Breed: Belgian Malinois
Favorite off-work activity: Running the yard with a jolly ball
Weirdest/ cutest thing my dog does: Teeth chattering when excited or anticipating
How did you and Abby get into this specific job and why?
Abby was previously with another handler but had serious behavioral issues. I took her on to help her learn impulse control and be more confident. We did very little detection the first six months and focused primarily on her learning boundaries and behavior modification.
How did you train Abby to detect bed bugs?
Abby learned detection on actual bedbugs.
Describe the search process. What do you do when she finds the bugs?
Abby will detail search an area and if she detects the bug or the eggs she will do a passive final response. She will sit and stare at the area. I will reward her and then look further to determine the actual location.
Are bed bug detection dogs becoming more common?
Yes. Bedbugs don’t discriminate and are found everywhere the public accesses.
How are bed bugs exterminated?
The best way to take care of bedbugs is by consulting with a quality pest control company with solid knowledge and experience with bedbugs.
Where is the most surprising place to find bed bugs other than beds?
Movie theatre seats.
What is Abby’s favorite part of her job?
What type of reactions do you get when you tell people that Abby searches for bed bugs?
In general people are more curious how she trains and are in general curious.
Has she ever randomly tracked some down when you weren’t on the job?
Abby has saved me in travel by locating bugs in a hotel room on a desk chair. We switched rooms after letting them know the issue in our first room.
What type of places do you inspect?
We do mostly public spaces such as hotels, churches, etc.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever inspected?
Do you work with or train other pups at this scent?
Yes. I do various other odor detection as well.
Any scary/funny/weird moments that stands out while you and Abby were working?
Abby often goes along for the ride when I train my search dogs so she gets to also search spaces that are “disaster scenes” and interesting scent problems. We do a lot of distracting odor proofing so these environments provide interesting scent pictures. Abby is a smart dog who is learning to be less hectic. She has come a long way and we certified together for the first time in 2019. She is amazing when she is working and the pure joy of getting her reward is why she lives. I am blessed to get to learn from her and our partnership grows every day.
Abby loves her impact crate. Thanks for making crates my Malinois and other dogs can be safe and secure in.
Thank you, Athena Haus, for taking the time to share Abby's story with us!