Detection Dog Handlers - (1539)

Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST)

Ames, Iowa

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $23.00-$27.00 per hour

Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST) is a dynamic medium size consulting firm with offices across the United States and Canada. We are looking for temporary full-time Detection Dog Handlers to train and work with their own suitable dog(s) to monitor the impact of wind turbines on wildlife. Experienced field technicians with a dog(s) appropriate for scent detection training as well as those with an appropriate dog(s) and experience training for or participating in nose work, hunting or field trials are encouraged to apply. 

WEST has a permanent core of professionals with broad experience in basic and applied ecological studies and the sophisticated analysis of natural resource data. Since its founding in 1990, the WEST team has shaped the foundation of what we do, and what we believe in through our core values and key principles. Our work matters to our clients, communities, and the environment. Join WEST and discover a company of passionate, committed, and highly motivated individuals.

Please click here to see what benefits WEST offers!

Key Details:

  • Compensation: $23-27/hour, DOE
  • Dog Compensation: $30/day of field work
  • Housing: Housing provided or rent reimbursement for qualifying applicants
  • Start Date: 07/01/24 or 08/01/2024 (project dependent)
  • Duration: 10/15/24
  • Location(s): Multiple locations in IA, IL, or IN
  • Number of positions available: 9
  • Additional Details: Vehicle mileage will be reimbursed (for use of personal vehicle) or a rental may be provided. Field safety equipment for both the handler and dog will be provided by WEST; handlers must be equipped with their own suitable footwear (rugged, safety toe hiking boots) and field-appropriate clothing. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies.

Job Summary:

Does your high-drive dog need a job? Are you interested in strengthening your bond with your dog while you train and work together to help with important wildlife research and conservation? This is an exciting opportunity to join WEST’s detection dog team and get started in conservation detection dog work. The successful candidate for this position will:

  • Survey areas beneath wind turbines for bat and bird carcasses with your dog(s) that have been trained and evaluated per WEST standards prior to employment
  • Provide routine care and sound risk management for your dog while working, such as following a vaccination protocol, properly using equipment, and administering basic first aid under field conditions
  • Collect data on bat and bird carcasses, per established protocols
  • Enter data into a tablet or spreadsheet, routinely check for accuracy, and submit to project staff in a timely manner
  • Participate in trials to measure sources of bias in estimating fatalities
  • Conduct ongoing training with your dog(s) to ensure effective detection of bat and bird carcasses
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may vary in hours each week, depending on the season and project needs
  • Communicate regularly with field coordinators on environmental conditions, safety items, data collection, and detection dog training
  • Weekly timesheet and expense report completion
  • There may be opportunities to conduct additional biological surveys, depending on the candidate’s experience and project needs

This is a general description of the functions for this position and is not inclusive of all the duties which may be associated with this position.

Job Requirements

  • Ownership of a suitable candidate dog (see Minimum Dog Suitability Requirements below) and successful completion of WEST's Scent Training Program for Wildlife Detection Dogs prior to the extension of a formal offer of employment (WEST provides a scent training protocol and training guidance)
  • Successful completion of odor recognition testing and in-person, double-blind scent detection evaluation trials
  • Demonstrable knowledge of dog behavior and rewards-based training; knowledge of both learning theory and scent theory is preferred
  • Ability to work independently as well as communicate and coordinate effectively and professionally with crew members, site management, WEST project coordinators, and landowners
  • Must demonstrate safe handling, control, and transportation of your dog(s) at all times
  • Flexibility, a high degree of self-motivation, a tolerance for doing repetitive tasks, and an ability to thrive under challenging field conditions
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources, Wildlife Management, Biology, or an equivalent degree is preferred; however, candidates without a degree that have suitable dog(s) and experience training, handling, or participating in applicable detection dog work or sports are encouraged to apply

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to walk 5-7+ miles a day over uneven terrain in variable weather conditions
  • Ability to maintain a positive attitude during long work days (8-12+ hours) in the outdoors
  • Must be comfortable with exposure to hazards typical of the environment (e.g., insects, dense, tall and prickly vegetation, mud, wildlife, unrestrained dogs, livestock, extreme heat and cold, high wind speeds, farming/agricultural activities, and poorly maintained roads)

Minimum Dog Suitability Requirements:

  • Physically healthy and of an appropriate age and size to be able to walk/run 10 miles a day over uneven terrain in variable weather and environmental conditions
  • Up to date on all locally required vaccines, including rabies
  • Non-brachycephalic
  • No bite history
  • Demonstrates high level of trainability

After an offer of employment is made, the candidate must successfully pass a pre- employment background check, drug screening, and a DMV records check that meets WEST’s minimum criteria to operate a motor vehicle on behalf of the company.  A valid driver’s license will be required.

WEST provides equal employment opportunities to all individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, genetics, and any protected veteran status, and any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.  Further, WEST takes affirmative action to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly, and without discrimination, for recruitment, selection, advancement and every other term and privilege associated with employment.


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Category Wildlife
Tags Environmental Consulting