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President Biden’s Dog Leaves White House

President Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, has left the White House. According to an official statement from Elizabeth Alexander, First Lady Jill Biden’s communications director, the first family is considering “next steps.”

President Biden’s dog no longer at White House

Commander’s departure from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue follows an investigative report from CNN, which revealed that the 2-year-old German Shepherd was involved in at least 11 biting incidents. Sources recently told the news channel that “the real number is higher and includes executive residence staff and other White House workers.” Some of the documented incidents required medical care and even hospitalization.

The Daily Mail also recently published photos of Commander seemingly nipping Dale Haney, the superintendent of the White House grounds. Haney is a long-time employee, with over 50 years of tenure at the White House, and was one of Commander’s caretakers.

In response to the photos, a senior White House official claimed to have consulted with Haney about the incident. Haney reportedly responded that “Commander was being playful, and there was no bite, no pressure of teeth on his skin, no mark — just some dog slobber.”

White House responds to biting issues

Ultimately, the White House’s decision was to remove Commander from the White House.

“The President and First Lady care deeply about the safety of those who work at the White House and those who protect them every day,” Alexander said in the statement. “They remain grateful for the patience and support of the U.S. Secret Service and all involved, as they continue to work through solutions. Commander is not presently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated.”

Commander is the second dog to exhibit biting issues during the Bidens’ residence at the White House. Another German Shepherd, Major, preceded him. The Bidens moved Major to a Delaware residence after multiple nipping incidents. Commander arrived on the scene as a puppy in 2021, the same year that the Bidens’ oldest dog, Champ, passed away at age 13.

What ‘next steps’ might mean

When Alexander mentioned “next steps,” what might that mean for a dog with biting issues?

Well, it might involve consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to assess the situation and tailor a customized plan. A professional may be able to identify the root causes of the biting, whether it stems from fear, aggression, pain, or frustration.

Socialization, including exposing Commander to various environments and individuals, may also be a part of the plan. Techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning may help modify the dog’s emotional response to triggers. Additionally, bite inhibition training can reduce bite severity.

A professional might even recommend medication to help reduce canine anxiety that can contribute to biting issues.

While biting is a concerning issue, there are training techniques and strategies to help dog parents and their pups nip this unwanted behavior in the bud.


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