One of President Joe Biden’s dogs bit his 11th victim, a U.S. Secret Service agent, at the White House on Monday evening, an agency spokesperson told HuffPost on Tuesday.
“The officer was treated by medical personnel at the complex following the incident,” Secret Service communications chief Anthony Guglielmi told HuffPost.
commander is a 2-year-old purebred German Shepherd who replaced Major, the Bidens’ rescued German Shepherd who also bit people multiple times at the White House.
The numerous examples of commanders – and majors – hurting people forced the White House to respond and sparked conversations about how the dogs might have fared The complex is an unsafe place to work.
“As we have previously noted, the White House can be a stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family continues to work on ways to help Commanders deal with the often unpredictable nature of the White House grounds,” said Elizabeth Alexander, a Spokesperson for First Lady Jill Biden tells NBC News in a statement on Tuesday.
“The President and First Lady are incredibly grateful to the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff for everything they do to protect them, their family and the country,” Alexander added.
After an incident in July, the White House said it would provide “additional line management protocols and training” as well as “designated areas for the commander to run and train.” The statement came after Commander attacked another agent when Jill Biden “failed to regain control of the dog.”
In another case in November 2022, Commander bit an officer on the arm and legs.
Melissa Bain, a professor of clinical animal behavior at the University of California, Davis, told HuffPost that “the vast majority of aggression in dogs is fear-based,” noting that all dogs are capable of biting, regardless of breed .
Bain explained that many variables can play a role when dogs become aggressive, and that the type of training and socialization a dog experiences can play a large role in its behavior.
“If we [veterinary behavior professionals] Consider multiple bites and different situations, it can be for a number of reasons. One of them is communication between people. It could certainly be due to a lack of management or because the dog is continually being put in a bad situation. And then the failure to address the underlying reasons for it,” she said.
Bain suggested that owners of dogs with behavioral problems speak to a veterinarian to determine whether the dog is suffering from a physical illness.
When it comes to changing behavior problems in dogs, Bain says it’s important for owners to change the underlying emotional response and give the animal a cue to respond to the behavior.
For dogs that have bitten people, Bain said she would pay particular attention to “changing the emotional response to the triggers that cause the dog to feel the need to bite or exhibit aggressive behavior.”
CNN employee and former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow highlighted dog behavior as a workplace hazard in an article CNN report by producer and reporter Betsy Klein.
“There is a uniqueness here because it is the residence of the President of the United States, but also the workplace for hundreds, thousands of people. And you must not bring danger into the workplace. And that’s essentially what’s happening with this dog. At one point you can say it was an accident, but now it’s multiple incidents. It’s a serious problem,” he said.
“I’m sure the Bidens love the dog. I’m sure it’s a family member, like any dog, but you pose a significant danger to those who support you – support the office of president,” Wackrow added.