How many trilingual dogs do you know?
Probably not many, but that's just part of what makes Patrick Peterson's pup pretty impressive.
Kobe, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, is Peterson's right-hand man … er, dog.
The veteran cornerback got him at 8 months old and named him after the late Kobe Bryant, who always has been Peterson's favorite basketball player.
For Peterson, his wife Antonique and their two young daughters, Paityn and Parker, Kobe is a pet but also a protector. He's police-trained, meaning he's been trained to respond to specific commands in foreign languages.
"I don't want anybody able to control him if we do get into a panic situation. He understands a little bit of English, with my girls, but for the most part everything is in French and German," Peterson said. "He's not a big barker, but if I want him to bark, I can give him the command to bark."
The lean, tan-and-black pup practices "bite work" multiple times a year, maintaining mental and physical strength. He also has home-search training; if Peterson was to arrive at home and find evidence of a possible intruder or other suspicious situation, he could direct Kobe to conduct a search. If Kobe determines the situation to be safe, he will communicate that to his family.
Like most police- or military-trained dogs, though, Kobe also is extremely gentle and affectionate. He goes on nature walks with Peterson, plays tug-of-war and lets the family dress him up for Halloween and Christmas – he even has a Vikings jersey always packed in his "travel bag." Kobe loves playing with Paityn and Parker, and he'll often proudly keep watch as the girls ride their bikes in the driveway or play outside. If 3-year-old Parker is crying, Kobe will immediately run to check on her.
"He's super protective," Peterson said. "Loves the girls. Just a cool, working dog that loves attention, loves being around people, is high energy. Everything you want in a dog, honestly.
"That's one of the reasons I named him Kobe," he later added. "If I wanted him to turn into that Black Mamba, [soldier], tap into that side, he can. But when I want him to be Kobe – chill, relaxed, cool, hanging out with the family – he can be that, as well."
Kobe isn't Peterson's first dog. He and Antonique had a toy poodle, Romeo, and Yorkie, Louie, in college.
"We loved those suckers so much," Peterson said with a smile. "But I was like, 'Man, if we ever have an opportunity to have another dog, I want me a Belgian Malinois.' "
He finally got his wish a couple of years ago.
Peterson met three other dogs before choosing Kobe. Or, really, Kobe choosing the Petersons.
"Paityn came with me, and he literally ran straight up to her and put his head into her lap," Peterson recalled. "She was like, 'Yeah, Daddy, this is the one.' "
Antonique was a little harder to convince.
Soon after bringing Kobe home, Peterson had to travel for a road game with the Cardinals.
"I'm like, 'It's cool. All you have to do is let him out, use the potty, feed him, put him in the kennel.' … But she leaves him outside for, like, six hours," Peterson laughed.
After an Arizona win, he FaceTimed Antonique – who seemed a lot less excited than he was.
View photos of Vikings CB Patrick Peterson and his police-trained Belgian Malinois, Kobe, in this edition of Purple Pups.
"She's like, 'Uhh, you're not gonna like what I'm about to show you.' I'm like, 'What happened? The house on fire or something? What happened?' She goes to the backyard and shows me the backyard, and he destroyed all the patio furniture. All the pool furniture," Peterson said. "We're in Arizona, but the backyard looks like snow because of all the [stuffing spread out] and it's all in the pool.
"My wife didn't want me to get him in the first place. So she's like, 'This is one of the reasons we don't need him.' And I'm like, 'C'mon, Kobe, you're making me look bad right now,' " Peterson added. "I can leave him outside for six hours and he won't do anything. But as soon as I leave to go on the road … he knows Daddy's gone. He'll find a way. One time he destroyed the flower bed."
So, Antonique and Kobe are on good terms now?
Well … they were. Until last month, when he managed to eat everyone's breakfast off the table after Peterson left for a Saturday morning walk-through practice.
"[Kobe] had that boo-boo … She was livid," Peterson acknowledged, wincing. But he added with a wink, "They're back on bad terms right now … I give her probably another week."
Like any young dog, Kobe has found his way into mischief on a couple of occasions. But most of the time he's an incredibly obedient dog who wants to learn all he can from Peterson.
"He wants to know, 'What more can you give me, Pops?' That's how he is every single day," Peterson said. "His ears chirp up every morning; he's looking at me like, 'All right, what's calling for the day?'
"Other dogs can [be police-trained], as well, but I just feel like this [breed] can do it at a much higher level," Peterson later added. "I think it's awesome how dogs in general can connect to people. They can say things to people with their eyes that another animal can't. Just the warmness that they share to their owners and to their loved ones, it's unmatched, by far, from any other animal. Just to have that relationship with him is special."
And don't tell Antonique, but Peterson hopes to one day have another Belgian Malinois, this time a black-and-silver one. As for the name?
"Coming soon: Kobe and Shaq," he grinned.