Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (WEST), a dynamic medium size consulting firm with offices across the United States and Canada, is looking for temporary part-time and temporary full-time Detection Dog Handlers for the 2023 field season. Since 1990, WEST has grown to be one of the premier environmental and statistical consulting firms in the United States. WEST has a permanent core of professionals with broad experience in basic and applied ecological studies and the sophisticated analysis of natural resource data.
- Compensation: $23-27 per hour, commensurate with experience
- Start Date: March, April or May (project dependent)
- End Date: October 15 or November 15 (project dependent)
- Location(s): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota
- Housing: Assistance securing housing near the project site will be offered to qualified applicants as well as rent reimbursement up to a project-specific set amount
- Number of positions available: 6-8
- 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, but handlers must be equipped with their own suitable footwear (safety-toe boots) and field-appropriate clothing. Detection dogs receive a “paycheck” to off the cost of pet insurance and routine care/maintenance
Do you enjoy both the challenges and fulfillment of fieldwork, as well as training and working with your dog? This is an exciting opportunity to join WEST’s detection dog team and become a part of important wildlife research and conservation. The successful candidate for this position will:
- Survey areas beneath wind turbines for bat and bird fatalities with your dog(s)
- Collect data on bat and bird carcasses, per established protocols
- 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 (WEST provides a daily “paycheck” to detection dog handlers for the use of their own dog(s) to offset the cost of pet insurance and routine care/maintenance)
- Conduct ongoing training with your dog(s) to ensure effective detection of bat and bird carcasses
- Be willing to work a flexible schedule that may vary in hours each week, depending on the season and project needs
- Participate in trials to measure sources of bias in estimating fatalities
- Enter data into a tablet or spreadsheet and submit to project staff in a timely manner
- Be open to opportunities to conduct additional biological surveys in the same location, depending on the candidate’s experience.
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.
- Ownership of a suitable candidate dog 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 to qualified applicants)
- Successful completion of odor recognition testing on the target odor, and in-person scent detection evaluation trials as part of the hiring process
- Demonstrable knowledge of dog behavior and rewards-based training; knowledge of learning theory and scent theory is preferred
- Ability to work independently as well as being able to communicate and coordinate effectively and professionally with crew members, site management, WEST supervisors, 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
- 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, wildlife, unrestrained dogs, 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
- No bite history
- Demonstrates high level of trainability
WEST is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for everyone and highly recommends all prospective hires be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to their start date. While WEST does not currently require vaccinations, please be aware that WEST has a mandatory vaccination policy in place should local, state or federal law require vaccinations. Additionally, WEST has certain clients that require all personnel to be vaccinated prior to working on their projects, so individuals will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination prior to working on those projects. As an exception, employees may also request a Medical or Religious exemption from the vaccine requirement and the request must be supported by a doctor for a medical exemption or by a statement from the employee outlining a sincerely held belief to qualify for a religious exemption. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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.