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Major Biden Likely Dealing With Social Anxiety In New Environment, Philadelphia Experts Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Major Biden, one of the president's dogs, remains in the dog house, so to speak. Yesterday, he nipped at a National Park Service employee at the White House.

Local experts say he's likely dealing with social anxiety. It's a problem that many dogs face in new environments.

"We love him, we love him a lot and he's definitely brightened up our lives and he's probably the best thing. The silver lining of the pandemic for us was getting Copper," dog owner Danielle Alio Capparella said.

There's a lot of love for Copper in the Capparella family. But Danielle says while the 7-month-old miniature dachshund is great with her and her husband, he's nervous with other people and dogs.

"He'll bark at new people or back away, run towards us or hide between our legs," she said.

In some ways, Copper is no different than the first dog, Major.

In the past few weeks, Major Biden -- President Joe Biden's 3-year-old adopted German Shepherd -- has nipped at least two White House employees.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's press secretary said of the incidents that Major is getting used to his new surroundings.

If your dog is having similar issues there are some things you can do to nip it in the bud.

"We want the animal to have time to decompress in the home," said Maddie Bernstein with the Pennsylvania SPCA.

That wasn't a possibility for Major or Champ, the Bidens' other dog. They were immediately thrown into a new house with new people and smells.

But Bernstein says giving the dog two weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings could make a huge difference.

"We recommend that the people who take the animal home don't have people outside the immediate residence coming to meet the animal," she said.

Knowing your dog's stressors and what calms them down could also help.

Marisa Sam is the owner of Philly Dog Training. She has two rescues, Super and Muffin, and says social anxiety is a real problem for some dogs in new environments. She says be ready to remove them from that environment.

"Instead of fingers crossed and being sort of tense and uncomfortable for everyone when the dog meets the new person," Sam said.

And remember, dogs need time to adjust, just like humans.

"Instead of constantly treading water, is an analogy I like to use in a brand new environment, there are times when we could just give them a rest," Sam said.

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