"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Cane Corso(s) With Beginnings of Territorial Aggression

– Posted in: Aggression, Breed, Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), Columns, Mastiff, Molosser, Newsletters
Italian Mastiff - Cane Corso
Italian Mastiff - Cane Corso

Aegis – 1 year old Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso)

Dear John,

I just ordered your e-book. I ordered it because I have a training situation that I need help with. I have a male Cane Corso 18 months and female 9 months. We have been socializing and training them since they received their vaccinations as puppies. Things were going great, the male has his CGCA and female is working on CGC and then we decided to build a swimming pool in the back yard. The constant strangers in their yard, non stop noise and people coming to the front door have sent them into Cane Corso Panic Mode and we are not sure how to reverse it. The female is the worst with non-stop uncontrollable barking at everything and everyone. Treats don’t work, we have to put her in a room of the house where she can’t see the people in our house or yard. And, the male is calm until the female begins the barking and freaking out and then they are both barking like complete idiots and won’t stop until removed to a quiet room. (they do let me drag them by collars to the quiet room, barking the entire time) Neither has been aggressive yet, just loud and crazy persistent about it. They have allowed me to remove them from the situation into a quiet room and then they calm down. We are really concerned about all of it. They were great, well-socialized, well-trained dogs and this has surprised us. We have tried treats, distraction, calm soothing voices, petting & hugging. We have another month of pool building to endure and want to keep this from escalating. Help Please.

Robin in Texas

Hi Robin,

Socializing and training of any young Cane Corso is an essential part of keeping them on the straight and narrow. However, it doesn’t change their genetic predisposition regarding things like guarding. As a result another factor that many Cane Corso owners fail to build into their “raising a great Cane Corso plan” is control of environmental input particularly when unsupervised and prior to 3 years of age. The activity in the yard isn’t really the problem (although it certainly complicates things for you I understand). It is the allowing of the dog(s) to exercise their guarding muscles unsupervised as opposed to not allowing them access to such things without your presence and ability to develop and maintain what I call their “suck it up muscle.” It simply doesn’t work to try and guide them only when you’re there and allow them unsupervised access at other times as it’s in the very least confusing to the dogs and practically speaking simply impossible to compete with for example 8 opportunities to become over stimulated vs 2 of guidance.

On a related note even if a dog owner is present when they start to do something undesirable; for many dog owners if the dog thinks of them as a treat dispenser or really great college room-mate as opposed to more of a teacher/student relationship the attempt to guide the dog will fail. Relationship perception is very important with any dog but particularly for the Cane Corso. Dogs are bred to love us. We get that for free. They are not bred to respect us. That we have to earn and some dogs set the bar somewhat higher than others. In my experience the higher the breed’s tendency is for “bar setting” the more enjoyable that breed is in overall relationship will ultimately be. Downloading my training e-book is a good first step in learning how to get your Cane Corso(s’) respect without treats or force.

Regards,

John Wade
Difficult to Control Dog – Try the WadeCollar – http://store.askthedogguy.com/power-steering-wade-collar/

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