Border Collie Meg and Springer Spaniel Jess are assisting Rentokil Property Care - thanks to their ability to sniff out dry rot. These talented canines could prove to be "furry" good news for property owners. With their handler, Mark Doggett, Meg and Jess make up Enviro-Dogs, who have now been signed by Rentokil Property Care in an agreement which will see them assist with building surveys across the UK. The dogs have been specially trained to detect the early signs of dry rot which may not be visible to the human eye or are located in inaccessible areas of a property.
Dry rot fungus attacks wood in relatively dry conditions, which if left untreated can seriously threaten the structural integrity of a building. Whilst a professional survey by a Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment (CSRT) can spot the signs of dry rot, the problem can reach a critical stage before it becomes obvious. By relying on their noses, Meg and Jess are able to sniff out the fungus in its early stages, meaning it can be treated and eradicated, hopefully before it becomes a serious problem.
Both dogs have gone through 12-months of training to prepare for the daily rigours of the job. By using training aids scented with the smell of dry rot, Mark Doggett has taught both dogs to search for the scent in buildings, using their high play drives and regular rewards to hone their fungus seeking skills.
Berwyn Evans, UK Product Manager, Rentokil Property Care, comments: “They may be cuddly, but the contribution these canines will make to our team should not be downplayed. Dry rot can be incredibly destructive, particularly for historical buildings. Early detection means that they can be treated before they suffer irreparable damage.”
Mark Doggett, founder of Enviro-Dogs and the proud owner and handler of Meg and Jess, believes there are certain attributes that make the pair right for the role. “Breed is not too important when looking for dogs which can do this job. What you’re looking for is a dog with a high play drive, that’s energetic, obedient and has an excellent sense of smell.”