working dogs sniff out pests


The number of jobs for canines is growing. Due to their keen sense of smell, dogs are continually enlisted in sniffing out all manner of things these days. This is in addition to their enrollment in programs for physical and emotional health support. Regardless of their role, their services are invaluable.

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Today, the New York Times reported that a Boston area museum is turning to dogs for help in ferreting out destructive pests that can harm works of art, a problem that can destroy millions of dollars worth of exhibits in a relatively short period of time. The pilot program is enlisting the aid of a 12-week-old Weimaraner named Riley.

Pest Infestations

Trained specifically to detect moths and other pests, Riley will be given a shot at the job. “It’s really a trial, pilot project. We don’t know if he’s going to be good at it,” said Katie Getchell, deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, “but it seems like a great idea to try.” This is just another tactic to add to their arsenal of pest prevention.

Dog Training

Museum employee Nicki Luongo got Riley as a pet. Having experience in training police dogs, the museum wondered if she could train the dog to detect pests that enjoy dining on textiles and wood. The idea isn't unheard of, as a farm in Ontario was recently successful in employing a dog named Chili to sniff out pepper weevils.


Training dogs to sniff out pests
Training dogs to sniff out pests

Unwanted Guests

With more than a million visitors a year to the museum, insects like moths and other creepy crawlies could potentially be unknowingly carried in on visitors' clothing. This is in addition to other unforeseen venues for admittance. Harmful chemicals are not always workable answers to the problem, especially around delicate art.

Success Stories in Pest Control

The Times turned to Pepe Peruyero, owner of a dog-training facility known as Pepedogs, for some insight. According to Peruyero, “Every insect we’ve been able to work with, we’ve been able to train dogs to accurately and consistently detect them.” This is extremely encouraging news for a number of businesses and fields where detecting through scent could apply.

Sharing the Wealth

If the program is successful, the museum intends on sharing their experiences and the data they collect with other groups in need of textile protection in an effort to stave off unnecessary and costly damage. To date, the response to Riley's presence has been positive. So, the next time you're at a museum and you see a dog wandering around, remember they might just be on the job.