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Cane Corso(s) With Beginnings of Territorial Aggression

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 backyard. The constant strangers in their yard, nonstop 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,

The Five Most Common Cane Corso MistakesSocializing 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 of 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 overstimulated 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 the 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.


John Wade
Difficult to Control Dog – Try the WadeCollar –

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4 thoughts on “Cane Corso(s) With Beginnings of Territorial Aggression”

  1. Scott Grindstaff

    Hi John,
    I have a 3 year old Cane Corso kuda, she’s been a excellent dog. I socialized her with people from a very early age in stores, parks anywhere I could introduce her to new people an experiences.

    She is still extremely territorial in our home, fenced yard and car. But I’m ok with that because I have her for that purpose. I’ve allowwd her to exert herself in protection of those things. My problem is I have a recently
    Taken on the responsibilities of adopting a boxer puppy 12 weeks old.

    Kuda has never really been around other dogs as she always was much bigger and played much tougher than other dogs not with the intention of hurting them. Her tail would be wagging and I could tell by her body language she wants to play with other dogs its just she too excited and it’s not been a possibility.

    So introducing the puppy I thought went ok we brought the puppy in slowly into her space and we were carful to not allow the puppy change the pack. Kuda played a bit too rough with her at first but after a few days she got to where she seemed to be very loving and effectionate towards the puppy. Cleaning her in the morning playing with her in the yard seemed to
    Be fine.

    It’s been 3 weeks now and I’m starting to notice behaviors I’m not sure how to
    Wrap my head around. She’s seemingly become a bit aggressive to the puppy they’ll be playing everything is fine and then for no reason she gets really rough putting the puppies head or neck in her mouth and bitting down until the puppy yelps. She lets go immediately but then will return to doing it again. Or slamming her body down on the puppy as if she’s trying to body slam her. She’s also bitting the skin in her shoulder and kinda slinging her head around.

    Should I just allow her to put the puppy in it’s place or should I exert myself in a protection mode for the puppy. I don’t want to cause more of a problem but I think I may have bit off more than I can handle with my experience with this introduction.

    Plz tell me what I can try to make this transition a bit smoother or have I gotten to a place where this just isn’t going to work? I’d love any suggestions as to how I may cure this problem as this is a great puppy and I absolutely love my Cane Corso she’s been a dream dog. But I’m begging for some guidance on getting them to living together.

    Sincerely scott

  2. You buy a cane corso and are upset it barks at strangers? Really? thats like buying a bird and being upset it knows how to fly. People like you destroy working breeds like this. Stick with poodles and westies your destroying the breed

    1. I’m going to have to respectfully but categorically and emphatically disagree with your opinion. Believing that concern concerning the barking and associated behavior as described by the author is unwarranted is more an indication that you rather than the author is closer to destroying working breeds like the Cane Corso.

      The author is not describing the sort of barking that might occur in a farm environment, an environment for which the breed is far more hard-wired to trigger intermittently than in an urban environment particularly one in which ongoing unusual activity is taking place.

      Dogs are learning whether we’re teaching them or not. To be unaware of this and to be as disrespectfully dismissive indicates either a too rapid and not thought through response or ignorance concerning how disregarding nature and nurture for a Ferrari breed like the Cane Corso impacts stability in a single Cane Corso but in the breed’s overall reputation. That is precisely what destroys working breeds.

      John Wade

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