how to train a Cane Corso

How to train a Cane Corso! (+ examples)

You are right here if you want to know how to raise and train a Cane Corso. In this post, I will describe what we think is essential in Cane Corso training and what has worked and what has not.

Cane Corsos must be trained consistently but lovingly from day one. Consistent means that decisions are consistently enforced. Excessive harshness is definitely out of place, as Cane Corsos are very large and impressive but, at the same time, very sensitive.

Before I go into detail, I want to clarify that we are not dog trainers. We have had several dog trainers with different dog training approaches over the years.

This has allowed us to compare and find the best approaches.

We now have “experience” with three large Mastiff-type dogs (Cane Corso and Broholmer) and can say that our dogs are well-behaved. Read on if you want to know how we trained our Cane Corso.

What does training mean for us?

Dog training means that our dogs, in the end, orient themselves to us and follow us. We are the pack leaders, lead the way, and make all the decisions for the dog.

The result is that we can walk relaxed or generally live together in harmony.

Our Cane Corso should be relaxed and oriented to us, waiting for guidance and directions. Education does not mean for us that Malou, our Cane Corso sits down for a treat.

Just because a dog does “sit” or “down” on command does not mean he is well trained.

Cane Corso training starts on the first day!

For us, it was clear that the training of our Cane Corso starts on day 1. A Cane Corso has to understand directly what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do.

Of course, depending on the stage of life and personal preference, the focus is different. For example, in the beginning, our Cane Corso puppy should learn that it is not okay for him to bite our hands or the hands of children.

Likewise, it was necessary to us that Malou not go up the stairs into the kids’ room or bedroom.

Of course, we also practiced the basic commands like sit, down, recall, and so on.

Cane Corso must be trained consistently!

Again and again, one hears and reads that the training of a Cane Corso must be consistent. But what does that mean?

Consistent training means that you always act the same way in the same situations. It also means that you enforce your “will.” So your Cane Corso understands faster what you want, and the training becomes more accessible. If you are consistent, Cane Corso training will be easy.

2 short examples from our everyday life:

  • We don’t want our dogs to go to the 1st floor. If I would allow it once in a while, but then again, not anymore is not consistent. Either my dog is allowed on the 1st floor or not.
  • If I send our Cane Corso dog to her spot with the command “place,” but she doesn’t go, and then I don’t care, that is not consistent. Now she asserts her “will” and decides against doing a command. I then lead her to her place while giving the command again. I want her to go to her place (and stay there), and I then must implement that consistently.

When your dog decides and does not execute a command, it weakens your position as pack leader.

If your Cane Corso doesn’t take you seriously in certain situations, it can end badly if he thinks he is taking the lead and decides for himself. For example, if he believes that danger threatens. Because Cane Corsos have a strong protective instinct.

Cane Corso training
Sansa (Broholmer, Malou (Cane Corso), Arya (Broholmer) – No one is allowed to eat without an OK

You are the pack leader!

Our dogs must be oriented to us. We are the pack leaders, make all the decisions and manage all the essential resources.

This starts with the food. We give our dogs their food and don’t leave it out all day, so they have constant access. An excellent way to do this is to let them work out some of their daily food rations throughout the day as you train them.

Toys like chew toys* are also not left in the dog bed but are “managed” by us.

In addition, special exercises have helped to strengthen our position and thus caused our Cane Corso to be oriented to us.

A very simple exercise that everyone can comfortably integrate into everyday life:

  • Stand somewhere (first without distractions). On a meadow, a dirt road whatever….
  • Gently bring your Cane Corso sideways to your leg with the leash and your hand.
  • Every time he moves away, for example to sniff, you bring him back with the leash without comment and push him sideways to your leg again.
  • You decide at that moment about space and movement. He has nothing to do at this moment but to stand still next to you.

Again, the important thing in this exercise is the consistency described above. Every time he moves away from your side, you bring him back. You are the pack leader – you decide.

If this works without problems, you can extend the exercise. Either add another person to distract him or go to a place with more activity.

These and a few other exercises have helped us to control Malou’s leash aggression after she was the victim of a biting attack. The positive side effect of these exercises is that something like leash leadership comes automatically. It is more or less a by-product or waste product.

I provide the different exercises in a free download with pictures and explanations.

Positive reinforcement instead of harshness!

Cane Corsos seem intimidating and imposing, but you must emphasize sensitive education and positive reinforcement.

Of course, you also have to confront them a little more energetically. However, if you consistently communicate with your dog in a friendly manner, a somewhat sharper tone is often sufficient. Physical violence is an absolute no-go.

Education happens automatically and continuously. If Malou does something well, i.e., shows a desired behavior, she will be rewarded. This can be verbal praise, a short caress, or even a treat.

For example, if she walks calmly next to me past another dog, a short pat and praise show her that I appreciate this behavior, and she will show it more often.

As a basic principle, we try to tell our dogs what we think is excellent more often than we correct negative behaviors.

How to teach basic commands!

Of course, your dog should also know the basic commands, as they make sense in certain situations.

To teach your dog the basic commands “Sit” or “Down,” there are several possibilities that I would like to address one at a time briefly.

Teach your dog “Sit”!

  1. You must be calm and relaxed. If you are hectic, this will be transferred to your dog.
  2. Show your dog a great treat and get his attention. He needs to understand that you have something great for him.
  3. Lead the treat up his nose so that he has to look up when he follows the treat with his eyes. He will automatically sit down.
  4. The moment he sits down, give the command “Sit” and reward him with a treat.

You must understand that your dog does not understand the meaning of your words. He must first associate the command “Sit” with a specific action. The goal is to get him into the desired position and then give the command so he can associate the two. The whole thing is reinforced with a treat.

Teach your dog “Down”!

You proceed in the same way as with “Sit.” But with the difference that you lead the treat down to the floor and make the dog lie down. You give the command “Down” and the reward as soon as he lies down.

After a few repetitions, your Cane Corso will have linked the command and the action and will know what you want him to do when you say sit or down.

You can use this basic technique for all commands. You can learn how to build up commands like “Down,” “Off,” “Recall,” etc., in an online dog training*.

Now it is important again that your Cane Corso executes the commands. You have to insist on it if he doesn’t feel like it. You decide! That’s where education starts.

Frustration tolerance plays an important role in the Cane Corso training!

Another point that is important if you want to train your Cane Corso sensibly is frustration tolerance.

This means nothing else than that your dog learns to deal with frustration. This way, he will stay calm and relaxed in situations that might frustrate him. For example, because he wants to go to another dog.

The training is built up so that you create an expectation in your dog but do not fulfill it – or rather, do not fulfill it immediately.

Your dog knows at some point what happens when you do different things. For example, he is happy when you prepare the food, put on your jacket and take the leash, or drive a certain distance in the car.

Example of this can be:

  1. Prepare the food, but forget to give it to your dog. Give it to him 30 minutes later.
  2. Get dressed for a walk and take the leash. Just before you leash your joyfully waiting dog, get undressed again and wait 30 minutes.
  3. Drive to the dog run with your dog, but don’t get off. Wait a short time, and drive back home and come back later.

He has an expectation that you do not fulfill. This frustrates him, and he has to process this situation and learn to deal with it.

Cane Corso while Training
Broholmer and Cane Corso while training / Impulse Control

What didn’t help train our Cane Corso?

As mentioned earlier, we booked different dog trainers to ensure our dogs were well-behaved from the start.

Our first trainer worked almost exclusively on correcting negative behaviors. So when she pulled on the leash, there were the classics of “hiss,” “nudge,” or “rattle bottle.” That made sense to us at the time – we had no idea.

Related Cane Corso posts:

The basic idea was that your dog realizes that every time he shows a particular undesirable behavior, something unpleasant happens, So he eventually leaves it.

This worked up to a certain point, but for no dog was this the solution. This method only combats the symptom, e.g., pulling on the leash.

You are not working on why your dog pulls on the leash. Namely because he doesn’t care about you, everything else is more interesting, and he doesn’t orientate himself to you.

Conclusion: Train Cane Corso correctly!

A Cane Corso must be trained so that he accepts you as a leader and follows you. Simply teaching basic commands is not training. Training is when your dog does the commands or when he doesn’t want you to insist that he does.

I am Marco with my Cane Corso and my Broholmer


I am Marco, and I am very lucky to live with 3 big Mastiff-type dogs. In this blog, I want to share all my experiences and knowledge about dogs.

Similar Posts