"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Aggression Problem in a Maturing Cane Corso

– Posted in: Aggression, Behavior Problems, Breed, Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), Columns
Cane Corso

Cane Corso

“Some people have recommended that I put him (Cane Corso) down”

Hello Mr. Wade,

I have a 14-month-old Cane Corso. He a 140 pounds highly energetic, affectionate and fairly protective dog.

An obedience school trainer told me he would not benefit from obedience school and would have a better chance with someone like you. He has never bitten anyone, but has snapped at a few dogs, as well as the vet and the trainer at the obedience school.

Sometimes I think he doesn’t understand how big he really is. I need help to learn how to calm him down, help him to be more of a social dog and able to play well with others, easier to walk and to help get him to stop jumping up on humans.

I am curious if his breed has some sort of predisposition to any of these problems and if these problems are worth fixing. Some people have recommended that I put him down, but I strongly oppose that view, so any help will be great.

B.C.

Dear B.C.

If people are already at the point some are suggesting you put him down there’s something you’re not telling me. I know you’re writing because you want to do right by your dog but I suspect if you’re not already in over your head you soon will be. Asking if a Cane Corso is “predisposed to those sorts of problems” and I’m assuming you’re referring to being “fairly protective”, snapping at dogs, the vet, and the trainer is like asking even a casual hockey fan if Don Cherry enjoys sartorial splendor as much as a good clean hit.

It’s not a matter of whether Mr. Cherry or a Cane Corso is good or bad; it’s about Mr. Cherry being Mr. Cherry and a Cane Corso in the wrong hands being a Cane Corso in the wrong hands. If you have to ask if your dog might have a “predisposition” then those wrong hands are likely attached to your arms.

How anyone could have a Cane Corso for even a couple of weeks and not at least Google such an unusual breed seems weird to me. If you had, you’d have learned that you’ve bought the dog world’s version of Mike Tyson in his prime. This is not a breed for the faint of heart.

I’m not saying you can’t get on top of this but you did not buy a “pet dog” you bought a serious hobby. One very few people have the time and the handling skills to do right by. Many of this and closely similar breeds are being given the needle before they hit 3 years of age. Some are finding their way into the news for levels and acts of aggression that should concern everyone.

You can get a lot of things wrong with a lot of breeds and be given a pass. Get it wrong with a Cane Corso and you’ve potentially got a .44 magnum with a brain and no safety. If you truly care about and want to save this dog you’d best get on it with some intense training or get him into a rescue specializing in the breed. Otherwise, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t make 3 years of age either.

True enthusiasts of the breed know where this so often leads and they’re going to be hopping mad not so much at you but at whoever put this dog in such inexperienced hands.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

114 Comments… add one
Bren July 17, 2014, 9:51 pm

Cane Corso is a very serious dog. He will try to own you. You must show dominance and he will recognize the dominance and step down. Maybe it’d because I’m 6’6 and 240lbs but my 16month cane corso knows his role in MY house. Dominance / socialization. But mostly DOMINANCE and NO get the ‘ put him down ‘ thought out of your head. That’s a shame you even thought that to begin with.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade July 18, 2014, 10:25 am

Hi Bren,

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment particularly as you are a Cane Corso owner. I work with this and similar breed regularly and the sort of problems this person is having appears to becoming more common as more and more people are purchasing this type of dog without understanding what it is they are buying. Over the approximately 30 years I’ve been working with dogs I’ve seen this sort of pattern with certain breeds pop up before and it is never a good thing for the breed or the breed enthusiasts in the end.

I certainly agree with the first part of what you say, that a “Cane Corso is a very serious dog”. As to the solution being “dominance”, I can’t agree or disagree, as the word “dominance” has come to mean so many things and the way “dominance” is achieved/expressed – human to dog has even more interpretations. For some people it is completely tied into the concept of “Might is Right” which I think has its limitations.

As to whether a dog needs to be put down, while never to be taken lightly I’m loath to shame a person for considering it. With one out of two children before the age of twelve being bitten by a dog in North America and the increasing number of Cane Corso and similar breeds getting media attention for vicious attacks we have to be more careful I think before we shame someone for considering ending a dog’s life as an option. Keeping dangerous dogs around is not good for people or dogs. I’m not saying it’s not a horrible thing but when all reasonable options are exhausted and the safety of the owner, household members, friends, neighbours etc is in serious jeopardy, which with a breed as “serious” as a Cane Corso, putting the dog down as an option needs to stay on the table.

Also a heads up, I see it more with males than females but your own dog is only 16 months old. The real challenge with male Cane Corso doesn’t really kick in until they hit about 18 months. That’s when the real “serious” starts with them and until they’re 3 years of age I don’t recommend owners think they have their dog all figured out.

John

Aaron May 23, 2017, 10:32 am

I have a blue Corso she’s almost 8 months and my 30 lbs 4 year old daughter can handle her. That being said I myself have brought this puppy up in my home with all four of my children ages 4-10. These dogs are very intelligent and protective if you don’t train them in simple obedience and follow through with you’re commands every time they will learn to get what they want their own way and try to be the dominate leader. Also just as a not I’m 5’8″ 145 not a big guy Napoleon wasn’t either leaders come in all sizes a good leaders are consistent and have the big picture in mind

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 23, 2017, 5:18 pm

Hi Aaron,

I get a few letters like this where conclusions are being drawn when it’s far too premature to draw those conclusions. It’s the sort of setup that often ends up with the Cane Corso owner saying at a later date. “It took me totally by surprise…” and furthermore unnecessarily tarnishing the breed’s reputation.

As you brought him up, I fear that you underestimate the Cane Corso breed in a manner not dissimilar to Napolean’s underestimating in the campaigns that lead to his defeats, abdication and exile.

Perhaps you’re being intentionally hyperbolic when you say that “my 30 lbs 4-year-old daughter can handle her.” For the sake of anyone that is seriously interested in this breed, please ignore such comments. A four-year-old child has barely mastered toilet training and still can’t cut their own meat. To say they can realistically “handle” a dog, any dog, let alone a guarding breed with the nature of a Cane Corso is besides being ludicrous, a huge red flag that the Cane Corso in question is quite possibly owned by someone that doesn’t truly understand the nature/genetics of the breed they’ve bought.

Another enormous Cane Corso klaxon in your message is that an opinion formed about a dog, any dog, let alone a guarding breed with the nature and developmental periods of a Cane Corso, when the dog is not even 8 months of age is one that is the basis of why I get so many problem letters, phone calls and appointments for this breed. The vast majority of Cane Corso dogs will to the layperson behaviourally speaking, be very similar in nature to a Labrador Retriever at the same age. The difference is that when the Labrador Retriever hits young adulthood (approximately 18 months of age) it will still be a Labrador Retriever. A Cane Corso however, should become something quite different in some very significant behavioural areas.

In addition, and on a related note, while I think I get your point and agree with it if I do understand correctly, technically, if taken literally, to say “These dogs are very intelligent and protective if you don’t train them in simple obedience” is completely untrue. Obedience will not impact the dog’s intelligence and more importantly protectiveness. Obedience taps into intelligence and if sufficient creates a relationship where the natural guarding traits of a Cane Corso are less likely to run amok. Obedience is however only one factor, there are others that will positively and negatively impact protectiveness as you call it.

Furthermore, “simple” obedience is not, in my opinion, an option for a Cane Corso. Advanced obedience, to the extent that it becomes the owner’s hobby, goes hand in hand owning a dog of this nature. If you continue on the path you seem to be on I think you will find this out somewhere between 18 months and 3 years of age with your dog.

With regard to your Napoleonic reference, I agree that whether we’re talking about intellect or physical size, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the “dog”. Please don’t let this Cane Corso puppy’s willingness to do do a few tricks for a four-year-old child lull you into the impression that it’s just another Labrador Retriever. To anyone reading this, ditto.

P.S. For a pretty decent training guide for a Cane Corso, I recommend reading my book –

John ‘Ask the Dog Guy’ Wade

Key Harris July 27, 2014, 2:51 pm

My Cane Corso is very territorial over the house and those living in it, so we’ve noticed when we have male friends or family members over, she’ll bark at them/try to jump on them if we don’t put her away. She doesn’t have a bite history, but has nipped some who has come into the house.

Matt November 2, 2014, 1:25 am

First of all why didn’t you choose to socialize him earlier and correct him when he did something wrong. I personally received my cane corso from a shelter and at the age of sic months she was snapping at other dogs and people because she was so sensitive. I have never met a 140 pound corso that was not a mix so if you did get him from a shelter talk to them and they will help you ALOT. If he is nipping at this age you are in for alot of trouble because you should have taught him bite inhibition earlier. But if you would have done that then you wouldn’t of posted this so what you have to do is give him constant socialization while being on stern watch. When I noticed my pup becoming really aggressive at 6 months she was already 85 pounds so i looked up a bunch of different training videos and the two that worked best for me were the following. When on walks i got a prong collar and before we used it i let her get used to it so she knows that she is not supposed to pull plus the little pinch the prong collar as causes her brain to snap out of it and through that i could easily control meetings between her and other people as well as other dogs which was a huge problem. If the prong collar doesn’t work i would recommend protection work so he can drain his energy while being strictly taught when to use his bite as well as strength.

Tray November 10, 2014, 1:14 am

John I have a 16 month old cane Corso and he’s really a great dog with one exception…when we go for walks. When I take him for a walk, he always tries to bite at the leash, jump on me, or bite my arm. He never bites down but I can tell that he is getting upset because I’m disciplining him but he won’t stop. He does what I say in the house and when I take him in the yard to play with the flirt pole but walks are a different story. It takes a lot to get him under control and I’m not a small guy. Once I get him under control then he’s fine for another 5 minutes and hes back at it again. What should I do? I lose my cool since he does it so much on the walks and I need help. Is it because he’s still young or is this a major behavior issue to be concerned about?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade November 10, 2014, 2:00 pm

Hi Tray,

It’s not uncommon for dogs to behave this way when it comes to walking time however it’s usually triggered when during the training the handler moves from a walk to a jog. At that point some dogs seem to get quite joyous and begin to jump up at the handler and/or the leash often mouthing at both. How you respond is somewhat dictated by how the dog perceives the person that is handling the dog. When a dog doesn’t seem to “get it” it’s usually for one of three reasons. First is that the dog doesn’t perceive that the person handling the dog isn’t the teacher. That doesn’t mean the dog doesn’t like or love them it just means they don’t see him or her in that role and so don’t respond to direction.

The second reason is that the handler hasn’t succeeded in getting the dog’s attention before they are providing guidance. They may be doing what they normally have done with success but if the area they are training in (distractions) is more stimulating then the areas where techniques that have worked in the past they may not work. They may in fact contribute to winding the dog up even more.

The third reason is that the trainer/handler has fast forwarded their training and missed a step. This is very common amongst dog trainers and dog owners alike when it comes to teaching a dog to walk/jog/run/roller blade/bicycle on a loose leash with their handler.

I would suggest a little indoor test to do with your dog. Set your watch/phone/oven timer for 3 minutes Call your dog to “Heel” and walk around your home for the 3 minutes. Alter your direction and pace and see if your dog actually knows what “Heel” means. If he can’t do 3 minutes in the relatively sterile environment of inside your home you’ll probably find solving the problem you’ve written about easier to to resolve for both him and you if you lay a stronger foundation and then incrementally add distractions and environments.

I do have some instructions that I send people when the buy my Power Steering Dog Walking Collar that I can send to you if you want.

John

Cassie November 22, 2014, 9:14 pm

Hi John,
My husband and I are considering taking in a Cane Corso who the current owner has stated has aggression issues with strangers coming into her house unless they have a dog with them. Then at that point he follows the other dog and lets that dog take the lead (alpha) position. She has also stated that he has bitten about 13 people, 1 being her 14 year old daughter, but has never shown aggression to her or her 4 year old grand daughter. My husband and I have worked with our German Shepherd that we had with almost identical aggression and behavior issues, which we were able to reverse over time. We currently have an American Bulldog, who is very well behaved without aggression issues. We are very interested in working with and rehoming this Cane Corso. We are just unsure, curious rather, the best way to go about correcting his issues and behaviors as we have never worked with a Cane Corso.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2015, 5:01 pm

Hi Cassie,

In my opinion the only advice a professional would offer someone thinking of taking on dog with 13 bites and that is unsure and/or curious about the best way to go about it is don’t look for advice (or give much credence to advice received) in this way. Work with a professional one on one and select that professional very carefully.

-John

cathy January 2, 2015, 9:49 pm

II have a 10 month old cane corso , I had one for 13 years .this new dog seems to nip my leg , hand if I don’t pay attention to him, I had him obedience trained by the breeder, but he only listens to men I don’t know what to do

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2015, 4:46 pm

Hi Cathy,

Was the last Cane Corso you had a male or a female? I often find the males quite a different kettle of fish. As to what you do there are 2 options at this point. The first is try to train the dog. That’s a bit of an oversimplification because there are a variety of factors that influence outcome. The dog’s genetics, blood lines, how good a match those are for your handling skills and life style to mention a few. Finding a good trainer can be difficult. Dog trainers are a little like driving instructors. It doesn’t take much to find someone to teach you to drive a mini-van. Finding someone to teach you to drive a high performance vehicle properly is a little more difficult and that’s more the category of a male Cane Corso. The biggest difference is that in the dog training world a lot of trainers think the mini-van and the Ferrari training is the same so you can find the wrong trainer more easily than the right trainer. Let me know your locale and I might be able to point you in the right direction.

If the match is bad then before things get too far out of hand finding him another home is your other option. If it comes to that it’s better to act sooner rather than later as reputable rescues and good homes don’t take aggressive dogs that are difficult to rehabilitate. I would recommend seeking a breed specific type rescue. Google the breeds name along with the word rescue and the region you live in to learn what your local option are. Don’t hesitate to contact any Cane Corso rescue though no matter where they are located in North America. Breed specific rescues are often linked and one from afar may be able to connect you with one closer or even find a way to help through long distance transport.

Patti Tabor February 10, 2015, 10:40 pm

We got a Cane Corso from breeder (cast off) at 8 months old who suffered from serious anxiety issues. A trainer told us we should get rid of her as soon as we got her but I didn’t Want to give up without trying. As a previous owner of a Doberman I am aware of the importance of being a firm leader. Our girl is 19 months old now and she is an amazing dog, very sweet. In addition to being firm and sure it is important to exercise your Corso regularly and vigorously. Mine has run as far as 9 miles with me. For us, this dog has been well worth the effort!

Connie March 24, 2015, 9:16 pm

I researched the breed in advance before I decided to get a corso. I am familiar with Danes and other dogs as I’ve had dogs my whole life. I ended up rescuing a corso that was on it’s last chance. His previous owner was a drug dealer that was intent on making this dog a fighting animal. The police raided his house and in it they found zues who was badly beaten (by human hands) and starved. They carried him out on a stretcher. Fast forward to me getting him and initially I had a male aggressive and dog-on-dog aggressive and fearful corso. Being firm but gentle with praise and rewards was enough to start the process of turning his temperment around. Initially he would not allow me to walk 3 feet from his side and after a week of ownership he allows me to walk away at least 10 feet before he comes to find me. Initially he would also growl, snap, and bark at anyone coming within 20 feet of me, excluding my child. Now I can pass people 5 feet away and all he will do is pull a little so it’s a work in progress. I was told by my vet to put him down because they had to sedate him to complete an exam and grooming. I was offended, appaled, and angry! I tried to explain to the vet the reason he was the way he was and the vet told me he was a dangerous animal. Did I listen to the vet? NO! Because I know this breed is protective! I did my research in advance and continue to research ways and tips for training him. I won’t give up and you shouldn’t either. Each day I see him become more obedient, flinch less, and want interaction more. He will be a good dog but I will always have to watch him and be aware of his surroundings. Research the breed!

Elaine April 15, 2015, 2:33 pm

I too have rescued an abused cane corso. I knew what I was getting myself into as she came from a drug dealer who was breeding her just to get the money from selling the pups. She had NO social skills and was kept in a basement the first year and half of her life. I’m not going to say it’s been an easy road. I’m an experienced dog owner and she pushes me but she is worth it. This breed must be given jobs and stimulated. Mine loves agility. I agree that this is not a pet dog, this is a hobby. You must spend time with and work this breed. I pray in a year she will be the wonderful dog I know she can be. My only goal was to help her be as mentally healthy and whole as possible. We are well on that road working with two wonderful trainers and taking many classes. If you don’t have the time or money to spend on them, don’t get this breed.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade April 15, 2015, 3:39 pm

Agreed and well done Elaine.

John

tim brown April 27, 2015, 6:17 am

my 18 month old female cane corso doesn’t show any aggression at all is there something wrong with her? is she just maturing slow or what?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade October 28, 2015, 5:20 pm

What sort of context do you think she should be aggressive where she is not?

John

Jesse Thomas Marquez May 14, 2015, 2:13 am

Hi John I rescued my CC from the original owner the girlfriend gave her to my sister because the boyfriend beat her and awlase picked on her because she is blind. I don’t think she can see at all. She was 6 months when I got her, now she is a year almost. I walk her alot try to train her for a hour a day but it just doesn’t seem to be working. She barks at every voice she don’t recognize or even if my door opens. She jumps up on people all the time. My sister thinks shehas add. She is awlase hyper I train her alot she knows to sit lay down heel all the basics but she gets to excited. My sister thinks I should get rid of her as do the people I stay with but I’ve grown a bond no-one understands. Im not going to give up on her I need your advice on what you think I should do. The vet says she is a dangerous dog and should be put down I got angry and do not accept to do that. Please let me know if it’s because she is blind and what I should do.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 14, 2015, 10:48 am

Hi Jesse,

You must be leaving out some essential information. I’ve never heard of anyone let alone a veterinarian label a dog as “dangerous dog and should be put down” on the basis of barking at voices it doesn’t recognize or jumping on people.

John

Anne May 21, 2015, 8:42 am

Hi John, I have a 22 mo. female Cane Corso and a 6 year old female Bull Mastiff that get along great. My C.C. is a loving and playful dog in our home and I’ve grown very attached to her as she to me. The issue is that we made the mistake of not socializing her which we never thought about since we always had large dogs and never faced this type of situation. We are now unable to take her into the public out of fear that she will bite. She barks at every noise and lunges at the door if she sees someone outside. Am I able to get her to a professional to break her of her fears? I cannot risk someone getting hurt but I want to know if it is too late to do anything?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 21, 2015, 12:51 pm

Hi Anne,

When a dog does not receive the correct socialization exposure between 3 and 12 weeks of age you will not be able to make up for that lack of exposure at a later date in the sense that the dog will not be transformed into a bomb-proof “Lassie” type outgoing personality. There are trainers who believe that they can cure poor socialization by “socializing” however in every case I’ve seen they were drawing conclusions based on the wrong evidence which brings us to what you can do for your dog.

While you can’t socialize an unsocialized dog in the true sense of what is meant by critical socialization much of the disturbing behaviour we often see an unsocialized dog exhibit are what I refer to as “drama”. That is not to say that at the core there isn’t a true anxiety. It’s just that without proper handling that anxiety often gets away from the dog and overtime sypmtomatically gets blown out of proportion. When I say proper handling I mean that when a dog has grown to believe the people they live with are from a relationship perspective more of a great college roommate as opposed to a “parental” type the owner’s attempts to help them develop better coping skills is far less effective.

The other area I focus on for dogs with this sort of condition is to make sure we teach three exercises (keep your leash loose – whether we’re sitting, standing or moving with the dog, come and stay.) in a much more professional way then is usually taught. By that I mean the dogs learn that these commands are not requests – they must do so no matter what. This is taught in a calm environment and distractions are introduced very slowly.

I’ve found that when these things are taught as a job as opposed to a trick for a treat the dog learns to focus on the task and trust the trainer when in situations where they previously exhibited aggression due to poor socialization.

Again this doesn’t extinguish the problem entirely but it does often allow for a dog to have far more access to their owner’s lives.

It is very hard in some areas to find a trainer with a sufficient skill set. I’m not sure where you’re writing from. (Try reading my book.)

John

connie roberts June 20, 2015, 1:05 am

I have two female middle aged dogs. A greyhound and an English lab. We researched the Cane Corso before we added a male to our family at 8 weeks of age. His brother who was the runt of the litter of 11 puppies was returned and we took him in too. Best decision we ever made. They are great dogs and have added so much to our lives but with anything good LOTS of time is involved. My boys are 16 months old now and are so great but with very different personalities. The runt weighs 125 and is attached to me. His big brother loves everyone and weighs 150. Both are blue brindles, one is dark and one is lighter. The runt had eye issues and required surgeries on both eyes for disticia (sp?) and cheery eye as well as auto immune issue that is under control. If I had not given him the care he needed as a puppy he would have been put down. People said having two male cane corsos together would never work but they were so wrong. All four of my dogs get along extremely well and we have a loving human/dog pack of seven. Don’t always listen to what others say because each situation is different. Raising two sibling cane corsos together is an awesome life experience and I feel blessed!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade June 20, 2015, 3:51 pm

Hi Connie,

For what it’s worth the sort of dog to dog aggression that can be quite serious often does not occur before 18 months of age and sometimes as late as 3 years of age. You may not be out of the woods just yet. Sounds like things are on the right track. Good luck.

John

cezar July 3, 2015, 3:04 am

Hi John, I own a 1 year 3 month old Cane Corso.
I trained him since he was 8 weeks old. He is a great dog and gets along very well with all the family members.
My concerns are that he still pees in a squat position and never shows any guarding instincts. Do this think his behavior will change in the coming months?
Cesar

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade July 5, 2015, 3:43 pm

Hi Cezar,

Lots of variables to consider before your question could be answered properly. What’s he supposed to be guarding that he’s not?

John

Deirdre MacNicol July 14, 2015, 11:36 pm

I have owned 3 cane corsos, never had a problem with any of them..all loving non dominant stable dogs..loving, doesn not need a leash nor any type of correction, just loves everyone and everything

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade July 15, 2015, 1:41 am

I could have easily accepted what you have to say however you lost me when you say, “nor any type of correction”. The last being on this planet allegedly born and lived so purely as to never need any type of correction died about 2000 years ago. 🙂

John

Alena Grantham August 5, 2015, 8:43 pm

As a Corso owner and enthusiast, it blows my mind how many people get into this breed without researching it first. I am truly saddened by the lack of communication from the breeders to the new owners. I was very fortunate enough to have a great breeder who has been very helpful and offered a lot of guidance. This breed isn’t for everyone and I’m very glad you are offering great advice to these people. I hope this breed isn’t on a fast track to a bad reputation like other breeds. Please people do your research. When in the right hands they make wonderful companions.

Samantha August 5, 2015, 9:56 pm

This dog obviously lacks leadership, boundaries, and socialization. Who took on the responsibility of this dog? Who’s fault is it? The owner of course. Putting the dog down is NOT an option. It is the owner’s responsibility to either find a breed specific rescue that has the experience to work with the dog or for the owner himself to grow a set and learn about this breed and establish that leadership role. If no one claims that role, any dominant breed will take it. Someone has to lead the pack. I am 5’3 and weigh 100 lbs. I have successfully rehabilitated 2 dominant breeds, both are males and outweigh me. Both were already adults and aggressive with people and especially other dogs. Obviously, it can be done! It’s all about patience, consistency, leadership, boundaries, and having positive energy. If your dog has a stronger will than you, clearly there are more issues here. I wonder if he has any children and what he would do if it was a special needs child that maybe was aggressive to others? Would he put the child up for adoption?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 6, 2015, 9:50 am

Hi Samantha,

I think the person that sold the dog bears some responsibility as well. I had a call last week from a woman told by the breeder that the breed was a good match for her autistic son. The dog is now 18 months old and has 3 bites in (escalating in intensity). While I admire your capacity for ” patience, consistency, leadership, boundaries, and having positive energy” I think it is unrealistic to expect that your skill set is necessarily easily duplicable (or even teachable/transferable) to all people. While I agree that what can be done should be done to keep a dog from being euthanized for aggression I believe the responsibility we have for the welfare of the dog does not absolve of us of our responsibility to our children, family, friends, neighbours etc. that are at risk of attack.

Lindy August 5, 2015, 10:34 pm

I have a 3 year old corso. Before I got this breed I ready on them for 2 years and I have had experience with etXtra large breed dogs. I have had him since 8 weeks old and even at that he would growl at you for petting him whle he slept, he would growl at you if he had food or a bone. I put him in socializing classes at 11 weeks old and took him to the dog park weekly. I would even hAve trainers come my my home. But as he matured he got more unpredictable. When he was a year and a half he attacked one of my foster dogs. Shortly after my sister moved in with her dog and kids and he attacked her dog over a treat, he also nipped her kids hands a few times not breaking the skin, he was guarding a couch pillow and our cat walked by him and he attacked the cat breaking his shoulder blade, he attacked another dog we got and still will nip at him. I thought about re homing him but I love my dog and don’t want to give up on him. But I feel I have tried everything. Aslo, when he was six months old he was attacked by a large doberman and almost every other time we would go to the dog park a dog would start a fight with him. The dog trainers said it’s because he’s insecure. He never would fight back until he was about 2. Now I feel I can’t take him out around other dogs afraid there will be a fight.

wendy muse August 5, 2015, 11:47 pm

I feel like I lucked out with my cc. I rescued him from a bad situation at 9 yrs old. We was locked in a room for most of his life. He is truly the best dog. He is well aware that I’m his pack leader. More lazy then anything. But will definitely protect me or his yard. I have socialized him with people and other animals. I still make sure he is in my control when meeting people. Some he likes some he doesn’t. I refuse to lock him away when I have guests. I tell everyone who hasn’t been to my house before to ignore him. If he likes you he’ll be your best friend. If he doesn’t he just ignores them. And no one is allowed to pet him until he accepts you. He is truly the best friend a person could have. He is now 11yrs old

wendy muse August 6, 2015, 12:00 am

I rescued my cc at 9 yrs old from a bad situation. He was locked in a room most of his life. He is a great dog and my first cc. He is mostly a lazy lap dog but will protect me and his yard if need be. Had a guy run up on the porch that he didn’t know and was wildly barking and growling. I yelled uah uah (we use sound commands) and he instantly backed off and came to my side. He knows that I am his pack leader. I also refuse to lock him up if I have company. I tell people who have never been to my house that I do have a big dog and to just ignore him and do not pet him until he warms up to you or if he doesn’t like you he will ignore you and lay at my feet. I feel so lucky to have a great dog that is my best friend

Celeste August 6, 2015, 12:18 am

I’ve been showing Corso in both obedience and conformation for about ten years, and I’ve owned the breed for about six years. I absolutely agree with the Ferrari analogy….a Ferrari is not a bad car, but the average driver has no idea how to handle one. Being a firm but gentle leader does not necessarily rely on physical size and intimidation (I’m 5’4″ and barely outweigh the average male corso). They’re looking for a quiet self assured leader who conveys calm. They can watch you and know ” Ah, she’s got a handle on things, I can sit back and not worry”. Are they predisposed to being protective and teritorial? Absolutely. They’re a 120 – 130lb guardian dog. They have been bred for centuries to exhibit a certain type of behaviour. What’s they need is a firm leader who makes it clear when and how they should channel that instinct. Please, please, please interview trainers before you ever consider this breed and be wary of corso that have behavioural issues you have no experience with. If you’re not a mechanic or have experience with performance cars, maybe a Ferrari that sometimes brakes and sometimes doesn’t isn’t the car for you….

shirley nejadfard August 6, 2015, 9:14 am

I have a 6 year old male / had a female before him she was just terrible mean ( we did end up putting her down at 1 year) . I work for a vet for 28 years now have seen all types of dogs…I wish I could make people understand that these dogs are breed this way / people always try to say its the owner but as a cc owner these dogs are a bomb ready to go off! First of all I have learned first hand and people disagree but these and other breeds of this aggression should be neutered at 5 months atleast this helps the males ! But I took my dog to work everyone played with him I took him in and out of different doors at work , we put him on the table ,we had him in cages ,everyone pet him ,this did help he has never tried to bite anyone at the vets office (people take your dogs, not just for shots!) Anyhow he is very aggressive at home we lock him up if anyone comes he does not know and he hates, hates kids???? We lock him in a room if kids come with a lock on the door. This is something we have not ever been able to stop him from doing and can not chance it. I just really want people to know that this is the breed….This dog is a weapon / you can not trust them for 1 minute in a new situation . It takes a strong person very strong ..

Selina Skipper August 6, 2015, 9:22 am

I have had Corsos since 98. There are a lot of poorly bred Corsos out there with unstable temperaments. Careful research needs to be done before purchasing.

shirley August 6, 2015, 9:50 am

This is soooo true ! People need to be aware …

Jessie August 6, 2015, 10:17 am

I have a two year old Cane Corso that we adopted from the breeder as a puppy. He was a tiny runt with a cleft palate. As I read about the breed one thing stuck in my mind “socialize early and socialize often or they will become shy”. He grew up with my grandkids, neighbor kids, and an assortment of dogs. We started puppy class at 12 weeks. He now excels in obedience (4 titles), search and rescue, and AKC tracking. He passed his herding instinct test and has dabbled in agility. He is the best companion dog I have ever had and is greeted warmly at all local restaurants and shopping malls. We are working on our therapy dog certification. I agree that this breed is not for everyone. They are very smart and loyal and need a job that challenges them both mentally and physically. The judge’s comment on his herding instinct test sums it up: “Very nice dog, kind but powerful”. That’s my boy!

Lisaa August 6, 2015, 7:25 pm

Hi John, I am concidering getting a cane corso and I own 4 chows right now—3 are males and 1 is female–any suggestions? Thanks!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 6, 2015, 7:34 pm

Hi Lisa,

Wow! Just wow. Whereas having a dog or two is having a pet, four chows would be enough work that I would consider it more of a hobby and now adding a Cane Corso to the mix is getting closer to having another full-time job. How did you find the time?

John

Dianna August 7, 2015, 9:07 am

Cane Corso is the best breed you can wish for. Have 2 now. You have a typical Cane Corso who is very protective. Btw tell yo the trainer who said u can’t changer his behavior to go and train rabbits! Such an ass!
First of all, find a trainer who knows mastiff. They are not like the rest common dogs. They are awesome! When u learned how to control your dog, u would never wish to have any other breed. Trust me. Join the Cane Corso group on Face Book. We will help you to change him in an amazing dog, as like true Cane Corso is.
Here is the fee groups u can join
CC de eduacatinal group
CC in deep mentoring
You will meet people ( many, many people) who love this breed and dedicated their life to it.
Trust me you choice of the breed is right. You just need to learn how to work with you dog.
Good luck.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 8, 2015, 11:49 am

While I admire your enthusiasm for the breed, I admire it only up to a point as I may be wrong but I get the impression that it approaches blind enthusiasm where we don’t take in to consideration that the Cane Corso breed is not for everyone and that some people simply do not have and will never have the life style, handling ability, training skill etc. to be a good match then disaster could be very well on the horizon. Sometimes when a trainer (good trainer) says that “you can’t change a dog’s behaviour” they don’t mean that the dog’s behaviour can’t be changed, they mean the dog’s owner is unlikely to have what it takes in other words they can’t change the dog’s behaviour whereas someone else might. Giving that advice might well save the dog’s life. I typically recommend a Cane Corso breed specific rescue.

I think most enthusiasts for this breed understand that blind enthusiasm is not good for the breed. I have found that people in ever increasing numbers are learning that they are in over their head. (One just the other day contacted me – 18 month old male, 3 bites in – sold to her by a breeder that assured her the breed was a great match for her autistic son.) I believe those involved in Cane Corso specific rescue will back this up. I love your suggestion regarding joining groups. I don’t think the Cane Corso is as much a pet as it is a considerable hobby and the more information you have the better decisions you’ll make for the dog.

John

Jared August 10, 2015, 3:11 am

I have a 100 pound female Corso. 4 years old, my absolute best friend. But I have to say the first two years are very tough with this breed, and I would consider it almost impossible for anyone living in a apartment/town home/condo. Unless you are well versed with big aggressive guarding breeds, and I’m not talking about pit bulls. These dogs are difficult to bring to heal, and I grew up on a ranch with working dogs. A corso will not only be one of the most stubborn animals you have ever met, but will bulldoze you if you don’t maintain the dominant role. As John mentioned, these dogs tend to mature late. So don’t think because your puppy gets along with everyone, you have a big softy on your hands. You do not, Corso are extremely athletic for their size. I’m a good sized man, over 225lbs and I have to stay vigilant at all times while walking my girl even now. She bends to my will sure, but this breed of dog will get after any perceived threat. Walking down a hallway and a door suddenly bursts open? I hope you have a tight grip on that collar, and a dog who will heal when commanded. Otherwise get ready for Carnage, a court date, your dog put down, and a hefty fine.

This breed should never be off leash in a public area unless you are extremely confident in your command of the situation. I spend countless hours with my Corso, socialized her very well. But when she hit adulthood, man was it stressful. I’m sorry to be redundant, but if your on the fence about your ability to be the Alpha. Then do not even consider getting this breed, by Alpha I mean firm, confident, and experienced with large aggressive dogs. Think along the lines of American Bulldogs, Rott’s, Dobermans, other Mastiff Breeds. Corso’s are probably more in tuned to guarding than any of these well known breeds, excluding Dobermans who make great guard dogs in my experience. But a large Cane Corso is much more stubborn than a Doberman, and a hell of a lot more powerful.

If you have the time, energy, temperament, and affection (these dogs are very attached to their families, and need lots of love as well). Then congrats, this is a amazing breed worthy of praise.

Jared August 10, 2015, 1:55 pm

I felt like I should also mention that there are not that many reputable dealers in the US. If you do your research, you’ll find a few that have authentic documented Italian Blood Lines. Please understand that even what they call a Pet Quality Corso (meaning these reputable breeders usually sell many of the liter to Corso people, people who plan to show the dog, or people who want a Guard Dog, that are capable owners). My Corso is from a great line but was the runt, and considered pet quality mostly because she didn’t have perfect conformation (front shoulders are a little off). These dogs are expensive, if someone is offering Corso pups for a few hundred dollars forget about it .

I am self employed, lived on a 600 acre ranch, and had tons of time to devote, as well as quite a bit of experience with dogs. I was very overwhelmed when my cute puppy started growling at anyone who walked near me. When before adulthood she loved everyone.

I’m not what you would call a enthusiast, but Corso need someone who really is going to go all the way. They are an amazing breed, if you gain this dogs trust, and it has confidence in you I can’t think of a better Guardian Breed. But always remember that even if you get through the hardest part, which is establishing yourself as the dominant one. You now have a 90-150 pound best friend, a best friend that is more vigilant when protecting its family than any dog I’ve seen ( I’ve witnessed much more territorial dogs, but never one who analyzes every person or thing that comes in your direction)

This is not a dog to ever keep in the house with small animals, you do not want it off leash when your kids and friends are rough housing, a corso is extremely protective of family. God forbid a adult your corso doesn’t know makes a wrong move around your kids. These dogs will fly into defense mode (in the Corso world the best defense is a great offense).

I’ve been around Dogo Argentino, when I lived in Miami, many APB’s, tons of cattle dogs, labs, Rott’s, my aunt had two large Dobermans. All great dogs, Corso may not have the animal aggression of some of these other breeds (specifically I don’t find them all that dog aggresive). They are man stoppers, not to mention they have a strong prey drive. True story: I had just rolled onto my family’s ranch, mid day. My Corso was in the back. I had the windows rolled almost all the way down, my girl just loves the air but I usually only roll them down that far when near home. All the sudden, a Big raccoon runs right in front of my car. I’m driving slowly around 5mph, well guess what happened. Before I had a chance to even think, my Corso jumped straight out of the back window in full flight. Hit the ground hard, no yelp only one thing on her mind. The ranch has one less Raccoon, and I learned a valuable lesson. This dog had been panting, toungue out, in dog heaven because she loves going for little rides. In an Instant the killer instinct came charging out, raccoon had no chance. My dog didn’t have a scratch, just a little scrape from hitting the asphalt when she jumped from my Jeep. Now imagine that was a kid on a skateboard, and your starting to get a idea of how quickly things can go wrong with a Corso. Thanks for letting me vent a little John. I have never had a better dog, but like your sports car analogy (which was spot on). I would compare giving a Corso to a unprepared owner, to the gun range instructor who gave the little girl a fully automatic Uzi. Most people can handle a 22 or 9mm, even if it’s there first time shooting. Well Labs and Collies are your 22’s, Corso, Neo Mastiff, Dogo, Kangal, Tibettan Mastiff, Caucasion Orv, these dogs are only for the well versed. They are fully auto ass kicking machines .

Thanks again John, I enjoy reading your blog.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 10, 2015, 4:45 pm

GREAT Input Jared!

– John Wade

shirley August 11, 2015, 8:45 am

Jared you hit the nail on the head when you said in an instant…..the killer instinct came out…what if it was a child> These dogs are a loaded weapon / you need control every second..

Lena August 23, 2015, 4:08 am

Hi,
I’m currently not a cane corso owner because I’m doing as much research as I can now before getting one. I have 2 questions. First, I have an 8yr old downer dachshund (meaning she’s handicapped from her 2 hind legs & uses a wheelchair), can a puppy cane corso, that grows up trained eventually harm her in any way? Second question, I love dobermans as well. If I were to get both a doberman & corso, as puppies & trained together, will they grow to to be a pack together or will 1 try to harm the other? I don’t think I could handle 1 trying to dominate & kill the other. I figured if they are raised together they should do fine, right?
Thanks for your help!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 23, 2015, 12:10 pm

Hi Lena,

My reply can be found here: http://www.askthedogguy.com/will-cane-corso-hurt-my-dog/

Nikki August 29, 2015, 12:05 pm

We have an 8 month old female Corso; can someone recommend some Corso groups for us to join? So far so good, but if we come across any problems, I would like to have a few experienced owners to chat with. Thanks in advance!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 29, 2015, 12:46 pm

This would be a great resource and very useful to people! This column gets a ton of hits so I know people are looking for helpful resources.

John

Jake S September 6, 2015, 6:46 pm

I have owned Corsos for well on 30 plus years now, you should all do yourselves big favors and never and I mean never ever ever play tug of war with your corso or any aggressive style games period. Fetch and similar style things are fine but never anything aggressive and also never hit a corso but for that matter never hit a dog period. Best of luck to you all. And just for reference this is a breed that almost went extinct in the 1970s and is really a farm dog that could only be found in puglia Italy, it’s really meant as a farm dog and really should not be raised in a town.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade September 6, 2015, 7:00 pm

Thanks for the input Jake. I can’t agree with the tug of war across the board perspective though. I’m not sure I’d want a dog that I hadn’t trained well enough to accept when I said the game is over the dog understands that it’s over. I suspect that when a person hasn’t that level of control over their dog they may very well be into having the wrong dog. I’ve certainly seen that. I remember in a scent detection class a client with a nice Doberman was switched to an end of search reward of a tug it’s drive went through the roof (which I think is your concern) and the owner couldn’t shut the dog down once it got going (again – I think your concern). I didn’t have any problem and it was a great bridge for the dog achieving its next level. I think it was more wrong owner for the dog rather than the wrong activity.

– John Wade

Jake S September 6, 2015, 6:56 pm

and just for reference this is a breed that almost went extinct in the 1970s and is really a farm dog that could only be found in puglia Italy, it’s really ment as a farm dog and really should not be raised in a town.

Andrew September 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

First, thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It’s been very informative for me and I appreciate it!

Second, I recently took in a Cane Corso from a shelter. I’ll give you the facts about him before I go into the behavior.
– no background known
– 10-12mos old
– found as a stray
– scheduled to be euthanized at the shelter after 10 days due to overfilling
– sweet disposition and playful with other dogs at the shelter (no surprises since most dogs aren’t themselves at a shelter)

Now to the behavior…he is crate trained, potty trained, and leash trained. Sounds like a dream, right? Well his issue is with other dogs, he’s aggressive towards them. The first incident happened when he saw my Great Dane – just a total eruption of fear, aggression, and anxiety. I could tell that he was not in a good mental state. Given my Dane’s experience with foster dogs and the shelter’s assurance that he was comfortable with other dogs, I didn’t think we’d have an issue – maybe a hiccup or two. Especially since the shelter has historically been very truthful with their assessments. Since his first day roughly three weeks ago, however, he has made huge strides – at least in my eyes. He and my Dane can co-exist in the room together, there are no growls when the Corso is in the crate and my Dane walks past. Even while walking on the leash his reaction to other dogs isn’t as drastic and he is becoming more accustomed to the sounds of busy streets. My question for you Mr. Wade (and anyone else willing to contribute) is how can I keep the progress going so that he eventually learns to be at peace when he sees another dog or a new human? Right now, I have really just been wearing him out with long walks before training him and I believe it is working. My training experience has been with Danes and Mastiffs, which can be difficult, but the Corso similarities to those two seems to end at the fact that they’re all ‘big’.

I have sought out a professional behaviorist in the area and after the consultation she recommended euthanasia. I am being 100% truthful when I say that there was no red-lining at the consultation of any kind. I believe her recommendation came from her previous experiences with some Corsos and she just kind of threw in the towel.

So, what can I do to keep this dog on a positive path? Any training techniques you can recommend? I believe he knows I’m the boss at this point after all the walks and training sessions. I’ve seen too much goodness in him to believe that he is a good candidate for euthanasia.

If you have any questions, or need some clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks,
Andrew

dan September 10, 2015, 9:46 pm

Just adopted my cane corso male. Almost 3 yrs old. He is amazing big baby. Has an amazing family. Del dauni conan is his grandfather. Mother is dual champ. Was raised with kids and other dogs. He get along great with my female border collie and my 3 kids. 3Yrs old 1yr old and a new born. He loves everyone he meets. He’ll bark and howl when you come over but once he sees everything’s ok he’s calm. He follows me everywhere. Also he is just an atention hog. But I know he came from a good breeder and a great family. Best trained dog I’ve met. Capone is a wonderful family dog. If I didn’t know the breed and trust my gut I wouldn’t have got him. Every meeting just went better than I thought it would. It was meant to be I guess.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade September 11, 2015, 11:26 am

Hi Dan,

Congratulations with a word to the wise (just because I like to make sure everyone dots their i’s and crosses their t’s with this breed and because I’ve worked with enough to know where things sometimes go wrong, especially if early intervention will prevent it) as you mentioned you just adopted him. I tell everyone this that gets an older dog, not just the Molossers. The first period you have an older dog doesn’t always reflect the dog’s complete nature. There are usually hints if you know what to look for. It’s sort of like if I was going to visit for an extended period of time. In the beginning you might write a fried as you’ve written me with a similarly glowing description. However a bit down the road you might come home and there I would be raiding the fridge in my underwear and think – “Ah the real John reveals himself.” It can take any dog including a Cane Corso a bit to settle in enough before their property guarding instincts pop up. It’s best to keep up with training that emphasizes you are the teacher, he is the student and that the house he’s in is yours, and that he just gets to live there.

Good luck

John

Joe September 25, 2015, 2:56 pm

I read through all of these posts, and to say the least I feel that most are over blowing this breed by a wide margin. Now granted I have never rescued an abused or poorly bred Cane Corso, but I am on my 2nd male and I have never had a problem. I don’t think they are different than any other large breed of dog. Again I did get mine through reputable breeders, and raised them from young puppies. I’ve had large dogs my entire life including a pit mix, shepard mix, rott, and 2 corso’s and I wouldn’t say the Corso breed is any more difficult than any of these other breeds. My first male was 3 years old when I had my first child and couldn’t have been better with the kids, even though he wasn’t raised with any. I brought 3 babies home with him there and they crawled all over him and he was excellent. I’m on my 2nd male now and again he couldn’t be a better dog. If you get almost any breed of dog from a reputable breeder and treat it and train it properly you shouldn’t have any issues at all. Of course if you mistreat, or don’t train your dog you can run into issues, but that goes for any breed.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade September 25, 2015, 3:57 pm

Hi Joe,

I would add socialize properly to your list (reputable breeder/train properly) but can’t agree entirely that large dog = large dog. Genetics and accompanying intensity varies considerably amongst many of the larger breeds and even amongst the Molosser breeds themselves.

John

dan September 11, 2015, 4:07 pm

Thanks for the reply. Makes perfect sense what your saying. I’m hoping he stays as he was with the other owners. I had him visit a few times alone at my house. About a month of visits before he came home for good. I definitely try to let him know I’m the boss. He has already tried pushing me around and testing his limits. Trying stuff he couldn’t get away with in his other home. On the couch,in the kitchen. I am stern but gentle and hope he knows his place in the home. I did a lot of research and try to keep up on the training. He’s basically a toddler iny eyes? We’ve had other dogs but not big ones. I did,have a rottie who was a bit,food agressive and he came around pretty quick seemed like with just talking. Kinda weird but they get. Mostly our facial expressions I think. Is that right? Capone the corso is a big boy and I hope he stays a good guy. He’ll be 3 in Oct. Is there demeanor pretty stable at that age? I tried a lot of,reading and have been interested in the breed along time. Just never wanted a puppy because I am not a good trainer. But Capone is very well trained and listens to me. I can tell him sit stay,leave room for 10 min come back and he won’t move till I tell him to. Could that just stop one day. Do they change a lot out,of no where? Also he took to me and my family much quicker then he usally does I was told by old,owners. Also the,breeder was involved. Even had me sign a contract. It was a long process but worth it. Any tips or,advice from anybody I’d love to hear it. Any personality changes all of a sudden?any idea why it happens?

thomas September 27, 2015, 11:31 pm

I will get straight to the point. I found n 8 week old corso from a local rescue. saw pictures of the dad, but didnt have much of a back story other then the person didnt have resources to take care of a corso litter. When I went to get the puppy, it was tiny and actually barley 6 weeks old! Additioanlly a little undernourished and supper clingy so far. Had I known he was taken from the mother this young, I probably would have not rescued it, but at this point it was too late.

my question is, what are my chances of having a stable family gaurd dog coming from unknown background and departing the mother so young?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade September 28, 2015, 12:06 am

Hi Thomas,

It’s a roll of the dice as far as genetics goes but that still leaves socialization and training and that’s entirely in your hands. I recommend you first focus on socialization. You have up until the pup reaches approximately 12 weeks of age +/- a week or so. I would recommend you read up on what that means because there’s more misinformation than good information available. For starters read my e-book – Socialize Your Puppy for Everything http://store.askthedogguy.com/ebooks/.

As far as training read my book The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template http://store.askthedogguy.com/ebooks/. There are some great tips that will help you directly and in the future if you decide to get outside training help you’ll know what to look for in a trainer for your Cane Corso and what to beware of.

– John

Pete November 10, 2015, 5:12 am

I have just got a 3 year old Cane Corso,had him for 4 weeks now,at first he was very hard work to take for a walk,pulling all the time,but now he is very good on the lead,when I got him I was told he was not good with other dogs,so I kept him away from dogs,well this morning while out walking him a small jack Russel come out of now where,and my dog was just like a puppy with the other dog,just wanted to play,I have noticed he will only bark at dogs that bark at him,otherwise he takes no notice of other dogs,brilliant in doors,so friendly and does as he’s told,is it possible where he’s had no contact with other dogs he can still be trained to be good with other dogs,but he is a great pet at home,and he likes to learn.
Pete

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade November 10, 2015, 12:42 pm

Hi Pete,

That’s good news then. However I’ll play devil’s advocate just to be careful. Dogs of any breed sometimes don’t “let their hair down” for the first few months so they haven’t always revealed their true face (it’s kind of like dating). In addition guardian breeds sometimes take a while to bond with the property or the owner before that guard behaviour surfaces and finally dog to dog aggression can be and often is gender specific, size of dog specific, breeding history specific and/or may not even kick in at all unless the other dog is on what is perceived by the “guarding” dog to be its property. Note that does not mean literally your property lines. It means what the dog sees and experiences on a day to day basis regularly. This can kick in all of a sudden on your walk when he sees other dogs if he dog gets it into his head the idea that he’s not so much walking as he’s patrolling the perimeter of his “estate.” The likelihood of all of this drops considerably (of happening a negative uncontrolled context) if the dog is clear as to who’s the teacher and who’s the student. Good luck with him.

John

yemi November 13, 2015, 6:18 pm

I have a female cc of 11 months looks very good but does not bark it is getting me frustrated because I needed a security guard dog it plays with everyone that comes around pls what can I do since armed robbers broke into my house in the early part of the year. Thanks

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 29, 2016, 11:41 am

Hi Yemi,

Contact a trainer to teach your dog to bark on command and then start alerting the dog to alert in the contexts you want her to bark. Be careful what you wish for though. Most people that think they want a guard dog soon learn what they wanted was a deterrent dog, and not the liability that comes with a guard dog like a Cane Corso.

John

Jen December 17, 2015, 12:15 pm

I have 3 girl Cane Corso’s all fixed, range from 75, 100, and 110 pounds and the best dogs ever. The dogs weigh as much as me, well I have 5 pounds on the biggest one. lol I have 4 children and the dogs love the kids and the kids love the dogs. We never had any issue with this breed. They are protective but that is why I got them. They all walk on a leash and my 7 year old can walk them with no problems. They can be social outside of the home (sweet and nice to people). If you enter my home you might not walk out. In the home and outside of their home they are completely different. They are a lot of work but the love they give you is worth it all. To be honest…it’s a love/hate relationship some days. They are not perfect but 90% they are.

Jo January 4, 2016, 5:04 am

Hello John,
I have two cane corsa’s and previously another big rescue boy who was no trouble at all until he died sadly of cancer. Both are trained with lots of love. The girl is perfect and loves cuddles and the boy is really protective of me, but seems to not like men. (can’t blame him ha ha) He came to us at 18 months old and was really nervous and always had his tale between his legs, he would nip any man that put his hand in front of him, not a serious bite but a nip. He is now 2 years old and has changed quite considerably, is happy but only seems to take instructions from myself, and will not obey my husband who tends to shout at him a lot and is aggressive with him which he thinks should work but I disagree. He had two cherry eye operations when he was younger and I don’t think he can see properly particularly in the dark, so I think this might be why he nips people who put their hand in front of him, but again it only seems to be men. He is a lovely dog other than this and gets on well with all our dogs, (we have 4) and the cat and the donkeys and sheep for that matter. Any ideas on how to stop the nipping? He goes out for walks with my husband and is fine with him, but he tends to follow me around all the time like a sheep and is a total protector of me. What do you think? He has never drawn blood or anything like that, but men do worry around him.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 4, 2016, 7:57 pm

Hi Jo,

There’s a big difference between being “really protective of me/a total protector of me” and “seems to not like men.” Neither in my opinion are the characteristics of a good dog. With regard to his being “really protective of me”, I hear and read that a lot from Cane Corso owners more often than not it’s said with a tinge of pride. There’s nothing any more admirable about a Cane Corso that’s prone to guarding then there is a retriever that likes to retrieve, a herder that likes to herd etc. It’s simply genetics. The problem that lays ahead for this breed in general which I’m pretty sure is doomed because people aren’t taking the latter part of the following statement seriously enough, – there’s an old saying, “You don’t teach a good hunting dog to hunt. You teach good hunting dogs to stop hunting.”

If this was simply just a matter of applying a training program that would have the dog understand that when told to stand down it must stand down, that would be one thing however the “seems to not like men” is quite another. This usually indicates some sort of hole in the dog’s early critical socialization which makes it fear based. If this is in fact the case you can’t fix it in any sense of expecting the dog to love men however you can if you have all your ducks in a row teach a dog to exert self control and take direction in a “Mother May I” sort of fashion. On paper that’s great in real life it’s rare for people to have their ducks in a row well enough to get a dog to stay on a mat with distractions while they make a cup of coffee for themselves and in my opinion if they can’t accomplish that due to life style, lack of ability etc they’re not going to save the dog.

I would start with some reading. Perhaps my e-book on behaviour and the one on socialization and then I would take what you learn there and start interviewing for a really good trainer.

Shag January 17, 2016, 2:08 am

I just wanted to comment and say that I agree with Jen (btw Jen, 4 kids and 115 lbs – that’s awesome) – I have a Cane Corso and he is a sweetheart – I love him and my boys love him. He is protective at home and around my boys (where he needs to be) and when we take him to the park and run him off leash – he is not a problem at all. I throw the ball and he brings it right back to me and drops it without me asking him to – he has been doing this since day one. I am 5’3 and he knows mommy is alpha. He does all he can to please me and he is my lap dog – seriously – he sits in my lap every chance he gets – he doesn’t realize that he is not as small as he used to be. He is also my shadow and follows me every where I go in the house – he never leaves my side. I would say that they are good 95% of the time. He still finds ways to annoy me at times but so do my kids and I love them all – haha.

Kat February 3, 2016, 6:56 pm

Hi John,

I’ve had my corso since she was a puppy and she’s is friendly unless she is on a leash she tends to bark at other people or dogs who walk by but has never bitten anyone or another dog. Even at the end of the run/walk when she is exhausted and dragging behind me she will still muster enough energy to bark. Are there any tips on how to help her with this anxiety? However, if she is off the leash at the dog park or at the doggie day care she is perfectly fine they tell me she is one of the goofiest friendly dogs they have at the daycare. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on and done my best to apply it when walking her on a leash but it doesn’t seem to work. She immediately stops when I tell her “No” or “Leave it” and does one more bark under her breath but I would like to prevent it from even starting in her head. In addition, we recently moved and she seems to have adjusted well but barks at every unusual sound in the new house. Now we have neighbors that are the same age as my 6 year old daughter. I’ve noticed my corso only barks at the children who are unsure of her other wise she is fine. Any advice on how I can handle her when other children come over that are not used to being around dogs? I would rather not conform to the easy solution of just crating her every time the neighbor’s children (whose mom hates dogs) come over but hope you may have some tips for me.

Thanks,
Kat

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade February 5, 2016, 2:58 pm

There are likely two separate things going on here. One related to the leash specific aggression which is pretty common and is often easy to fix if you are willing to go back to some basics. The child thing could be a bit more serious so I need some information first. How old is your dog currently? How old when you got her? When you’re home and not home where are her favourite places to hang out? (Near windows looking out on the street?) How much unsupervised time in the yard?

John

John February 7, 2016, 1:14 pm

Hi John

Two years ago I bought a townhouse in an urban area. My neighbors next door owns a 7 year old male cane corso. Separating our lots is a chain link fence that has seen better days. The issue I have is that the cane corso is very aggressive toward me when I am in the backyard. Weather it be doing yard work, grilling, or playing with my dog (male Boston terrier). The aggression is unprovoked I do not antagonize the dog in any way but he will bark with such ferocity snap at the fence and even ram his head into the fence. I have always been a dog lover of all sizes and have never had a do act so aggressive toward me. His owner has attempted to socialize him with me and he will some what behave when the male owner is present but if he is not the dog goes back to being aggressive. I fear that the dog does not get enough exercise and attention. Our back yards are not very big and I rarely see the owners walk the dog. I am at a loss at what I can do because I refuse to stop doing things in my backyard. In conclusion I have two questions:

1. I am going to put a privacy fence on my property that will be wood and 6 feet high. Will this at least table the cane corso a gfression when we are both outside?

2. Is there anything I can do to temper his aggression?

Anyone thinking about investing in this breed please make sure you have the time and resources needed to raise this dog. It’s not fair to the dog or your neighbors if you are not committed especially if you live in a city!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 29, 2016, 11:37 am

Hi John,

I don’t believe it is in any Cane Corso’s best interests from a mental health perspective to be left alone in a yard in urban environments (nor given unsupervised access when indoors to windows looking out onto the street). It simply tickles their territorial aggression fancy too frequently until it gets to the point where they simply trigger without thought.

A fence that he can’t see through may help but it won’t block his hearing and his access to his memory which may have connected those sounds to you and therefore to his aggression.

Personally if I had a dog like that living next to me and being handled so inappropriately by the owner I would start to document with notes, photo’s and video. I would check with the local authorities to see what the province/state had as far as dangerous dog legislation. Most areas have it, and depending on how it has been written up, a dog does not have to have committed an actual mauling or killing of another dog or a person to be deemed dangerous. It simply has to behave in a manner that is threatening. Whether or not such legislation exists or not, it can still be hard to get authorities to proactively act. They will typically state, “If the dog hasn’t been bitten we can’t . . .” They will state this even if the legislation exists that says otherwise. If they refuse to act and by act take care of the problem to my complete satisfaction, I would advise writing a non-hyperbolic letter with accompanying photos, incident dates, video on a usb-stick and sending in registered letter format to the local health unit, animal control, police presence, political representative etc. If it’s registered and doesn’t come across as a neighbour spat I think that each of the persons in authority that you have sent the data too will in very short order, if for no other reason than out a sense of “CYA” (career self preservation) act and return to you the right of quiet enjoyment of your property.

John

Carla February 19, 2016, 6:45 am

I have an 11 month old cane corso. We bought him from a breeder at 8 weeks old. He has always been closer to my husband than me and is very possessive of him. When he was approximately 8 months old, he “snapped” at me when I attempted to kiss my husband while he was laying on the sofa. 2 days ago, he actually bit my face/lip over the same situation. The dog and I spend a lot of time together & he is always affectionate with me. He doesn’t play rough with me like he does my husband. I always thought this was his sign of respect towards me. Now I am afraid of him. I don’t want to hug him because I am scared to put my face next to his. I am questioning if we should keep him or not. My husband doesn’t LOVES this dog. Is it true that once they bite, they always bite? He has not been nuetered yet. Will this help with his behavior towards me? I am so torn, because I love him too, but I don’t want to always wonder when/if he is going to bite me again.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 29, 2016, 11:22 am

Hi Carla,

There are a few possible reasons for a dog to do this and the most common is that the dog has a skewed sense of hierarchy in the household. If this is the case, you will either have to provide him with some clarity through training or assuming your spouse loves you more, find somewhere else for him to live where they have the skills to wizen him up. Find someone in your area with Cane Corso or similar Molosser experience to assess him.

John

Jodi March 19, 2016, 7:27 pm

Hi John, I got my Corso, Zena, when she was 9 weeks old. She is now 15 months old and the most amazing dog I’ve ever owned. In the past I’ve had 4 Dobermans and they were well behaved and then I got a Great Dane, who always had a problem with strange men and other dogs. I did socialize. I did training, but she was unpredictable. Anyway, we learned to adjust. My Zena is the smartest dog I’ve ever owned and the silliest. After a run on the beach, she’s in the tub before I even get my jacket off. She dispenses her own ice from the Ice dispenser on the fridge. She gets up on the vanity when I brush my teeth, so I do hers, and when I blow my hair dry, she stated in the mirror while I blow her dry. Cracks me up! However, I’m starting to see a few things I don’t like. She loves people, but when I’m in the car with her and someone passes us, she’s ferocious at the window, bouncing from one side of the car to the other. I’m driving so it’s hard to correct her. I’ve been working with her for off leash healing and she does very well. She plays rough, but when I say stop or no, she listens. I’m thinking of getting another Dane puppy but wonder if she will be too rough with him. She’s always trying to control my attention, so I think if she has a friend to play with, that would give me a break. So many questions. Will she be jealous of another dog? She is such a sweet girl, but a tough one.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade March 23, 2016, 6:40 pm

They’ll play rough but not too rough as a rule. It might be too rough from your perspective though . I don’t recommend getting another dog for the reason you’ve outlined though. Read this column for more information.

Heather May 1, 2016, 2:31 pm

Hi John, my son got his Corso from a local breeder at 5 weeks old! Isn’t that a little irresponsible on the breeder’s part? He told my son that they are let go so early because the litter begins to get too aggressive with each other.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 1, 2016, 2:50 pm

Absolutely. Not a breeder – a “greeder” Knows next to nothing about breeding other then the difference between a male and a female dog.

John

Britt May 10, 2016, 8:35 pm

Hi there
I have just adopted a 12week old cane Corso, male. I am ALREADY seeing do much aggression in him. He has drawn blood on my mother and boyfriend. This is not a normal puppy biting habit he has, I have always had dogs and know the usual biting.

Please help

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 11, 2016, 2:56 pm

Hi Britt,

Can you take some video and send it to me? http://www.wetransfer.com is a free service for larger files.

John

Heather May 11, 2016, 9:37 am

Hi John. Would a 4ft fence be sufficient to keep a Corso contained in a yard?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade May 11, 2016, 2:39 pm

Hi Heather,

Any healthy Cane Corso is athletic enough to easily scale a 4 foot fence. However, some would have to be taught to do so as otherwise they may not believe it’s possible. Others with sufficient motivation (depending on what’s the other side) will figure out how to do so without training.

John

Tyrell May 16, 2016, 1:06 pm

I have found with my 10 month old Cane Corso that If I take him on a brisk walk before the day starts (2 or 3 miles) minimum. He does not have all the pent up energy and seems to obey more willingly. I work with him 3 to 5 times a day on just obedience but keep the times short so he does not lose interest. I brought him to obedience school last month for the first time to work on more protective related issues and to work on his head aggression. It really boils down to the time you put in with your dog. The classes were more for me to figure out what I may be doing wrong to confuse him. It is important to be patient and socialize as much as possible. (Something I admit I should have done more of in the earlier stages of his life.) I bring him to work and have customers go through his commands through a gate which the trainer recommended and it seems to be working. Now instead of being protective he is associating people coming in as him getting a reward. I understand that there is still a lot of work to be done ahead but these are a couple of the things that seem to be working for me! Hope this helps out!

Jenn June 25, 2016, 11:37 am

I have an 18 month old male Cane Corso (not neutered) We also have an 8 year old English Bulldog (neutered). I attempted to bring home an 8 week old male Cane Corso and it went awful. Ruger tried to grab him, growled the whole time, went after him, hair standing straight up the entire day. Would this have been different if I had gotten a female? What can I to to make this better? My Old bulldog was the Alpha and he is the only one Ruger will play with, he is dog aggressive on every other dog. We live in the boonies so other dogs are not a real problem. Should I get a different bredd of puppy? Get an older puppy? Im lost. Thank you!!!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 29, 2016, 11:14 am

Hi Jenn,

Do a little research on the best ways to introduce dogs. You may have found that things would have gone better if you had made the introduction on neutral territory. Many dogs get their noses out of joint when a strange dog comes on or near their property. Also, you might want to be sure that even though “he is dog aggressive on every other dog” that you are sure that he will respect your wishes and exercise his suck it up muscle. If you haven’t attained this level of control of him/respect from him you probably shouldn’t be adding another dog to the mix just yet.

Jack July 14, 2016, 2:25 pm

Hi Wade,
We have a next door neighbor who recently bought a cane corso “puppy”. I have seen it chase kids and pull them down by their shirts, on one occasion snipping at a boy and causing him to cry. The dog is seldom on a leash and It doesn’t seem they are training the dog for obedience. What do you recommend we do as neighbors? I love dogs but this situation seems dangerous.
Thank you.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade July 14, 2016, 4:13 pm

Hi Jack,

It certainly has the potential to be dangerous. In order to answer your question regarding what you can do as neighbours depends on whether your neighbour is stupid or just ignorant as you’ve no doubt heard you can’t fix stupid so fingers crossed that it’s just ignorance.

Unfortunately the Cane Corso breed is finding itself on the wrong end of both stupid and ignorant humans. Some breeds are Ferraris and some breeds are mini vans and the average Cane Corso is not a mini van. (The balance of my reply can be found here – http://www.askthedogguy.com/neighbours-cane-corso-puppy-concern/

John

Cydney July 26, 2016, 5:12 am

Reading all your comments is very interesting . Me and my boyfriend have a 8 month old cane corso , everyone thinks he has a great temperament he loves people, children and dogs but where he is so playful and big we are very cautious of him around small dogs and kids as he could jump up to play and hurt them with his size . He can be such a loving dog good at times but around food he is extremely possessive growls if you touch him , so this is where the problems started we found a recommended trainer who trains police and army dogs , he advised a few things raising the bowl , but he also had a very hands on approach if he growls hit him on head with less etc . Anyway he got worse as he got older and when he was ill tried stroking him and he growled , then when tired and tried getting him to bed growled . The trainer advised he stay with him for week , so we did , come back I believe worse , I think this trainer uses them physical approach hitting etc which I think for this breed or our dog particular worse as he will never back down .

So we have found another trainer who comes to your home , said his great temperament etc and taught us various things to show our dog we are the pack leader not him . Gesture eating we eat then he has some that helped but once back in his bowl eating normal growls watches you while eating . Runs crazy biting sofa clothes running of , was taught to isolate him he would then chew the wall , taught we leave the room he would chew stuff in the room. We now have him in garden more , have kong toys etc got better ( not that I would dare go near him with his kong full of food )
So we though we was doing good , then yesterday he chewed a metal bbq blood everywhere we was cleaning him up he knew we was helping but that day he wasn’t him self tired un well , my boyfriend entered the kitchen and if he is at the door and you try to open he won’t move if you push him out way he will growl . My boy friend walked passed him near door stroked him and he bite him quite bad !! We now don’t know what to do ??????

We are trying to be the pack leader trying to show dominance …. But it’s like he is one dog then another dog could he have mental issues because he never shows aggression to anyone and when he does it to us it’s like after he forgets what his done comes over tries licking you and being all sorry !! Need serious help I love him so much and don’t want to get rid of him but I don’t want to be scared of my own dog !

Michael Blue July 27, 2016, 2:17 am

Me and my girlfriend are considering adopting a 1 year old cane Corso from my brother who took him from a home he was abused pretty bad in. He is very nervous and cowardly, and pees out of nervousness when approached and\or pet. My brother had had him at least 6-8 months with out incident, but because of his past, I’m nervous he may become aggressive and hostile.. “Snap” so to speak. At overt a year old, are these dogs likely to eventually become hostile in new homes with new owners after being abused in the past?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade July 27, 2016, 12:11 pm

Nature_vs_NurtureHi Michael,

There’s no way to say with any confidence. Even if I were able to meet the dog, and yourself, I’d only have a general impression. There are too many variables. For one, the dog is still immature, and when adulthood hits, he may be more likely to act on his insecurities in a manner in keeping with his genetics.

It’s a bad combination – a fearful, powerful breed with genetics that lean towards aggression rather then away from it, but only time will tell.

Regards,

John Wade

Rachel August 13, 2016, 11:27 pm

I have to say that there seems to be both ends of the spectrum here on the good vs bad and I would like to put forth a little input. I worry that dogs tend to get a bad wrap because of fear that is put into it from folks that probably should not have been a part of the equation. I have been bitten by more small breed dogs …ie corgis, min pins and chihuahuas than any other breeds. With that said, I don’t think it is a fair assessment to say anything other than every dog has the potential to be a problem or the potential to hurt someone or something. I have even had more be inflicted on me by a cat than most dogs I have worked with. With that said, for perspectives sake, all dogs require training and education and all dogs should be thoroughly researched before joining your household. If you are unsure about your ability to handle a dog and have fear of it being aggressive it is probably better to allow someone that has the confidence to know they can handle the situation. Why do I say this, because I love my corso. She is the light of my days. She does however have quick and very hard discern reactions when it comes to people and other dogs. She has been raised around dogs, cats, small animals, kids etc and there is always the chance that even though she does nothing more than bark, it scares people. Her size and stature are intimidating and that is true to the breed. Her guardianship is a part of her nature, of which my family and I have to make sure we are always in control. However, my shin tzu can do the exact same and for the longest time she would nip at children if they came near her. It’s just that her size and stature don’t scare folks and have them running the other direction. My point being is that both breeds take work and while it may seem because the corso is larger she could inflict more damage the reality is the same. Train, exercise and socialize all your dogs. Regardless of breed or breed behavior distinction and always be vigilant folks. If we as owners don’t do our due diligence our beloved breed will get a bad reputation. I am sure my other corso lovers will agree that the last thing we would want is to have a dog breed get assessed negatively due to poor handling. For those of you out there looking to get a corso, read read read. If you want to adopt I recommend a corso rescue or mastiff rescue. Their intakes and evals are more breed specific and known issues will generally be identified because the fosters are familiar with the breed. If you are going with a breeder, make sure to talk to them. Most reputable breeders won’t even consider homing a corso with someone without a yard, without confirmed large breed experience etc. If you find them to eager to just “sell” you a dog please keep looking.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 14, 2016, 10:26 am

Hi Rachel,

I agree with much of what you have to say.

One place where our opinion’s diverge is when you use the line of reasoning pertaining to – “I have been bitten by more small breed dogs …ie corgis, min pins and chihuahuas than any other breeds.” We have both likely been bitten by far more mosquitos. I have always felt this commonly used example, is far too superficial a comparison to use and underplays the seriousness of owning one breed vs another.

Another area where our opinions (may) diverge is where you appear to compare the realities regarding one breed’s behaviour and another’s as it pertains to aggression – “are the same” with the only difference being “size”. I don’t think that’s what you meant? Just in case, for clarity to other readers, genetics does influences behaviour as well and very significantly so (which also ties into my first point).

Outside of shear size, which is a factor, the genetics of many breeds influence the manner in which they see the world, the length of their fuse so to speak, the ease in which poor handling practices points them in the direction of anti-social behaviour in a companion dog setting, the intensity of their “attack”, their pain thresholds once they enter the “zone”.

For what it’s worth as well, in my opinion, Cane Corso rescues that insist that a potential owner must have a yard (assumedly fenced) are making a huge mistake if they are not cautioning the same people that no Cane Corso should be left alone in a yard in an urban environment, if, in that yard, they have sensory access to the sorts of stimulation that trigger their guarding genetics. In time it inevitably has a deleterious affect on the dog’s behaviour.

In the long run, yards bring zero advantage to any dog’s life. They give dog owners a false sense of accomplishing something meaningful in their dog’s life by giving them access to something that really amounts to the canine version of a poorly designed play pen and little more. No breed should be left unsupervised in a yard until they are adults (ever in my opinion), or at any point in life, for breeds like the Cane Corso – ever. They do not encourage the sort of exercise levels (for almost any breed) that provide a calming influence on the dog’s mind. The “fresh air” argument does not fly any longer as well. Ask any asthmatic.

Also for what it’s worth, for the same reasons, nor should guarding breeds be given unsupervised access to windows.

John

Jose August 26, 2016, 12:29 am

Mr. John Wade, Well said Sir! I loved your response because it was so right-on the mark. I have a 7 month female and she’s constant WORK. Very smart breed- I keep her in a crate with lots of toys, feed her VERY WELL, dish out for 2 walks per day. My only problem – she wants to PLAY all the time and has formed a bad habit of putting her teeth on my ankles/legs. She also runs up on me from the back and wraps her paws around my ankles-like a tackle/hug move which causes me to act a fool. But allow me say this… she walks on leash perfectly by my side – even when I’m jogging, she really acts frighten of other animals – never snapped at any and lets people pet her without jumping on them – with the exception of my sister who brings a spray bottle to keep her off her her when we are chilling outside. She’s on point also, remembers everyone who’s been in my house before and acts excited to see them when they visit, but anyone who comes thru my front door – which she can plainly see when they walk in… well lets’s just say that she does what she’s suppose to do- Growls, bent on fronts and watching- within the crate of course. I love my Corso and she knows what the phrase – Imma whoop yo A-double-S means and honors it, but not without WORK. No-one with the time, patience and no nonsense attitude needs this dog. It’s a Warrior Princesses type of dog!

Rocco November 3, 2016, 2:31 pm

I don’t think any vet or dog trainer should be commenting about this breed unless they “specialize” in training such dogs. There are very few experienced trainers with this breed around with majority of them being in Europe. It’s your fault if you didn’t research about this breed before getting a dog. Nevertheless this is one of the smartest and easily trained breeds in existance if in the right hands. They are by far one of the most intelligent breeds around. I’ve grown up with this breed and I’ve owned and still own these dogs. They get a bad name because people are lazy and get a Cane Corso only for the looks and end up giving the sog away or putting him down. If it was up to me I would jail every one of you people who think putting the dog down is ok because of your lameness. Cane Corso is a hunting/working breed. He was bred to hunt wild boar primarily. The dog was used intenselly in Roman empire as a guard/attack dog. The dog Cane Corso in translation Cane means DOG in latin and Corso is he region of CORSICA where the dog originated. Half of you people who think you own a pure bread Cane Corso you DON’t!!! Especially in North America. There is an american bullshit version they also refer to as cane Corso and although they do look a like they are mixed with different breeds and are not Cane Corsos! A lot of people will tell you to not get this breed if you are a first time owner. That’s also bullshit! Let me rephrase that. DO NOT GET A CANE CORSO IF YOU DON’t HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO OBEDIENCE TRAIN AND SPEND TIME SOCIALIZING THE DOG. He will test your limits and that’s fine he’s got a drive to work and run around and be busy doing some sort of work or exercise. You must be persistant and show leadership with this breed. You are the boss of him and not vice versa. Do not show force towards this dog at any point instead show persistance. It will pay off in the end because you will produce a wonderful dog who will be by your side no matter what. You must exercise him regularly as well as training him constantly. He will mature at about 3 years of age completely. By then you must teach him at all times what’s acceptable and what is not. He needs to be outside exploring this is how the dog learns and matures. If you lock him up he will turn into a beast which you can’t control. To sum all this up you will need a LOT OF FREE time if you wanna have a true Cane Corso dog fully mature.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade November 3, 2016, 6:47 pm

Jam packed post/comment with excellent observations and advice. Don’t buy a Ferrari if all you have if mini-van skills.

Annette November 22, 2016, 10:06 pm

Hello, I have a one year old male cane corso who has never shown a mean streak at all. He is always exercised and socialized and is raised in a house of five. He recently showed aggresssion to our six year old female who he looked at as his mother. Is this normal and how can I keep it from happening again?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2017, 5:21 pm

It’s “normal” up to a point. He’s entering a point in his life where the natural puppy governor in his brain is starting to fall away and perhaps his “mother’s” tolerance of his attitude, now that he’s getting bigger is not quite as forgiving. I suspect if he pushes her too hard, she is going to clean his clock. That is usually what happens. It can get ugly though. I’d keep a CO2 fire extinguisher handy and if it gets too ugly, let them have it. A lot quicker and safer then most dog fight break up strategies. I also find that dogs fight a lot more in a household when they don’t respect the humans quite as much. That doesn’t mean they don’t love the humans, it means that they pick and choose what they listen to (Come, means if you have a minute check your day timer. Etc.) Those dog fight over resources far more then dogs that know who is living in whose house.

John

erik December 14, 2016, 3:13 pm

Mr John. I have two male cane corso, brother, 14 months. they are fine, never gave any trouble, the smaller one is the alpha for the time being I believe. The small fights are more sound then…, they dont bite the other. Quite social and friendly. I have also small female dog, she is the leader of the house. when they are eating, if she gets close, they stop and move back for her to eat. if the opposite happens she normally “bite” stil they don’t react. I am considering getting another Cane Corso, a female, will that trigger the alpha issue between them? will they start to fight? After reading the comments in this blog, bringing another male, will be a problem, right.
My area is not safest place so I kind need them to guard the house.
thanks and regards

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2017, 5:12 pm

Hi Erik,

There are too many variables that can influence how two dogs might get along to predict with any accuracy how yours might respond to adding another dog to the mix. Often older dogs will be fine with a youngster but lay the law down once they think they are “old enough to know better.” The youngster also can change it’s attitude when it hits young adulthood.

John

Trisha December 26, 2016, 11:55 pm

I just got a female cane corso and I have been reading everything I can about the breed. I got her at 15 weeks old and I have been bringing her to work with me every day. She has been excellent at work meeting people and being very friendly, she has the sweetest attitude ever but she is so stubborn. I have been trying to train her with the gentle leader and she will simply sit down when it is time to walk. The regular collar she gets choked with. I have had her for three weeks and she is awesome, I taught her to sit in one day, she learned to give the paw in two days and lay down was simple. My problem is she is board. she needs a more sophisticated training to go to. We are signed up for obedience school to start in January
I am that person who bought the dog and I haven’t had a dog in 16 years… I do love her very much she is brindle blue and smart and sweet. I have been reading on here and its pretty scary. I definitely do not want her thinking she is the boss and I intend to read both your books for help, I want to be successful with my girl and help her to be the best she can be. But I honestly feel overwhelmed with not wanting to make a mistake like with the gentle leader harness and the regular collar and her biting and telling her no and giving her the toy to chew on, she listens okay but sometimes I see her get frustrated, and I get frustrated and I have been putting her in the crate when she is not listening,
In feeling like I would like to get ahead of the 8 ball of adulthood coming my way- and I really just want a best friend I can walk on the beach with as no other family members I have seem to enjoy walking the beach the way I do but i don’t want to worry about her going primal on me and going after another dog or worse a person. I don’t personally like people approaching me while in on a nice walk, a lot
of homeless people in the area and seriously the issue isn’t getting any better around here.

Trisha December 27, 2016, 12:18 am

Also she has mastered potty training she is so smart

James Dunn January 2, 2017, 4:54 pm

Bought a CC from a breeder in IL. Both parents were so aggressive we couldnt get near them. The owner admitted not socializing the parents and the aggression was out of control. Mine is now close to 1 year and Best dog I ever had as far as sweetness goes. Great with kids, great with other dogs, plays with my Olde bulldog constantly. To be honest I cant believe what im reading, but I have seen others out of control.
Here is how I raised mine,
1. Every half hour from 8 weeks to 6 months
when out of his cage bathroom breaks. After he would get a couple cheerios (veterinary recommend)
2. Twice a day went on walks with him purposely walked up to kids and stangers and had them play with him, everyday not 2 times a week, everyday! Of course unless rain.
3. He did challenge me a couple times at 4 months to see if he was dominate, and to show him he was not when he got rough held the nap of his neck to the ground with one hand and the other applied pressure to his chest holding him down. He would scream as if I was killing him but all I did was held him down. To be 100% honest i learnd it from watching my Olde Bulldogge do it to him everytime she got tired of him messing with her. Worked evertime for her so why not try.
4. I will admitt he is a little jerky when on walks but I am still under control.

Like everyone is saying 1st 4 months seems to be the key. ANNNND YES HE WILL CHALLENGE YOU AT SOME POINT, i have heard this from everyone whos owed a mail. It came on almost to the day at 4 months old. As my opinion you cant be verbal only with this dog you will have to get to his level when he acts up and hold him down until he calms down. I cannot say he has not gotten a little spank on his butt, but I would strongly in courage not making it a habbit of hitting this dog, because at 1 year old now he could easily mangle your hand or arm. Have not had to do it since he was about 6 now he is great. If you have the time the beginning year and have had other bully or large breeds totally recommend.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2017, 2:48 pm

Delighted things are going well and well done regarding all the socialization you pursued. You are very correct. However, no amount of socialization impacts genetics. My advice is to not form an opinion or decide what are appropriate boundaries for your dog on the basis of current behaviour. Your dog is still in the puppy/young adult phase of life and for most dogs there is an “attitude “governor” that remains until the dog hits somewhere between 18 months and 3 years of age. At that point and not before you will have a reasonable sense of your dog’s attitude.

John

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 3, 2017, 5:06 pm

Reading my books will be a good supplement for keeping things on course.

John

Chanel January 21, 2017, 6:43 am

A lot of these comments shock me. My long term significant other acquired our CC at the age of separation. Very obedient. Luvs us. Not aggressive unless required. Especially when it comes to me..his 5 2.. 112 lb mistress. His master is 6 2 212 lbs. He doesn’t let men speak to me past 3 questions without a “huff”. They usually stop speaking. Probably due to his size. Spectators think he over powers me. So the opposite. He NEVER NEVER NEVER pulls, tugs or drags me. He never disrespects my demands. He walks next to me. He must feel my proudness of him. He is the prince of the house. He knows daddy is 1st. He is the KING. I am the QUEEN. Making him the Prince. We eat 1st. He eats after. So I agree. Something is missing out of the posters questions. I never went to training/obedience school with the boys. Yet it seems my size tiny can control Cane Corsos way better. No aggression.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 27, 2017, 5:47 pm

Hi Chanel,

How old is your Cane Corso? Personally, I would be concerned or question who is the Queen and who is the prince, if my dog didn’t “let men (or anyone) speak to me past 3 questions without a “huff.” I ask his age because if that’s all he ever does and he’s over 3 years of age I wouldn’t be overly concerned (if that’s all he does) but if he’s younger I’d say you have received an early warning sign that it’s time to have a chat with him about the the Royal hierarchy.

John

Jesse mahar April 8, 2017, 5:49 pm

Dog guy sorry but I totally disagree with you this breed is a great breed I had one time with both my pups at about 8 months old laying in there kennels I reached in and they snapped at me I pulled them out by there scruff and layed on top of them look them in the eye and yelled loud bad dog no biting bad in your house they screamed and whimpered and have never done this again my two females are from seperate breeders and are a year apart have never showed signs of aggression and are very calm around children of all ages and almost any animal they are both 187 lbs and one of the best breeds I have ever owned yes they require countless hours of continuous training but any smart dog owner should research the breed before they acquire any dog and putting a dog down for showing stubbornness is out of the question be the boss always my girls are 5 yrs and 4 yrs

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade April 8, 2017, 6:31 pm

Hi Jesse,

You say you totally disagree with me, but from what I read you pretty much agree with the essence of what I’ve written when it comes to making sure you have the breed that’s right for you.

A couple of things do stand out though. It’s a far different story to perform the maneuver you recommend, when your dogs were 8 months of age and when they are mature adults. People reading this should know that doing what you describe to a mature Cane Corso that has got it into the head that you’re a room mate that they don’t have to listen to isn’t going to have very many happy endings. Unless time in the Emergency ward is a person’s idea of a good time. In addition, it isn’t training so much as intimidation. There is a time and a place for intimidation, as any mother dog would be happy to demonstrate, but when a dog does what you described it’s often a sign the ball has been dropped somewhere in the early training.

I have to add for anyone reading, that there’s some doubt in my mind you have the same breed I’ve written about. The average weight of a female Cane Corso should be between 90 and 100 pounds. No well bred, healthy normal male, would come close to the 187 pounds each that you believe yours to be. Males in proper condition weigh in the range of 90 to 110 pounds. If your females, are in fact Cane Corso, and weigh 187 pounds each, I’d suggest getting vet insurance – pronto. They are either some other species, breed, mutants or grossly morbidly obese. Dogs bred for gargantuanism lead short and often painful lives and can prove to be horrendously expensive for their owners. So much so, they are often euthanized for lack of funds to pay the vet bills.

You might also be interested in reading this column I wrote regarding finding a good breeder for you next Cane Corso: http://www.askthedogguy.com/getting-a-dog/

John

Ruby April 13, 2017, 6:20 pm

I have a 7 month old cane corso and his food aggression is extremely high, I was wondering if you had any tips to help tame the food aggression?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade April 13, 2017, 6:26 pm

Hi Ruby,

What reasons have you given him through the manner in which you live together to give him the impression that it is your food he is eating as opposed to “his” food?

The first thing I would suggest you consider in addressing his resource guarding/food aggression, is that you test how much control you actually have over him when there isn’t food around. In my experience, if a person can’t get their dog to do these basic exercises they’re not going to succeed turning this type of aggression around. It might also indicate the or a reason behind it

1. If you were to make a cup of tea in your own kitchen and told this dog to stay on a mat while you did so would your dog, without treats or your monitoring for the slightest twitch, do so? Or would you be drinking a lot of cold tea?

2. In your own yard, does your dog come when called or does your dog react as if you’ve made a suggestion?

3. Does your dog keep the leash loose regardless of distractions when you say Heel, and walk about the inside of your own home, or yard?

If you can’t give a hearty yes to these questions I would start giving some thought to how to change the no’s to yeses.

John Wade

Ruby April 16, 2017, 8:39 am

He has no aggression towards me with food, I can take away his food mid way through eating it without any issues. The problem comes with my other dog he doesn’t tolerate the other dog getting food have you any tips for that?

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade April 19, 2017, 8:00 am

Hi Ruby,

The initial tips still apply. Dogs will often have more conflict with each other if they aren’t clear that the place they live, the things they eat, the doors they go through, the stairs they traverse etc. aren’t theirs to fight over in the first place. This is best communicated with good training, structure and routine during the day that keeps reinforcing it. Do this as well:

Teach both dogs to stay on separate mats. Temporarily use crates if necessary.
Leave their leashes on.
Have one person per dog.
Divide their food ration into fourths.
Add ¼ to their bowls.
Give them permission to eat.
When finished, return them to their mats.
Add another ¼ to their bowls.
Give them permission to eat.
When finished, return them to their mats.
Add another ¼ to their bowls.
Give them permission to eat.
When finished, return them to their mats.
Add last ¼ to their bowls.

Correct anytime they so much as look at each other rather then towards you after they’ve finished their ration.

The goal is to get them to look to you for more rather then to the other.

John

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