Major Biden ‘will undergo some additional training to help him adjust’

major biden

There have been two “incidents” involving Major Biden, the German Shepherd rescue living in the White House. Both of those incidents were initially reported as “Major bit someone,” although there’s a lot of contradictory reporting and it seems like national political reporters don’t know the difference between “biting” and “nipping.” As I’ve said, Major is a big, strong dog and if he wanted to bite someone and break the skin, he would. He has not. He nipped at two unfamiliar people and I’m still waiting to hear Major’s side of things, because I’m convinced that there is a vast conspiracy against good puppies who are just trying their best. Now it seems that Major is going to be sent to some kind of training camp to help him adjust to life in the White House.

President Joe Biden’s German shepherd, Major, will receive training after two biting incidents involving workers at the White House, according to first lady Jill Biden’s spokesman.

“Major, the Bidens’ younger dog, will undergo some additional training to help him adjust to life in the White House,” Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa told CNN. “The off-site, private training will take place in the Washington, D.C. area, and it is expected to last a few weeks.”

Last month, Major had a biting incident with a Secret Service agent that required the victim be seen by the White House medical unit. Shortly afterward, Major, and the Biden’s older German shepherd, Champ, were removed from the White House and taken to the Bidens’ Wilmington, Delaware, home. At the time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the removal of the dogs from the White House was “planned,” due to Jill Biden’s travel schedule.

“(Champ and Major) are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their surroundings and new people,” said Psaki. “Major was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual.”

In an interview with ABC News after the first incident with Major, who was adopted by the Bidens in 2018 from a Delaware animal shelter, the President called him a “sweet dog.”

“Eighty-five percent of the people there love him. He just — all he does is lick them and wag his tail,” Joe Biden said. “But … I realize some people, understandably, are afraid of dogs to begin with.” The President added: “Major was a rescue pup. Major did not bite someone and penetrate the skin.”

[From CNN]

I love how it’s so obvious that President Biden is Team Major. Joe is like “it’s barely a scratch, toughen up, he’s a good dog.” Did they call in Cesar Millan or something? Why is Major going off-site? Surely it would be better to train him in the White House, which is where Major is having all of these adjustment issues, that is if you believe the mainstream media. Personally, I just think Major will learn to chill out as he gets older and he’s not such a puppy. But sure, additional training could help. Still, I feel bad for Major. He just wants to hang out with mom, dad and big bro Champ. He wants to be a good guard dog and help his folks out. Poor puppy doesn’t even understand why he’s in trouble.

President Joe Biden with his dogs Major and Champ in the Rose Garden

Photos courtesy of Instagram, Backgrid.

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56 Responses to “Major Biden ‘will undergo some additional training to help him adjust’”

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  1. Lady Luna says:

    People are moving about in HIS house, he’s just protecting his territory.

    • Evenstar says:

      It’s also a workplace for hundreds of people, some of whom have a dog phobia or who are nervous about being bitten by their boss’ dog while they’re trying to do their job. You’d be pissed if your boss’ dog kept getting aggressive and biting you or your coworkers.

      • Horse Marine says:

        This. Hundreds of people work at the White House.

        The White House is not the dog’s private home. It is NOT his territory even though he might perceive it as such- he’s just a dog after all. It’s a busy place where lots of human beings live and work.

        Surely the safety, comfort and well-being of these hundreds of people might matter a little bit more than the whims of one dog?

        If the dog is unable to function in this environment, he needs to be removed and sent to live somewhere more peaceful.

        That seems like simple common sense.

        I’m perplexed by the “Team Major!!” and “He’s just a good boy who got startled by a stranger!” commentary.

      • Leah says:

        @HorseMarine,

        The White House is a residence so it is his home for right now. Second floor is the family’s living quarters while the first floor is offices and state rooms. It’s our house yes but in comparison to the slop that used to live there with his awful family, Major is a huge upgrade as far as occupants go.

        The White House with few exceptions has always had animals around the place, President Kennedy had a huge menagerie of animals and I’m sure from time to time one of them took a nip or soiled a carpet. It happens.

      • LWT00 says:

        Agreed. The needs of the dog do not outweigh the needs of all the people who have to be around him to do their jobs. If Major isn’t adjusting well and is stressed enough to nip or bite, then he needs to be in a different environment. Now that everyone knows he has a nipping issue, they are likely to be more wary around him and guess what? He will absolutely smell that and it will become a self-perpetuating cycle.

    • GGRosebud says:

      Exactly! And their instinct is to protect us. Also its how dogs are approached by someone they don’t know, if its a bit too pushy dogs will let know it.

  2. OriginalLala says:

    #TeamMajor

    I have three cats and they will nip at strangers who don’t pet them properly (Ie: too hard or for too long) or get in their faces too much, it’s how they communicate.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    Both incidents happened when Dr. Biden was traveling. They need someone they’re familiar with to handle them when she’s away.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      I think they need a designated staffer to handle them when the Bidens aren’t able to do it. Someone who is comfortable with big dogs and that the dogs are comfortable with.

  4. Eleonor says:

    I think Major is just being Major: a young dog.
    If I am not wrong at his age he is a teenager: full of energy, if you are not used to dogs they can scare you, if you pet them the wrong way, ex: on their head, behind their back, basically where they can’t see you, they feel it like a dangerous situation (they think you are trying to harm them) they react. If you act correctly with a well educated dog it can simply want to play.
    My opinion: I don’t like Ceasar Millian approach, he is too confrontational, too “alpha man” .

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      He is nearly 3. He is not a puppy or teenager anymore. His brain development is that of an adult dog.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        I’ve had 2 dogs for over 20 years. All of my younger dogs still acted like a puppy until the older dog passed and they became the alpha and had a new puppy to guide. My youngest is 3.5 and still very much a puppy.

      • amiloo says:

        My boxer was exactly 3 when he stopped behaving like a destructive madman. It was like a switch went off in his brain on his birthday. He’s still a big, crazy goofball, but he’s a very good boy now.

      • BearcatLawyer says:

        @amiloo, it is funny how quickly that transition can happen! I used to dogsit a Boxer, and he was a complete idiot until just before his 3rd birthday. Then seemingly overnight he turned into the best and smartest dog ever.

        I saw it with my two Golden Retriever girls too. They were big, lovable, destructive goofballs until age 3, when they mellowed out completely and became perfect little angels for the rest of their lives.

  5. Janey says:

    I’m on my second rescue dog, the first one was super chill and handsome. this one is a very beautiful lady dog and it took me an hour to get her to come in the house when we brought her home. she’s been with us for nearly four years and is slowly starting to chill out but she would not appreciate moving house or that new house being filled with strangers who aren’t there with the sole purpose of tickling her tummy. it’s perfectly understandable behaviour from Major.

  6. Madelaine says:

    I find it adorably hilarious the way Celebitchy handles the doggie stories. To me, it sounds like a meeting at the principal’s office: “My son didn’t push the other kid on the playground. He’s a good boy, I’m telling you. He deserves another chance. Don’t you dare expel him.” Major B. has a momma rooting for him 🤗

  7. Aang says:

    Well if a bunch of strangers were walking around my house when I wasn’t home even my Golden might bite one of them.

  8. Fleur says:

    My friends child suffered a terrible facial bite from a home pet, and they’d known them all their life. Dogs are sweet and predictable until they’re not. It’s not okay that the dog bites. Doesn’t matter his surroundings, and if it were anyone other than Biden we wouldn’t be normalizing it (and yes I’m a Democrat and a Biden voter). People shouldn’t have to worry about the dog getting aggressive when they’re there to work. They either need to get a trainer to manage the dogs when others around around , or they need to house the dogs in an area where staffers are not present .

    • Betsy says:

      This. A big dog can cause a lot of damage, and they’ve had two warnings now that the poor guy is having trouble adjusting to the new environment. I cannot think of anything more devastating than to have the first rescue dog in the White House have to be put down after attacking someone if this escalates. Doing the training to get him comfortable and safe is incredibly important, for his safety as well as the staff. Hopefully they have the absolute best dog trainer working with him and he’ll be happy and safe in no time!

    • tolly says:

      This. The nipping incidents happened in public areas where other people have to work, and they shouldn’t have to worry about behaving “correctly” around the boss’ large, territorial dog. He needs to be kept in their private rooms and walked on a leash.

    • Astrid says:

      +1. I’m sure he’s a nice dog until he’s not. And he is in a space with lots of people that shouldn’t have to worry about a German Shepard in their midst. Keep him out of public areas

    • Darla says:

      I agree with this. We brought home a puppy from I think a pound when I was a child. My little brother, and he was just a baby, 2 yo, loved him and wanted to watch him eat. The dog bit his face, really fast. The other awful thing is I grew up next to a house that had what we then called “attack dogs” caged up in their backyard which abutted ours. I now realize they were rotweilers and pits. Anyway, they escaped several times. Into OUR yard. Once, we were out playing in the front yard and our other neighbor’s german shepard ran over, I think to protect us. It was really bad. My mom got us in, and then opened the front door again and called the german shepard in. The cops came, and I can still remember them telling my mom she should not have opened the door, because what would she have done if the other dogs got in too? But they were going to kill the shepard, and my mom was too smart and way too fast to allow them in too.

      Anyway, I do have a life-long fear of dogs since childhood. My only reoccurring dream as a child was of those dogs squeezing underneath my bedroom door.

      The overwhelming majority of people are dog-lovers and think there’s something wrong with people who aren’t. I’ve made peace with that silly judgement though. And I wouldn’t allow a dog with ANY history of biting or nipping, around a child.

    • Horse Marine says:

      THIS.

      Jesus.

  9. iconoclast59 says:

    We had a German Shepherd mix that bit when startled; plus, she really didn’t like kids (the neighbor kids in back of us taunted her, laughing when she’d charge the fence). My mom told my nephews: “Ignore the dog. Don’t pet her.” They did as “Gamma” told them, and there were never any biting incidents with them. People at the WH should be instructed to do the same with Major. Give him wide berth until he matures and adjusts.

    • Darla says:

      Sorry, no. This is their workplace.

      • Horse Marine says:

        You’re right. The safety and comfort of people should take precedence over the sensibilities of a dog. People should never have to tiptoe around their boss’ large dog.

  10. BearcatLawyer says:

    It makes sense to me that he is receiving offsite training where he can be to exposed to a variety of stimuli and strangers safely. Training him at the White House – where he has already been stressed and reacted inappropriately – would be challenging at this time. Once he has mastered the ability to ignore stimuli, the trainer will most assuredly reinforce the training at the WH under a variety of conditions. Jill, Joe, and the rest of the WH staff who interact with Major will be trained too to properly enforce their commands, reward good behaviour, and ignore undesirable conduct. Of course I still believe he needs a consistent caregiving team other than Jill and Joe, a strict routine, and an enclosed yard for exercise at the WH. He also should not be moved between his former home in DE and the WH when Jill travels.

  11. Izzy says:

    This is not all that surprising behavior, especially from a rescue dog. Major is going to doggo boot camp, which many certified trainers do including my petsitter. She takes the dog to her home for two weeks of intensive training, and it’s followed by two months of weekly lessons to train their human as well. In this case, the WH staff may also need some guidance. Major is a good boi and he deserves this. He’ll be better adjusted, less anxious, and happier.

  12. Evenstar says:

    I’m a dog lover myself, but no one should have to feel unsafe or that they’re going to be bitten by their boss’ big dog in the workplace. Dogs are sweet and loyal, but they’re also animals and sometimes they need serious training in order to adapt to their environment and not harm people.

  13. Savu says:

    German Shepherds in particular don’t just grow out of aggressive behavior. They need a lot of work, and to be constantly reminded they are not the dominant figure. Our Mia, who was an amazing dog who never hurt anybody, still really scared the shit out of some people. My mom did training with her for nearly a year. And Mia LOVED it. She enjoyed being second in the pecking order to everybody else, and to please her family by listening to commands. We lost her at age 10 in October and it was the worst. She was the greatest dog we’ll ever have.

    A German Shepherd’s “issues” aren’t the same as most dogs biting or nipping people. They take a LOT of work. Major is obviously just trying to protect his family. But if he’s gonna run around the white house, he needs other alphas who can be dominant over him. And other people need to know that dominance over him isn’t mean or a joke – it’s literally the best thing for him, so knowing some commands and really meaning them could make a difference. Just because the Bidens know he’s sweet doesn’t mean that’s not an uncomfortable experience for people just trying to do their job.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      You hit the nail on the head – GSDs are working dogs who need constant training and reinforcement. They need to have jobs to do, and they need to know their place in the hierarchy at all times. On the flip side, they love pleasing their humans and enjoy being rewarded for doing the right things at the right times for them.

    • H says:

      @Savu, thank you! I thought long and hard before buying a GSD puppy this month. Normally, all of my other dogs have been rescues I’ve trained under the guidance of a certified K9 service dog handler. However, since my current service dog was diagnosed with cancer, I knew I would need a working dog and an easily trainable one, quickly. So, I found a breeder and picked out my girl.

      My new GSD puppy is smart (figured out how to bust out of her crate within TWO hours the first night) and motivated to please me. However, she loves to lay on my feet and makes these grumpy noises when she can’t. She “hoarding” me and while it is a protective instinct, she needs to learn I’m in charge, not her. I’m not allowing the feet thing no matter how cute she is. She’s a working dog and will be trained as such. She needs a job or GSD become destructive and overly possessive with their humans, which it sounds like Major is. Good for the Bidens for getting Major outside training.

      Puppy and I start obedience training next month after she gets her last shots. Her working dog harness and pack are ready when she’s old enough. I’m ready to turn her into a good canine citizen.

  14. Julia K says:

    This is a workplace safety issue. If Major was a human male who had 2 episodes of assault on his record, would be still be welcome in the workplace?

    • Gab says:

      ummm….

    • Sigmund says:

      First of all, this was not an assault. He nipped somebody. If he wanted to break the skin, he’s a big dog and more than capable of doing so. He didn’t.

      Second, don’t compare human and dog behavior. Men who assault people know exactly what they’re doing, and choose to do it anyway. The actions are not comparable at all.

  15. Leah says:

    He’s in an unfamiliar place with a lot of people coming and going and he’s young. My younger cat is close to his age and he’s really territorial about his space and who comes in the place. He once tried to prevent the maintenance man from accessing my bathroom by standing between the bed and the hamper and blocking access to the bathroom door. I had to pick up the gato and move him out of the way, and he hissed at the maintenance man as we passed by. My older cat doesn’t do this, she either hides or just stays where she is and sleeps. Or if she knows the person well and they are there for a visit she comes out and visits. So I get why Major is having a bit of a time adjusting while Champ who has been in the White House before is just taking it in his stride. He’s older and has more experience with people and the mansion itself.

    The press really need to cut Major a break. He’s a huge upgrade to the previous occupant.

  16. Naya says:

    I don’t know how to correctly say this because I don’t have the dog lingo nailed I’m a cat mom but when I was working in an office back in 2016 my boss’s Doggo Argentino pinned me against my desk and sort of climbed on me in a …sexual way. I’m really short 1.59 and 58 kg I was overwhelmed and the guys in the office were laughing. I adore animals and have no ill will towards them but it was very uncomfortable especially in the work place .

  17. Pansy says:

    I am a German Shepherd owner. I love him like no other, much better than most people, but I also respect the breed. He believes his job is my helpmate and protector, which I love, but when we have company he is put in his safe space (fenced backyard or crate). He doesn’t go out in public with me if he doesn’t know the people with us, he isn’t unattended around children or anyone coming to our house to do things like repairs or maintenance.
    He is a dog. My very best boy in the world, but his instinct is to save me and I respect that. Not every environment is safe for him or for others.

    • tolly says:

      I hope it’s clear the the criticism isn’t directed at German shepherds or their owners in general. As you’ve illustrated, responsible owners understand that they are 100% accountable for their dog’s behavior around other people, and take steps to ensure everyone’s safety. My issue is with people saying that staffers who got bitten must have done something wrong.

      • Pansy says:

        Completely understand and agree Tolly! If he is acting like this, he is stressed. And potentially dangerous to the staffers! And Horse Marine, thank you

    • Horse Marine says:

      I really appreciate and respect your attitude. You sound like a wonderful and responsible dog owner. Dogs are lovely and much more pleasant than most humans, but.

  18. K says:

    They should do this for the Republican party.

  19. Lisa says:

    German Shepherds are very protective of their ‘people’

    my husband’s best friend had a shepherd (sadly now over the rainbow bridge) who I was in regular contact with, and I would care for when his dad was out of town, who regularly came to my home for backyard visitations.

    But whenever I came to my friends house, He would bark at me (as if I was a stranger) and challenge me at the property line, only to have a very sheepish attitude when I would call him out on his behavior ( Shep! You know me!! come say hello! hold out my hand to sniff)

    WH staff need to understand not every dog is a roll over on their back, asking for belly rubs kind of dog. Obviously Major wants to be with his dad, which is why he is in the spaces he is.

    respect for the dog and his temperament need to be considered, and the people in contact with him need to be educated on how to interact.

    • Ronin says:

      Incorrect. If Major can’t cope, HE needs to be kept away from staffers and get training until he can handle it. People who are just trying to earn a living shouldn’t have to work in fear of a large dog with a history of biting. It’s a workplace safety issue, and if Major bites again, the employee could (should) sue or have the dog put down.

      I’m really taken aback by all the responses here telling staffers/press/concerned citizens to get over it, to keep giving the dog chances. Umm, no! Keep putting Major in situations he can’t handle and it could escalate to a mauling.

      • Amber says:

        everyone involved is accountable. Staffers should know better than to approach a dog. When I see a dog in public, I only approach them if the owner says it’s okay. Most of the time it is, but sometimes it is not! And if I approached the dog anyway and it bit me, that would be 100% my fault. Major also needs a handler who can control him and possibly to stay out of certain areas of the White House. It’s a big building, they can find places for him that are far away from busy staff areas. I cannot believe you are recommending that Major be put down just because people are not respecting his space. That is unreasonable and cruel.

      • Ronin says:

        I said *if* Major bites another employee, the employee could sue or insist the dog is put down, not that the dog should be put down right this second.

        FWIW, my brother has had German shepherds for years. He had one that couldn’t be trained out of nipping, which progressed to a bite requiring stitches and the dog was put down. We learned the hard way, and I would hate to see something like that happen because Major is put into situations he can’t tolerate.

      • Evenstar says:

        @Amber

        How do you know they deliberately approached him? Maybe someone was in a rush and didn’t see him, he got startled/aggressive and bit them. And regardless of what happened, this is about safety in the workplace. If he can’t handle the stimulation, he needs to be kept in residential areas away from strangers or sent to additional training, which I’m glad to see is happening. No one should have to worry about being bitten by their boss’ dog at work. It’s unreasonable and the staffers shouldn’t have to tiptoe around a poorly trained dog during their shift. The victim blaming going on is absolutely hilarious.

      • tolly says:

        Agree with @Ronin and @Evenstar. The photos that accompany this story show Major running loose of the South Lawn, where a Park Service employee was nipped (NPS maintains the White House grounds). Staffers need to be able to do their jobs safely, without fear that the boss’ dog will think they are invading its territory. Letting him run around unleashed is a part of the problem–if he were kept in the residence and taken for scheduled, controlled walks, he might not think that the entire facility and grounds are his territory.

    • H says:

      @Ronin, there is very rarely a one and done method to dog bites. Most animals are given the chance to be rehabilitated depending on the severity of the bite. I owned a pet sitting/walking/training business the last five years and I’ve been bit multiple times. Mostly by startled or scared dogs. 50% of the time it was MY fault. (I was new to the business and didn’t recognize the signs of a scared animal even after working at rescues for years). In one instance, I had my arm fractured by a Box/Pit Mix. Did I ask for the dog to be put down? No. Did I demand the owners get training and warn other walkers of his behaviors (he had food aggression)? Yes.

      The Bidens need to keep Major in the residence (second floor) until he’s properly trained. I use baby gates (tall, tall baby gates) and positive reinforcement. I’m hoping they didn’t send Major to a Cesar Milan “school” of thought for training. He needs one or two main handlers to walk him ON LEASH, perhaps with a soft muzzle. If he continues to nip, then he needs to go back to Delaware or to the Biden’s daughter’s home.

      When I walk my big but friendly dogs, I constantly have to explain to children how to approach a new animal while some parents look on disinterested. No one should feel unsafe at work, but some people have no clue about how to properly approach a dog like Major.

  20. Amy Too says:

    I guess I don’t really get why the dog has the run of the entire White House. I don’t bring my dog to work with me even though I’d really like to. Is this happening in the residence quarters of the WH—like is Biden constantly surrounded by staff, or are people coming and going without knocking or calling first, even when he’s “at home” in the family’s private residence and that’s when this is happening? But it sort of sounded like this was happening in the “office” part of the White House. I would think you’d just have the dogs be part of your home life, and have them hang out in the residence when you have to go to work. Does the first family have a private part of the yard that they, and the dogs can use? Are they allowed to have a fenced in area for the dog? Or do the dogs really just get let out onto the big lawn where people and staffers and reporters are coming and going all day? I guess I just don’t get why President Biden would even want the distraction of his dog who seems to need some extra care and attention (which is normal! You should always be watching your dog!) when he’s working.

    • Abby16 says:

      Exactly! We have 2 dogs now and I’ve had dogs all my life. They don’t have access to our guests unless the guests want them around. If we sit outside we have a gated area for the dogs. I get that space is in issue for some, but not at the WH! I do understand why they’d want the dogs but there has to be a separate living space for them.

  21. Liz version 700 says:

    Free Major!!!!!

  22. Savannah says:

    “and I’m still waiting to hear Major’s side of things, because I’m convinced that there is a vast conspiracy against good puppies who are just trying their best.” 👏👏👏👏

    I have a shelter pup who needed quite a bit of training when we got him. It took hard work and dedication but he’s so much better now. I would imagine changing homes and having all these new people around is causing his reactivity to be a bit worse. I love that Biden is promoting rescue. Often, rescue dogs are not perfect, but they can be loved and trained.