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Why Major Biden keeps biting — and what it should tell you about rescue dogs

| Apr 23, 2021 | Dog Bites/Attacks |

Dog lovers everywhere rejoiced at the news that President Biden would be bringing his dogs to the White House, including his beloved “rescue,” a three-year-old German Shepherd known as Major Biden.

It didn’t take long, however, for Major Biden to end up in the proverbial doghouse. After some aggressive, excited behavior that included pawing and jumping and a couple nips, Major Biden was sent away for retraining.

At least one dog expert says that the retraining may need to focus less on controlling the animal’s behavior through rewards and punishment and more on identifying the things that are triggering its fears.

What is fear aggression and why is it so common in rescues?

Fear aggression is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: A dog may react with nervous hostility toward something (or someone) that triggers its fears.

When you know a dog’s entire history from puppyhood on, it’s easy to understand what could cause them to react in a negative fashion. When you adopt a rescue dog, however, you may have no idea what makes a dog nervous — until you see them react by growling, snarling, nipping, jumping and (quite often) then running away.

If a dog was abused, for example, by a man who always wore a hat, the dog may exhibit fear aggression to other men with hats — but not women or children. If the dog was tormented by a young child, the dog could be lovely with adults but react badly to a child of the same age or size as the child that once hurt it.

What happens if you’re injured by someone’s rescue dog?

There’s no doubt that someone who takes in a rescue dog is kind-hearted — but that doesn’t erase their liability for their pets. If you were injured by a dog bite, you have every right to expect your medical bills and lost wages to be covered. You may also need compensation for your pain, suffering and scars.

Working with an experienced dog bite attorney can help you get the compensation you are due.