It doesn’t seem like Joe Biden’s dog is in any kind of major trouble.
The president told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Tuesday that his pooch Major is a very good boy despite an incident earlier this month in which the 3-year-old German shepherd bit a member of the White House security staff. White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news during a press briefing last week, saying that Major was “surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury.” The individual was taken care of by the White House medical unit and did not need any additional treatment, she said.
Afterward, Major and the Bidens’ other German shepherd, Champ, were sent to the family’s home in Wilmington, Delaware — a move that Psaki said was pre-planned because first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, was traveling to military bases this week.
“Look, Major was a rescue pup. Major did not bite someone and penetrate the skin,” Biden explained when Stephanopoulos asked if Major was still in the dog house. “I guess what surprised me is the White House itself, living there. Every door you turn to, there’s a guy there in a black jacket.”
Biden added: “You turn a corner, and there’s two people you don’t know at all. And he moves to protect. But he’s a sweet dog. Eighty-five percent of the people there love him. He just — all he does is lick them and wag his tail.”
Major — who is younger and more rambunctious than 13-year-old Champ — has reportedly displayed other “agitated” behaviors at the White House, including jumping, barking and “charging” at staff, according to CNN.
The two dogs’ very different temperaments were made clear in a holiday video Biden tweeted last year.
Although Major’s behavior may not seem treat-worthy, Psaki noted last week that the two dogs are still “getting acclimated and accustomed” to their new surroundings and staff at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Dog behaviorist Michael Shikashio pointed out to Fox 5 Washington DC last week that an unfamiliar environment can be triggering for a dog.
“We can’t expect dogs to just jump into any new environment, so I never blame the dog, and I never blame necessarily, the people,” Shikashio told the local news station. “It’s just behavior. So we can adjust our environment and our behaviors accordingly, to help the dog and be successful.”