It’s a dog-eat-dog world, but that doesn’t give pet owners in the Big Apple, or even the White House, license to let their aggressive pups run wild.
President Joe Biden’s nearly 2-year-old German shepherd, Commander, is being accused of biting at least seven of his Secret Service employees.
The most egregious documented incident, which occurred on November 3, left an officer in a “considerable amount of pain” and in need of hospital care, according to newly revealed emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to the conservative legal group Judicial Watch.
However, a White House spokesman attributed the alleged repeated attacks to the “stress” of living in the executive branch.
But Manhattan dog behavior expert Andrea Arden told The Post that a hound’s environment shouldn’t be to blame for indiscipline. Instead, she said the onus falls on the pet parent to address the canine’s misbehavior at the first sign of ferocity.
“If I had a dog that lived in a chaotic household like the White House, and the dog was being aggressive,” said Arden, a 30-year-old pet trainer, “it’s my responsibility to remove the dog from that environment and maybe keep him in the living area or muzzle train him.”
She continued: “As a dog owner, you shouldn’t have blinders on.
“You need to be honest about your behavior and preferences, and [remove them] of situations that you believe may put them at risk [of injuring a person or another animal]Arden urged.
Biden got Commander in early 2022 after rehoming his first dog, Major, also a German shepherd accused of biting a large number of Secret Service members, with family friends in 2021.
According to White House emails, Commander terrorized POTUS patrolmen on multiple occasions between September 2022 and January.
During the November 3 assault, the dog confronted an officer sitting at the bottom of a stairwell and launched an unprovoked attack, sinking its teeth into the victim’s triceps as well as his leg.
Officials claimed they were forced to use a steel cart to ward off Commander’s jaws, a tactic the specialized military reportedly used to ward off the dog during a series of attack skirmishes.
After the bite, another Secret Service officer wrote in an email: “What a joke… if it wasn’t your dog, they would have euthanized it by now – the fucking clown needs a muzzle.”
Arden says that a muzzle may be just what the doctor ordered.
“It’s part of animal husbandry,” he said of the device. In muzzle training, the tool is often placed over the dog’s mouth and nose to help keep him calm in hectic settings and limit his ability to bite.
“If the dog is going to be in an environment where it will be exposed to other people and behave in dangerous ways, I would keep it muzzled,” Arden continued, noting the damage a wild barker could do not only to its target but also to its owner’s finances.
“If your dog bites people, talk about the possibility of a lawsuit,” he said. “I’m not a lawyer, but I would imagine that if you know your dog has aggression issues and you don’t handle them properly, you’re probably at a higher risk of [litigation].”
So far, no legal action related to Commander’s conduct has been made public.
A representative for Jill Biden said in a statement that the First Family is working with White House staff to address the issues internally.
“According to the Secret Service, each referenced incident was treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, with appropriate notifications and reporting procedures followed,” FLOTUS director of communications Elizabeth Alexander said.
She went on to add: “[The Bidens] They have partnered with Secret Service and Executive Residence staff on additional leash protocols and training, as well as establishing designated areas for Commander to run and exercise.”
And Arden believes that most stray pups can be rehabilitated with proper owner intervention.
“If you live in a squatter house or building or in a city like New York, and you know your dog is reactive with other dogs or people, be considerate of others,” he said, doubling down on the importance of training and taking responsibility.
“That’s part of being a responsible dog owner.”