German Shepherd’s unsuitable for the White House unless specifically trained and socialised as Biden’s dogs have bitten staff

President Joe Biden loves German Shepherds (GSD). But, arguably, the German Shepherd breed of dog is unsuited to life at the White House unless specifically trained to deal with it. This may be indicated by the fact that both of Pres Joe Biden’s German shepherds, firstly Major and now Commander have on several occasions bitten staff including, in the case of Commander, Secret Service staff in and around the White House grounds.

Major was rehomed as a result. And now we have a report that Commander has bitten seven people in a four-month span since late 2022. Commander is 22 months old at the date of this post.

Clearly, the situation is unacceptable with respect to Pres Joe Biden’s GSDs. And he must know this. He is working on the problem. It’s reported that his family is working through ways to make the situation better for everyone. It is also reported that they are “partnering with the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff on additional leasing protocols and training, as well as establishing designated areas for Commander to run an exercise.”

The research indicates that GSDs can be socialised and trained sufficiently to get on well in the kind of environment in which Commander finds himself. This is a busy office environment with lots of comings and goings.

However, my research also indicates that the GSD is a breed of dog which is particularly good at being a guard dog. This means that they become very attached to their family and will see strangers as hostile. That is typical of any dog but my research indicates that it is particularly so for the GSD which is, ironically, the reason why, I suspect, that president Joe Biden particularly likes this breed of dog. He wants the personal protection that they bring to him and his family.

I think you will find that the German Shepherd in public can be friendly with strangers but when they are at home in their home territory and strangers come onto that territory, they can be hostile towards those people. That’s why they will chase off any delivery driver for example. Once again not untypical of canines but perhaps this drive is stronger for the GSD.

This very powerful drive to protect their family which is inherent in all dogs in line with their gray wolf ancestors, make them unsuited to life in the White House unless they been particularly well trained and socialised for the purpose. That’s my thought about this.

It would have been better if Biden’s family had ensured that both Major and Commander had been specifically trained to better be able to deal with the kind of life that there were going to meet in the White House.

It is said that most GSDs have a natural scepticism about strangers especially those strangers that are on the dog’s territory. And depends also upon the particular dog’s character.

Perhaps it is notable that several Secret Service staff have been bitten to the point where the skin has been broken. I think one of them went to hospital. So, these were quite nasty bites but not very serious bites. Commander believed that these were hostile invaders to his territory.

But I also suspect that Commander was confused when he bit the staffers. The White House is a very large building with lots of people movements. It may have been hard for him to feel that he had his own territory and where the boundaries were. It may have destabilised his natural desire to protect his territory and his family. He needed to be acclimatised and socialised to that kind of unique way of life something to which he had not been exposed to before.

He may have regarded Secret Service staff as being particularly hostile because of their demeanour. It is said that GSDs are particularly good at reading people and their body language. The body language of Secret Service staff may have influenced the reaction of Commander to their presence.

The conclusion is that sufficient preparation was not carried out by Pres Joe Biden and his family to ensure that both his dogs were able to cope with White House life to which it may be fair to add that they selected the wrong dog breed in the first place. But that wasn’t going to change because as mentioned Biden loves GSDs. This meant that particular training was required to integrate the dog into their new environment.

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