Monday, March 3, 2014

Local dog trainers stand ready to combat little fire ants & coqui frogs

Eradication Funding Bill Advancing In Hawai`i State Legislature

It’s been15 years since the first Little Fire Ant first appeared on Hawaii Island and the stinging ant has since spread to Maui, Oahu and Kauai. Beyond painful, the ant’s venom can cause death and blindness to humans and animals — including dogs. Enter Oahu based Ellen Watson and her Common Scents Canine Hawai`i (CSCH). 

Watson is excited that Senate Bill 2920, “Little Fire Ants; Pilot Project; Appropriation” is now moving in the Hawai`i State Legislature. The legislation “Establishes and appropriates an unspecified amount to the county of Hawaii for a Little Fire Ant pilot project to research solutions for addressing the Little Fire Ant threat in Hawaii.” 

Watson said, “In addition to combating Little Fire Ants, our dogs have the ability to scent detect and locate the noisy Coqui frogs disturbing the local populace and their eggs.” Senate Bill 2920 was reported from the Senate Way & Means Committee on 02/28/14 with recommendation of passage on Third Reading.


Watson established the Common Scents Canine Training Center (CSCTC) in her home state of Michigan in 1974. Her training academy offered basic dog obedience training classes ranging from puppy socialization, beginners through advanced dog obedience training classes. Later, she worked with dog owners who intended to compete in AKC Obedience and Tracking trials.  Competitive obedience training courses began with Novice Classes — and ended with Utility Dog including Tracking Dog Training for competition. 

Watson trained under the lauded international dog trainer, the late Glen R. Johnson of Canada. Johnson was the world renown expert in canine scent detection. Johnson, author of Tracking Dog: Theory & Methods spent a lifetime proving the miraculous natural ability of dog’s noses and teaching others how to make it work for them.  Watson worked with with Johnson for a decade while developing her own training methodologies and she created a team of highly-trained scent detection dogs.  Along the way, Watson earned AKC, TDX, and SchH. III titles.

Ellen Watson relocated to Hawaii in 1994 where she operates Common Scents Canine Hawaii. Watson notes, “We have a slate of trained scent detection dogs that can find Little Fire Ants, Coqui Frog Eggs, Coqui Frogs, and the Coconut R. Beetle, among other destructive invasive species. We’re right here with trained dogs and skilled handlers.  We are a local company caring for our Aina by seeking to eradicate invasive species.  And, we are ready to move forward on these projects right now.”


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