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“Terminix Ted” – Our Bed Bug Expert
Terminix Ted is a 6 year old Labrador who is specially trained in bed bug detection and is employed along with his handler Glen.
Ted loves his work and travels around the UK visiting offices, hostels, hotels, care homes and student accommodation to name just a few of the places he regularly visits.
Canine Detection Dogs
One of the most frequent questions asked is: “How does a dog sniff them out?”
To answer the question you first need to understand: “What do dogs have that we don’t have”?
For one thing, they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. The part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analysing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a humans and function quite differently as well. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airways within our nose. When dogs inhale, a fold of tissue just inside their nostril helps to separate these two functions.
In humans, the sense of smell is relegated to a small region on the roof of our nasal cavity, along the main airflow path. So, the air we smell just goes in and out with the air we breathe.
In dogs, about 10 percent of the inspired air, detours into a recessed area in the back of the nose that is dedicated to olfaction, while the rest of the incoming air sweeps past that nook and disappears down through the pharynx to the lungs. Within the recessed area, the odour-laden air filters through a labyrinth of scroll-like bony structures called turbinates. Olfactory receptors within the tissue that lines the turbinates, in turn, recognize these odour molecules by their shape and dispatch electrical signals to the brain for analysis.
When we exhale through our nose, we send the spent air out the way it came in, forcing out any incoming odours. When dogs exhale, the spent air exits through the slits in the sides of their noses. The way the exhaled air swirls out actually helps usher new odours into the dog’s nose. More importantly, it allows dogs to sniff more or less continuously. In a study done at the University of Oslo in Norway, a hunting dog holding its head high into the wind while in search of game sniffed in a continuous stream of air for up to 40 seconds, spanning at least 30 respiratory.
As you know humans cannot wiggle their nostrils independently, but dogs can. This, along with the fact that the so-called aerodynamic reach of each of their nostrils is smaller than the distance between the nostrils, helps them to determine which nostril an odour arrived in. This aids them in locating the source of smells—we’ve all seen dogs on an interesting scent weave back and forth across its invisible trail.
On top of all this, dogs have a second olfactory capability which humans don’t have, made possible by an organ we don’t possess: the vomeronasal organ, also known as Jacobson’s organ. Located in the bottom of a dog’s nasal passage, Jacobson’s organ picks up pheromones, the chemicals unique to each animal species that advertise mating readiness and other sex-related details.
The pheromone molecules that the organ detects—and their analysis by the brain—do not get mixed up with odour molecules or their analysis, because the organ has its own nerves leading to a part of the brain devoted entirely to interpreting its signals. It’s as if Jacobson’s organ has its own dedicated computer server and when all of this is put together, which is why dogs can detect scent better than any human!
Labradors originate from Newfoundland. The common misconception is that they are from Labrador in Canada. They were at first known as a St. Johns dog or lesser Newfoundland dog in the 1500’s and the breed found it’s way to the UK around 1800 AD.
Labradors were originally bred for activities in water. They have double coats and their coat nearer the skin is waterproof. The two coats provide insulation from the cold and their short fur ensures they don’t become heavy with water that can drag them under. Labradors also have webbed feet making them terrific swimmers. In times gone by, fisherman used to use them to bring in nets, pull ropes and capture escaping fish.
They can run! Labradors can hit a sprinting speed of 25 miles an hour in an incredible 3 seconds. Their real prowess though is their stamina. A fit and healthy Lab can easily achieve runs of ten miles or more. This stamina is also one of the reasons that Labs make fantastic sniffer dogs as twenty minutes sniffing is equivalent to an hour of exercise.
Labradors are the worlds most popular choice for a working dog. Labradors are naturally extremely intelligent, hard working and eager to please with a fantastic temperament. These qualities make them a fantastic choice for every situation a working dog may face whether its therapy work, detection, hunting or assistance.
Not only are Labradors a fantastic choice for a working dog role, they’re also America’s and the United Kingdom’s number one choice for a family pet. According to the American Kennel club, Labradors have held the title in America for an incredible 28 years in a row!