I had been reading about dog training, and I suddenly stumbled upon this information about canine working in the pest control business. We have seen amazing dogs working with the police authorities to catch contraband such as bombs and narcotics. There are also dog heroes helping in search and rescue operations. Rain or shine, the dog’s sense of smell never fails to do the important task of making our communities safe. Now, we can add pest control to the long list of jobs our fur buddies can do.
Last time, I employed the help of Columbus Pest Control company to clear the termite build-up that was starting on my shed. They did a great job, and I feel that I do not need to worry about termites anymore. However, my field is quite vast, and I do not have the time to investigate every nook and cranny. So I decided to try to train one of my dogs to do pest control detection. One sniff in the air and my dog could find the pest before any human can.
The training is pretty much the same as training a dog in identifying scents such as narcotics. The only difference is familiarizing them with the scent of the particular pest that you want them to recognize. Before putting your dog to the humongous task of pest detection, train your dog with simple objects first. For more info go here.
For starters, here are the basic steps in training your dog for scent detection.
- Prepare a reward. Make sure you pick something that they love such as food or their favorite toy. Rewards are a great motivator for the dogs to keep doing the behavior you want them to perform.
- Pick a command word. Make sure you choose a word that will not confuse your dog with other commands that you are already using. For scent detection, you might want to use the word “Seek” or “Search.” Any word will do as long as it is distinct for the behavior you want your dog to perform.
- Pick the item for the dog to search. Use something that the dog loves so that he will be excited to find it.
- Start by asking the dog to seek the item in plain sight. This activity is an introduction for the dog on the behavior that you want him to do. If he is having difficulties understanding the command, guide him to the object you want him to find. Keep doing this until the dog can do the job by himself. Reward the dog with praise words when he finds the item and let him have the treat once he brings the thing to you.
- Once your dog can search the item by sight, it is time to teach your dog to seek by using his sense of smell. You need to hide the object in a box or another room. Make sure your dog is able to sniff the object before giving the command. Give him his treat as soon as finds and brings the object to you.
The steps may seem simple but the time for your dog to learn would vary. You need to be patient with your dog. Do not scold him if he makes a mistake. Consistent practice and rewarding your dog with praise or treat will encourage him to keep up with the behavior that you want him to learn.
As for my dog’s pest control detection training, we are still getting there. Until then, there are still the good old pest control companies to do the job. So, no need to rush.