It is being reported that Major Biden, one of President’s two beautiful German Shepherds, may have nipped a White House staffer whilst being walked. This follows another incident about a month ago when a Secret Service agent surprised him and suffered a bite injury as a result. And big dogs can bite hard!
Biting is a natural part of any dog’s repertoire of engagement – though not one we really want to see. Biting is often preceded by warning signs like a change in body language and growling. Sadly, some dogs do not learn to give these warnings, especially if they are taken from their parents too soon, and many humans ignore the signs altogether. A single biting incident does not necessarily indicate that a dog is vicious – it may be scared or nervous – but it is a reminder that we all need to choose dogs that we can safely manage, and take responsibility for appropriate training too.
But any occurrence should be taken very seriously. In the case of the Biden dogs, both Major and Champ receive ongoing training to polish up on their social skills. We do something similar at Dogdayz – giving suitable dogs the opportunity to engage socially with others. It is remarkable to see how confidence and empathy can develop. Of course some dogs require specialist training, and we can help with that too.