Posted on April 8, 2016
It’s only been 20-30 years since “Mold” received any credibility as a possible health risk when it was found in a home. So many people suffered with toxic levels of molds in their bodies, and there were very few doctors who acknowledged such a condition, and if they did, they were limited in diagnostic technology to confirm, and treatments that could remove the mold from the patient. The patient was at a loss to find someone to determine if, or how much mold was present in the home, and where it was located. At this point they could not tolerate being in their home for any length of time, without getting sicker. Finally a new career field of Environmental Hygienist born, and these specialist were the only ones who knew where to look, and how to determine if there was mold in a structure. This was both good, and bad because there weren’t enough of these specialist to address all of the potential mold exposed buildings. As good as this route was to follow, there were always some speculation verses hard data because humans, and their diagnostic equipment have limitations.
So fast forward till about 5 years ago, when after more than two years of study, a panel of experts concluded that dogs could, in fact, be trained to sniff out specific microbial volatile organic compounds associated with over 18 specific species of the most common “toxic” molds. Later, armed with the support of the experts, they began training the first dogs with a few mold odors. Once it was clear that dogs could find the hidden mold in various building structures, they began to fine-tune the dogs’ detection abilities by adding additional odors.
Mold-detecting dogs are trained to discriminate scents of various types of microbial colonies in a variety of structures, including attics and crawl spaces. The method of indication is a passive sit. If the dog finds mold, the dog will alert the handler to the location. The mold dogs receive 800 to 1000 hours of training, and are proficient in their duties before the handler arrives at the Academy. The mold dog and handler are then paired and trained together for a minimum of 40 hours. Quarterly testing and annual re-certification are required. At the end of the course, the Certified Master Trainer verifies that each canine team is capable of discriminating scents of the mold and issues certification.
B.I.T. (basic instinct training) is a proprietary method of dog training that employs the dog’s natural instincts and drives, channeling the dog’s genetic programming to hunt, track and stalk prey. Every detector dog trained whether it’s for insect pests, explosives, arson, tracking, narcotics or mold detection with this exclusive and revolutionary method of dog training. B.I.T. was developed through years of experimentation, observation and experience and through consultation with canine behavioral experts. B.I.T. is based on positive reinforcement and operant conditioning in an extraordinary mix. Because of its emphasis on positive reinforcement B.I.T. produces top quality work dogs that are happy, highly motivated, excited and enthusiastic.
So there you have it, once again Canines win, technology comes up short. If any of you are contemplating a career field change, and you love hanging out with your dog, then check out “mold sniffing dogs”.