If you share your home with a cane corso, you know that you've got a very big, dominant dog. With that comes a very big responsibility on your part. It's important to properly train and socialize your cane corso so aggression doesn't become an issue.
With any purebred dog, it's always important to research for what purpose the breed developed. Terriers were bred to hunt vermin, collies to herd and the cane corso was used as a guard dog and to hunt strong, vicious creatures like wild boar. Cane corsos require experienced handlers. Their natures compel them to protect their people from strangers, and that is anyone outside the family circle. He's not a particularly friendly dog to outsiders and often doesn't like other dogs or pets. If you're bringing home a cane corso, make sure everyone in your family likes and understands large canines.
Prevention is always worth a pound of cure, especially when you're dealing with a large, powerful canine. According to the Cane Corso Coalition, "A certain percentage of dogs are genetically unstable and inherit aggressive tendencies." They recommend purchasing your cane corso from a reputable breeder and meeting his parents to gauge their temperaments. Because of their strong wills, it's important to enroll your puppy in puppy kindergarten classes and keep on going at least through basic obedience. Look for trainers who specialize in the breed. A cane corso must obey his person. Don't let him loose in your backyard unless your fence is at least 6 feet high. Don't consider an electronic fence -- he'll go right through it.
If you see your dog starting to behave in an aggressive manner, correct and stop him at once. When he behaves well, lavish him with praise. Dominant aggressive behaviors include growling or snapping when a person asks the dog to move, or gets close to items the dog considers his, such as food or toys. Cane corsos bond very closely with their pack leader -- you -- as long as that pack leader demonstrates that they are the boss. Cane corsos can test boundaries, but you must never allow them to cross the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. In less dominant breeds, it's not something that needs reinforcing as frequently as in dominant dogs like the cane corso.
The most common type of canine corso aggression is a male going after another male dog. Neutering your pet will help reduce potential aggression toward other dogs. If you're out for a walk and come upon another dog, always have control of your dog but praise him if he ignores the passing canine. Dogs on or near your property might be another story, as your cane corso is very territorial. Once again, here's where your position as pack leader comes into play. Gently but firmly let him know what is and isn't acceptable behavior.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.