All Eyes On German Shepherds After White House ‘Incident
Let me get something off my chest before we dive into this…
If someone says they’ve been “bit” and there’s no skin broken then c’mon! At best you can say you were “nipped”, but bit? I’ll never allow it because I’ve seen real bites. Like most folks from the K9 world I laugh off what most deem “bites”. If there’s no skin broken it’s a nip or a pinch. Now let’s begin…
President Biden’s German Shepherds were moved back to the family’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. This is following what’s described as an “incident” with a Secret Service agent. The White House denies they’re banished because of it. Word on the street is they’ll return after some remedial training.
Here’s the problem.
The White House environment is a very stressful place. Not that I’ve walked the hallways, but everything we see points to that. Major, the German Shepherd rescue dog’s head must have been spinning the moment he moved in. A massive change from his quiet Delaware home setting. For rescue dogs, to get moved from one place to another, it requires a decompression period. That specific period of time is based on the individual dog.
Did Major’s needs get put on the backburner? I’m going to put my ballot in the “Yes” box. I’m also going to assume this has happened to every dog entering the oval office.
Regardless of the breed or background any dog is going to need additional training to prepare for that world. Can it be done? Absolutely.
Depending on the breed line, there is a working line and then there’s a companion line.
So if someone wants a companion breed shepherd and they adopt a working breed dog, then more training will be required to make the dog more amenable to that lifestyle. I don’t know enough about Major to say one way or the other. Chances are he fall in the companion category considering all shepherds I have in the pet world.
There’s no denying few breeds are more loyal, loving and protective.
If you go to a home where there’s a shepherd then chances are you’ll know quickly. Most will be at door, be barking to let you know, do not walk in unless the Pet Parents give the okay. The poorly trained ones can confuse innocent gestures for threats. It’s a confidence issue. I’m not referring to the few studs out there that can actually protect your home. They’re actually trained to engage and neutralize problems. To be a capability, not a liability just because the Amazon delivery person knocked.
Potentially if someone reached out to touch or grab Mrs. Biden, President Biden, their dog may interpret it incorrectly. If they knew a lot of people are going to be around, that dog should have had the training to prepare it. To under routine interactions and be completely at ease.
I’m not referring to the overbearing micro-management you often see with these dogs…
The whole “I stop at a red light, you sit” every time or repeating “leave it” constantly. Who wouldn’t feel on pins and needles with an owner in your ear at all times. Practical and relaxed obedience also gets a “Yes” in my vote box.
We all know people get so excited when they see a dog, they put their hand out to pet the dog. I’m not breaking any new ground identifying that. This can startle even the most polished dogs. Few folks wait to get permission from the owner to pet. It’s on the owners including the Bidens to be proactive regarding interactions. We preach this to all of our clients.
Major’s interactions went from limited to numerous virtually overnight
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the First Dogs were “still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people.”
That “Major, was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual, which was handled by the White House medical unit with no further treatment needed”. There was “no skin broken” and the injury was “extremely minor.” The agent continued to work that day and has continued working since then.
Any surprise this happened with all things considered? Nope. It was more like a matter of time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the leader of the free world or not.