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Bedbug-Detecting Dogs
Sniffing out the source leads to less pesticide use

Trained dogs detect land mines, drugs, explosives, missing persons, cancer, and just about anything else that they are physically capable of smelling. Julia Kamysz Lane recently blogged about how dogs can even sniff out peanuts and cash-carrying criminals. JoAnna Lou clued us in to their use in locating illegal DVDs. Now, add bedbugs to the list. There are dogs trained specifically to detect the scent of bedbugs.

The advantages of using dogs for this purpose are many. Dogs can find the bedbugs faster than people can. With proper training, they can distinguish between dead bedbugs, which may not require chemical treatment, and live bedbugs, which do. Dogs can pinpoint the source of the problem so that smaller areas require fumigation. For example, perhaps not all rooms in a hotel are infested, so dogs can make it cheaper to solve the problem, and result in fewer nasty chemicals being released into the environment.

This is another example of how dogs literally make our world a better place!

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

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