By Keith Coddington There is no doubt that the nationwide bedbug epidemic has turned into an enormous business opportunity which looks extremely attractive in today’s economy. The bedbug epidemic is nationwide and Phoenix, Arizona has not been spared. Experts agree the bedbug problem will get much worse before it gets better.
There will be more and more start-up companies trying to cash in on this opportunity which is not necessarily a bad thing, however consumers need to be sure to research the company they are about to hire especially when it comes to bedbug dogs.
The problem is that there is currently no set standard, license or industry-wide recognized certification for bedbug detection dogs teams. As of now anyone can simply claim they have a trained bedbug detection dog. A system of consistent quality control in this highly specialized field is lacking. The good news is that there are several different organizations already addressing this issue and a long-term industry-wide solution is on the horizon.
Cimex K9 is promoting and currently working on the implementation of a state sponsored certification process for search teams to ensure consumers are protected and receive the best quality service possible.
So you may wonder: How do I hire a reputable detection dog company?
1. Ask if the dogs are certified. If so which certification agency? Ask for proof.
2. Is the certifying organization operated by the same person that trained and sold the dog? If so this is a conflict of interest and you should be very skeptical of the legitimacy of this type of “certification”. The organization must be an independent uninterested third party.
3. Certification must be of the Team which includes the dog and handler.
4. Is the certification in real-world conditions? Is it a double-blind test?
5. Who trains and maintains the detection dogs? There is a difference between handlers and trainers. Trainers train the dogs and the handlers from scratch. Handlers are trained to use a dog that has already been trained, and aren’t qualified to train other handlers and dogs. Not many areas have actual trainers on-hand to maintain the detection dog teams, but when available this is an issue worth considering from a quality control perspective.
6. Ask for references. Of course any business will always give out the customer’s names that have had good experiences with them. The best reference for a bedbug detection dog would be to ask for an apartment complex that has used their bedbug detection dogs frequently over the past year. This can give you a much clearer picture of the company’s performance.
7. Does the company, trainer and/or handler have any prior experience with detection dogs?
If the company you are about to hire can’t easily answer all of the questions above you may want to look elsewhere. Until there is a set industry standard regarding bedbug detection dog certifications the questions above are the best way to ensure protection for the consumer.
-Keith Coddingtonowner/trainer Cimex K9, LLC 888-928-4364