Unlike humans, puppy’s do show characteristics early on that can help determine the type of dog they will be when they mature. The great thing is I believe all puppies and dogs can be molded as you wish, some will be easier then others. As an experienced trainer, I have often seen puppies who showed no dominant behavior take on some of the dominant behavior characteristics as they get older because their owner failed to take the lead in their relationship.
If you fail to be the Pack Leader with the Cane Corso, this can cause problems. The Cane Corso by nature is not a ‘push over’ and will gravitate toward being in charge given the chance. The Cane Corso has a history of bravery, fighting alongside Roman soldiers in ancient times, you can be sure this was the type of dog that was very courageous.
The Cane Corso can also be a very submissive dog once they get acquainted with the fact that you are the ‘boss’. I have worked with many breeds, and I find the Cane Corso very easy to train, if the owner is willing to lead. You must take steps to establish yourself as the leader and you can have a wonderful relationship with your dominant Cane Corso. Here are a few key points I use when training a dominant Cane Corso.
Set Rules and Follow Them
Setting rules is important especially for dominant dogs since it helps them to use their leadership skills to enhance their relationship with you. As trainers, our goal is to take their dominant behavior and actually reverse it in a positive way, so setting rules is very important to help accomplish this goal.
Rules in the home should include where the dog can cannot go. Be sure to stick with these rules. Fore example if your Cane Corso cannot go upstairs to the bedrooms be sure to stick to this rule.
With dominant dogs, you should leash train often to help them use their energy to feel good about their accomplishments. Some simple tasks of making them sit, heal and stay while on a leash will help to mold them.
Human Sleeping Areas are for Humans
Some people may agree or disagree with allowing their dogs to sleep in the bed with them. I have never allowed my dogs to sleep with me in my bed. I reserve our beds for humans, this allows the dogs to understand that they are not on our level, this in essence helps them to accept their pack order. Understanding the wolf pack leaders, will help us to understand why this is so important. Wolf Alpha dogs sleep away from the pack, they are very clear in their rank and choose the better sleeping area away from the rest of the pack. Why then would we allow our dogs to sleep with us? Is this not an invitation to your dog to gain the upper hand? In many of the extreme behavioral problems I see, 95% of them sleep with their owners and are allowed on the couch when they wish.
Be calm Cool and Confident
Dogs are better at following good leaders than humans are, if you do not believe me, please see our Politicians in Washington D.C.. Leadership is followed better by Alpha Dogs, since they tend to be smarter. Alpha Dogs may try to ‘fill the void’ if they see the lack of leadership, so for this reason show calm yet confident training.
If you’re anxious or nervous, your dog will sense this, and a dominant dog will see it as their cue to take charge. On the other hand, if you are calm and assertive, a dominant dog will read this as everything is all right, and they won’t feel the need to protect and direct their pack, i.e. you.
Affection is Great But Don’t over do it.
Dominant dogs are naturally more aloof and solitary. Remember, in the pack, the leaders do not approach the followers. The followers come to the leaders. The trap that it’s easy for humans to fall into is to pursue their dog to give affection when the dog isn’t “cuddly” enough, which puts the dog in the leadership position.
If your dog is dominant, the best approach is to ignore them. When she want attention, she will come to you, and this reinforces your role as the Pack Leader.
Use meal time to your advantage
In the pack, the leaders eat first, and the same should be true when the leaders are humans. For dominant dogs especially, you need to create a boundary around the family table, with the dog not allowed to approach while the people are eating.
When it comes to feeding time, your dog must be calm and submissive before you even begin the process, and wait in that calm submissive state until you have put the bowl down, walked away from it and given the “okay” for your dog to eat.
Give your dog a job
Dominant dogs in particular need to fulfill a role in the pack, which is why it’s important for you to give your dog a job. This can be as simple as having them wear a backpack on the walk, or you can train your dog in agility, search and rescue, obedience, herding, and more.
The more dominant your dog, the more of a need to be an even stronger Pack Leader. Keeping these five points in mind will help keep you on top and your relationship with your dog happy and balanced.
Don’t Give Up!
I have trained many different breeds of dominant dogs, many who the owners were ready to give up on. Many who were ready to be put to sleep because of some aggressive incidents. Give your dog time, try to understand wolf behavior if possible, since it will help you to better understand your dog. Keep trying, implement these above steps and i’m sure you will be on your way to a new dog with a great habits!