Native rescue canine sniffing out mattress bug infestations

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Despite current public health measures, Bow Valley is preparing for another busy tourist season, and the city of Banff is forecasting more tourists this summer than 2020.

James Wood, owner and handler at Assured K-9 Detection Services, says his rescue dog, Rebel, is a certified bed bug buster and that dog can use their training wisely and help local hotel owners keep their rooms safe, clean and free from pests.

Wood traveled to California last August to pick up Rebel, where she honed her dog odor detection skills over 1,000 hours of training.

“I did my homework and came across the place in California. I went down and trained with Rebel for 100 hours. It taught me more about how to maintain her level of training.

“I got it when it was almost two years old. I have worked in dormitory management for 13 years and have experience inspecting and identifying bed bugs in the Calgary South area. I realized that there was a problem and a stigma.

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“When the news of an infestation comes out and a hotel is labeled as a bug location, it can seriously damage the brand’s reputation and bottom line.

According to Wood, it’s important for hotel owners to identify bed bug infestations early before they become a major problem.

“” They are highly efficient bugs because their food is always consistent. They can rest for up to a year and once there is activity they will wake up. Once you have them in your bed, you can easily transfer them to your couch as they will stick to your clothes. Rebel and I have gone to senior centers and hospitals where there have been serious problems, ”he said. “Rebel can pinpoint even the smallest bed bug infestation with amazing accuracy and precision.”

James explains how to train a dog with a job and how the two get to work.

“Bedbugs can occur anywhere, not just in hotel rooms. They are notorious hitchhikers and they are not picky about where they will end up as long as there is a source of food, they are parasites and only feed on blood. You can pick them up on the go, at hostels or five-star hotels.

“We hope to educate everyone who operates guest accommodation about the importance of regular inspections: hotel and motel owners, hotel staff, housekeeping staff, AirBnB owners, hostels, etc.”

Detecting a bed bug infestation can save hotel owners time and money because treating a small infestation is less costly and labor-intensive than treating a large one.

“By determining exactly where the nest is, we can help owners figure out which furniture to remove instead of throwing all the furniture away. Rebel is great at what she does, but it takes regular training and daily practice to maintain her skills.

“So far there has been a lot of interest in north and central Alberta. The biggest problem we are currently facing is covid-19 because hotels are empty and don’t want to invest. “

They are currently the only independent dog odor detection team certified by the World Detector Dog Organization (WDDO) in Alberta.