Termite Inspection dogs have been used extensively in the Eastern States since the early 1990’s, and now WA has its first termite inspection dog and its right here in Geraldton. Molly is a cocker spaniel and has been in training since she was 4 weeks old. Arriving in Geraldton from Sydney in September 2017 at 13 weeks old Molly and her handler Garry have completed many hours of training.
Molly’s training consists of a purpose-built training wall which is undertaken twice a day. The training wall is built with 8 detection holes and an automated ball drop system. The Dogwall training system was developed to create autonomous detection dogs that work without direction or clues from the handler.
The handler places 8 different odours in to plastic containers, odours range from dog food, dead birds, bones, cat faeces and various other odours with 1 container containing live termites or termite mudding. The handler stands away from the wall and Molly is let in to the enclosure and sniffs along the outside of the wall. Once Molly has detected the Termite scent and takes up a sphynx position she is reward with a tennis ball which automatically drops from the source of the odour, once the handler has pushed the button on his iPad. Another one of Molly’s training exercises is what her handler likes to call Termite Soccer, once again scents are placed in the containers and Molly runs smelling the containers until she identifies the termites, then her handler throws the ball for her reward.
Molly is now 11 months old has successfully located termites at some of our client’s properties already. She is conditioned to termite odour and finding them is the only thing she wants to do.
With a termite detection dog working alongside a technician you have the best tool there is, when conducting any type of termite inspection. Termites can cause a massive amount of damage in some instances before they are visually detected. With her training Molly can detect termites through walls under floor boards and can pin point the exact location of the entry point. No other termite detection tool can do what Molly can do.
Termite inspections should be done on at least a yearly basis no matter how old or new your house is. Inspections are only one part of keeping your house safe from termite destruction, your chemical barrier should be up to date. Chemical barriers break down after a certain period, usually between 5 and 10 years depending on the termiticide used. In fact if the soil is disturbed by animals or breached by the roots of plants or bridged with untreated material a day after treatment, termites can infest the property causing catastrophic damage. The more often you have an inspection the less damage termites will cause in between.