably is:
    our dogs are 100% accurate - call someone else
    we have products noone else does - call someone else
    you should only need one treatment - call someone else
    we can't guarantee our work - call someone else
    were the cheapest in town - call someone else

    We had a case a few months ago where the client had brought bedbugs home while on vacation last summer. 8 months had passed and I asked the client if they had any pest control treatment applied and they indicated they had not. The clients was not getting any bites had inspected everything and could find no evidence of bedbugs but the gradchildren would come and stay once a month and get bitten. So I'm going into this thinking if you have had bedbugs for 8 months and havn't had any pest control service the dog should not even be required as there should be plenty of evidence present given their prolific breeding.

    So we start the K-9 inspection and another fellow is following behind me to perform a visual inspection as I clear each room with the dog. No alerts, no alerts, no alerts, then an alert on the womans bedframe, so I take note of it to tell other fellow to inspect that area very closely but I was really doubting my dog as I made the mistake of going in with preconceived notions that this should be obvious and the dog should be alerting in multiple areas as this is 8 months into a supposed bedbug infestation. The fellow doing the visual inspection then finds evidence in a bedroom we'll call bedroom #2 that the dog had already cleared. (now I'm confused) So we examine bedroom #2 and find dead bedbugs, old dried out egg casings, no live activity, so next ask the resident and she explains that was where the problem was initially 8 months ago "so what killed all the bedbugs then?" and the resident then informs us she self-treated that room 8 months ago. So we go back to bedframe where the dog indicated and examine it 4 -5 times over and after a good 20 minutes, finally I find two live bedbugs in a knot in the bedframe and the wooden bedframe was the exact same colour as the bedbug camouflaging him very well.

    This was probably where I really gained trust in my dog as I had doubted her and she prouved me wrong, she ignored the old prior infestation in bedroom #2 and only alerted to the area with active bedbugs...still a little amazed by that one.

    Only reason we could come figure as to why population was so small was the resident was actually pretty successfull in eliminating her initial problem, but a few males or females survived and didn't have that breeding partner.

    The relationship between dog and handler is extremely important, and knowing your dog. I was informed of all these factors but it's when you get in the field it really makes sense.
    I have even noticed very subtle changes in her behaviour/body language when we start a search and there are no bedbugs present she seems to be humouring me and going through the motions, when there are active bedbugs she'll get more excited and be more enthusiatic. Not something I rely on but just found it interesting, and these are just little things you pick up on as you get farmiliar with your dog.

    Just want to end this post by saying in the 6 months or so we have owned our K-9 we have been able to help many and save some from unnecessary treatments, costs, and distress. It has also given us a great opportunity to educate and raise awareness about bedbugs and control measures (including our public health department)

    Doesn't matter if you call the largest company, the smallest company, the guy with 30 years, the guy with 3 years, it all comes down to the person that shows up at your door. No matter what uniform he has on or his credentials eradication of bedbugs involves enthusiasm and pride in your work and a lot of effort on the PCO and client. Pest control companies (at least here in Canada) are all using essentially the same products to control bedbugs (there are only a handful rated for control) so we are all equipped with the same tools just a matter of how you use them.

  47. btaggart

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    Thu Jun 18 2009 9:40:23
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    Doug,

    Sorry i have been gone for a couple of days. When you had posted previously about "rick and phil" Im assuming you mean Richard Cooper and Dr. Phil Koehler, two of the most widely respected entomolgists in the field of bed bug research, i think with all due respect you should use their full names so the public caan easily find their credentials and see that they are in fact researchers who make decesion purely based on scientific research and are not biased or paid spokesman. I will simply let their resumes speak for themselves. You have stated that all the research in this area is flawed because only pepes dogs were used. How come you didnt join the research? i know you were invited to do so. How come you dont have one bit of scientific evidence to back up any of your claims? I cant find any research that has been done on youre dogs. does this meaan you sell dogs whose abilities have never been independently verified? Also how come you wont take a NESDCA certification test? if your dogs can do what you say they can you will have absolutley no problem in certifing. There is an open certifying test at pestworld in october. certification is free of charge and anyone can take the certification regardless of where they were trained. I am willing to take any test presented to me.

    brian

  48. buggyinsocal

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    Thu Jun 18 2009 9:53:13
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    Sleepin tight,

    I just wanted to take issue with one thing you say in your post.

    There are some methods of treatments for bed bugs that do reliably work in one treatment. I'll admit that knowing what I know now, very nearly a year after my bed bug infestation, that I would be highly skeptical of any PCO who said that he or she could use chemical treatment alone to get rid of an infestation in one treatment.

    However, PCOs who use Vikane or thermal remediation properly usually do get rid of bed bugs in one treatment.

    I think it's the English major in me who worries about wording who read your post and thought "But thermal and Vikane often work in one go, and most PCOs who use them would say so." My objection to your post is simply to qualify the PCOs who say that they can solve a bed bug problem in one treatment with the word chemical in front of it.

  49. DougSummersMS

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    Thu Jun 18 2009 10:56:50
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    Brian,

    The last time I looked at the NESDCA website.... I did not see a single K9 team listed that was not trained by Pepe.... Please tell if I am incorrect in my assessment here...

    To my knowledge, NESDCA has never certified any K9 team that was trained by another trainer... The only affiliated trainers listed on the NESDCA site are all associated with Pepe and his company....

    How long were Pepe's staff members of NESDCA before they were listed as affiliates?... Are you sure you want to have this discussion in public... NESDCA has a lot of dirty laundry & I have a lot of questions...

    For example, in a previous post you stated that "NESDCA teams have failed the test", but you have repeatedly failed to respond to the obvious follow up questions...

    Which teams have failed the NESDCA certification exam?...

    How many of Pepe's K9 teams have failed the test?... I had never heard of a PepeDog team failing the test until you mentioned it in your comments....

    Is there a page on the NESDCA website that a consumer can go to to see which K9 teams failed when they tried to challenge the exam?

    Did you ask Pepe or Dr. Koehler about U of Florida's previous history with FCA?... If you did... then you already know why only PepeDogs are used in U of F research studies.... Print their responses & I will comment further...

    Why do we see many teams listed with Certification Expired listed next to their name on the NESDCA website?... Have these teams failed the exam?... I see that a couple of teams from North Carolina are no longer listed on the website.... Did they fail the exam too?

    If NESDCA is such a transparent organization... as Pepe claimed here in a previous comment...

    Tell me what was the organizations name before 2007... Who was the previous owner?... Who owns NESDCA now?

    How many dogs were certified by the previous organization before it was renamed NESDCA?

    Your continued failure to respond to these simple questions really doesn't seem very transparent...

  50. sleepin tight

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    Buggy,

    Thanks for clarifying yes I was referring to chemical treatment, yes vikane/heat can be effective in one shot.

    I was reading posts on another thread where several companies were claiming to be able to eradicate with one "chemical" treatment. It amazes me that companies could be that ignorant or just blatantly lie to the client to try to avoid a follow-up treatment. There are so many resources out there now dealing with bedbugs and control that it is very easy for the public to educate themselves and many do. It's not so easy to "pull a fast one" on people and it is certainly a stain on our already tarnished industry reputation.

    One of our largest and supposedly reputable pest control service providers was taking this approach (one chemical treatment) and was actually verbally reprimanding an employee for automatically scheduling follow-up treatments. "If you do it right the first time you shouldn't need to return....."
    The reprimanded employee eventually departed and he's now working with us which we are gratefull for because he is fantastic. We also took over a few muti-unit dwellings that were under this chemical one-time approach and the results are the buildings are rampant with them.

    So our competitor has created a lot of work for us through this no-mind approach and it's going to be a long battle to try to clean-up the mess thats been created. Some might say we should be content with their misdeeds as it has created a long work project for us, but I think we would all much rather be treating for ants and other less labour intensive pests than these nasty little creatures.

    This discussion was initiated on the need for better training of bedbug K-9's and handlers but clearly the PCO industry is also in need of an upgrade. It is unfortunate as people become skeptical of the PCO's integrity and abilitiy because of a few bad apples. I think every PCO should subject themselves to bedbug bites, then maybe they'll have some compassion for the people dealing with infestations and be less concerned with strictly profit. I fed my bedbugs once on my arm and that will be the first and last time I'll be doing that.

    How do you know a building has major bedbug issues? When you start inspecting units and they almost look vacant as people have discarded almost all their belongings to try escape their bedbug nightmares. Sleeping in the bathtub is really no way to live and I really feel for the people going through it.

    I'm speaking in regards to Canadian PCO industry as I am unfamiliar with U.S. protocols.
    When I first started in pest control I was licenced within 2 weeks of starting the job. This licence would also enable me to start my own company, hire and train others etc. so long as I have insurance coverage. I was training new employees hired when I had only been there 3 months (new to pest control) I still knew absolutely nothing! It was through reading and educating myself that I gained more knowledge and understanding not from our pathetic industry self-taught study at home course. Study for a week, get a 70% on exam and you're good to go..........what a joke.

    I would say our government should step in and raise standards but they are the worst offender, as they are not willing to spend the money necessary to clean-out their own bedbug issues (social housing) So they employ a bandaid treatment and the bedbug reports have doubled for the past 2 consecutive years. (100% rise in bedbug activity every year) and they are scratching their heads as to why they can't resolve it and come find a solution.

    City of Ottawa Pest Control Budget 2009 - $480,000 for 15 000 social housing units (high level infestations) $32 alloted for each unit annually

    City of Ottawa Employee Cellphone Costs 2009 - estimated at $4 to $7 million dollars.

    So get off the cellphones and quit acting like you give a damn about these people when clearly you don't and you're only really concerned with is negative press coverage.

  51. Mike

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    Sat Jun 20 2009 8:16:46
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    I am new to this blog business but after reading some of the comments I feel I must respond in kind.

    The X-Police K-9 officer makes some comments that makes me believe that either he wasn't a K-9 handler or he has an ulterior motive for his posts.

    He states "Either the dog knows that the scent of the search item or, article or it doesn't. As a K9 officer for 14 years I know this to be true. If I have a k9 looking for a dead body and my dog alerts me, I dam sure, better produce a dead body. And if I didn't, I would never be a a K9 officer again. "

    First of all, your dog is looking for at very minimum a 6 week old child which is probably 8 - 10 pounds or so. That starts to give off quite an odour and the dog should be able to find that with it's "nose closed" Lets look at drugs. A drug dog should be able to find a joint fairly easy assuming the inspected area is fully accessible but take one seed and through it into a pile of clothes and see if the dog will find it. He may alert and then you are supposed to find that seed to confirm the alert? Good luck!

    2 scenarios. 1. This from personal experience. My friend was going on a business trip and the idiot brought a piece of hash with him to the airport. While waiting to go through the endless lines he saw a dog and handler mingling through the crouds and he dropped the wrapped piece of hash on the floor and kept moving forward. When the dog got to my friend he did a passive alert. They took my friend into a room and told him he had 2 choices. He could hand over the drugs and depending on the quantity and type, they would let him go on his way or they could search him and if they found something he would be charged. Knowing he had nothing on him he acted dumb. The cops check his pockets etc and after not finding anything asked my friend if he had been to a party recently where drugs were used. He said yes and was let on the plane. Was that a false possitive? No. The dog did his job. The handlers could not confirm but it was not a false possitive. By asking that question and hearing there was probably residue on his clothes the dog was vindicated.

    2. A K-9 police officer did a raid in a house and the dog alerted to a bed side drawer. The cop had probable grounds to search but no drugs. The cop went through the room 3 or 4 times with the same results. The cop finall asked the bad guy, for the sake of the dogs reputation if he had drugs in that drawer recently and the guy for some reason admitted it. Again vindication. Was that a false possitive? That's not for me to say.

    In the case of bed bugs we are dealing with something as small as a pin head and a well trained dog will find a single nymph. I know my dog will. The problem then is to prove it. The dog alerts to a mattress and there is one nymph on it. The handler starts to explore and as he removes the fitted, elasticised mattress sheet he/she sends the nymph flying accross the room (or in their face). Trust me it happens. You will never find that 1 nymph now and that is all it takes to cause someone grief. You don't find what the dog alerted to and now assume that the dog made a false possitive. You would be wrong. Looking for bodies or a bag of weed is differant then looking for 1 bug in an apartment. A needle in a hay stack!

    You may have the luxury of cutting out the carpet of a car to look for "twigs and seeds" but you don't have that same luxury in someones private residence. I have been in pest management for 30 years and I can tell you that if a well trained dog has an issue with a room then you take it seriously and treat it properly because if you don't then that 1 nymph could turn into an infestation before long. Assuming there is at least 1 other of the opposite sex. Bed Bugs are not to be taken lightly!

    It's not rocket science to train a dog in scent detection, just a lot of patience and while I can only speak of 1 bed bug dog trainer out there I can say that the dogs he traines know their stuff when they leave. A while back I was emailing back and forth with someone who told me that the handler didn't need to know anything about the scent he was looking for because the dog did. That couldn't be farther from the truth and I believe that one of the big problems out there in the bed bug dog world is that the handlers aren't properly trained in basic entomology and don't understand what they are dealing with. You have to understand the nature of the beast.

    I think we can agree that the dogs alert to the insect's pheromones and live bed bugs carry that pheromone. With aggregate pheromones, bed bugs and roaches etc. secrete these invisible chemicals eliciting species specific behaviours. Bed Bugs we know secrete these pheromones in their feces which cause other bed bugs to want to congregate in the same area, that's the reason we get those big accumulations of bed bugs in certain areas. That's why it looks like non social insects like bed bugs like to socialize. A fresh fecal stain has the same odour as a live bed bug. If the dog alerts to an area and you can't find anything and the room hasn't been previously treated then it is safe to assume that there could have been a bed bug there recently. It could have been just taken out of the unit in the back pocket of the person's pants. The question you have to ask yourself is, if there was a bed bug there recently as per the dog's alert, could it have laid eggs. Knowing the dog knows his stuff are you willing to take the chance or will you stand behind your dog and tell the client that they should get treated? Think about it. You are called to a house where the owner thinks they have bed bugs. They are not spending that kind of money because they want company. If the dog alerts, add 2 + 2.

    If a dog misses something I would say it is probably the fault of the handler not getting the dog's nose close enough in the corner or to the other side of the bed. Another big problem is that handlers and dogs are inspecting hotels and apartment buildings inspecting up to 100 rooms a day. At the beginning of the day the handler is revved up shouting "seek seek seek," but after a few hours the handler is tired and bored and it becomes seek__________________seek_____________________seek! Don't blame the dog because the handler has lost interest and is thinking about what he/she will have for dinner instead of concentrating on the job at hand.

    And finally, a dog team finds some drugs in a car or fruit at the airport and the job is over. I have at least 1 woman a week crying in my arms because her baby is being bitten and she can't protect her child. As bed bug dog handlers we have to be a shoulder as well as a wealth of knowledge and a bit of a CSI to the client. If it's not bed bugs, what could it be?

  52. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sat Jun 20 2009 16:20:44
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    Mike,

    you have made some interesting points. However, most of your points have no accuracy at all.

    1. Late term fetuses have been searched for and found by cadavor dogs; not just six weeks and up as, you claim. Dogs have found discarded late term fetuses as well.

    2. Bed bug dogs do not identify pheromones of the bed bug. They identify the VOC"S Volatile Organic Compounds that are emitted from the bed bug. And no they are not the same as Pheromones.

    Voc's are the scent signature emitted from all organic material.

    If you read my post accurately you would have seen that I had already covered the scenario of false positive. These are all cleared up to by further examining the area for residual. If the dog alerts we always find it even if it from the residual. False negative should never occur unless we have an over heated or ill K9 or there are other mitigating environmental factors.

    You said "a fresh fecal stain has the same odor as a live bed bug. This statement too, is completely inaccurate. The VOC"S scent signatures of bed bug fecal matter is going to be completely different than that of a live bed bug. Based on your discussion I can understand your dog alerting on fecal matter the same way it alerts to live bed bugs. But, should it? No!

    A bed bug dog should only alert to the presence of live bed bugs and eggs.

    Your poor understanding of scent forensics is a clear example of why I have attempted to point out the need for better trained bed bug detection dogs and handlers.

    JOE

  53. cachevalier

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    Sat Jun 20 2009 18:41:54
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    when i had my k9 inspection i got two hits. the handler left my apt. an came back with a different dog an got the same two hits and he also assured me the first dog didnt tell the other where to look...lol

  54. DougSummersMS

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    Sat Jun 20 2009 23:33:28
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    Brian

    I am a little confused by your recent comment. I have read through all the everything that I have written about NESDCA & this post from last week appears to be the comment that you are referring to...

    Brian,
    I didn't use the word biased, Rick & Phil are closely associated with Pepe & they certainly act as if they are paid spokesmen... both served on the board of NESDCA.

    As I pointed out last week, I never used the word biased... I never made any comments about their credentials or resumes either... I am starting to get a little burned out on being misquoted... In the future, please utilize the quote function on the reply box or don't try to quote me at all...

    Your habit of misquoting people is unprofessional.

    You have stated that all the research in this area is flawed because only pepes dogs were used

    Wrong again... Another misquote... Here is what I actually said...

    My earlier point was that Margie Pfieister's study has too many limitations to be generalized to represent the accuracy of K9 teams working in the field... Instead of using the dog's normal handler (which was the condition in Dr Oi's first study)... all of the dogs in Margie's study were handled by Pepe, personally (the trainer). This fact alone greatly limits the applicability of the study with regard to other handlers in the field.

    The issue I was addressing is that the trainer (Pepe) handled all seven dogs during each of the conditions, instead of using the K9s normal handler... That is very unusual... The fact that only PepeDogs were utilized in the study is not the limitation I was referring to in my comment... NESDCA makes a point of only certifying dogs & handlers as a team...

    This quote is taken directly from your website...

    ]NESDCA Certifications are only valid when the Handler is working together with the dog he/she certified with....

    This statement is posted in large red & blue boldfaced font on your website....

    Why would you use the trainer to work the dogs during the study... If you actually wanted to demonstrate the accuracy of your certified K9 teams in the field?...

    Could it be due to the disappointing results of the previous study that utilized certified K9 teams? ...

    In an earlier study, Dr Oi observed the accuracy of K9s performing trials utilizing their normal handlers... In that study, the overall accuracy of the PepeDogs as a group was in the mid 70 percent range ... Interestingly, we don't see any references to Dr Oi's study anywhere on the NESDCA website...

  55. Mike

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    Sun Jun 21 2009 15:43:46
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    Joe. It was not my intention to take shots at you nor was it my hope that you attack me in your reply. I believe you missed my point. You mentioned in your #1 that the dog alerts to late term Fetuses. I'm sure a cadavor dog could find an early term one as well. The point I was trying to make was that is is probably easier to find something of that size opposed to a single bed bug egg. and when an alert is made it is a lot harder to varify a single egg. With respect to VOC's, I have been told by several reputable entomologysts that the dog is alerting to species specific pherompnes. Dr. Oi Chen did a great job with her study but I don't believe the study went into what exactly the dog was allerting to. If I missed that section, my mistake. The main point I was trying to make in my initial email was that just because you don't find something doesn't mean that it isn't there as per my 2 examples. Your silence on those 2 points which from how you described yourself would lead me to believe that that is your area of expertize leads me to believe that you agree with me with the fact that a handler can misinterpret what he believes is a false possitive when it was a possitive alert but just not varifiable. With respect to the dog only alerting to live bed bugs and eggs, I would bet as much as you like that any dog you say only alerts to live bed bugs would alert to a dead one and I could unequivocally prove it. 100 percent! My dog will tell me when there are live bed bugs and he will give me a secondary alert when he finds old evidence. I don't want to get into a pissing match with you. These forums should be used for constructive comments where people like myself can learn.

  56. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sun Jun 21 2009 19:03:01
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    Mike, I am amazed at people getting upset at, how people respond to comments, made by them in this forum . In my line of work I, have people calling me names and making threats to me and my family and to, my face all day. So, I am at at a loss in trying to figure why people in this form take such offence to a persons negative or opposing responses. It seems as thought they are trying to get the sympathy vote. People need to lighten up.

    My purpose was to make some stern points of disagreement. It has nothing to do with you. I don't even know you. Actually know one on this forum knows you as anyone other then Mike. There has to be five million Mike's in this world .

    What I was taking issue with was the misinformation that was presented.

    I have read the misinformation put out by Entomologist that, throw themselves out in, the public domain as experts in, understanding scent, detection canines. It is unfortunate. they just continue to confuse the public. I hope you take the time to educated them.

    JOE

  57. Nobugsonme

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    Sun Jun 21 2009 21:50:35
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    Hi Joe,

    Can I ask, did you or your wife previously post to Bedbugger using a different username?

    Thanks.

  58. JWhiteBBCTV

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    Mon Jun 22 2009 8:45:21
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    Aigh. What a train wreck this thread became.

    I just wish the canine scent detection industry could take a step back and see the big picture. I have never in my life seen an industry more pitted against itself then this one is. It just seems like it's an endless cycle of giving an opinion of another trainer or taking shots or making sniping comments about training techniques or associations or god knows what else. If everybody would just mind it's own business and train their dogs and let results speak for itself we could avoid threads like this.

    I agree, and I've always said, that I'm scared of the future of canine scent detection. From my experiences, handler and maintaining a team is very difficult and takes a lot of care and time to do properly. I think too many people are purchasing dogs as a business venture and have no idea what they are getting themselves into. In doing so, the skill set of the team could very possibly slowly start to degrade and then the client purchases an inspection and has a bad experience. Unfortunately, I think this will start to become more and more common and I fear that the good handler teams out there could be grouped into the poor ones.

    That's where I'm leaving my opinion and comments at. I'll be the next one being sacrificed at the alter of canine scent detection anger when people start telling me I wear bad shirts or my desk is ugly.

  59. DougSummersMS

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    Mon Jun 22 2009 12:42:06
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    Aigh. What a train wreck this thread became.

    I just wish the canine scent detection industry could take a step back and see the big picture. I have never in my life seen an industry more pitted against itself then this one is. It just seems like it's an endless cycle of giving an opinion of another trainer or taking shots or making sniping comments about training techniques or associations or god knows what else. If everybody would just mind it's own business and train their dogs and let results speak for itself we could avoid threads like this.

    Amen Jim,

    I agree fully with your sentiment... This kind of exchange mostly creates confusion for the consumer.

    I became upset when I learned that Brian is a NESDCA board member... I doubt that he is going to respond to the questions that I have posed ... I am happy to move on to a more productive dialogue.

  60. Mike

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    Fri Jun 26 2009 10:56:40
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    I am not sure if this blog is still active but I am confused as to where the K-9 handlers and experts are getting their information and how I can view this info. Specifically this comment "2. Bed bug dogs do not identify pheromones of the bed bug. They identify the VOC"S Volatile Organic Compounds that are emitted from the bed bug. And no they are not the same as Pheromones. " Joe or Doug, can you please point me to a document that states that the dog is not cuing into to pheromones but rather VOC's? I need to understand this better. Thanks for your help.

  61. DougSummersMS

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    Fri Jun 26 2009 15:38:58
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    Mike
    I sent a PM to you.

  62. BEDBUGGEDWIFE

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    Sat Jun 27 2009 15:09:10
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    Mike, my suggestion is to go on line and Google:
    (SCENT DETECTION DOG VOLITILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS)

    There are many information items that you can pull from.

    JOE

  63. whewdoggie

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    Mon Sep 21 2009 13:34:43
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    I do not agree that the dogs are coming from training facilities not properly trained, though I would not say that they are properly trained either without first hand knowledge. The problem I see is first, the dogs are sold to people that may or may not understand dogs. Even if the do, to what extent? Do they really understand dog behavior/training? Do they continue with consistent regular training? Can they detect and correct new behaviors that arise in the field? How many dogs have they worked with in the past? How many hours? What is their level of dedication? They do not learn this in a week. I would say that ifthe dogs are being sold properly trained you still will not have the proficiency you would get if the trainer/handler was working the dog. Personally when I train a dog to such a degree he is with me for life. I have no interest in training a dog to sell to some guy to make profit from. I believe it is the business of training and selling dogs that gives the industry a bad name. Sure you will get some dedicated handlers that will do their best but you will also get the greedy trend followers looking to make their next dollar.

  64. Kill bed bugs

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    Mon Sep 21 2009 15:55:52
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    You make some good points. Are uyou a freind of Gary Brobergs out of Cleveland, Ohio? He has bed bug dog Inspections. He has trained his own dogs and does not sell dogs. He is what
    is refered to as a Priemer Master dog trainer. His experience goes back to beiing Search Manager for the Ohio Urban Search & Rescue Task Force, FEMA. He has even been aasked to evaluate the potentioial of using dogs to detect H1N1.

  65. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Sep 22 2009 21:40:30
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    Kill bed bugs,

    Are you Gary Broberg?

  66. whewdoggie

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    Wed Sep 23 2009 11:22:13
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    I am not a friend of Gary, nor do I know him, but I do know of him. I am located on long island. I may require quite a bit more education to understand bedbugs but I know dogs. All dogs, any dogs, good dogs, bad dogs, misunderstood dogs, aggressive dogs, timid dogs. I have spent the better part of my life trying to understand dogs and rehabilitate the bad or misunderstood ones. It started as a child when I lost my first dog to biting. I have never really tried to financially capitalize with my experience. I am too much of an honest sucker I guess. I spend far too much of my time trying to help people and dogs. I do plan on having a fantastic high level trained bedbug sniffer in the near future and who knows, maybe I can make a few bucks in the process. To me it is really about the challenge and to give a needy dog a good job. I am far too much of a perfectionist to not have one of the best.
    I do know a well trained dog can do far better than all of the stories I hear about purchased sniffers, whether it be bedbugs or termites or whatever.

  67. anobid

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    Obviously detection dogs have a place and they have proved that they work, however whether they be police related or work for search and rescue handlers, USDA Aphis (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) dogs termite dogs or cadaver dogs there seem to be several major differences. One these dogs are often worked less than bed bug dogs who in many cases work several jobs a day. Two often times what they are searching for has a greater/ more intense odor signature (ahh the smell of cadaverine in the morning!). Three they are often agency dogs and are not linked to monetary production nor does the investment have to be recouped the same way as when a person or firm procures a dog. Four there are not other dogs backing it up like explosive or APHIS dogs. Five they certainly don't ride around in trucks with pesticides as some dogs are said to do. Six handlers are screened and undergo apprentice periods and take control through advancement not by investment. Unfortunatley like bed bugs this program has evolved rather quickly and needs to settle out. Seven other dogs do not have to be nice to people and do not have people in their snout the way many bed bug dogs do. Try petting a police dog, you'll be asked not to or it may bark. It also seems that at least in NY some of the inspections need more assurance that bed bugs are actually present through the subsequent finding of bed bugs so that a client can be assured that there are bed bugs and the dog is not just looking for a scooby snack. Till then be assured that it is a buyer beware market and that unfortunately good dog and handler teams will suffer because of the poor ones. Also note that as professionalism takes over and the poor profiters are assuredly weeded out that lead time for inspection will be longer and prices will probably rise.

  68. friendhasbb

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    KQ, I just found this old thread. I wish you worked in the Boston area - do you know a reliable PCO here? We had bites and called a PCO who came out with a dog which alerted in 3 places but that PCO did not inspect. We had a 2nd PCO come out without a dog who inspected and found nothing. He won't treat without evidence. Bites have stopped but we're in a quandry. Do we have BBs or not? Did we have a few and vacuum them up? How to know? Should we look for a another PCO who will both bring a dog and visually inspect?

    The bottom line is the dog is a tool to bring the person into an area in question. The human still needs to find the bug the dog is alerting to. I for one don’t need a dog to tell me where a bug is hiding. I do treatments everyday and know how to find them....What pisses me off is the handler that will not even try and find the “hit”. There are too many teams out there doing this and ruining the k9 industry... and fast!

  69. KillerQueen

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    Sat Nov 6 2010 1:20:06
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    WOW! Blast from the past. I'm sorry but I don't really know any companies outside of NY. Best to search the forum for reviews of PCO's in your area.

    Good Luck!

  70. Nobugsonme

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    Sat Nov 6 2010 1:46:03
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  71. overload

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    The wronf info or outright lying, I'm not sure.

    But these people are so off base. I've trained about a 1000 dogs for the USAF, DoD and private sect and never have I seen such a mess.

    One thing you learn fast is "Each trainer hates the next" and each is wrong.

    But a scam is a scam.

    I must go to bed now.,, Sorry I wasn't nasty tonight but it's late.

    I doubt I will return to this site.

    Anyone needing proper info should do a search and look at Gov standards. Just type in K9 ORT or K9 NORT. A detection dog is a detection dog. In this line of work you must show them the bugs!
    at the least feces, exto ANYTHING! Your K9 points or pokes it! LOOK for other signs and you will find them.

  72. Nobugsonme

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    overload - 1 hour ago  » 
    The wronf info or outright lying, I'm not sure.
    But these people are so off base. I've trained about a 1000 dogs for the USAF, DoD and private sect and never have I seen such a mess.
    One thing you learn fast is "Each trainer hates the next" and each is wrong.
    But a scam is a scam.
    I must go to bed now.,, Sorry I wasn't nasty tonight but it's late.
    I doubt I will return to this site.

    overload,

    Your posts tonight have not been very coherent.

    Saying "these people are so off base" is not very helpful in this instance. Do you mean, everyone above? Certain people? Canine scent detection pros? (Which, I gather, would include you?)

    In any case, this was one thread that did not need reviving and I am going to close it now. If you have something to say, I recommend you stick with the Official k9 thread, and try and be as specific as possible in what you're trying to communicate.

    And as a side note: posts which are simply rude or which promote your own k9 services will be deleted.


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