One of President Biden’s dogs has bitten several Secret Service agents, and even sent one to the hospital, part of a series of at least 10 incidents of “aggressive behavior,” according to internal emails recently obtained by a conservative watchdog group.
The correspondence shows that Commander, the nearly 2-year-old German shepherd, has struggled to adjust to life at the White House, where he arrived in 2021, and Delaware, where the Bidens own two homes.
Early in November 2022, for instance, officials on the White House medical team chose to send an officer whom Commander had bitten on the arm and thigh to the hospital, according to the emails obtained by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based conservative group.
Just a week later, while walking with Jill Biden, the first lady, Commander bit an agent on the left thigh. That same month, another agent was left “shaken,” according to the emails, when he felt the need to hoist up the chair he was sitting on to use as a shield when Commander began barking at him from the top of a White House staircase.
Six of the incidents were bites that resulted in some form of medical attention, according to the emails, which were sent between October 2022 and January 2023. Agents played down other aggressive incidents in which Commander did not puncture skin or was rather “playful.”
He is not the first of Mr. Biden’s dogs to misbehave. In March 2021, the Bidens shipped two other dogs, Champ and Major, to Delaware for about two weeks of training after Major, a shelter dog, had what was described as a “biting incident” with a White House staff member. Champ died later that year.
The Bidens have partnered with the Secret Service for “additional leashing protocols and training” to rein in Commander, according to Elizabeth Alexander, a White House spokeswoman.
“The White House complex is a unique and often stressful environment for family pets, and the first family is working through ways to make this situation better for everyone,” Ms. Alexander said in a statement.
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the agency is not responsible for training the first family’s dogs. Executive residence staff handle walking the dog, with agents occasionally following close behind, he said.
“While special agents and officers neither care for nor handle the first family’s pets, we continuously work with all applicable entities to minimize adverse impacts in an environment that includes pets,” he said. It is unclear how much formal training Commander has received.
The White House has established designated areas for Commander to run and exercise. The dog was seen walking along White House grounds and going to the bathroom on Tuesday.
“According to the Secret Service, each incident referenced was treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed,” Ms. Alexander said.