Bed Bug Dog Handler as a Career Can be a Unique and Fun

Bed Bug Dog Handler as a Career

If you want to work with your dog every day, then think about a career in scent detection. There are so many opportunities for working with a scent detection dog; some options are volunteer and others, like a bed bug dog handler as a career, are paid.

Bed Bug Dog Handler as a Career Can be a Unique and Fun
Image: Diana Ludwiczak, Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs

Almost every state and every major city has many bed bug dogs working around the clock to rid the city of these blood-sucking night creatures. In New York City I have my own bed bug sniffing dog named Goosey and one retired bug sniffing dog named Sherlock.

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. To give you some reference, a human’s olfactory bulb is about 0.01% of their brain. A dog’s olfactory bulb is 2%. That is a big difference! Dogs surpass humans when it comes to smell by a long shot. A dog has a much more significant amount of olfactory epithelium, olfactory receptor axons, and olfactory cilia. Which means that they can smell the smallest molecules, especially ones that we humans cannot.

So it’s no wonder that dogs can be trained to sniff out bed bugs, cancer, bombs, drugs, cell phones, termites, allergens, human remains, and so much more.

How much training does a dog need to sniff out bed bugs?

Dogs will require four to twelve months of intensive training to be able to work and become certified by W.D.D.O (World Detector Dog Organization), NESDCA (National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association), or IBBMA (Integrated Bed Bug Management Association).

Can any dog be trained to sniff out bed bugs?

Most dogs can be trained to sniff out bed bugs. A dog with a shorter nose like a pug, or bulldog, would not be as effective. The best sniffing dogs are dogs with high energy and a motivation to work.

What does the dog do when it finds the bed bugs?

A dog will be trained a final alert, which can be a sit, bark, scratch, lying down, or just pointing their nose at the bugs. The final response is really so the handler can understand that the dog has found bed bugs.

Can I buy a trained bed bug dog?

There are many scent detection training facilities all over the world that sell bed bug dogs. The price for a trained bed bug dog can range anywhere from $5k-24k.

5 Degrees for Animal Lovers: Animal Careers

Conclusion – Bug Dog Handler as a Career

To work with a bed bug dog, you have to go into places that are infested with bedbugs, which is why this career path might not be for everyone. The good news is that bed bugs cannot jump or fly. They mostly stay hidden in cracks and crevices. I have never gotten bed bugs, and I have been going into places that have them for years. Being very careful with your clothing after you come home is of the utmost importance, and this means putting all of your clothing into a high heat dryer every day that you work with the dog who is trained to sniff out bed bugs.

This career requires a lot of your time because the dog must be trained every day as well as be cared for, so this career is not one you can do in your spare time.

Working with a bed bug dog or any scent detection dog will allow you to explore a wide range of career opportunities. These can include being a K9 handler for a pest control company, being a K9 handler for an independent K9 inspection company, training scent detection dogs for others to buy from you, and becoming your own boss by opening your own K9 inspection company!

“Bed Bug Dog Handler as a Career Can be a Unique and Fun”

Guest Author Bio: Diana Ludwiczak is, among other things, a certified dog trainer, CCPDT, and the handler of her dog, Goosey. Together, Diana and Goosey are a certified bed bug team through the non-profit organization W.D.D.O., as well as NESDCA. 

During the last 15 years, Diana has been able to train many dogs and volunteer at animal shelters. She became an NYC certified wildlife rehabber and has acquired many certifications for training scent detection dogs.

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