Scent detection dogs all have to go through some sort of testing to make sure they are able to find what they have been trained to locate. Goosey has passed the WDDO randomized double-blind test 2 years in a row as well as the NESDCA blind test. (National Entomological Scent Detection Canine Association) Passing these exams lets the public know that under testing conditions that simulate real life she was able to find and alert to the presence of bed bug odor. It is important that the K9 teams are tested by 3rd party organizations who have no vested interest in whether you pass or fail.
Anyone can go on the WDDO or NESDCA website and look up certified teams listed by state.
A double-blind test is designed to eliminate conscious or unconscious biased results. Double-blind tests are held up to the highest scientific standards and it is where the scent detection industry has been heading for the last 40 years. This scientific standard of double-blind testing is used in medicine, physics, marketing, and the majority of scientific studies. Testing a scent detection dog using a double-blind method lessens the likelihood of outside influence either intentional or inadvertent, from observers.
Lawrence J. Myers, MS, DVM, Ph.D. has done extensive research in canine olfactory physiology; particularly with improving the detector dog. He has testified as an expert witness in many cases involving detector dog-handler teams. He says “Randomized double-blind testing brings the highest scientific standards to the certification of scent detection canine teams. Anything less would raise questions on ability and accuracy”
The person who sets up the test leaves the area and a proctor or video camera system is present, while the dog and handler complete the test. This means that there are no outside influences inadvertently giving cues to the dog or handler. One organization who offers double-blind tests for many K9 scent detection areas is WDDO (World Detector Dog Organization). WDDO offers certification exams for the following K9 disciplines: Narcotics, Cadaver, Bed Bug, Explosive, Termite, Accelerant, and Mold.
Before a team can take the WDDO randomized double-blind test they must first pass the odor recognition phase of the test. This consists of 8-10 pieces of PVC pipe mounted vertically on a 2x4, with a snuggly fitting cap with holes drilled through.
A minimum of one pipe will contain a hide, and a maximum of two pipes may contain a hide. The dog must alert to the correct PVC pipes with the odor and not have any misses or false alerts to move onto the next phase of the test. The next phase for bed bug dogs is the room search phase.
DOUBLE-BLIND TESTING HELPS INSURE EVERYONE THAT THE K9 TEAMS ARE ON POINT!
For the randomized WDDO double-blind K9 bed bug scent detection test the handler has 4 rooms to go through and there can be between 1-3 hides (bed bug vials) in each of the rooms. The dog must alert to all of the hides, with no misses to pass the test. “Double-blind” means that neither the handler nor anyone else nearby knows the solution to the scent detection test. Nobody on the scene knows how many hides there are or where hides are located.
The tests are randomized because this is the best way to mimic real-world situations and eliminate the possibility of guessing a pattern. Ahead of time, the person setting up the test will spends time rolling dice to determine in which areas to hide the target odors. By rolling dice, you will avoid following any kind of pattern which handlers might try to guess, the way a student might try to guess the patterns of answers in a multiple-choice exam.
Many police dog handlers, arson dogs, human remains detection dogs, and cancer detection dogs have to go through the same double-blind tests. They can test through WDDO or other national organizations like PNW Police Detection Dog Organization. These double-blind tests force K9 teams to prove that they are able to search in a neutral manner without influences. This test will prevent the handler or person who set up the test from making conscious or unconscious cues during the search.
So before you make a decision on hiring a K9 team make sure they have some sort of 3rd party testing. If you want to hire a bed bug scent detection team that has gone above and beyond, then hire a team that has been tested by a double-blind certification like WDDO.
You can follow Goosey on Instagram and read about some of her daily investigations!