Raising a Corso

Cane Corso’s have evolved over years of breeding and many trial and errors. This breed of dogs originated from the Canis Pugnas, dogs of war from the Roman Empire. The Cane Corsos are now a loving, loyal, confident and intelligent dog, devoted to its family.

Physical attributes:

The Corso we currently know and have grown to love originated from Italy. A complex, massive and extremely powerful dog that captivates and demands attention by their assertive nature.

There are many articles that suggest this breed grows up to 120 lbs. But I have seen and met Cane Corso’s that have weighed as much as 160 lbs. of solid, ripped muscles and still growing. Heads bigger than basketballs and paws the size of softballs. They have a huge rectangular shaped body, short dense coat and comes in colors like gray(blue), fawn, red or black (brindle).

Is this dog good for beginners?

This is not at all a good choice for beginners. People who are not experienced with dominant breeds find it extremely difficult to handle Cane Corsos, which are very powerful, active and have a tendency to be protective of its owner and home. The Cane Corso dog breed was used for hunting purposes in the past. Any new dog owner should consider getting a breed that is easier to handle (Golden Retriever, Labrador or a Chihuahua).

What qualities should this breed owner possess?

If you are considering purchasing or adopting this breed, please make sure you are a confident and assertive person. Educating yourself first so that training becomes second nature. This breed does not do well with owners that are abusive, owners that yell, scream, physically abuse or show instability.  All dogs look for a pack leader and if you are not, a Cane Corso will try to assume that roll. I don’t know about you, but I surely don’t want my Corso to be head of household.

First Steps in Owning a Corso:

The person who decides that, “Yes this breed is for them” should always keep in mind that from when the puppy is young enough to go outside (This means rabies shot and fully vaccinated, just in case you were curious) they need to be SOCIALIZED. I know as humans we love to put things of for tomorrow, the day after, next week, when I’m on vacation… but that time never comes. An unsocialized Corso is like a loaded weapon in the hands of a child, dangerous and irresponsible. Take your puppy anywhere where it is allowed. Expose your pup to sounds and the outside world. Let your puppy play with other dogs, have other people pet him, especially kids. This should be done throughout the dog’s life.

When should training begin?

Training starts from day one. It’s important for you to be prepared and have the necessary knowledge before you bring your puppy home. My wife has fully housebroken a puppy by the time it was 10 weeks old. Read, read, read and watch videos online. This day in age we have access to so much resources. There is no excuse for an untrained dog. When you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks of age, start with the basics. Their name and also teach them the word no. You will need this going forward. Potty training should also start immediately. The more accidents the dog is allowed to have at home, the harder the housebreaking process becomes. Educate yourself as much as possible and it will save you a lot of frustration.

Puppy Training

How can I train my pup?

Harsh training is never a recommended approach, especially a young puppy whose internal muscles are not completely developed. Dogs in essence want to please their owners. Positive motivation and reinforcement is the best approach at having a balanced dog that learns and listens. Purchase healthy treats that are great for training or make your own treats at home. Young puppies have low attention span, kind of like a toddler. Make sure you keep training sessions to under 10 minutes. Anything after that and you are on your own.

How should I train my adult dogs?

Cane Corso is an intelligent breed, so we don’t have to put much effort into training them. This breed enjoys being around its owner and that is a reward in itself. Figure out what your dog likes the most and use that as a training reward. For example, one of my Corsos loves playing catch. She can play catch for hours without getting tired or showing any signs of slowing down. So, I take the opportunity to re-enforce her training during play time. Sit, Stay, Down commands are all practiced while playing. One of my other dogs loves food, so right before feeding time I have ALL her attention. She learns new tricks and then she knows there’s a big reward coming at the end.  My other corso loves water, bath time is the perfect time to get her to do anything I want. So, figure out what makes your corso tick and you will have a fully trained show stopping dog in no time.

What can I include in the training program?

Always set a goal for the dog and reward it with what it likes the most. A walk in the evening, as well as morning for 15 minutes each, will help the dog know the outside world, get used to sounds and focus on socialization. Besides house breaking and basic commands other training options like protection and advanced behavior training will help them become exemplary dogs.

What do I need to know before going out with my dog?

Make sure you have a good collar on your dog. Cane Corso’s are too strong for collars with plastic clips. I learned this the hard way, when I got my first Corso, she pulled on the leash, collar snapped off and I chased her for 2 blocks before I caught up to her. I had to carry her come. It was like carrying a 40lb sacks of rice home. I always use collars with metal buckles. You can purchase leather or nylon collars, doesn’t matter as long as it has a metal buckle. Walmart carry’s them for $5 bucks. Always keep your dog on a leash unless you have done advance training and are fully confident your dog won’t go flying off. I don’t know about you, stepping on poop that someone ‘forget’ to pick up is frustrating and upsetting. People, please clean up after your dogs… Bring a plastic bag with you. If you own a Corso, make sure you bring at least three bags. I know it stinks, but it’s the sanitary thing to do. We chose to have a dog, not the community.

Will a puppy destroy my home?

 Probably, if you are not prepared. What do I mean by being prepared. Well first, I am a firm believer in crate training. I know, I know, a cage is not humane. But neither is taking your dog to the shelter to get euthanized because you couldn’t deal with it anymore after the canine destroyed your couch, shoes, ate your walls and stained your rugs. First step in training dogs (and kids) is setting up rules. Society will crumble without rules and so will your new furniture if your let your puppy have complete freedom. Get a crate that the dog can grow with.  Make sure it has a divider and that puppy always has plenty of room to turn around and lay down comfortably. Do know give him a crate that is to large. If you do, they will turn it into a studio. One side for popping, another for peeing, another for sleeping and another to play and eat. If you are like me, you want to make your life as easy as possible.

Extra tips:

As a young puppy, get him used to regularly cleaning his ears, trimming his nails and getting baths. This will make your life easier as the puppy grows. Owning a dog is a long-term responsibility that should never be taken lightly.

Best of luck and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. I am always more than happy to give advice and guidance to my fellow dog lovers.