The President’s Not the Only One Getting Snippy in the White House – Full Story

This week President Biden’s dog, Commander, has bitten another staff member on White House grounds. It seems this was the last straw for Commander. Find out how the White House responded and what happens next for the canine.

First Dog Behind Multiple Bites

The First Dog has been involved in another biting incident involving a White House staff member. The pup is two years old, and this comes after a string of aggressive incidents between Commander and staffers dating back to October 2022.

Tourist Nabbed Photo of Recent Biting Incident

A tourist at the White House saw the bite take place and captured a photograph, which was then sent to and published by the Daily Mail.

The unnamed tourist commented on Commander’s “high-spirited” demeanor and claimed that they did not notice the bite taking place but realized it had happened later upon viewing their photos. 

No Serious Injuries Sustained

Dale Haney, White House head groundskeeper, was playing outside with Commander when the bite occurred. Luckily, he sustained no serious injuries. According to a statement from First Lady Jill Biden’s office, the dog did not break skin when he nipped Mr. Haney. 

This seasoned groundskeeper has been employed at the White House for half a century and has had good relationships with many presidential pets throughout his tenure. He has been walking and playing with Commander throughout the dog’s time at the home.

Long Line of Bad Behavior

Unfortunately, this was not the first time Commander bit someone on the White House grounds. Nearly a dozen other reports of dog bites have come over the past year for Commander, with the most recent being the eleventh time in twelve months. 

The Bidens’ other German Shepherd, Major, had also been involved in several documented aggressive incidents and was rehomed as a result in 2021. 

A Gift From a Friend

Commander was brought home by the Bidens in December of 2021 following the death of their beloved dog, Champ. A family friend gifted Commander to the President and his family when the dog was just a puppy.

Major, who now lives with friends of the First Family, was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018. The Bidens also have a cat named Willow.

Previous Incidents Involved Secret Service Agents

Most recently, Commander is reported to have bitten a Secret Service officer. Following an incident on the 25th of September, an agent received medical treatment at the White House.

That bite was the tenth incidence of aggression from Commander since October of 2022. The officer was reported to be recovered after receiving treatment. 

Training Methods Unsuccessful

After a previous bite, the White House stated they were attempting “additional leashing protocols and training” for the young pup. However, those attempts appear to have been unsuccessful. 

Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for the office of the First Lady, commented on the “stressful environment” of the White House, insinuating that the “unpredictable nature of the White House grounds” contributed to Commander’s behavior. 

The White House Responds 

The representative for the First Lady said that the President and his family are committed to the safety of the White House staff and that they “remain grateful for the patience and support of the U.S. Secret Service and all involved, as they continue to work through solutions.” 

Next Steps for Commander Unknown

Ms. Alexander suggested that it is unknown at this time what will happen to Commander long-term. After similar incidents in 2021, President Biden’s other German Shepherd, Major, was rehomed to stay with family friends in Delaware. 

The statement from the First Lady’s office confirmed that “Commander is not currently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated,” but it is unclear where he is.

According to the statement, the next steps are being reviewed, and at this time, nothing has been announced about Commander’s living arrangements.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gints Ivuskans