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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 12:41 GMT
Sitz! Handlers bark German orders
Police dog
The dogs are called Eeko, Nero and Flick
Police dog-handlers in Derbyshire are learning a smattering of German to help them train new Alsatian recruits.

Three German shepherds have been brought into the force as a result of a shortage of highly-trained dogs.

Other forces across the country are importing the dogs from Berlin at 2,000 a time.

A police spokesman said: "Part of the training is to repeat the English word along with the German one so dogs begin to get used to English eventually."

He added: "We are repeating the German commands in English so they are becoming bilingual."

Officers say once they have learned German commands such as "sitz", for "sit", or "aus" for "let go", the dogs are more efficient than UK-bred dogs.

A police spokesman said the German dogs "have the temperament we are looking for in a police dog".

Herr Flick

Derbyshire dog trainer Pc David Heaps said: "For breeders in the UK it is all about looks.

"But the dogs do not have the same abilities for bite, let go and obedience as those bred in Germany."

Two of the Derbyshire dogs, Eeko and Nero, kept their German names. But one called Dick had his name changed to Flick, after Herr Flick in the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!

In Germany, the dogs have a strict breeding regime and are tested for tracking, searching and protection techniques.

The dogs have to spend six months waiting for a passport before they can become operational in England.

About 15 other police forces in the UK are importing dogs from Germany.

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