Columbia, SC (WLTX) - K-9 officers at the Richland County Sheriff's Department and many other law enforcement agencies across the state are used to assist in fighting a variety of crimes.
"The majority of these dogs are alpha dogs," said Richland County Sheriff's Department K-9 Specialist Adam Oxendine. "So, they have that mind set that they're the ones that run the show."
Oxendine says he's breaking that mentality with 3 year old Belgian Malinois 'Bickel'.
The pair started working together after Thanksgiving.
Bickle was originally trained in Holland and responds to commands in Dutch. Oxendine says he learned between 20 and 30 words to work with the dog.
"He's a full service patrol dog," said Oxendine. "If someone breaks into a building and doesn't come out or if we're searching a large building, we can utilize the dog that way - send him in to search the rooms."
Oxendine says 90-95% of their calls require Bickle to track people or objects. To simulate real work scenarios, Oxendine hides items like car keys and Bickle retrieves.
"Opposed to us having to go room by room and search that large building, we can use the dog," said Oxendine.
Bickle isn't all work all the time though. The dog goes home with Oxendine and is a part of the family.
"At home he's a dog," said Oxendine. "At home he's not at work. At home he's in the yard and will roll on his back and chase his frisbee and his ball."