Why is Double Blind Testing for Scent Detection Important?

Bed Bug Detection Dog Certifications are a yearly test that a K9 and handler go through.

Scent detection dogs all have to go through some testing to make sure they can find what they have been trained to locate. Both Goosey and Ecko have passed the WDDO randomized, double-blind test three years in a row, as well as the NESDCA blind test. (National Entomological Scent Detection Canine Association) 

Both the WDDO and NESDCA organizations offer bed bug detection dog certification.

Passing a test shows that the K9 could detect bed bug odors under testing conditions that mimic real-life situations. The K9 teams must be tested by a third-party organization that has no interest in whether the teams pass or fail.

Anyone can go on the WDDO or NESDCA website and look up certified teams listed by state. To further your research in the subject learn more about what goes into bed bug dog training.

Double-blinded tests aim to ensure that results are not influenced by conscious or unconscious bias. Scent detection has been heading this way for the last 40 years, utilizing double-blind tests that meet the highest scientific standards.


In medicine, physics, marketing, and most scientific studies, double-blind testing is the scientific standard. A double-blind method of testing a scent detection dog reduces the likelihood of outside influence, either intentional or unintentional.

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. Using this high standard means no outside influences inadvertently giving cues to the dog or handler.

One organization that offers double-blind trials for many K9 scent detection disciplines is WDDO (World Detector Dog Organization). WDDO provides certification exams for the following K9 fields: Narcotics, Cadaver, Bed Bug, Explosive, Termite, Accelerant, and Mold.

National Odor Recognition Test

WDDO offers a national odor recognition test for bed bug detection dogs, accelerant detection dogs, and narcotic detection dogs. 

Before a team can take the WDDO randomized, double-blind test, they must first pass the odor recognition phase of the trial. A national odor recognition test consists of 8-10 pieces of PVC pipe mounted vertically on a 2×4, with a snuggly fitting cap with small holes drilled through the top.

working the scent tubes for the WDDO double blind test

A minimum of one pipe will contain a hide, and a maximum of two tubes may include 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 of the test for bed bug dogs consists of the room search phase.


For the randomized WDDO double-blind K9 bed bug scent detection test, the handler has four 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 can search neutrally without influences. 

This national double-blind test with an odor recognition component will prevent the handler or person who set up the test from making conscious or unconscious cues during the search.

So before you decide on hiring a K9 team, make sure they have some sort of 3rd party testing. If you live in the New York area and want to hire a bed bug scent detection team that has gone above and beyond, then hire a team that a double-blind certification like WDDO has tested. 

A bed bug detection dog certification is a yearly event. Certifying each year ensures that the bed bug detection dog is on point.

You can follow Goosey, Ecko, and Southy on Instagram and read about some of their daily investigations!