For Immediate Release: HOme Dog Training of South Florida Explains Why Did Barney the White House Dog Bite a Reporter!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida November 14, 2008As stories of Barney the White House Dog biting a reporter surface, Home Dog Training of South Florida sheds light on the incident. Bark Busters explains why Barney bit the reporter and how you can prevent your dog from doing the same.

“Barney was not in the mood for attention from the reporter,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and trainer, Home Dog Training of South Florida. “Whether he was angry about the election or just unsure of the reporter, Barney’s body language showed the reporter that he wasn’t interested in the attention. By watching a dog’s body language, incidents such as these are easily avoidable.”

Why did Barney bite the reporter?
1. Barney was on a leash, with no way to escape. Dogs on leash are often more tense or on edge because they cannot flee in a moment of stress or potential conflict.

2. Barney's body language was very clear: “Leave me alone!” His body language showed that he was feeling scared or nervous. His ears were back, tail was down, head was down, body was very still. He was not looking at anyone and was trying to avoid conflict.

3. When the reporter bent down to pet him, he hovered over him, and Barney possibly saw that as a physical confrontation, as this conveys overbearing or threatening body language. After all his other warning signals went unnoticed, Barney reacted and bit Associated Press reporter Jon Decker.

How could this have been avoided?
Never assume a dog wants to be petted. Allow the dog to come into your space, as opposed to you invading his like this reporter did. Allow the dog to smell you but don’t put your hand out – let the dog come close to you on his own terms. Face the dog at all times, but don’t make eye contact with the dog or stare – this can be perceived as a sign of aggression. Be calm in your movements, and avoid leaning over the dog, as this may be interpreted as a threat.

Although Barney won’t have to deal with reporters and paparazzi for much longer, it is important to know why he lashed out. Home Dog Training of South Florida's dog behavioral therapists, such as Robin Edwards, are renowned authorities in the area of dog behavior. Their training system can successfully train any dog, even puppies. The company’s natural training technique leverages the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctual pack mentality.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at


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