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Socialization Classes – Not a Fan

I have 2 Cane Corsos. We do a lot of training and socializing classes. My question is, my male who is 20 months old ignores me at times. Other times he doesn’t. How do I fix this?


Hi Jeff,
I’d need some more information before I could say how to go about fixing. Ignores you when?
I’m a little suspect whenever I read someone is going to socializing classes so I’d have to wonder if the training approach you’ve been taught is sound in the first place.
A dog’s socialization imprint period is over at 12 weeks of age and anything done after that would be to maintain social skills and that is not something that for a breed like a Cane Corso that typically works out to the dog and dog owner’s benefit when it is done with unfamiliar dogs as is the case in these “socialization” classes.
Ongoing socialization skills in nature occurs from living with familiar pack members. Unfamiliar dogs trigger a very different reaction/program in a dog’s brain, especially a Cane Corso.
I suppose if trainers called these classes, “Learning to Listen Around Other Dogs” classes I could see it and even recommend them. However, many think they’re actually teaching socialization skills when the science says the imprinting that truly does that occurs between 3 – 6 weeks of age. What they end up doing is often messing up a lot of dogs and giving even more dog owners a very false and often dangerous confidence in how their dog will react to unfamiliar dogs in the real world when they enter adulthood.
Most dog trainers hold these classes for dogs well under 18 months of age without realizing that all dogs have a governor on their behaviour when they’re young that keeps them from doing anything too stupid around older and unfamiliar dogs.
Somewhere between 18 months and 3 years of age that governor disappears and you start to see the mechanism that evolved to keep their ancestors safe around unfamiliar members of their same species.
People that take these “socialization” classes find out down the road that they had absolutely zero real world application and their time would have been much better spent focusing on real world obedience skills so that down the road when their dog meets strange dogs they listen no matter what. As opposed to being left with the impression that they are teaching their dog to be friendly around strange dogs. There are a few dog breeds that are much more open to that than others but the Cane Corso is not one of them.
Not always, but more often than not when you find dog trainers promoting these socialization classes that really believe they are “socializing” dogs productively you’ll also find a dog trainer that teaches obedience equally superficially.
Dog training isn’t what it used to be. What passes for “obedience” in most dog training classes these days at one time would have been referred to as nothing more than trick training.
Your dog may be ignoring you because “he’s at that age.” Or, the approach to dog training you were taught was in itself flawed. Send some details and ideally video and I may be able to help.

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