Hello, and welcome to the latest Rotter blog.
I have been reading a lot lately about the use of dogs in locating dry rot. These savvy sniffer dogs have been specifically trained to detect the scent of dry rot before we humans can, thereby identifying affected areas before damage can become too severe.
So, are Labradors the future of dry rot identification, or is the whole idea barking?
Sniffing out dry rot
Anyone who has been in a property that suffers from dry rot knows that the condition brings with it a distinctive musty, “mushroomy” odour. That said, by the time most people can detect the smell of dry rot, it is already well into its life cycle, producing masses of mycelium and fungal fruiting bodies. When dry rot has reached this stage, it is likely to have caused considerable damage to any affected timbers. So, if dogs can detect it early, a dry rot problem could potentially be a lot easier to remedy.
Teaching old dogs new dry rot tricks
As far as I am aware, the use of dogs in detecting dry rot is not massively widespread, infact there only appear to be two commercially employed “rothounds” in the UK. One of these dogs is the cute, Labrador Sam pictured above.
Peter Monaghan, Sams handler, says that training Sam took around two years, using similar techniques to those used by police dog handlers. “You build up a dogs hunting ability by making it look for a toy. Then you introduce the scent of dry rot to the toy, then you take away the toy and work with actual dry rot in an affected area.”
Peters training certainly seems to have paid off, as one of Sams most grateful customers is the National Trust, who regularly have to pin-point dry rot in old buildings.
Are sniffer dogs the future of dry rot treatment?
For what we do at Wise, dogs are probably not a viable option at the moment, as lovely as it would be to have a few pooches about the place.
That said, I will be watching the development of dry rot sniffer dogs with a keen eye, and who knows, maybe in the future we could add a Fido or a Rex to our award winning dry rot treatment services.
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