Biden’s dog trainer says White House stress may have caused biting incident

The White House is a ‘stressful, active’ environment where the dogs meet unfamiliar humans every day, trainer Mark Tobin says

Nathan Place
New York
Tuesday 09 March 2021 22:15
<p>President Biden’s younger German Shepherd, Major, has been accused in an alleged biting incident</p>

President Biden’s younger German Shepherd, Major, has been accused in an alleged biting incident

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The White House is a stressful place – even for dogs, according to President Joe Biden’s dog trainer.

After a “biting incident” involving one of Mr Biden’s two German Shepherds, trainer Mark Tobin told TMZ he believes the stress of moving into the White House might be to blame.

“You take it from a very calm environment to a very stressful, active” one, Mr Tobin said, and a dog is bound to get anxious. 

The two dogs, Champ and Major, moved from the Biden family home in Delaware to the hectic atmosphere of the White House in January, when Mr Biden was sworn in as president. After the biting event, however, they were sent back to Delaware to learn some coping skills.

“Training’s the key with anything that happens,” Mr Tobin said. “It’s about training in an environmental place where you put these dogs around other dogs and other people, and you start training them to get controlled, and relaxing a little bit.”

Major, who at three years old is a decade younger than Champ, is the pet accused in the biting incident, which involved a member of the White House security staff. Other details are sparse.

Both dogs, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday, “are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their surroundings and new people. And on Monday, the first family’s younger dog, Major, was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual.”

That individual was treated by the White House medical staff, Ms Psaki said.

Major was also the dog involved in a fall that fractured Mr Biden’s foot back in November, when the president-elect chased after the dog and slipped on a rug.

The rambunctious young pooch may need some time to practise for life in the White House, Mr Tobin said, where he’ll be encountering numerous unfamiliar humans every day.

“It’s solvable, but it takes two,” he told TMZ. “You have to put the time and effort in there and go in a little slower this time.”

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