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Don't Put Commander in the Dog House!

a dog sitting with president biden on stairs
President Joe Biden with First Dog, Commander. Credit: @commanderfirstdog | Instagram

It didn’t take long for those who don’t understand dog behavior to start trolling President Biden’s German shepherd Commander, who, it was reported July 25, bit or otherwise attacked Secret Service personnel at least 10 times between October 2022 and January. (In 2021, the Bidens’ other German shepherd, Major, a rescue animal, bit someone at the White House. Major is now living at the Biden's home in Delaware, where is he reportedly more comfortable.)

The negativity is bound to get worse in the coming days and we’re worried that misinformation and mishandling the next steps for Commander will send a terrible message to potential adopters.

Dogs read body language. The White House is a frenzied place and the Secret Service members who protect the president are not known to be relaxed. Commander is reacting to what he senses are frequent threats to his family. He should not be blamed for biting.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that dog bites can happen for a variety of reasons and the odds of it happening can be reduced by understanding the signals a dog sends when it is in an uncomfortable situation and removing whatever is causing fear or stress.

The White House has reported that a leashing protocol will be put in place for anyone who handles Commander. That is not enough.

Commander needs more and better training and he should be muzzled humanely when appropriate and for the duration. Professional help to teach him to ignore the distractions and confusion is imperative.

Check out what the American Kennel Club suggests when a dog exhibits aggressive behaviors. Dog trainers rely on the Baskerville muzzle, the most humane type that allows a dog to eat and drink while under control.

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