Furry friends to return to White House after Biden-Harris' historic win

Updated: 18 November, 2020 07:53 IST | Jovita Aranha | Mumbai

Soon-to-be first Dogs Of The White House, Major and Champ are already winning hearts of netizens and pet parents. We invited a canine behaviourist to share tips before you decide to bring one home

Jill Biden with Major and Champ. Pic/Twitter
Jill Biden with Major and Champ. Pic/Twitter

There's no doubt that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's iconic win in the 2020 US elections broke ground in many ways. Apart from the political milestones, one of our favourite upgrades remains that the White House will witness the return of pet dogs. German Shepherds (GSD); Major and Champ will bring back the woofs and tail wags after former President Barack Obama's Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Bo left the world-famous residence in 2016.

The consummate guard dog and family companion, German Shepherd
The consummate guard dog and family companion, German Shepherd

These two German Shepherds are now the toast of animal lovers on social media. Canine behaviourist Shirin Merchant shares what to factor in if Indian pet parents are keen to bring the breed home. “Considered the consummate guard dog and family companion, the German Shepherd has an innate instinct to protect its family and home and can be quite vociferous about it. It is not a breed for people who don't want to invest time and effort in socialising, exercising and playing with their dog,” Merchant says.

Shirin Merchant
Shirin Merchant

Keep in mind

1. Don't purchase a pup from a dealer or a pet shop.

2. Check the temperament of the pup's parents. If the mother dog is nervous or aggressive, chances are your pup could have inherited it.

3. GSDs in India are prone to joint problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy and gastric torsion. Take your time to ensure that your dog is free from genetic health issues.

4. Training is vital from an early age. Avoid methods of intimidation or pain which can backfire and invoke mistrust. Toys and games are more effective rewards than treats.

5. Bred to have a strong chase instinct, they are likely to chase children, cyclists and other animals. Never curb this instinct; instead redirect it into a fun game to control it.

6. While well-mannered German Shepherds can adjust to apartment life, they require daily exercise and active socialisation.

7. Brush their coats regularly to control shedding and mats. Known to blow coats twice a year, the breed isn't for people who dislike dog hair on their clothes or furniture.

8. If you lack commitment, choose an adult dog. While a pup's character can be moulded, an older dog has a set behaviour.

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First Published: 18 November, 2020 07:38 IST

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