How to Prevent Aggression in Your Cane Corso
If you have been fortunate enough to add one of these great dogs to your family you must realize that one of the main reasons people give them up to rescue organizations, or take them in to shelters, is their aggressive behavior.
It is not that Cane Corso are harder to train and socialize than some other breeds; it is just that a dog that weighs over 100 pounds must be especially easy to handle or things get out of control quickly. Not everyone can handle a dog that size.
How are you going to prevent your Cane Corso from getting out of your control?
Avoiding Excessive Aggression
- Work on early socialization: The period before 16 weeks is vital to your Cane Corso. If the puppy is kept locked up at the kennel, or is at his new home but is not taken out during this period, he will become nervous around anyone or anything he does not know. Some trainers will tell you that it is enough to take your dog to "puppy parties" and allow him to meet strange humans and other dogs. I think the Cane Corso needs more. Puppies need to be taken out, even before their last set of vaccines, and walked around so that they can meet other people and other dogs. Yes, there is some danger of infectious disease. When the sensitive socialization period is missed, however, the best opportunity for teaching your dog is over.
- Start early obedience training: As soon as you get your Cane Corso home you should start training. Do not wait until he is an adolescent and too strong to handle. Young puppies can learn the basics early, so get started today.
- Teach bite inhibition: This is important when dealing with such a large dog, even if your puppy is well socialized and he learned some bite inhibition with his mother and littermates. There is a lot of controversy on the best way to do this, as some trainers recommend “scruffing” the dog if he bites. Others recommend shreiking loudly to startle the puppy if his teeth touch your skin. If your Cane Corso puts his teeth on you while playing, tell him “no”, remove your hand, and stop playing with him for at least five minutes. Your dog should be upset at the loss of his companion and you should not need to scruff or yell at him.
- Provide leadership: A Cane Corso will watch your behavior more than most of the small lap dogs. You can provide leadership by making him sit before being fed, making him wait at the door before you let him out, and telling him to lie down and wait quietly while you are busy eating or working. The best way of providing leadership, and decreasing your puppy´s chances of showing dominance aggression, is by starting with obedience classes. Positive training with no force is best for the Cane Corso.
- Continue socialization: Taking your dog out for walks will not make up for a lack of early socialization. If your puppy was never taken out of the yard for the first four months, he will be shy and things are going to be difficult for you. If he was not properly socialized as a puppy, or even if he was, you should socialize him as an adult to reduce shyness and lessen the chances of him developing aggression to other dogs. Shyness may be learned or inherited and your Cane Corso may run and hide or stand and bite. When you take your dog out for a walk each day bring along a bag of his favorite treats, something very special. Each time a new person meets him allow them to give him a treat. Your Cane Corso should realize that meeting a stranger equals getting a special treat.
- Stop aggression as soon as your dog starts: If your dog shows any signs of aggression as he grows older, you need to let him know that it is not okay. Mildly aggressive signs like staring down your visitors, growling, or even barking, should be controlled by obedience commands. Tell your dog to sit and then lie down so that he will be in a less dominant posture.
- Never encourage aggression: The members of this breed of dog are natural guardians and are usually suspicious of strangers, other animals, and sometimes even of objects. You do not need to teach them to be wary of new situations, and excessive praise or encouragement (when he is growling or acting nervous/aggressive) may lead to an excessively aggressive dog.
Will Neutering My Cane Corso Stop His Aggression?
Neutering is not the answer.
The surgery may be effective in controlling aggression with other male dogs, but it does not always help. It is never effective in controlling aggression to people.
What if My Cane Corse is Aggressive With Other Dogs?
If you notice your Cane Corso begin to be aggressive with other dogs when he is still young, please use the methods I described above to stop this behavior. If this happens when he is older, you can try some of the methods in dog to dog aggressiveness to control it. I use these methods in training dog aggressive dogs but you need to be aware that sometimes nothing works.
The best way to control aggression is to prevent it.
Should I Consult a Behaviorist?
This breed of dog is not as easy to handle as others because of his size and the work that he was developed for. If you are not able to handle your Cane Corso´s aggression problems you should consult an animal behaviorist before making any decisions as to his future.
If you do not know of any behaviorists in your area, talk to your vet or a local dog trainer. They will often be able to give you advice on where you can get more help for your dog.
Your Cane Corso was developed to be tough. He was selected to hunt and later was used for personal protection, which is why he might seem to be impervious to a lot of pain and might seem different than some other breeds. I believe that this dog is not like a wolf, though, and will be loyal and not despise you and try to take you down if he sees a moment of weakness. It is everyone else you need to worry about.
In order for your Cane Corso to learn to be okay with those others, he needs plenty of your time, gentle training, and adequate leadership.
Take the time to teach your Cane Corso and he will reward you for it.
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Questions & Answers
I'm getting my first Cane. She is a puppy, and I will pick her up in a few weeks. Both my wife and I are dedicated to spending time with her. We already have a smaller breed dog. We both work and we will have to leave her in a big kennel during the day while we work. Will this cause a problem with her training?
My Cane Corso mix puppy is eight weeks old. I have a small breed dog who is male, the opposite sex and is friendly and calm. However, from day one of bringing her home he has growled at her a few times and does not seem interested in her. I wonder if he is trying to establish his dominance in the home because he is older. Is it ok to make her understand that she is the low man on the totem pole? That I am the boss, then my child, then my little dog. I want her to stay under control.