Thursday 8 December 2016

Spaniel Archie taught mouse-hunting

Published 25/02/2011 | 17:41

Mouse detection dog Archie with handler Alan Johnson
Mouse detection dog Archie with handler Alan Johnson

In the war between dogs and cats, a Welsh company has given canines the upper hand in a field where felines have traditionally ruled the roost - mouse control.

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Traditionally, cats have been the ones to track down the rodents but Holywell-based firm Wagtail is now hoping to change the status quo.

It has just trained what it says is Britain's first mouse detection dog - Archie, a three-year-old springer spaniel.

Louise Wilson, head of training for Wagtail, said it took more than 12 months for Archie to complete his specialist training.

She said: "Mice are not that hard to find, but the trick is to find out how and where they are getting into a building, whether it's an office, a warehouse, a supermarket or a cinema.

"That was the challenge for us and it has taken us over a year to train Archie compared to the three months it normally takes to train a dog to detect something.

"It has been really complicated and very intensive and has taken a lot of planning, but now Archie is trained and is ready to go out in the field with his handler."

After his training with Wagtail, Archie will be used by the pest control section of UK property management company Mitie.

His handler, Alan Johnson, 33, from Sprotbrough, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said he was looking forward to the new challenge.

"I love dogs. I've got four at home and I do a bit of shooting and beating at weekends," he said. "When the company came up with the idea of training a dog for mice and they asked me to take it on, I leapt at the chance and I've really enjoyed it."

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