How to avoid fraudster and fakers
Unfortunately, there are some bad actors committing shenanigans in our market place, potentially harming our consumers, which in turn will harm the image of the canine scent detection industry. The purpose of this article is to hopefully inform the consumer how to verify the claims a dog team makes about their qualifications and their effectiveness so that the consumer will be able to weed out the bad actors and only use those who actually are qualified and effective.
For example, there is a dog team I know working in the San Diego area that I believe to be a complete fraud. I’ve seen them work, and I can tell you the dog is a good dog that could do a great job, but the dog isn’t handled correctly, so it isn’t searching for bugs, it is looking for cues from the handler, and being told where to alert. The handler is looking for visual evidence of bugs and telling the dog where to alert. Sometimes they get an alert in an area with bugs, other times they do not, but that’s not what you are paying for. You are paying for a dog to use his nose to tell the handler where the alert should be, not the handler using his eyes to tell the dog where the alert should be. In the scent detection business, as far as I’m concerned, that’s fraud. I would bet this team didn’t even complete their initial training program because I know the guy who trained them and he does not train handlers to do that. I know if they were handling their dog like that in his presence, he would have fixed it or refused to certify them. The way to prevent paying this team (or others like them) is to make sure they are certified by either NESDCA or WDDO. You can check the certifications simply by visiting their websites.
You will find my name and Maggie’s name listed on both of those websites as a certified dog team. Your dog team should be listed on at least one of them.
Another problem I’ve noticed in the industry is that people are claiming to be certified by an independent certifying organization when they are not. I was browsing the website of one of my competitors here in the bay area last night and noticed they claim to be certified by WDDO, but they are not listed on the WDDO website as a certified team. I know of another team making the same claims about being NESDCA certified. If these dog teams want to have the benefit of being able to tell their customers the are certified, why don’t they just get certified? Because in many cases they can’t. How can you complete a double blind certification test when you have to tell the dog where to alert? (A double blind test is where the handler doesn’t know where the bugs are, and no one in the room with the handler during the test knows where the bugs are, or even if there are any in that room or not). The reason we certify through a double blind test is so that you can know for sure my dog is capable of finding bugs without being cued by me. Everyone in this business should be certified through a double blind test. Unfortunately, very few are, and some who are not claim they are. It’s your responsibility as the consumer to verify their claims before you spend your money, and it’s easy to do…. It’s a simple matter of pulling up a webpage that I have provided you the link for.
The other shenanigan I’ve seen is people claiming to be doing training they are not doing. I was browsing the website of one of my competitors here in the bay area this morning when I saw they claim the do regular training with Falco K9 Academy, which seemed odd as I attend Falco’s scent detection training every month, and I have never ever seen them down there. Not even once. Any team you work with should be doing monthly scent detection training with a professional trainer that has sold dogs that are in the field working. If they claim they are doing that training, call the trainers office and ask. Go ahead and call Andy’s office (714-990-9010) in Orange County and ask him when was the last time I was down there for training, and how many times over the last year I was down there for training. Do the same for the team you are using (and whatever trainer they claim they are using every month) and see if you get a similar result.
I don’t want this article to give you the impression there isn’t anyone in the business doing right. I know a great company based out of Hemet, CA that only provides canine assisted inspections. I know the operator of a pest control company based in Santa Clarita that has great dogs and they do a great job finding bugs. I also know a dog handler who works for a major pest control company in Los Angeles that does a great job and she really cares about her customers. Each of those teams were trained by either David Lattimer of FSI K9 Academy, Andy Jimenez of Falco K9 Academy, or Pepe of Pepe Dogs, and they are all certified through either WDDO or NESDCA. The good ones are out there, but you have to know who you are working with before you spend your money on them.
If you need a bed bug inspection in the bay area, I am happy to help. Just email me the location and size of the property and I’ll respond with pricing and scheduling info. If you need an inspection outside the area, contact the three best trainers in the country (Falco K9 Academy, FSI K9 Academy, and PepeDogs) and ask each of them for 3 teams in your area they would recommend. If there is a team that shows up more than once, definitely consider them, after verifying they are certified by NESDCA or WDDO and they do monthly training with a pro, of course.