His name is “Goethe”, he’s just four months old, has brown button eyes, big ears, is still pretty playful – and he’s the youngest police candidate in Duisburg. Dog handler Silke Lichtner at the police dog squadron in the city in North Rhine-Westphalia has been training the black shepherd puppy for a few weeks, as she told the German Press Agency.

At the age of one and a half to two years, the male should be used as a protection dog by the police. But for that he still has a lot to learn – starting with walking by foot. Later there is the scenting, barking, grabbing and letting go – all at the command of the dog handler.

Already a star on the net

The animal, whose name came from Lichtner’s spontaneous inspiration, has good pedigree and good dispositions – “it was a G-litter,” she says. This means that all offspring from the litter had to be given names with a G.

After just the first few hours at the police dog training ground, the puppy, which was initially very small, quickly became a favorite not only of police colleagues. Several newspapers reported that “Goethe” also became known on social media. Today, many passers-by greet him by name on the street, says Lichtner.

“Goethe” is no longer very small. He already weighs about 16 kilograms, can bark vigorously and is quite strong. The dog jumped so hard at a photographer who wanted to take a close-up picture of him during the photo shoot that the man landed on the ground in surprise.

Training paths still open

That’s exactly what his duties as a protection dog will include later, when “Goethe” has passed a health check and his aptitude test: confront perpetrators and – to prevent worse – also bite to put them out of action, as a police spokeswoman said. Later, the animal could also be trained to be a drug or banknote detection dog, Lichtner said. When he is fully grown, “Goethe” will weigh a good 40 kilos.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, more than 300 service dogs are used in North Rhine-Westphalia alone, also to track down missing people or fugitives. Service dogs live with their handlers – like “Goethe” with Silke Lichtner.