The bite did cause a small mark on the agent’s hand, per the official.
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) March 10, 2021
Thank Murphy the Trickster God, the media has decided to treat this responsibly. NBC News:
The Bidens’ 3-year-old German shepherd Major was involved in an incident Monday in which he was “surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday.
The White House medical unit handled the incident, she said, adding that “no further treatment was needed.” She declined to say whether a Secret Service agent was involved in the incident.
A source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Tuesday that the dog “nipped” a Secret Service agent’s hand. This official also said “no skin was broken” and described it as “an extremely minor injury.” The agent continued to work that day and has continued working since then, the official said.
Major and the first family’s older German shepherd, Champ, were sent to the Bidens’ Wilmington, Delaware, home and are being watched by family friends, which Psaki said was planned because first lady Jill Biden is traveling this week…
Psaki noted that the dogs “are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people.”
The press secretary said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that it’s typical for the dogs to be in Delaware when Jill Biden is traveling. The first lady is in Washington state as part of a West Coast trip to tour military bases and meet with service members’ families and is not expected to return until Wednesday…
The Bidens are responsible dog people, which is why the shelter let them adopt Major (‘a very exuberant puppy, one who doesn’t always know his own strength, who required an experienced GSD owner’) in the first place. Here’s a good CNN video interview with the trainer from that shelter [warning: advertising intro] explaining the dynamics — Major got a little ahead of himself, and his people are taking steps to ensure it won’t happen again.
Personal just-my-opinion addendum, from my amateur experience with dogs: German Shepherd Dogs are known to be ‘nippers’; they’ve been bred to be very protective, and the breed started out as cattle-herders (Corgis and Australian Cattle Dogs have the same tendency). Also, both dogs are ‘being punished’ (NOT) because separating Champ from Major would be stressful for Champ, because they’re family (packmates), and that’s extremely important to dogs.
In fact (since we ended up in a similar situation with two of our own rescue dogs) it would not surprise me, when the full story comes out, if Major turns out to have overreacted to what he perceived as a threat to Champ, because one way dogs demonstrate their social affiliations is by ‘protecting’ their packmates, even when it’s — shall we say — outside their remit, and not actually gratifying to the protectee!
Thanks for the explainer! I’ve been a little worried.
Cockers are supposed to be biters but Raven and Lil Bit certainly were not nor is Bohdi. Nature or nurture?
None of D***** T****’s dogs ever bit anyone.
I’m glad Champ isn’t being robbed of his buddy. As for the assholes wondering if the Bidens will have Major put down . . . oh, I’ve got nothing, aside from a simmering desire to punch them in the face.
Then, there’s this.
I’ll take my chances with Major. He might at least bring the ball back.
Just wait until Republicans realize that Major Biden is part black!
@trollhattan:So three ladies, two black, and one Indian was yelling racial slurs against the Nepalese guy? That’s kind of fucked up. I assume it was the Indian one since she was the one who looked aggressive. All of them should be charged with assault.
Oh looking at another video it was a white girl.. Jeezus.
RIP Roger Mudd
That’s not a bite, that’s a warning. If a dog wants to bite, it will bite.
We had a rescue dog that had lost the warning stage, which does happen if they are abused – he bit me 3 times over the first month before he started to settle down. And he achieved a good approximation to sanity after 6 months.
You can still tell sometimes he’s had some trauma, but the change is remarkable, and the vet finds it hard to believe it’s the same dog. People like him, he likes people. And food. Mainly food.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
“WHAT DID MAJOR BIDEN KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?11!111?”
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I imagine a rescue Shepherd in a new place with a lot of strangers coming and going would be tricky. When I was growing up, there was a house I passed with a beautiful Shepherd who hung out in the front yard, never left it, let all the passing kids stop and pet her, very friendly. Then the father of the family died, she wasn’t so friendly anymore. I don’t think she ever bit anybody, but the family put the word out in the neighborhood she should be left alone. They eventually decided to fence in the backyard and keep her there.
yeah, they looked real scared. Also consequences.
I’m glad most people are being sane about this, though I’m sure there are some wingnuts flipping out because that’s what they do. But come on, animals are gonna animal, it’s what they do. I mean, my cat nips at my legs while I’m spooning her wet food into her bowl on the counter. I think of it as encouragement.
Speaking of animals and since it’s an open thread, if any California jackals have a few bucks to spare, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is asking for donations to help keep things going. They’ve had to be completely closed to the public throughout the whole pandemic, but they’re still there taking care of all the animals. It’s the best place on Earth, IMO. Once they do reopen, I highly recommend it if any non-CA people are planning a trip to my fair state in the post-COVID future (whenever the fuck that is).
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@trollhattan: I think someone thinks she’s about to get a reality show, and she might be right
@dmsilev: That we know of.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Here’s the video of that horrible ordeal
What disgusting behavior by those women. I feel so sorry for that guy. What’s even worse is Uber only offered him $20 at first to have his car detailed from the pepper spray splatter on his car’s dash. Then they bumped it to $40! They finally settled on $120
Mike in NC
DoggieGate is the new Beltway scandal!
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
ohhh.. she’s Iranian. So 3 women of color beat up on a Nepali guy using racial slurs. Damn.
Of course, other racists have jumped in and started piling on the women with threats on her IG.
ETA: lol – Lyft removed her too.
The fixed is in.
‘Supposed to be’ is doing a lot of work in that sentence. In my experience, cocker spaniels (aka ‘American Shi-Tzus’) tend to be overreacters, but they’re quite as liable to bark like car alarms, pee themselves, or just freak out (… run in circles! scream & shout!) as to bite. (Also, to be even meaner, a lot of them have such bad dentition they couldn’t manage a serious bite if they intended one.)
Every dog is an individual (none more so than mixed breeds), but given intensive line-breeding, there are tendencies. Sight hounds (greyhounds, borzois) tend to be very fast and to have high ‘prey drive’, so it’s a bad idea to let a sight hound you don’t know well loose around a smaller pet — cats, rabbits, even smaller dogs sometimes. They can attack faster than you can stop them, and it’s not fair to either animal to risk it. Scent hounds (beagles, basset hounds) are so ‘nose driven’ they’ll ignore all their training and walk into traffic or ‘run away’ to pursue a scent trail. Toy dogs and Shetland Sheepdogs are notorious alarm-barkers, the toys because they were literally bred as ‘personal alarms’, and the Shelties because they were valuable enough to be stolen and too small to fight off one or more adult thieves.
None of these traits are guaranteed, but people living in a busy apartment building need to know if they’re thinking about adopting a (possibly!) noisy dog, and people without fenced yards need to be warned about letting their beagle outside unsupervised.
Speaking of defending others including a complete stranger when you sense they are in danger is what this woman did when she grew suspicious.
Elsewhere, Piers Morgan calls his Scottish friend, Janey.
The press is getting desperate for scandal:
WaPo did a full expose:
Jen Psaki has it taken care of:
Yeah, I was sad to see that news. Always liked him; he seemed reliable back when we cared about that kind of thing.
A real peach. //
The more I look at this Major “scandal”, the less I see that is scandalous. For me it has fallen well below the nothingburger threshold.
Dogs gotta dog.
@SiubhanDuinne: At 93 he had a long and rich life.
@glc: yea, totally standard dog behavior to put their mouth on someone and not bite down as a warning to back off. I think Major will adjust.
I’d be more worried with a 3 yo German Shepard of losing track of him for a few minutes in the WH and finding George Washington’s priceless settee fluff flying everywhere!
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Y’know wingnuts are desperate when they’re attacking the president’s dog to manufacture a scandal
Very sad. Also, I hate when people respond to monsters by being monsters in return. It’s a very popular pasttime on the internet for men to pile on women they don’t like
Descendants of Dr. Samuel Mudd are still trying to clear his name.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Both sides! They’re both such stupid takes, but at least Daou’s makes logical sense, if simplistic. Boebert’s is literal troll logic
@raven: Roger Mudd was the BEST. Loved him. May he RIP.
When I lived with my insignificant other, he had a beautiful and very well-behaved German shepherd. The only glitch was that if you walked ahead of the dog, he’d nip your butt—or at least the garment covering it. The nip never was aggressive or hurt, though at first it startled me; I guess he just thought I should be in my place a few steps behind him. I miss that dog; the insignificant other (who watched Fux Noise), not so much.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
A reporter for the NY Post asked Psaki if she could reassure the American public that Major Biden wasn’t going to be euthanized.
I had a German Shepherd and he was not nippy in the least. Not to denigrate Major but I wouldn’t say it’s a characteristic or anything.
We ‘adopted’ our She-Will-Bite rescue unintentionally — it was supposed to be a ‘just for a week or two, until they can find a better permanent home’ situation. She came home with us happily enough, but bit me & broke skin the first time I came between her and ‘food’ (I dropped a scrap of something potentially dangerous to dogs, and she beat me to it). It became obvious, as the weeks went on, and my calls up the breed-rescue chain went unanswered (the *first* local response was ‘If you have your vet put her down, we’ll reimburse you for the cost’) that they were happy to have her off their hands and into ours…
And, since it was just the two of us homebodies plus a couple other (also 15lb) dogs, she spent the next dozen years happily & (mostly) safely. But she never forgot her first five years on the street; we had to switch to liquid soaps, because she’d (try to) eat bar soap off the counter. She stole used tea bags. She hoarded, in her crate, long-empty well-licked peanut butter jars. And while her bites became increasingly pro forma, she never completely lost the habit of defending herself. She died almost a year ago, and I still miss her!
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Oh, I could believe it. Those “scandals” aren’t going to create themselves
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@dmsilev: no, but d***** t**** did infect several secret service agents eith covid.
My last pack was a cocker and a Shi-Tzu; they’re quite different.
Nikki’s groomer always tell us what a good girl she is, cockers have a very bad reputation.
I don’t recall anyone asking Bush’s WH Press Secretary if Barney was going to be euthanized:
Look, she is clearly a woman of low quality – and honestly calling an indian man the n word and not have it challenged by the two black girls with her was disappointing. I hope she doesn’t call everyone that in any community.
But once it starts on the Internet, it’s just going to get ugly for a few days. But the main woman is getting the brunt of it.
@Darkrose: Why would anyone euthanize a dog who just nipped someone, not even breaking the skin? Good grief.
Brought up from earlier today:
The Moar You Know
The only dog I’ve ever been bitten by was a lab puppy who I was playing tug with and put my hand about an inch from her mouth. My bad.
I have experience with German Shepherds. My mom, back in the day, had a boyfriend who had a Marine Corps MP dog. Her and I used to wrestle with me in multiple layers of taped up towels. Best trained dog I’ve ever known. If Champ had meant to bite the guy seriously, he’d be in the hospital.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): It’s par for the course, they attacked FDR’s dog.
No, he was just treating you the way he would’ve treated a cow — ‘encouraging’ you to step right along, promptly now.
I’ve known people whose GSDs did this as a sign of affection, never herding strangers, just folks they’d met & liked. Still, as you say, disconcerting! One dog would get very excited to see his human friends, and then (displacement activity) run away to ‘herd’ the other dogs in the household up to make sure they greeted us with due ceremony.
ZOMG!!! Senate Republican conference breaches the crazification factor!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: FDR’s dog was a bit of an asshole though. As I recall he almost ripped the British Ambassador’s pants off, among other things.
@glc: “That’s not a bite, that’s a warning. If a dog wants to bite, it will bite.“
yes, especially a three year old German shepherd. The ones I’ve trained and played with always wrestled and “bit” or lightly gnawed with their mouths. My arms might get little red scratches but never broken skin. Some people said it would make the “mouthy” and want to nip but I always found it taught them to modulate and use their jaws harmlessly when with people. As you say, they know what they are doing and will bite when they want to bite.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Maddow playing video released by the FBI of the still-at-large person who left pipe bombs at the RNC and DNC headquarters on 1/6. Creepy images, and disturbing that we can see their shoes to the point they’ve been ID’d (the shoes, not the wearer), I think we see them stopping to send a text or check something on their phone (an address) strolling casually through the streets… and we can’t find that person.
@trollhattan: You know what’s nice about that?
It’s assault. And since they used Uber, the cops know exactly who one of them is. These fuckers are going to jail.
@John Revolta: He was just standing up for his heritage, being a Scottie and all.
@Mary G: Sweet fucking lord, what reporter asked that????? Euthanized for a tiny little nip on the hand? Good God.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Hilarious. And mighty impressive for a little fella.
I just had an intriguing tought: that shepherd dogs see the sheep in the flock as family to be protected. This gives me warm fuzzies about GSDs.
And to finally merge all the threads – the woman is a dog trainer :D
Fala was a Scottish Terrier; in my experience (speaking of breed-stereotyping), Scotty people are kinda proud of their dogs’ curmudgeonly personalities!
Nothing happened. Not even a slight skin scratch. No teeth involved.
My only question is why is this a story? Who leaked this like something happened? Nothing happened. Except some Secret Service agent who knew nothing about dogs did something dumb.
@Anne Laurie: You’re right. I took it as a sign of affection, as he often seemed to prefer me to my IO, though your point about it’s being encouragement to step up the pace is apt.
The worst biter I knew was my aunt’s and uncle’s recently deceased Golden Retriever, Dudley. I don’t know what his previous owners did to him, but he came to them about a year old and with a habit of biting people from behind. Hard. My uncle had to resort to a shock collar for a week to break Dudley of the habit. Dudley was always highly anxious (again, first home must have been a doozy), but turned into a very social, friendly dog. He was also very LOUD, wailing and whining when excited, but that, my aunt and uncle could tolerate and manage. He was lucky he ended up with them; I don’t know of many homes willing to work with a 100+ pound biting dog because they could see a kinder animal hiding inside.
(This is not an endorsement of shock collars, btw. My uncle trained the horses when he was Mounted Police, so him I would trust to use a corrective device properly, but most of us, no way. He’s the only dog my uncle ever used one on and only for the biting. Desperate times and desperate measures.)
Waitress, I speak jive…
“Where’s the cat?” = “The cat? The cat??? I despair for the future of my country.”
“Today’s a good day for the cat.” = “There are many far more important things that we should be using this time for. Governance and policy, for example.”
“I don’t have any update on the cat.” = “We had no idea anyone would be stupid enough to waste time on this, so I don’t have a planned response.”
“We know the cat will break the Internet, but I don’t have any update on its status.” = “But fortunately I’m a fast thinker, so while stalling by subtexting your idiocy, I’ve come up with a moderately amusing remark that hopefully will end this ridiculous diversion.”
My German Shepherd—thirteen, ninety pounds, with a visible Husky admixture—is extraordinarily trusting of human beings. We joke that if someone broke into the house, the dog would cast a soulful glance toward the upper cabinet where the treats are kept and signal “Would you mind…?”
Yeah, but in the wrong direction. I take it this means at least two, and possibly as many as 29, Republican Senators are up to their necks in the conspiracy and are worried the FBI already has their phone records.
Clearly, a reporter who doesn’t know much about dogs.
Unfortunately, your reasoning involves mathematics — basic mathematics, to be sure; but it’s sciency and stuff, and Republicans don’t go for that kind of thing.
Oh, goody, a new idiot ball for someone to carry!
@Anne Laurie: One of my favorite parts of the WKC Dog Show (sadly postponed till June this year!!) is when the announcer is introducing the Scottie, and he always notes that this is a breed only for those who feel comfortable with a dog that feels “openly superior to its master.”
Trump might have raped over a score of women, but nobody ever asked if he was going to be euthanized.
@Alison Rose: Thanks for the reminder. I had good intentions to donate since last July when they were talking about reopening. Now I can watch the Jelly Cam guilt-free.
@KrackenJack: I love all their live cams!! I’ve put on the jellies and the kelp forest ones while reading, and love watching the otters too :)
@trollhattan: Holy cats! That’s right in my neighborhood. Hope I never run into these horrible, no good, very bad jackasses.
You must know that there is a cocker spaniel mafia here with whom you just picked a fight….
To be clear, the vote today was to “advance the nomination.” The formal confirmation vote is at 2:15 EST tomorrow.
@HumboldtBlue: What makes it even better is that your comment was #69 on the post. Nice!
It was an English Cocker Spaniel breeder who first warned me against ‘American shi-tzus’. The two breeds have become quite distinct, with the latter’s team breeding for floor-sweeping coats and severely snubbed noses leading to… well… some of the same physical & intelligence issues often associated with toy breeds, and I say that as a proud toy-breed person (Papillons).
I love your last paragraph, Anne, and it’s so important to remember about dogs. I live in Karachi, strays everywhere. In the lane behind mine there is a stray who has adopted a kitten into his pack, and he is sooo protective of her. My dog loves cats (in the good way) and would rather play with the kitten than with the stray, but the way he positions himself between my dog and the cat is, frankly, adorable. It’s not aggressive, just protective.
@Anne Laurie: Sure, but you’ll notice that it was an inter-cocker insult (and I do come from the English side).
@Alison Rose: So if you are allergic to cats, a Scottie is the canine alternative?
By definition, a prime number is divisible by itself and 1. But you knew that.
You mean wrong side.
Has anyone else watched Canine Intervention? (It’s streaming on Netflix.) The first episode was an aggressive dog – Lady Macbeth, the three-legged pit bill. And man, I don’t know how the owner had the guts to adopt her! Her backstory was that she’d belonged to a homeless man, which certainly ought to train in some aggression. THEN her owner got shot, and so did she and that’s how she lost her leg. And wound up a long time in police custody, as ‘evidence’. She loved her guy and he loved her, but she was aggressive with everyone else. Jas, the host of the show, assessed the situation, said it was obviously fear aggression – and got her all fixed up! I was amazed.
@Alison Rose: so it’s the dog breed for cat owners?
@?BillinGlendaleCA: No, the correct side.
@Omnes Omnibus: You sir, are mistaken.
@Omnes Omnibus: My parents’ cocker only bit grandchildren, but he could always be counted on to do that. My current cocker has never bitten anyone, not even the groomer he hates and fears.
Young GSDs are a lot of dog. Very intelligent. Very strong. Very opinionated. Very inexperienced. Best dogs in the world when they grow up and grow common sense. That takes a few years.
I am 67 and I have had a lot of dogs, and I have never loved a dog as much as my GSD. But she was a menace for her first three years. Not threatening. Just stupid and strong.
I very very much want another GSD, but at my age I could not handle another young one.
@sab: My GSD nipped a bit when young.
My husband used to tease her around her food. She growled and he growled and everyone had fun.
She had a massive Galileo nylabone for years. She gnawed on it a lot. For years.
One day she got frustrated by life and chomped her nylabone in half. Nobody knew her jaws were that strong.
My husband never teased her around food again.
@Mary G: I wonder how long it would have taken us to reach this point if Schumer & company hadn’t seized the opportunity the other night.
Or they could have put on masks.
My GSD Bella is now 10 and she can still be a handful to control, I rescued her at 18 months and she was so full of energy I built a corral to keep her from chasing every rabbit and deer in the county. I was in some serious depression and anxiety when we met and she has rescued me as much as I did her, love her to the moon and back.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
If I can make it out of Canada, that is. I’m headed for California.
Just got back to looking at this thread, and I appreciated your account. Our Rocky is still with us, a small and happy dog, with an increasing number of medications, notably for the heart.
The one symptom that has never left him was a need to lick something for several hours a day. Slippers and couches preferred. We still disagree about that. But he has three dog beds strategically placed for various purposes, and a couple of corners he has added to his private domain.
And he has limited screen time. Gets over-excited by dogs and horses, which can bring on asthma. When there aren’t any dogs or horses in sight, he keeps a keen eye on the screen. The Crown was difficult – he barked at a painting of a horse. Theoretically, that’s not really possible for dogs.
That was refreshing.