How to Train a Dog to Sniff Out Bed Bugs
Just thinking about bed bugs can make your skin crawl. They get into our suitcases and then infest our bedrooms, clothes, and mattresses. Even though they don’t spread disease, these little critters like to bite, and they are almost impossible to get rid of without the help of a professional. However, you can stay on top of the issue by training your dog to sniff out bed bugs.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs is HARD
Because these little critters are only an eighth of an inch long, you often have an infestation before you even realize there is a problem. If you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you are at an even greater risk of a bed bug infestation. These two California cities, rank in the top 10 cities with bed bugs.
Once an infestation occurs, it is usually too late to save your belongings. The only way to get rid of the bugs is to get rid of where they live. This can be quite costly.
There is a method for finding bed bugs that are 98% accurate and can warn you that you have them in your home before a full infestation takes place. What is this highly effective approach? It’s nothing complex or complicated, but rather, man’s best friend.
Training a Dog to Find Bed Bugs
Dogs can be trained to sniff out explosives, drugs, and animals, so why not put that sniffer to use finding bed bugs? Dogs can pinpoint an infestation early before it becomes a larger problem and your entire home needs to be treated.
Take the following steps to train up a dog to find bed bugs:
- Obtain a few bed bugs (this can be done through a variety of outlets online), and a few small containers. Place the bugs in containers, but leave one or two empty.
- Let the dog sniff the containers in which they bed bugs have been placed. Make sure you let the dog sniff only the containers with bugs. Otherwise, the dog may get his scents confused.
- Remove the dog from the room and hide all the containers, both those with bed bugs and those without. Do not let the dog see what you are doing.
- Once finished, let the dog back into the room. Tell the dog to ‘find’ or ‘seek’ (or use your own preferred command). Make sure to use the same command each time you want the dog to begin locating the bed bugs.
- Reinforce good behavior by giving the dog a treat or reward each time they find a container with the live bed bugs. If the dog finds an empty container, do nothing or ignore the dog. This will teach it to find only containers with live bed bugs.
- Continue repeating this exercise with the dog. As it becomes more adept at finding the bed bugs, hide them in more difficult places. Eventually, you will be able to use your entire home instead of just the one room.
Certified Bed Bug Sniffers
While these steps can be used to train your own dog to identify and detect bed bugs, there are specialized dogs that have earned certificates through the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA). This organization is dedicated to providing the best possible canine detection training methods available.
What to Do When Your Dog Finds Bed Bugs
The reason you train your dog to sniff out bed bugs is to alert you to their presence before they became a monumental problem. As soon as your dog indicates you have bed bugs, you need to call your pest control professional. Bed bugs are hard to get rid of and almost impossible to do on your own.
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