Mouse detectionArchie is U.K.'s first mouse detection dog

Published 28 February 2011

Cats have traditionally been used for mouse control; a Welsh company argues that dogs can be better mouse detectors than cats, and to prove it has trained a three-year-old springer spaniel named Archie to become the U.K.’s first muse detection dog; his test scores were so impressive that property management company Mitie will be using Archie in the company’s pest control section

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

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 twelve 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.”

Walesonline reports that after his training with Wagtail, which included using mice on CCTV, Archie will be used by the pest control section of U.K. property management company Mitie.

His handler, Alan Johnson, 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.

“Wagtail have been fantastic and a lot of what they’ve done has been about training me to be able to work the dog.

“What we’re trying to pinpoint is the places where mice are most active, where they are getting into a building or area and where they are nesting, then we can concentrate our efforts in those places.

“Archie’s a lovely dog, very excitable, but that’s what you need for this sort of work.

“Luckily my wife, Emma, and my little girl, Heather, both love dogs too, and I’m sure he’ll soon be part of the family.”