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How to Love a Cane Corso

Updated on January 24, 2016

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How to Love a Cane Corso Without Going Crazy

If you have ever owned a Cane Corso, you know that training this breed can be a serious job, especially if you've got a stubborn one (like mine). One thing that is not hard to do, though, is falling in love with this amazing dog. To give this dog all of your love and remain sane is another story.

Here are my tips for loving your yours without going crazy. I hope you enjoy my practical guide to living with one, training, and keeping your sanity in the process.

Lots of Play

Can we play now? Can we play again? And then can we play some more?

Cane Corsos love to play. If you are not an active person who enjoys physical activity, this is probably not the right breed for you. They are also a working breed, so don't expect to tire them out easily. They could play all day if you could keep up, but trust me you can't. So, how do you maximize the time you do have?

  • Use a squeaky toy. Their prey instinct is strong and they love to run. One of the best ways to exercise your dog without tiring yourself out is playing fetch with the loudest, highest-pitch, most annoying squeak toy you can find. When the toy squeaks, your dog's energy will go through the roof, as she is now in hunting mode. Throw the toy as far as you can and watch her tear through your yard after it. This is a great way to exercise them without letting them beat you up. Keep in mind, however, this is only their second favorite game.
  • Play tug. A cane corso's favorite game is to tug at things — a large rope, a bone, a disk, a shirt, a shoe, or anything else. They like to flex muscles and to pretend they are dominant over you. Playing tug with your dog is a great way to bond with it. It can strengthen their jaw, teeth, back and leg muscles, and it is also a great confidence builder. However, beware — you must not play tug until they are trained. They need to be at the point where they are obedient, never biting or nipping, and never showing aggression towards her owner. Playing tug too soon in their development will send mixed signals, telling them that it is okay to challenge your authority. It's okay to pull back, it's okay to fight the power, it's okay to take things from you. Although this is clearly not what your intending to do, this is how a young, rambunctious Cane Corso will interpret it. These are not signals that should be sent too early, or training will be even more of a nightmare than it may already be. Stick with fetch in the meantime.

Show Them Who Has Control

Oh did you think that was yours? Yeah, that's mine too.

You may have had personal belongings at one point in your life, but ever since you got a dog, you've had to ask permission to get in your own bed. Cane Corsos can be possessive creatures, but keep in mind, the moment this dog moved into your home it immediately took the role of head of security. As lead security advisor, it's understandable when they get a little bit possessive, which is understandable but still unacceptable. The best way to curb this behavior is to set boundaries from jump street. They need to understand that you control the resources — you control the water, the food, you're in charge of grooming, and most importantly you control the toys. Once these boundaries are understood, it will be easier to curb her possessive behavior.

  • It all starts with the food. Never leave your dog's food bowl out for her to access at her leisure. You have to intentionally "let" her eat. Keep the bowl out of her reach until it is mealtime, and never feed her without getting something in return. I have my Bella sit and wait at her food bowl until I give the command "Okay." She will sit in front of her food bowl for ten minutes if that is how long it takes me to say "okay," because she knows if she starts eating before she's allowed that I will take the bowl back. Without realizing it, I once put her food bowl down and left the room without saying the command. Then, to my surprise, I came back in the room ten minutes later to find that my hungry girl had fallen asleep in front of her bowl, and hadn't taken a bite. I said, "Okay" and she immediately awoke and started feeding.
  • Give them their toys. Never let her play with a toy unless you have handed it to her yourself. If you catch her playing with a toy that she wasn't given, take it from her, make her do a trick (sit, lay, beg) and only then can she play with it. If you are able to teach her that everything in the house is yours, your much less likely to have a food aggressive dog, or a dog that won't let you lie on your own bed without asking her first.
  • Train during feeding time. Feeding time is the best tool you will have when training your Cane Corso. This is a hungry, hungry dog, and although it may be too proud to always do tricks for your amusement, it wants to eat, and so it will learn.

Avert Their Attention, Don't Scare Them

Yelling never works with a Cane Corso.

There will inevitably come a time when you and your dog disagree. Whether it be over who gets the big couch, who that shoe belongs to, or whether or not tackling guests is the appropriate way to greet them, you are bound to butt heads. Please take my word for it, yelling will never work.

  1. First, keep in mind that this is a true working dog, which means that is has been bread to be task specific. Once they set their minds on a task, distracting from it will be very difficult. If this weren't the case, they would be very poor working dogs indeed. So screaming for her attention is like yelling at a snowstorm.
  2. Secondly, bear in mind that this dog was used to fight lions in the coliseum and to kill and capture bears in the wild. You don't scare it. Nothing you could do would scare it. They are fearless beasts, capable of ending the life of a half ton boar with one bite. A Cane Corso has more bite strength per square inch than Pit Bulls and German Shepherds combined. Lions obviously have a much larger mouth and teeth, but per square inch the Cane Corso can excerpt many hundreds of pounds more pressure. Trust me when I say, you can't scare this dog into compliance, so don't waste your energy.

What does work?

  • Find a way to avert her attention. Get her to focus on you. Get in between her and whatever it is she is doing, and physically block her actions. Now you are in control. Make her sit, and reward her for her compliance. Positive feedback is the only way a Cane Corso can learn.

Little Puppy
Little Puppy

Be Patient, Please

You're all that I've got

When dealing with a stubbornness, it can sometimes be easy to lose your patience. Many times in the first year of Bella's life, I threatened to take her to the glue factory. Always empty threats, of course. The truth is, she will be the best friend you're ever going to have. She will protect you from any danger, at the drop of a hat. She will be there for you at your lowest of lows, and not expect anything of you but your company. At times, she will drive you bonkers, but she will never abandon you, and hopefully you will never abandon her.

Remember, she's your best friend in the world, but you'r more than that to her. To her, you are her world. So give her all the love you have. You won't regret it.

Please, let me know what you think. If you have experience with this awesome breed, we want to hear about it.


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    • anonymous 6 years ago

      i think this is very helpful because i just got one

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      You words of wisdom made me not only laugh but nod my head in agreement. I became the very proud owner of a cane corse just over 12 months ago and she came with humerous problems that are still not resolved and at times I also was ready to send her off to the "glue factory" although my children begged me not to. She is the most loving animal and needs to be near her family. If we go for a walk she always makes sure she can see each family member and at times doesn't understand that we need space. I am very fortunate that she doesn't destroy our property but it is extremely difficult to find her toys that she doesn't demonlish within an hour or 2. Thank you

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      a beautiful dog and a really good article

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      wow!!!!!! we got a blue cane corso pup in december. she's everything you mentioned and then some. everyone out there that reads this article, take it to heart. it's all true.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Great advise just thinking about buying a cane corso-any comments on they dowith other dogs??

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I have a 7 month old Cane Corso named "Manny"Fawn with the black mask first one I've ever had...He is by far the sweetest most intelligent dog I've ever had ..even though he is much like a child in the way that he will at times try to push your authority...see what you will let him get away with..but I honestly don't believe I will ever own any other breed of dog again..He is so sweet and gentle with my kids, very laid back,and VERY easily trained,I never knew a dog who could learn so easily..I LOVE MY CANE CORSO !!!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you soooo much! I am getting my first pup next week. I have a trianer set up and traing books read. I even put up a white board with words to train so the whole family will be on the same page. Lol

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      What a great article, well written and very true! The corso you have in your first picture is my baby, Apache. I lost her in January to osteosarcoma. However, I have a new corso baby that I rescued a couple months ago. Once you love a corso and experience a corso's love there is no going back.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      After losing 2 Rottweilers to Cancer with in 3 years, I turned to the sturdy Cane Corso. Romeo is now 2-1/2 years old. The horror of my life, and the love of my life. He is very stubborn, and destructive, but once we realized he cannot stand to be away from us for long periods of time, and after fixing the windowsill, and replacing all pillows, we are on to better lives. He loves without questions, and only wants to please.

      I see his head at the window when I leave, and it is there when I return. Calm around visitors (my rotties were not) and he has proven to be a truly great find.

      Cane corsos are NOT for the beginners, though, beware, they are very smart animals, and will quickly out-think your next move.

      Patience, and understanding prevail, though, and they will be the best dog you ever owned.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: do you have yours on probiotics

    • jerseyguy320 profile image

      jerseyguy320 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I do not, but i let her lick my yogurt cup when I'm done. She loves it.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      This helped me so much. I have a 10 week old Cane Corso and she is a handful to say the least. She is so lovable and cute, but at the same time my evil little daughter! I have a very difficult time keeping my sanity some days because i feel like she will never catch on. Now that I read this I will continue to be patient and stick to the training tips! I know she will be our best friend!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      This article was amazing! We have a brindle female who is almost 6 months old and she is amazing! we love her so much, but we are butting heads with her and this article answered soooo many questions. thank you so much. do you have any other advice about feeding and food types? and why corsos' so finiky about their food?

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I have a 8 week male cane corso who bites EVERYTHING! any advice to curb this? ive used bitter sprays, food diversion...even a kong filled with treats! Great pup, but the most stubborn dog I have ever owned!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a 7 month old Cane Corso and he is the best I could ever ask for. So smart. He is just under 100 lbs already. I have no complaints about this breed and someday down the road would love to get another one.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i am looking at a great fixed male but he is very aggressive. i interacted with the 2 year old male on first response i was bitten then as he got use to me and we walked to the back yard he bit me three more times. but his actions seem more like he is scared than aggresion

    • jerseyguy320 profile image

      jerseyguy320 5 years ago

      @anonymous: What did you end up doing?

    • jerseyguy320 profile image

      jerseyguy320 5 years ago

      @anonymous: How is your Corso doing?

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a 2 month old Cane Corso and I am just in LOVE with this kind of breed. My only concern is when I try to play fetch he doesn't seem to wanna play so much, Is this because he is still young or could it be the food?

    • legaleze 5 years ago

      cute dog

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      We adopted a 1 & 1/2 year old male about 5 weeks ago. Diesel. He is doing very well. Only issue, running while on leash to greet other dogs .... I can't stop him and he's pulled me down a few times. We are going to obedience class in a couple of weeks. Aside from a few scrapes and bruises he's perfect (to me anyway!)

      Even is tolerant of our deaf 16yo golden retriever. I can't wait until I can jog with him without getting killed !!!

    • MorningShine 5 years ago

      I'm not familiar with this breed. They sound like great dogs. I really enjoyed reading your lens. Liked.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      We adopted a Caine Corse from the pound he was 13 months old now at 15 months. We feel blessed he has a great disposition and he is very smart. We was taken from his first owner because they seized the property for what ever. But we believe that he was left out side and was never played with so there he dose not know how to play. He eats the ball,looks at the other things we try to get him to play like ropes,frizbes ect........

    • Mighty-Monkey-Man profile image

      Mighty-Monkey-Man 5 years ago


    • anonymous 5 years ago

      That was a very interesting read. I just bought my first corso, Love him but already see the stubborn acting you had talked about. We got him at 8 weeks and he is now 14 weeks old and he keeps trying to see what he can get away with. I walk him 5 times around my block at night and jog about half and see what you mean about them not getting winded (I do ). We take him to the dog park he plays for about 2 hours every weekend each day. He starts training with a retired 30 year police dog and border patrol trainer soon only for obedience, We want him to become a Canine Good Citizen at the end. I as well am ex law enforsement and understand training equals control.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Love the tips!! I have a 10 week old Corso and 2 adult Weims @ home. I am printing out this page to have my husband read it. I had no idea tug-of-war was a control game and should not be played too young!! Would LOVE to read more tips.

    • samantha 20 months ago

      Proud mom of a 15 week old Cane corso male. Truly the love of my life and somedays just for a moment the empty glue factory threats definitely come to surface lol Theee most stubborn yet beautiful soul I have ever encountered! For the most part training is going well! His newest trick to annoy us is to bark at us, sometimes its just to invite play, or at the cats,or when were eating dinner. We firmly tell him "no" and tell him to lay down, if after several attempts he is not listening we put him in his crate and then let him out when he settles down (usuaklly 5-10 minutes) any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    • mralexscott 19 months ago

      Hi, I live in the uk and I'm in love with these dogs. My girlfriend is not so keen as put off by their size and fearsome look. I also have a son aged 4. This would be our first family dog although I have had dogs before, admittedly none of the cane corso size. Is a corso a good family pet? How are they with kids? I really want to get one.

    • burbygirl 18 months ago

      I adopted this dog .. he is three years and iv had him a year ... it mu hubby my 11yr old and my dog i also have a small 8 yr old dog .. my big mam is grate he has fit right in LOVE him and don't know how not to have him around .. any there a grate dog but make sheer you have room ..

    • steve 17 months ago

      Had a male and female corso at the same time. Two wonderful dogs. Currently have a 1 year old English mastiff. The mastiff breed itself is wonderful wouldn't think of owning any other breed.

    • Iris 17 months ago

      I have been in love with these breed for over 10 years. I will soon purchase one and all your comments are truly appreciated.

    • Shelly 16 months ago

      Awesome read! I got Malley about 6 months ago. My French Mastiff had passed away from rapid growth cancer and my husband surprised me with a gorgeous brindle Cane Corso. We have had three Mastiffs and she is by far the most energetic one we have ever had. I am definitely in love with her and she loves us. She flops around on us and acts like she can't get enough!! YES, at times I think what have I gotten myself into but wouldn't give het up. I just have to laugh. I am reading everything i can on them. Thank you!

    • Charlie 11 months ago

      I was thinking of getting one of these dogs but I was afraid that it would be too much to handle on my own. I have also heard they are terrible dogs to train. Are they say to train single handedly or should I go to someone for help? I also didn't know if it would be good to have one if I was at work all day. Would I need to have a dog sitter or would that be a bad idea?

    • anonymous 9 months ago

      I have an 8month old male Corso, such a soft personality. He came home at 10wks and we've done more socializing, training and exercising than I care to imagine. He pushes limits, but only so far.. He's goofy and fun.. Most of all he's the most relaxed and laid back puppy I've had the pleasure of owning. It is a constant battle though managing enough exercise with not over doing it for a rapidly growing puppy, he eats like a horse and costs more to feed than I do. His sense of entitlement is phenomenal lol. So far he's been a joy to have around and in the right home/hands I think they can be awesome family dogs. Unsocialized and untrained they are a liability to own.

    • Patient Saint profile image

      Patient Saint 9 months ago

      I'm writing this with Conrad at my feet, gnawing a dried cow's ear. Conrad was 8 weeks old when we got him, and the experience was exhausting. Chewing, peeing, destroying and pooing with plenty of comatose sleep in between. But what a fine specimen he has turned into now! He has a very selective bark: he studies situations and people first before he decides whether to respond with gentle curiosity or a deep throated warning 'boof'. 9 times out of 10 the gentle curiosity wins.

      Yes, we have to be very firm and calm with him. At times he decides to take a day off, and that's when he totally does his own thing. Exasperating. But most of the time he does what we require of him, after much careful thought and consideration of course.

      Our two cats have a better handle on him. He pays them a lot of respect since they decide whether he can sleep in his bed, walk through the door or lie in the favourite sunny spot by the window.

      A tip to satisfy those powerful jaws: let him bring a heavy stick of hard (not soft!) wood home and rub it with coconut oil. It'll keep him busy a bit longer than an ordinary chew from the pet shop. Licking the last vestiges of coconut oil from its rough surface is an art to behold.

    • barbara 8 months ago

      bellza mom she is one of the best puppies I have own yes at times I had wanted to send her back to breeder but she is doing great, she is a handful, we had rottweilers before but love both breeds. I just love your article this is so true

    • About Time Cane Corso 6 months ago

      You are using my photo that I took of my dog Chaos without permission. This image is copyright protected and is not allowed to be used without permission requested and given, and without the watermark in place and credit given.

      Please REMOVE this stolen image, and either replace it with my original uncropped image including watermark and credit for her full registered name, or replace it with one of your own photos of your own dogs.

      Thank you,


      About Time Cane Corso

    • kay 4 months ago

      We have a cane corso and he is absolutely destructive to the point he is eating and destroying our cement porch and digging the biggest holes possible. Hes excellent with our 1yr old our 6yr old not so much he just thinks she's a big person and tried jumping all over her. How can I get him to stop chewing and destroying things outside like my PORCH! Also he hates he's ears cleaned any tips or tricks to get him to let us clean his ears.

    • Trina Low 3 months ago

      I am interested in becoming a Corso parent....We live on 160 acres...with wildlife, horses, cows, cats, and other that suitable to them? Are they aggressive to children/infants as I have several grands and nieces/nephews. Any information or tips are welcome!

    • Alice 2 months ago

      I have had 2 Cane Corso now both females. Both have been amazing dogs. I had no trouble training either of them. The first one I had did pull on the leash when out for walks. I was able to get that under control with a gentle lead but of course this did take some time. Any dog will fight that gentle lead at first. The second one just likes to stand still like a frozen statue so you just have to pull her or coaxed her to walk but once you get going she is fine. Never had any other problems with either, I love the breed.

    • Darcy 4 weeks ago

      Very helpful I wanted to know why he has to gave a stick in his mouth when I walk him he holds his head up high and trots down the road

    • Mich 11 days ago

      I love my Cane Corso little girl pup! Great article.

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