Pestforce is lucky to have Australia's most experienced Termite Detection Dog Unit. We have used termite detection dogs since 1994. We have been trusted with inspecting some of Australia's most valuable and historic buildings and made finds with the dog that have solved long term chronic termite problems.
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. They rely on their sense of smell to perceive the world in which they live to the same degree that humans use sight. Just as we may say "Guess who I saw today" a dog might remark "Guess who I smelt".
To harness this amazing ability we use classical conditioning. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian research scientist who was doing work on the digestive system in the early 1900's. When he noticed that dogs would salivate before they received food he carried out experiments with alternative stimuli before the presentation of food. He realized that the dog could be stimulated to salivate by the ringing of a bell and so invented what is known as classical conditioning.
We use the odor of termites instead of a bell to condition our dogs. The dog quickly learns to associate the odor of termites with food and is trained to sit to indicate when the target odor is detected.
Patch is our latest termite detection dog and his conditioning began at 8 weeks of age. In less than one week of conditioning he could be presented with six boxes one of which contained termites. Patch carefully sniffed each box before choosing one and sitting next to it. See Patches video.
By the time he was twelve weeks of age he could be released in a house with termites and would naturally gravitate towards the termites before sitting down and waiting for food.
The dog will use its natural hunting ability to find the odor that he associates with food. Pestforces dogs have been able to detect termites that no other non intrusive tool has been able to detect.
Our dogs have been independently validated by Mr. Steve Austin, Australia's leading search dog expert, to meet AQUIS requirements for the searching of boats for foreign termites. Steve Austin has been involved in our training program for a number of years and has made our termite detection dogs absolutely first class.