A Helpful Guide To Cane Corso Training and Socialisation

Cane Corso Training and socialisation

The subject of Cane Corso training comes up a lot when discussing the breed. Known in Latin as the “bodyguard dog, the name Cane Corso is famous for its protective and guardian-like qualities. 

The Italian Mastiff can grow to a height of 70 cm and a weight of no less than 50kg. And while they may look fierce, and have developed a reputation for being a handful, this giant pooch can also be a loving, affectionate breed – with the right training, of course. 

Training and socialising your Cane Corso is not only important but necessary if you want a well-behaved guard dog or companion that loves snuggles and tolerates others. 

But, beware! Cane Corso training requires commitment, great leadership and consistency. This isn’t a job we’d recommend for in-experienced dog owners. Corsi are known for their power, a stubborn temperament and a dominant, confident personality. You need to be wearing the trousers in this relationship from day one! 

Cane Corso: Understanding this Giant’s Personality

In the past, Cane Corso dogs were used to protect livestock, as guard dogs, and, of course, as lovable companions for those who loved this giant but beautiful breed. They were not, however, always as loved by all, as many fear Cane Corso’s due to their size and often droopy-looking faces. Over the years, this has been exaggerated with practices such as ear-cropping which add to the “fierce” appearance. 

But, as any Cane Corso owner will tell you, these powerful giants make the best guard dogs and even greater friends. Known to be fiercely loyal, they are ultimately trainable, intelligent, and will do anything to protect their owners.

On top of this, the Italian Mastiff also loves having a job and see’s protecting the parameter as just that. It all comes from a place of wanting to please their owner. 

The Cane Corso’s Natural Instinct and Drive

Cane Corso’s have a natural instinct to protect the ones they love, this is an element that owners need to wrestle with as it makes Cane Corso training that bit more difficult. This is good for anyone who wants the comfort of knowing that they are always safe when their four-legged friend is around. 

Training your Cane Corso from a young age will help ensure that your dog is able to protect you without accidentally hurting those around them, as their instinct to protect takes over once they sense danger is about. 

From single women to large families, the Cane Corso will instinctively protect their families from any threat – be it another snarling animal to an intruder in the home, the Cane Corso has your back. 

The Corso’s high prey drive, if left unchecked can lead to some unfortunate encounters with other animals. This therefore calls in the need for effective and consistent socialisation from early puppy-hood.   

Socialising Your Cane Corso

The Benefits of Socialising Your Pup Early On

Did you know that it takes as little (or as long, depending on how you look at it) 21 days for your dog to form a new habit? This is why early socialisation is best for younger dogs to learn early on. These new habits form quickly. It much easier to socialise a puppy than a fully grown adult. I guess, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is fairly accurate here. 

Research from the American Kennel Club has shown that the perfect age to train or socialise your dog is when they are between the ages of three and twelve weeks. This might seem a bit early, but many do not give their animals any credit for being intellectual beings. 

Early socialisation can and will help teach your dog how to interact with humans and other animals, be more comfortable in any number of settings or situations, and leave you with a happy, more relaxed dog that will not switch to aggressive behaviour at the drop of a hat. 

Obedience is key when raising a dog, and early socialisation forms a key part of training your dog to be obedient. 

Top Tips for Successful Socialisation during Puppyhood

We’ve put together a handy little list of the top tips you should follow if you want to socialise your Cane Corso successfully when they are still in the puppy stage. 


Arrange doggy play-dates or sessions for your pup

Ask your local vet for information on puppy get-togethers, or speak to your nearest animal rescue centre if they have any programs available. 


Take your puppy out with you

Nipping to the store for some milk? Take your puppy with you. Be sure to keep snacks in your bag or pocket and reward your puppy for good behaviour.


Start early

As we have already discussed, the best time to socialise your puppy is when they are between the ages of three and twelve weeks. Most obedience schools have puppy training classes, so sign up for one and join in on the fun while giving your puppy the best start in life. You want your puppy to be interacting with as many humans and other animals as much as possible, as early as possible. 


Help them acclimatise to new sights and sounds

Your puppy is sure to be frightened the first time you turn on the vacuum or a car honks outside. Reassure your puppy when that happens, and show them that they have nothing to be scared of.


Get them used to being handled and groomed

Grooming is a vitally essential part of caring for your pup, so try and get them used to the process as soon as possible. Some groomers might have rules regarding the age at which they will groom your new pup, so call around and find one that will make it as gentle a process as possible and show your pup some love.

Obedience: Why Obedience Training is Key

Obedience is an essential part of Cane Corso training as it is necessary to establish dominance by showing your new pup that you are in control. Now is the time to lay out a few necessary rules that you expect them to abide by. 

Proper obedience training can reduce behaviour issues, making your pup a pleasure to be around. It can also have the benefit of teaching your dog to listen to and follow necessary instructions. 

Essential Commands you should Know

Here are the ten commands that you should teach your pup as early as possible:

  • Sit or stay
  • Stand
  • Heel
  • Fetch and drop
  • Look
  • Come
  • No!
  • Wait
  • Lie down
  • Their name

These basic commands form the basis of all obedience training and are relatively quick to teach using positive reinforcement (think treats). 

Side note – It’s important to avoid negative reinforcement with this breed as this can lead to anxiety, resentment and the risk of occasional lashing out.

Obedience Training Tips

Follow these tips to make obedience training your Cane Corso a breeze:


Use positive reinforcement to reward the behaviour you want

Your pup will soon learn that any bad behaviour results in no treat.


Consistency From Everyone Involved

Ensure that everyone in your household follows the same rules and tips to ensure that training is effective.


Start as early as possible

Between three and twelve weeks of age is the perfect time to train your new pup. 

Advanced Cane Corso Training and Mental Stimulation

Dogs are like children and are constantly learning. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is one way to keep the boredom at bay and teach them a few new tricks along the way too. There is a range of games that you can try to mentally stimulate and engage with your dog, so let’s find out more.

Exercises and Play Activities for your Cane Corso

Are you looking to mentally stimulate your dog to keep them engaged? Try these fun activities that might just turn into a fun game that you can all enjoy:

  • Chew toys (those with squeakers are the best and guarantee hours of fun)
  • Puzzle toys that make your pup work for their food
  • Scent-based type games that require them to sniff out a treat
  • Good old hide and seek (Dogs love this!)
  • Build an obstacle course in your backyard
  • Take your dog for regular walks

Common Behavioural Issues of Cane Corso’s 

All dogs have at least one behavioural issue, and while it may cause much frustration, they can be easy to tackle and deal with. 

The most common behavioural issues that Cane Corso owners have noted are:

  • Incessant barking
  • Aggression towards people and other dogs
  • Biting
  • Food aggression
  • Jumping up on people

How to Solve those Tricky Behavioural Issues


If your Cane Corso barks incessantly, a firm no will quickly teach them that this behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Give them a treat when they react calmly. 


Socialisation and training as early as three weeks of age will significantly reduce the risk of aggression in your Cane Corso. There are of course other practices such as neutering which may lower the aggression in male dogs.


All puppies bite while they go through their teething phase. It’s also how they start to engage and understand their environment, so in that regard it’s perfectly natural. But, if the biting continues, it is time to bring back the obedience training and show your dog who is in control by asserting your dominance.

Jumping up on people

Dogs show their excitement to see you by jumping up on you. And while this may seem cute in the beginning, it can quickly get old as you are bombarded by your dog when you walk in the door. Teaching your dog the essential commands like sit and stay will help them learn that jumping up on others is a no-no.

The Importance of Socialising Your Cane Corso

Dogs, much like humans, are social beings and enjoy playtime with other dogs as much as we enjoy the odd dinner party or disco. Teaching your dog how to socialise with other dogs can help reduce the risk of aggression and a fight with another animal and ensure that playtime can continue drama-free.

Socialisation Tips to Follow

Are you battling to teach your dog to socialise? Here are a few tips you can try to make interaction and introductions with other animals a breeze:

#1: Start off slow 

#2: Keep all dogs on leads and let them see each other from a distance

#3: Introduce the dogs in a neutral territory

#4: Give treats for good behaviour

Building a Strong Bond with your Cane Corso

Whether you chose the breed as a guard dog or are looking for a companion to share your life with, it is important to build a good strong bond with your Cane Corso. A dog that feels loved will not only return that affection but will also do more to protect its owner. 

How to Build the Bond

Loving your dog comes fairly naturally. But, for those who want to know how to make the bond between themselves and their fur baby even stronger, follow these tips:

  • Provide adequate health and nutritional care
  • Establish a routine (This includes walks, play-time & games, dinner time, sleep time, grooming, etc.)
  • Reward them as often as possible when good behaviour is exhibited
  • Show them love and affection in the form of a cuddle or hug

These may seem to be fairly simple tips, but they make a world of difference when trying to build or strengthen that all-important bond, so give them a try!

Final Thoughts On Cane Corso Training & Socialisation

We have highlighted the extreme importance of training and socialisation of your Cane Corso. From tips on how to stop incessant barking to new things you can try to help strengthen the bond between you and your precious companion, there is something for everyone.

Proper training and socialisation can go a long way in ensuring your dog has the best start in life, so put in the time and effort it takes to teach them how you expect them to behave and reap the rewards.

With that said, you should know what you’re getting your self into when committing to a Cane Corso. Yes, they’re a wonderful guardian dog. But their power, combined with a dominant personality means that we only really recommend this breed for experienced owners.

If you are interested in committing, then please read our guide on the cost of owning a Cane Corso for a detailed breakdown.

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