IBBRA Adds Top Gun Canine Professional to Their Team

test_02Part of the requirements of becoming an IBBRA member is having unshakable professional ethics measured by skill, achievement, and experience. We are proud to welcome Pat Currey and K9 Operations aboard as one of our team members.

Working as a canine handler is a well-trained sophisticated vocation that requires advanced handling and working skills; something that is certainly lacking and desperately needed within the bed bug scent detection dog industry. K9 Operations doesn’t search for bed bugs; they train dogs, teach handlers and “fix problems”.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Pat for quite a while and I asked Pat about the biggest problems he personally encounters with handlers training and he replied; “99% of the time it is the handler’s fault. The other 1% of the time…It’s the handler’s fault. Most issues handlers encounter are social in nature, thus needing to be taught how to communicate in a language the dog understands”.

I wrote in my bed bug scent detection book a couple of years ago – Changes need to be made as we embrace the fact that the industry is still evolving and learning from its early mistakes. With the recent 20/20 news program “scare” and the consumer doubting the efficacy of bed bug detection teams; 11 canine teams were deployed to search for bed bugs in a staged setting. Since I have a vested interest in the industry, I wrote the news station and asked they didn’t air the segment for the protection of those teams that were included. I believe that failure is only an opportunity to perfect their skills.

Nothing is ever done perfectly the first time someone tries it—not in sports, not in games, not in school, and most certainly not in dog training. The point isn’t to promote failure for failure’s sake. I don’t advocate for a moment that failure ought to be the objective of any endeavor. Instead, advocate learning. Leaders don’t look for someone to blame when mistakes are made. Instead, they ask “What can be learned from the experience?”

Pat and my conversations have included his observations, “In recent years there have been many positive changes for K9 Programs in general. However, the key elements in making the transformation of the working dog is to establish the difference from pet and a professional K9 athlete; which require a complete and systematic approach to training and working. The training is not only specific to the dogs, but more importantly, the success of the program lies in the training of the human counterpart (Handler and manager).  The handler MUST understand the requirements for getting the most out of their program and continually look for ways to make the teams more effective with quality training and productive working standards.  Any handler that lacks a complete understanding of what an affective K9 program looks like is destined to fail, no matter how great your intentions are.

Unfortunately, some see lack of production from the K9 Team, to mean lack for the need for continued training and education.  Many an agency/company have lost their financial investment because they have succumbed to what is the industry norm and fallen victim to the smoke and mirrors of the K9 Industry and not explored new ways to improve their team’s effectiveness.  The K9 Team can be MAJOR resource when it is properly trained and utilized.  Simply relying on a ‘follow the pack’ mentality of looking at the way neighboring agency/company training and utilization of their K9 Teams can quickly turn your investment into a loss”.

patPatrick Currey began his Military career in August of 1988 with the United States Army and went on as a Detection/Patrol Canine Handler and Military Police both stateside and overseas in 1989. After extensive training with the Department of Defense (DOD), as an Explosive/Patrol Detector Dog Handler, Pat was stationed in Nuremburg, Germany and then reassigned to Grafenwoehr to produce more qualified K9 Explosive teams. Pat job was ensuring all canine policies and procedures were met for training and certification of the assigned canine teams.

From 1996 through 2004, Pat took on the position of Canine Enforcement Officer for the United States Customs Service. During his time he advanced to Procurement Office and trained over 60 canines for narcotics detection.

With continued focused education he advanced further and performed duties as Field Training Officer for Explosive, Narcotics and Agriculture Detection K9 Teams and served with K9 in search warrants with ATF, DEA, Postal Investigators and local municipalities as well as working all Michigan Ports of Entry (resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics and money found in; vehicles, warehouses, mailrooms, luggage, aircraft, vessels, cargo, semi-trailers, and on people).

He worked with “Leader Dogs for the Blind”, as a Canine Instructor/Trainer. He trained 10 guide dogs during a three month period, teaching them to be able to assist a blind handler during their everyday needs.  After training the dogs he went on to teach the students how to work with the trained K9 in a variety of environments.

Pats history and biography list is to lengthy to mention all in this article but I must say there has not been one single stone that he hasn’t turned. His reputation precedes him and he’s known as a “Top Gun” in his industry.

My interest in Pat came from having written the first Bed Bug Detection Dog book and knowing the never ending problems and challenges in the pest control industry. After my first conversation with Pat he knew my training/handlers background and I his and we shared our collective concerns for the pest control industry.

It’s rare that one can find someone with the same passion and Pat certainly has passion for what he does. I shared my mission of providing top notch professional training to help those in the industry that were failing after being let loose in the industry as a “professional team” after having only a three or four day handlers course and a seminar here and there. Pat couldn’t agree more and we’ve decided to team up and put our best foot forward to help people in the industry perfect their skills.

Pat has written a detailed handlers training book which will with no doubt cover every aspect of handler training and should become a part of any handler’s library. The book takes you into a journey inside the dogs mind and help handlers best understand the important role they have in knowing and trusting their dog.

How to expect the best, reward or correct, how to be the leader, the working dog, checks and balances, principals of dog training, science of training and learning, working dog handling skills, unconditional and conditional responses, the dogs mind, bad behavior vs. good behavior, correction and reward, how dogs communicate, body language, tone, touch, the effects of genetics and breeding, science and the brain, age comparison, the senses, smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste, six sense, hormones, the behavior effects of estrogen and testosterone, the pack mentality, the pack, hierarchy, punishment vs. praise, kennel sanitation and the safety of the dog, kennel environment, vehicle, cleaning and sanitation, fecal matter/urine, boarding kennels, interaction with other dogs, veterinary care and vaccinations,  proper care of canine health, feeding, kennel maintenance, basic first-aid, and much more.

Expect the book to be out by the end of June 2014. It will be available through Amazon, Kindle and of course through the IBBRA. www.ibbra.org

I believe that any Bed Bug Detection Dog Handler whether new in the field or somewhat experienced, could certainly benefit from reading his book and should be made mandatory reading before one should make the decision to become a professional handler.

Aside from his daily passion working with training handlers, Pat owns Currey’s Family Pet Care Inc. The focus of his company is to help repair dog owner relationships, ranging from new dog owners with uncontrollable dogs to aggression issues.  Since opening their doors, they have worked with thousands of clients with small to large breeds; working to give them the skills to take control of their dogs.

They even host fundraiser events, donating their time and expertise to help “make a difference” to include local animal shelters. Pat also mentors aspiring dog trainers to help them achieve their goals of becoming dog certified trainers and preparing them for certification.

Aside from the addition of a wonderful book for our members and teams, we are also working on evaluating and building an entire K9 program from initial training, daily and weekly training, reliability of the K9 Teams in the areas trained to work in, record keeping, Standard Operating Procedures/Policies and solutions that they could implement to become more effective.

Reach out to Pat at K9 Operations and welcome him aboard and know he is there to help you with any issues or questions you may have. IBBRA members get discounts on his canines and training/handler services. www.k9operations.com

IBBRA Welcomes BED BUG FREE NOW

logoI’d like to introduce Jim and Sharon Snow and welcome aboard Bed Bug Free Now to the IBBRA team!

Sharon’s husband Jim was a Senior Executive with a major upscale hotel chain in Texas several years ago when he experienced their first bed bug infestations in his hotels.

They had heard about bed bug detection by dogs which was quite commonplace on the Northeast coast, but since bed bug infestations were just starting in Texas they were not locally available. After months of doing their homework that included extensive research on the talents of these dogs and schooling to learn about the nature of bugs, they automatically knew it would be a wise investment. They purchased two dogs from a company that has been at the forefront of scent detection for over 30 years; Global Training Academy (GTA).

Well known for their agile and compact bodies, intelligence, superb olfactory abilities and stamina, their breed of choice was purebred English Springer Spaniels. Tapper and Alfie went through rigorous training for a full three months to learn the scent of bed bugs, search pattern, and included real-world training to locate live bed bugs and eggs before being teamed with their handler. Sharon and her new “team” then trained together for an additional three weeks in real world situations before being considered a professional team.

When asking Sharon about her learning process she explained, “Just because the dogs and I went through all this training didn’t mean we could immediately go out and work. We had to get to know each other. It’s the most important part of the process; developing our understanding of each other, building trust in each other and bonding.”

After months of getting to know her dogs, and focused daily training; In October, 2010, Sharon dedicated and donated her time in real life situations and began a two year apprenticeship under an existing Texas pest control company.

In 2012, Sharon obtained her Certified Applicators License and Business License from the Texas Department of Agriculture, and (delete word and) Structural Pest Control Service. Bedbug Free Now was the first certified dog agency in the Dallas Metro area licensed by the TDA Structural Pest Control Service and are still the only company that utilizes two scent detection dogs for double blind verification.

Tapper and Alfie are third-party certified yearly. This year they became the first teams in Texas to earn World Detector Dog Organization certification.  The teams have completed thousands of inspections in apartments, homes, senior living centers, commercial buildings, camps, and vehicles. Here’s the team in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zae7trsgpy#t=12

Advanced Detection Options

There’s intriguing daily evidence that targeting areas where bed bugs hide could become the dominant means to improve the control of bed bugs within the hospitality industry.

Over the past few years, there has been a real shift in bed bug management from “reactive remediation” of an infestation to “proactive detection”. As bed bugs continue to proliferate there’s no question that bed bugs can have a serious negative impact for a business. But the fact remains that proactive detection can help find bed bug infestations in their early stages and help to protect an establishment from possible lawsuits. As a business, you can control bed bugs today but unfortunately they may be brought in on luggage, shoes or clothing of someone tomorrow.

The options for bed bug detection are visual inspection, canine inspection and DNA testing. If a business suspects it has a bed bug problem, a visual inspection from a trained, licensed pest control company is usually the first critical step. But in an early introduction of bed bugs it may be impossible to visually find a lone bed bug or two and that is when the addition of using canine inspections or DNA testing plays a significant role- two more tools to put into your toolbox.

It’s In Their DNA

One of the most exciting advances in bed bug detection and another great tool that Bedbug Free Now offers is bed bug DNA testing. It is now possible to determine whether bed bugs have been in a room by swabbing areas of the room for their DNA. The DNA test is 99.7 percent effective in detecting whether bed bugs have ever been in a room. However, it will not indicate if the test results are for live or dead bed bugs, only that bed bugs at one time were in the room.  This is one more tool available to help businesses stay proactive with bed bugs.

Sniffing Out the Problem

Canine inspection may not be ideal for every establishment. Some businesses have restrictions that do not allow canines into their facilities. Another consideration is that canines only sniff areas along the floor and up to four feet high. That’s why it’s important to pair canine inspection with a well-trained handler and think of it as a team approach to bed bug detection. When a dog alerts to bed bugs is when the professional handler starts to focus their energies on finding bed bug signs in the alerted area so they can then recommend a treatment strategy.

Trust

We stand behind our company and our service and will work tirelessly to ensure your satisfaction. We will earn your trust and friendship for years to come.

1. Licensed by the State of Texas, Structural Pest Control Business- TPCL# 0621499

2. Hub certified (historically under-utilized business)

3. Member of the Texas Pest Control Association and National Pest Control Association

5. Founding Member of the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA)

For more information about Bedbug Free Now and their amazing team visit www.bedbugfreenow.com or call 469-693-0813

The Ten Bed Bug Commandments

Picture1A short conversation this morning with one of our members gave me an instant visual of a couch tossed on a curb side; which soon was perilously perched on top of a vehicles hood being carried off to an unsuspecting home. Although it is a story I have heard many times, I cringed at the thought.

Let’s face it, new furniture is expensive and some people can’t afford to purchase new. So its Craig’s List, Goodwill, Salvation Army or a secondhand store. Scrimmaging through in search of a “deal” yields a multitude of choices and then….

You happen to be driving down the street and see this “perfectly good” couch just lying on the side of the road. Aside from maybe a cat shredded corner, a small rip or discoloration which you can look past, it’s in perfectly better condition than the one you don’t have.

Now days anyone can just shop on the street as people dump their extra belongings on the curb before or after the moving van arrives. A quick thought goes through your mind; they must have moved and didn’t want it any longer. So up it goes on top of your car or in the back of your truck to be carried back home.

If only this story were fictional… unfortunately today’s blatant truth includes accelerating climate changes, GMO foods, pesticide poisoning, drug resistant disease, ice caps melting and now… bed bugs spreading at record speed throughout the world. So many of these things can and do have serious repercussions in our very existence. But what most people don’t know is that bed bugs are affecting more and more innocent people’s lives and most often they think of getting rid of the infested furniture will solve the problem.

One problem though – they don’t take into consideration that the couch or mattress they just put outside is being picked up by an unsuspected person who soon will fall victim to bed bugs themselves.

I encourage people to do their best when it comes to bed bugs. Look out for others when disposing infested items, inspect all items brought into your home or business, learn as much as you can about the nature of bed bugs and most certainly, do regular inspections so that you can acknowledge any sign of bed bugs in their earliest stages.

The Ten Bed Bug Commandments

1. Bed bugs are everywhere!

2. Thou shall bring no stray furniture found on streets home with you.

3. Thou shall not “Dumpster Dive” or purchase from secondhand stores without complete inspection for bed bugs

4. Remember the tenth commandment – if that doesn’t work revert to #1.

5. Thou shall not use products for other pests or hardware store quick fix products

6. Thou shall change sheets often, de-clutter, vacuum often and be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs at all times.

7. Thou shall not commit fraud pertaining to bed bugs. (i.e. extort from hotels or unsuspecting others)

8. Thou shall not blame others or point fingers and get professional help as soon as possible

9. Thou shall be considerate, pack properly before you travel so you don’t pick up or spread bed bugs and unpack properly when returning from a trip

10. Thou shall seek out educational guidance and teach others the importance of bed bug awareness

Remember a Day of Rest – So there you have it. Now go, live wisely, and may the bed bug gods look kindly down upon you.

Talk to the IBBRA Members and discuss their proactive bed bug prevention protocols for landlords, property managers and the hospitality industry. It just may save you from a bed bug nightmare.

We’re here to help! www.ibbra.org

“Bed Safe Bed Bug Protection Plan” A Bed Bug Solution that works!

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When speaking with Kent Marsh, from Aces Pest Solutions out of Missouri, you will hear him say “there is no such thing as a bed bug free hotel any more than pigs can fly. I am all about finding solutions!”

I don’t think we will ever see a completely bed bug free hotel that remains that way for very long because they are on the feet or luggage of the next person that walks through the door. And it doesn’t always have to be the guest; many employees bring them back and forth to work and delivery or maintenance personal as well.

There is no doubt that it is a necessity for all hoteliers to be proactive and have an action plan that acts accordingly to protect the interest of the hotel and especially their guests. Unfortunately, most hotels don’t know how to do this and succumb to standard control methods often used in the pest industry for other types of pests.

It would be unrealistic to think that bed bugs could never make it past the front door of any establishment ever again and that is not what this is all about. But after Kent spends time with each of his clients he realizes the what, where and whys about the problem they are personally experiencing. He then customizes a program that best fits the needs of that particular client.

“Every situation is different”, Kent says. “Many things can influence the design of a program that can include the age of the building, furniture designs, finished carpentry, structure, willingness and training of all staff and much more”.

Demographically speaking some hotels have a larger turn over than others that mean more possibilities for bed bugs. Then one must take into consideration the dollar value and location of the rooms rented out and the type of residents. Some hotels are extended stay hotels which require a different program than others.

In other words there is no “cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” program that works for everyone.

More people are searching a hotels reputation on the internet and it is important not to be listed as a bed bug hotel and this program keeps guests satisfied and not being talked about in a bad way.

What’s sad is it isn’t just the hotel industry that is suffering; Kent has worked with student housing, individual landlords, low housing HUD groups and property management groups as well. He helps them design a program that stays ahead of and on top of the bed bug situations by developed policies and procedures for all involved not just management.

Kent says, “You have to fly like an eagle”, anticipate issues, and ask a lot of “what if’s” and find solutions for them before they are faced with problems. This takes some critical thinking on everyone’s part. With bed bug law suits on the rise, people need to have a risk management plan to falling subject to the possibility. We assess problems using a Strategic Defense Strategy developed by the IBBRA. We anticipate the worst case scenario and generate a way of blocking a potential problem by creating a simple and easily adapted solution. His clients are much more confident and assured and no longer have to panic and stress about what’s going to happen next.

Just recently, Kent initiated a program for a HUD housing project that had been dealing with a reoccurring problem for some time. They couldn’t get a head of the problem despite expensive and repeated control attempts and they just kept on reproducing and spreading.

With help from the IBBRA they now have a comprehensive bed bug protection program in place where both management and residents are completely surrounded with awareness of the potential problem and have taken the proper steps for early detection and immediate elimination.

People sleep a whole lot better knowing that the Bed Safe™ Bed Bug Protection Program is in place and find an ease in being proactive instead of being reactive.

To learn more about ACES Bed Safe™ Bed Bug Protection Program and get started call 573-694-9858 www.acespestsolutions.com