The Cane Corso has been around for a long time. They descended from the ancient Molassus dogs that fought beside the Roman Centurians during the Gallic Wars. But, as daunting as their appearance and history may be, they are one of the most intelligent and loyal breeds of dogs out there. And their sweet way of communicating with their unique "talk" can be quite comical.
If you are considering welcoming a Cane Corso into your life, congratulations! You are in for an extraordinary ride. But with that said, you must learn how to train your Cane Corso puppy properly so that they grow up to be the well-mannered dog of your dreams. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to training your Cane Corso puppy.
- Why Training Is Essential to Cane Corso
- Important Types of Training Other Than Basic Obedience and Household Training
- Positive Reinforcement is Key
- When Should You Begin Training With Your Cane Corso Puppy?
- 6 to 16 Weeks: Bonding and Socialization Milestone
- 16 Weeks to 6 Months: Development Milestones
- 6 Months to Adulthood: Reinforcing Good Habits
- Bottom Line
Why Training Is Essential to Cane Corso
Even though the Cane Corso is brilliant and eager to please, they are equally stubborn and bred to have a dominant personality. They will test you at every turn to see if you can be their pack leader. A Cane Corso puppy is much like a human baby—they're adorable, full of energy, and need constant supervision and care. However, unlike human babies, Cane Corsos grow up to be adults in a year and develop an instinct to protect their pack.
Without proper training, your Cane Corso will take over the household and become quite the handful. When they are puppies, these assertive behaviors may seem adorable. But when they become giants weighing over 100 pounds, these behaviors can become aggressive and even dangerous.
Training Allows You to Bond With Your Cane Corso Puppy
Another reason why training is essential is that it helps you build a bond with your dog. Training allows you to teach your dog what you expect from them and establishes you as the pack leader. A well-trained dog is also more likely to listen to you and obey your commands, making it easier to take them out in public or around other people and animals. In addition, Cane Corsos love having a purpose. By training them and teaching them new tricks, you are giving them a sense of purpose.
Important Types of Training Other Than Basic Obedience and Household Training
When people talk about dog training, most think of the basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, down, and heel. While these commands are important, they are just the bare minimum when it comes to training your Cane Corso. You also need to focus on household rules and manners. Aside from potty training, crate training, and leash manners, Cane Corso needs vigorous socialization training, territorial inhibition training, and bite inhibition training.
Because Cane Corsos are bred to be fighters and bodyguards, their instinct is to be suspicious of strangers. It is essential to start socialization training early on so your Cane Corso can learn to accept people, other animals, and new situations. The goal is to expose your puppy to as many different people, places, and other house animals, such as other dogs and cats, in a positive way so that they grow up to be confident and well-adjusted. The training also allows them to be exposed to children and smaller animals and to learn gentle ways to interact with them.
Territorial Inhibition Training
Territorial inhibition training is just as necessary as socialization training. This type of training teaches your Cane Corso not to be aggressive or territorial when someone comes into your home and yard or approaches their crates, beds, and feeding bowls. Instead of launching an attack, your dog should remain calm and relaxed in these situations.
Bite Inhibition Training
Cane Corsos have the instinct to bite and hold onto their prey. With their powerful jaws and colossal stature, a tiny nip can quickly turn into a severe bite. It is vital to begin bite inhibition training early on so your Cane Corso understands that biting and nipping humans are never acceptable behaviors.
Positive Reinforcement is Key
When training your Cane Corso puppy, positive reinforcement methods, such as treats, praise, and petting, have a much more significant impact on their behavior than negative reinforcement, such as scolding or punishment. With positive reinforcement, your puppy will learn that those good behaviors are rewarded and will be more likely to repeat those behaviors in the future.
When Should You Begin Training With Your Cane Corso Puppy?
Believe it or not, puppies begin their learning as early as two weeks of age while they interact and bond with their mothers. Even though they are blind and deaf at the time, the amount of attention given by their mothers helps shape their personalities to become more confident and calm adults. Puppies that are more positively socialized as puppies are less likely to exhibit fearfulness and aggressive behaviors.
When puppies are three weeks of age, their eyes, ears, and other motor skills become more functional. Research studies have shown that just handling the puppies gently every day can already produce more calming behavior than puppies that have never been handled by humans. Although these early stimulations can induce mild stress in the puppies, the positive experience allows them to cope better with stress later in their lives.
Newborn puppies must be introduced to humans before they reach 14 weeks. It has been noted that puppies never introduced to humans during that critical period will never be able to form healthy relationships with humans. Even when the puppy bonds with a human, they will still be generally wary and fearful of other humans.
Here is a training timeline to guide you on focusing your puppy's training so that they can hit all the critical socialization and development milestones.
6 to 16 Weeks: Bonding and Socialization Milestone
As you can see, the sooner the training starts, the better. However, unless you are a breeder, you probably only have full access to your Cane Corso puppy once they reach at least six to eight weeks of age. At this point, they have already had some time to bond with their mother and littermates, but they still need to be introduced to new experiences without being overwhelmed.
Owner and Puppy Bonding
The initial bonding period between an owner and their Cane Corso pup is crucial for socialization. The puppy should get used to their new home and family during this time. They should be learning your scent, voice, touch, and face. Remember that this is the crucial time to establish your role as the herd Alpha. Even though you want to give the puppy lots of positive attention, you must assert a leadership role with your commands. You don't have to use yelling or scolding, but your voice should be assertive, and your body language should be confident.
Socialization Is Key to a Friendly Cane Corso
This period is also the key socialization period for your puppy. They must be exposed to as many new people, animals, and experiences as possible to grow into a confident and well-adjusted dog. This socialization should include exposure to different types of people, such as men, women, children, and seniors. If you have the opportunity, you should also expose your puppy to different types of animals, such as cats, rabbits, and other dogs of all sizes.
You can do this by taking your pup to puppy socialization classes and dog parks, or by arranging playdates with the puppies of your friends. These experiences must be positive so that your puppy associates them with good things. Because the Cane Corso will be a powerful animal, this is also the time you want to introduce your puppy to the vet and the groomer so that they can become comfortable being handled. Making the first few visits a positive and happy experience can lay the foundation for future visits.
Your Cane Corso is a smart cookie and will be able to start learning basic obedience commands as early as six weeks old. However, because their attention span is still short at this age, you will want to keep the training sessions short and sweet—around five to ten minutes at a time. Some good commands to start with include: sit, down, stay, come, and leave it. This is the time to load the training time with lots of positive reinforcement in the form of treats, petting, and verbal praise to ensure that your puppy associates obedience training with good things.
If your puppy does not follow instructions well, don't get impatient. Every puppy is different, and some will learn faster than others. Just keep at it; eventually, your puppy will learn. At the same time, it is always a good idea to enlist a professional trainer to help you and give you some insightful tips. Having someone to kickstart the training process can make a big difference in the whole learning experience for your puppy.
Territorial Inhibition Training
Depending on the litter size, your puppy may learn to be protective of their food and territory early on. If this is the case, you will want to start working on territorial inhibition training to make sure that your puppy does not become overly possessive or aggressive. They should learn that the crate is a safe place to rest and spend some quiet time. They should also understand that you and other people can approach their crate. You can easily achieve this milestone by putting your puppy into the crate, tossing a treat into the crate, and backing off. When they eat the treat and want more, repeat the steps. Over time as the puppy becomes more comfortable, stop backing off.
Food Aggression Training
To minimize your puppy's food-aggression behavior, you should allow your puppy first to become comfortable eating with you standing nearby. You can drop in special treats every now and then to get the puppy used to the idea that people can approach while they're eating. Over time, work on touching the feeding bowl as your puppy eats. Once they get comfortable with that experience, work on lifting the bowl. Then give them a treat for being a good puppy. If you have any family members, have them repeat this whole process.
16 Weeks to 6 Months: Development Milestones
At this point, your Cane Corso puppy should have better concentration and learn new tricks and commands more quickly. However, you will want to continue socialization and obedience training while adding more advanced commands such as heel, roll over, speak, and shake. As your puppy becomes more confident and obedient, you will have more fun teaching them various tricks.
Exposure to Other New Experiences
You should also continue to take your Cane Corso on different types of outings so that they can get used to different environments. As they are now easing into adulthood, they will be much more capable of handling different situations and less likely to get overwhelmed. This could include going on hikes, to the beach, or even to the grocery store.
Proper Polite Playing Habits
They will also learn proper playing habits during this time. If you have other dogs in the home, your Cane Corso will learn to play nicely with them and not get too rough. They should also exhibit the same politeness in dog parks and when meeting other dogs on walks. If you do not have another dog in the home, you can still provide plenty of opportunities for your Cane Corso to socialize by taking them to puppy classes or dog parks regularly.
Learning to Behave When Alone
This is also an excellent time to start teaching your Cane Corso how to be alone. If you work full-time or are otherwise gone for long periods during the day, your puppy will need to learn how to stay by yourself without getting too anxious or destructive. The initial introduction to alone time can be accomplished by starting with short separations and gradually increasing the time they are left alone. You can also use a crate to help them feel more secure when they are alone at home.
Allow Your Cane Corso to Develop Their Personality
At this age, your Cane Corso will also develop their own personality. You will get to know their quirks and what makes them tick. It is important to remember that every dog is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to training or raising your pup. What works for one Cane Corso may not work for another.
6 Months to Adulthood: Reinforcing Good Habits
As your Cane Corso reaches their adolescent stage and grows bigger, they may retest the rules and boundaries you have set in place. This is normal behavior for all dogs, regardless of breed, and should be expected. The best way to handle this stage is by remaining consistent with the rules and not allowing your puppy to get away with anything.
Affirm Your Role as Their Leader
Cane Corsos are known for being a stubborn breed. If you allow them to get away with bad behavior even once, they will quickly learn that they can indeed get away with it and will continue to push their limit or even try to assert their status as the Alpha. This is why it is important to be consistent with your rules and not give in, no matter how much they beg or plead with you.
Provide More Physical and Mental Stimulation
At this stage, your Cane Corso will also need more physical and mental stimulation than they did as a puppy. It means more exercise, both in the form of walks and playtime. You should also continue to work on obedience training and trick learning. As they grow older, you can further increase the difficulty of the tricks or commands. These sessions can also allow you and your Cane Corso to deepen your bond with each other.
The Cane Corso is a beautiful breed that makes for a loyal and loving companion. By following the tips above, you can help your puppy develop into a well-rounded dog that is a joy to be around. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and loving, and you and your Cane Corso will be best friends for life.