New Puppy Care - Bringing Home an About Time Cane Corso!
This page is written to help answer many of the questions that frequently come up about bringing a new puppy into your lives. It covers many things from feeding to training, socialization to housebreaking, vaccinations, supplements, and more! If you are bringing a new "About Time" puppy into your home, please take the time to read this whole page before your puppy arrives - there is a wealth of information here, you will be glad you did! If you are looking for additional information on a certain topic, please be sure to browse our Cane Corso Care and Health sections.
"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." -Chinese Proverb
Feeding Your Cane Corso:
Our dogs are fed a combination of a natural raw diet, fresh raw beef, bones, and organ meats, home cooked meals, and high quality corn-free dry kibble. We feed our dogs and pups a variety of high quality corn free kibbles including Flint River Ranch, Nature's Domain, Innova's Large Breed Puppy, Evo, and Diamond Super Premium Chicken & Rice. (Flint River Ranch kibble can be ordered direct from the distributor, and will be dropped at your door. Innova & Evo, and Nature's Domain info and dealer locations provided on our link resources page). We vary raw diet and kibble type based on protein content and the age, condition, and nutritional needs of each individual dog. We also include some supplements based on our preference for ideal dietary needs of each dog.
Your new puppy will be eating 100% Flint River Ranch kibble about a week before they go home to you. Regardless of what you plan to feed long term, start with a bag of Flint River Ranch Original Oven-Baked Puppy/Adult formula so they go home to a consistent and familiar food, and then if you chose to switch you will be able to change them gradually to your preferred brand of good quality kibble. Don't make sudden changes in your pup's diet - you can easily cause an upset stomach for days with sudden changes - the best way to change is gradually.
Changing your dog's food type:
Start your Cane Corso on their accustomed food for the first couple days while they are settling in. When you are ready to change the kibble, on the first day add just a small amount of the new kibble, then the second day mix 1/4 of the new food with 3/4 of the original food. The third day you will mix 1/2 new food with 1/2 original food, and the fourth day mix 3/4 new food with 1/4 old food. In this manner you can change the dog completely over to your preferred food type in just 5 days, without bothering their stomachs.
Protein Content & Quality:
Regardless of the brand of kibble you prefer, Protein and Calcium content play a key factor in the growth of your Cane Corso puppy. As a large breed puppy your Cane Corso has the potential to grow too fast and put additional stress and strain on still maturing joints and hips if fed a diet that is too high in protein and calcium. Growing pups, up to two years of age, will do best on a lower protein diet designed for large breed puppies. The protein level you feed can be reached thru a combination of kibble, raw feeding, and supplements (Supplements are detailed below on this page).
Quality is extremely important in your dog food decision - a cheap food that has lots of "fillers" (corn, etc) will not be digestible or nutritional, and can actually be detrimental to your puppy's health. Many commercial foods are full of cheap fillers, by-products, and artificial preservatives. Taking corn alone out of your dogs diet will keep your dog much happier and healthier in the long run, and likely increase his life span as well. Corn is completely indigestible to dogs, has no nutritional value whatsoever, many dogs are allergic to it, and a corn based diet has been linked to the cause of many cancers, seizures, and canine health issues. As if that is not enough, the corn in our country is genetically modified and loaded with growth hormones to mass produce it for the demand and variety of corn based products - the quality has been sacrificed for the quantity. If your dog, cat, or even yourself, have a predisposition to cancer, those growth hormones will feed that gene, increasing the risk of the growth of cancer. Frightening when you think about it!
- Feed your dog Well - it isn't worth saving a couple bucks on the cheap brand of kibble when you consider the loss of years to your dogs life and health, and the many pets that have needlessly died in dog food recalls in recent years.
- Feed your dog Carefully - many of the premium labels and brands are not what they appear, are not even manufactured by the company marketing the product, and are offered by companies that put a lot more expense into marketing then they do into quality nutrition and ingredients.
Dog Food Quality Rating System
If you are curious about the quality of the kibble you are feeding, or simply struggling to decipher which of the many brands available would be the best quality for your dog, use this Dog Food Rating System. This is a simple way to judge the quality of kibble brands - and compare how different dog foods measure up.
Pet Food Recalls & Choosing What You Feed
Your choice of kibble for your Cane Corso is very important, especially in light of yet another pet food recall, and the scale of brands, families, and pets affected. Many families were shocked by the unexpected loss of their beloved pets ... many families who thought they were feeding good quality food.
Co-Packing: Most people are surprised, and appalled, to learn that all the Iams/Eukanuba canned foods are not made by the Iams Company at all. In fact, in 2003 Iams signed an exclusive 10-year contract for the production of 100% of its canned foods by Menu. This type of deal is called co-packing. One company makes the food, but puts another company’s label on it. Co-packing is a very common arrangement in the pet food industry. While not commonly known, it is often brought to light when a recall is issued, and surprisingly when dozens of "premium" private labels are involved. This practice of co-packing is used by many large and “reputable” labels such as Iams, Eukanuba, Hills, Purina, Nutro, Doanes, Diamond, and other high-end, so-called “premium” foods.
The big question raised by the co-packing arrangement is whether or not there is any real difference between the expensive premium brands and the low quality generic brands. The recalled brands in the latest recall run from the cheap walmart Ol'Roy brand, up to the high-end premium labels. Whatever the differences are between cheap and high-end food, one thing is clear. The purchase price, brand, and label of commercial pet food does not always determine whether the food is good, bad, or even safe.
Here are Dog Food Recall Lists, from the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Veterinary Medical Association:
FDA Dog Food Recall List • AVMA Dog Food Recall List
Flint River Ranch Dog Food
We have fed and recommended several brands of dog kibble over the years. In light of the health issues and deaths caused by extensive recent dog food recalls that caused the sickness and deaths of many dogs on the east coast, we have been especially pleased with the human-food-grade quality Flint River Ranch kibble. This is one of the best kibbles we have found to feed in our program. It is twice baked with all natural human-food grade quality premium ingredients, and no corn or fillers. As you read the FRR website you'll understand why we spend so much time and investment on excellent food for our dogs, it's because we know that your dog's future health and quality of life will be shaped by your choice in food!
We feed and recommend Flint River Ranch dog food.
A high quality, all natural, oven baked dog food made with premium healthy ingredients and no corn and fillers.
Order FRR dog food easily and quickly online using our link above. Each order is filled directly from the manufacturer, and it will be promptly dropped at your door with no additional shipping charge!
Flint River Ranch Super Premium foods contain only high-quality, all-natural, human food grade ingredients without fillers, by-products or chemical preservatives. To aid your sensitive pup's digestion, formulas also contain probiotic and digestive enzymes to aid in food digestion and nutrient absorption. A tasty nutritious diet for your dogs, FRR's protein source is high-quality chicken meal and lamb meal, neither of which contains by-products. All kibble is Twice Oven-Baked, making it highly palatable and easily digestible. Your dogs will LOVE the taste of this kibble, and because Flint River Ranch dog food products are high-density, you will find you need to feed 20-25% less than other foods. Each serving delivers the maximum nutrition without fillers, resulting in easier digestion and less stool volume and cleanup.
Cooking for your dogs
One or two times per week we feed all our dogs a "home-cooked" meal. I will boil a whole chicken until tender, pull all the meat from the bones, and then drop some scrambled raw eggs into the boiling broth (with the chicken pieces) before finishing up with a kettle-full of rice. The end result is rice boiled in chicken broth, with wispy pieces of egg throughout, and shreds of chicken mixed in. A little oil can be added as it is cooking as well. Your dogs will love it! This is an awesome recipe for settling an upset stomach. You can also change up the ingredients for variety, including pasta, sliced potatoes, and some assorted fresh vegetables.
We supplement all our dogs diets with Satin Balls (recipe below) a healthy and tempting recipe you can mix together and freeze for easy daily use.
If you start researching raw diets, you'll hear a vast difference of opinions. Personally, we have found that a natural raw diet has been nothing but beneficial to our dogs. Raw bones and food are what dogs are naturally suited to eat. Commercially prepared cooked foods & kibble lack enzymes and other essential dietary components and contain some ingredients that promote allergies and are otherwise harmful for dogs. The conventional canned and kibble dog foods are convenient and practical to handle, that's why they are so popular. After a couple of years of feeding though, they can be harmful for your dog's liver - especially the super premium types.
If you decide to feed raw to your Cane Corso, your options range from packaged medallions of raw food, to simply picking up a couple ribs at the grocery store (and explaining to the family why the dog gets ribs while dinner is spaghetti!). We stop by a small privately owned meat processing company near us once a week and pick up fresh raw beef for all our dogs, and store it in a 14 cubic foot freezer to so their feedings stay fresh all week long. Our dogs ear fresh raw beef, lamb, and goat, raw bones, chicken necks, organ meats (hearts/livers/kidneys etc), and green tripe.
- Raw bones are healthy for your dog. Raw bones are digestible, natural, softer, and nutritional, while cooked bones will become hard, brittle and lose much of their nutritional value.
- NEVER feed cooked chicken bones to your dog. They will splinter into fatally sharp slivers and pieces and can KILL your dog. Raw chicken bones are perfectly safe and fine.
- Before feeding raw game or pork meat or bones to your dog, freeze them completely for three weeks (21 days) to kill any possible parasite larva that may be present in the meat.
- Do not feed Raw and Kibble in the same meal together. Raw processes quickly through the digestive system, while kibble takes longer to digest and break down. Feeding both together means that the raw food will be held up in the digestive tract for longer than is natural by the slower digestion of the kibble - thus creating an ideal environment for an unhealthy surge in bacteria growth.
Feeding Both Raw and Processed Kibble Together
Feeding a natural raw diet has produced outstanding results in our dogs. However, depending on the individual dog and situation, there are many times when we supplement the dog's raw diet with some kibble as well. There is nothing wrong with combining raw and kibble in the same diet, as long as you feed them in the proper order. Raw is what your dog's stomach was designed to digest, as a result raw food is processed and digested quickly and efficiently through your dog's digestive tract. Commercially prepared cooked foods & kibble take longer for your dog to digest and process. If you chose to feed raw and kibble, do not feed both raw and kibble in the same meal together, and do not feed kibble immediately followed by raw. This is a common mistake, following a bowl of kibble with some raw 'dessert', but when fed in this order the raw food gets backed up in the digestive tract behind the slower processing kibble, and remains in the stomach for a much longer period of time that it otherwise would. This extended time can result in a buildup of bacteria that is not healthy for your dog. Better to either feed raw followed by kibble, in separate meals - raw one meal, kibble in a separate meal altogether.
We strongly recommend NuVet Plus immune system builder and NuJoint Plus to all of our clients. We have given your pup the best start possible in life, and we highly recommend you continue your pup's health and hip supplement support, from the time they arrive home to you, on both NuVet Plus to support your pup's immune system for optimal health, and NuJoint Plus to help reduce the risk of Hip Dysplasia. NuVet is not available in stores, and is only available to the general public with an order code from an authorized pet professional.
For your convenience, you may order directly from the manufacturer (at up to 50% off what most veterinarians charge)
- Online, at this link: www.nuvet.com/36105
- By phone, Call: 800-474-7044 and use Order Code: 36105
*SAVE an additional 15% and assure you never run out of NuVet by choosing the “AutoShip” option at check out!
NuVet Plus will protect your new Cane Corso puppy against ailments and toxins (from back yard pesticides, pet food allergies and hormones, toxic formaldehyde in furniture and carpeting, immune threats transmitted from dog parks and the vet’s office, etc), while maintaining a beautiful coat and healthy skin.
NuVet Plus can help prolong the life of your dog and can help eliminate many ailments, including Allergies, Skin and Coat Problems, Scratching, Itching, Biting, Hot Spots, Arthritis and Joint Problems, Low Energy Levels, Diabetes and Liver Problems, Cataracts and Tumors, Digestive Problems, Tearing, Heart Disease, Premature Aging.
NuVet Plus is not just a vitamin. It’s an immune system builder with a precise balance of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids and high-potency antioxidants. That’s why it works so well through all three stages of a dog’s life. For younger dogs (under 2 years old), it strengthens their immune system, while building and strengthening the cardiovascular, skeletal and nerve systems. For dogs in their prime (age 2-8), it improves the luster of their skin and coat while protecting against allergies, skin and coat problems, staining from tears, digestive problems, etc. For older dogs (over 8 years old), it helps protect against, tumors, premature aging, cataracts, heart conditions, diabetes and many types of cancer, while extending the life and improving the vitality of many dogs.
Click here to ORDER NuVet Plus for your pup's health and immune system!
NuJoint Plus is a premium nutritional natural anti-inflammatory hip and joint therapy supplement. Hip Dysplasia can be a serious concern in any large breed dog, despite the best of care and ideal breeding. NuJoint Plus is a nutrient rich product that goes to the source of the problem, combating hip dysplasia, arthritis, osteoporosis, joint inflammation, and joint and bone ailments with a wide variety of natural healing ingredients designed to be bio-digestible.
NuJoint Plus is a carefully formulated nutritional pet supplement, using only the highest quality pharmaceutical, human grade ingredients that are specifically compounded in a FDA approved laboratory for maximum potency and effectiveness.
NuJoint Plus uses a cutting edge formula that targets disease causing pathogens and free radicals by infusing the cellular framework of your pet’s metabolism with precise percentages of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and Vitamin C.
Click here to ORDER NuJoint Plus for your pup's hips and joints!
Natural Nutritional Extras
- A spoonful of live culture plain yogurt daily will aid in digestion.
Giving yogurt with every feeding is an excellent way to add back beneficial bacteria and probiotics to the stomach anytime your dog is on antibiotics.
- A spoonful or two of raw pumpkin (fresh, or non-spiced pie filling) with each feeding will help firm up loose stools.
- A spoonful of mayonnaise or oil daily will promote a shiny healthy coat, and help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems.
*While dogs can not digest corn, they can assimilate linoleic acid and linoleic from corn oil.
- A raw egg daily will promote a shiny healthy coat, and help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems.
*Please read the information below on Feeding Raw Eggs before giving raw eggs to your young puppy or senior dog.
The above mayonnaise, oil and egg supplements are high in protein and fat. Used correctly and in moderation they will produce a shiny healthy coat, and they will help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems as well. Do keep in mind though, an overweight fat puppy is not a healthy puppy and is going to be more prone to hip/joint problems. When used with moderation to feed the average active pup that this is never really a problem, but pay attention. If your pup starts to get chunky, you need to slow down on the extras.
Satin Balls are a total canine diet. They can be feed by by themselves or as a supplement, used to build up a show dog, or develop a healthy appetite for a picky eater. They will increase weight on thin dogs, build healthy soft skin and glossy coats, alleviate itching and chewing at dry coats/skin, and maintain a bright-eyed look and healthy energy level.
Again, Satin Balls are high in protein and are well used as treats and to supplement to a puppy's diet. Care must be taken not to cause the pup to become overweight by feeding too much Satin Balls to a young and growing pup.
Satin Balls Recipe and Instructions
|Small Recipe Ingredients
||Full Recipe Ingredients
- 1 lb cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
- 1 and 1/3 cups Total cereal
- 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
- 1 egg (*boiled in the shell for 30 seconds)
- 6 Tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsulphered molasses
- A pinch of salt
- 1 package Knox Joint gelatin
(unflavored gelatin can be used instead)
- 10 lbs cheap hamburger (high fat %)
- 1 large box Total cereal (about 12 cups cereal)
- 1 large box uncooked oatmeal (about 15 cups oats)
- 10 eggs (*boiled in the shell for 30 seconds)
- 1 15oz jar wheat germ
- 1 and 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 and 1/4 cup unsulphered molasses
- A pinch of salt
- 10 packages Knox Joint gelatin
(unflavored gelatin can be used instead)
|Directions: Mix all ingredients together, much like you would a meatloaf. Include entire eggs, shells and all.
DO NOT COOK. This recipe is fed fresh and raw.
Mix completely, then roll into "meatballs" or "patties", store in quart freezer bags or tupperware, and freeze.
Thaw as needed, and feed raw!
*(Boiling the eggs for 30 seconds denatures the whites, while leaving the benefits of the uncooked yolks intact.)
Feeding Raw Eggs
We feed raw eggs to all the adult dogs at various times. Eggs are very good for dogs. In fact, they are the most concentrated, valuable form of protein that a dog can get. HOWEVER, with young puppies you never want to feed them uncooked egg whites. Raw egg yolks are just fine for pups, but pups are unable to digest raw/uncooked egg whites.
Egg whites contain an enzyme inhibitor which can make them difficult to digest for very young puppies, sick dogs, old dogs, or dogs with pancreatitis. Apart from that, unless a dog has an allergy to eggs, there should be no problem. Egg whites contain a substance called avidin, which binds with the vitamin biotin (a member of the B Complex group), making it unavailable for your dog. This has been shown in studies to not be a problem when a dog is fed a balanced healthy diet - only when a dog was fed no biotin for weeks while being fed large amounts of eggs did it begin to cause a deficiency. Also, egg yolks contain a high amount of biotin so when whole eggs are fed it is not a problem.
The yolks are healthier for the dog uncooked, but in the instances listed above, the whites are better cooked than raw. This is the reason for dropping the eggs for just 30 seconds in boiling water. It gives the best benefit from both the whites (partially cooked) and the yolk (still uncooked).
The reason you include the entire egg - shells and all - is because the shells are high in calcium, phosphorous and other minerals. You can always throw the whole egg, shell and all, in the blender before mixing with the recipe to avoid shell pieces.
Liver Brownies - The BEST Training Treats & Show Bait!
Liver Brownies Recipe
- 1 lb liver, any kind
we usually use beef, some prefer the chicken livers for a less strong smell
you can also substitute beef or chicken heart for 1/2 the liver
- 1 cup corn meal
- 2 cups wheat germ
- 1 tsp fresh minced garlic OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp fennel or anise seed
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cut liver (and/or hearts) into small chunks and grind in a food processor or blender. In large bowl, mix liver with corn meal, wheat germ, garlic, fennel/anise, and salt. Spread mixture on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares (while still warm).
Another variation is to add an egg to the above recipe, and then force-knead in flour (after mixing the above recipe) until the dough no longer sticks to the working surface. Press/roll this into a 1 inch thick slab with a little more flour on each side, sprinkle some garlic powder on top, and baked on a non-stick cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about an hour until it will spring out of the pan on its own, and gives a clean hollow sound when you tap it. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares (while still warm). The result will be a crunchy crust with a chewy interior.
Keep refrigerated, and freeze what will not be used within a week to prevent it from spoiling.
Beds / Blankets / Toys / Chews & More:
There is nothing a Corso puppy loves more than soft beds and fluffy blankets to hang out on near you! Leave a couple pet-beds scattered around the house in various rooms, or toss a fluffy blanket on the corner of the couch (bonus points if it is in a sunny spot!) and your Corso will happily bask in your presence as you work around the house.
A variety of chew toys, and fun toys should always be available, especially for young energetic puppies. They provide hours of entertainment, help get through the teething process, and are much cheaper to replace than your couch & shoes. "Fuzzy/Squeaky" toys are always a big hit with pups here, but won't last long in unsupervised competition with your pup's sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Our growing pups will spend a couple happy hours chewing and shaking their new "victim" ... then bring me the gutted remains with a quizzical look when it stops squeaking. Braided fleece balls and tugs seem to be among the more durable corso-proof toys we have found. Hard chew toys/treats will help scrape their teeth, and will reduce plaque buildup. We offer a variety of chew treats, including Raw Bones, Bully Sticks, Braided Pizzle Sticks, Toobles, Deer Antler Chews, rope bones, and more.
We Use & Recommend Flint River Ranch Treats
A Natural and Healthy Treat Selection for your Cane Corso!
All natural and 100% digestible, Bully Sticks, Braided Pizzle Sticks, Toobles, and Deer Antler Chews
Click here to order Flint River Ranch Treats
A couple notes on the subject of treats:
"Greenies" have been linked to the deaths of a number of dogs due to the fact that they shatter in large chunks, get lodged in the digestive system, and even the newer formula does not soften/dissolve when pieces are ingested.
Rawhide strips are common easy to find treats, but are often laced with harsh chemicals and unhealthy for your dog. If natural chemical free versions are fed, they should be limited and ingested in moderation. If your dog ingests a large amount of rawhide at a time, it will swell in their stomachs and can lead to bloat or blockages.
Collars / Harnesses:
Choosing a proper collar for your Cane Corso is an important step in beginning your pup's training. You want to start your pup with a flat buckle collar that is wide enough to be gentle thru the learning process (not a choke chain), but also that is strong enough to be well functional. We recommend a flat leather collar or nylon collar that is an inch wide to begin with.
Some people prefer to use harnesses. These are not usually beneficial to your dog. A harness will tend to encourage your puppy to pull while you are training them to walk on the lead. Most pups can also pull back and manage to contort themselves to the point where they get a leg half through the harness strap and end up getting hung up in it. Again, not a good situation.
We use and recommend a simple flat leather collar on all our young pups. When fit correctly, it *Will Not* slip over your dog's head in any situation. They are safe, clean and classy looking, inexpensive, last forever, do not damage your Corso's coat, and are available in a variety of colors (natural, red, brown, black, etc).
Do not be fooled into thinking that a choke chain, a prong collar, or a shock collar are going to instantly fix any training difficulties you are having with your pup. These are training tools that can be beneficial *when used properly as a part of a specific training program*. Too many people use them simply as instant and easy "fixes", a shortcut to compensate for their lack of actual training. They should never be used as a long term or regular part of your pup's activities, only for a limited time as a training aid in part of a program designed to properly train to correct the issue you are experiencing. Using a training collar long term only teaches your dog to respect the collar, not to respect you.
Vaccinations & Worming:
All our puppies are current on their vaccinations & worming before leaving. You will receive a your puppy's immunization records when your puppy arrives home to you. We de-worm pups bi-weekly with Earliworm, and vaccinate (at 6, 9, 12 weeks) with a 5-way puppy vaccine. Pups receive their first vaccine at 6 weeks of age, and boosters at three-week intervals after that. If your pup goes home to you before vaccinations are complete, it is vitally important that you take him/her to your vet to receive the remaining boosters. Your puppy *will not* be protected (against parvo, distemper etc.) until a week after he/she has received the full set of vaccinations and booster shots.
FULLY Vaccinate ~ BEFORE taking your pup out:
I can't stress this one enough. Until your puppy is COMPLETLY vaccinated, do not take the chance of your new little one being exposed to Parvovirus or Distemper. This means, until fully vaccinated, your pup stays in your home, in a controlled environment. Trips to the vet are held/crated - not allowed to walk on the floor, sniff noses with other dogs, or be petted by strangers. Don't let your unprotected puppy run on the grass, stroll down the sidewalk, or play with the neighbors dog. Parvo lurks everywhere. At best, you will rack up a vet bill in the thousands in a matter of days trying to save your puppy ... At worst, your puppy will suffer and die despite anything your vet can do. Do Not Take That Chance.
Please follow these links for full details on understanding Canine Parvovirus & Canine Distemper.
Other Dogs, Cats, Pets, & Kids:
Yes, your Cane Corso can get along with other dogs, toy breed dogs, cats, other pets, and children. Our Corsos coexist peacefully with our birds, indoor house cats, toy breed Italian Greyhounds, our children, toddler, and and our new baby. It all comes down to a matter of training ("it is not 'OK' to chase the cat"), raising them with the other dogs ("even though it is 'snack-size' you are not allowed to eat the little dog"), and appropriate behavior with children ("play gentle with kids, and tolerate any indignities with the option to 'walk away' if it is too bothersome").
Introducing your new Cane Corso to your other pets should be closely supervised. Often having your larger pet on a leash, or letting them get acquainted through the crate door is a good way to start. Introductions take time. Don't expect everything to be perfect instantly. Be sure to provide plenty of supervised interaction and bonding time between your new puppy and current pets. Once they have gotten to know each other you will usually find your Cane Corso curled up sleeping on your other dog, or napping in the sun with your cat.
A couple notes on the subject of Small Dogs:
Your Cane Corso can coexist just fine with small toy breed dogs. Our Italian Greyhounds use our Cane Corsos for portable beds and snack grinders, stealing the bite size crumbs that the Corsos drop as they are chewing through big beef bones. There are several of our Corsos that I trust unsupervised with the IGs all the time, however, the rest have separate yards and are only allowed together while supervised. Every Corso is trained not to "chase" the IGs, to play 'gently' with them, and to allow an IG to take food directly from their bowl, from under their nose, or from their mouth, and would never hurt them intentionally. *BUT* always keep in mind the damage that a playful 100+lb dog could accidentally do to a tiny dog. All it would take is one playful swipe of a huge paw to squish a pup like a bug! There is no cut and dried answer as to whether your large dog will be fine unsupervised with a small dog, it all depends on the dog's temperament, personality, and training.
The Cane Corso & Children:
Some breeders feel strongly that a large dog and small children do not mix. I personally come from a family of 12 kids, and we have three young children of our own ... speaking from experience, children love Corsos! Like the notes about small dogs above, it all comes down to your child, is he/she well behaved and respectful of animals? Or will he/she grab the dog by a leg/ear/jowl and drag it around? A child that raised well and taught to respect animals and show proper care for a dog will enjoy hours of fun & love with their puppy. An irresponsible undisciplined child with a large dog is simply asking for trouble down the road. Before considering a mastiff with children, carefully consider your child's respect for animals. Be sure that your child understands they can pet and touch the dog, but can not grab and carry/drag it. Be sure your child will respect the dog, and teach your dog to respect your children.
Again, there is no cut and dried answer that applies to everyone. A poorly behaved child can easily goad or corner a dog into defending itself... and it will happen in a split second. On the other hand, there is no sweeter picture than a respectful child curled up napping or playing with their Corso.
No matter how much you trust your child and your dog, always remember that they need to be supervised together. Never leave your young children unsupervised with any dog - no matter how well you think you know them.
Socializing your puppy:
A well-socialized Cane Corso is a Confident, Outgoing, and Fun Loving dog! He is well trained, accepting of new situations, people, and things - both in and out of your home, and is a pleasure to live with. Well socialized dogs are the result of dedicated puppy parents who invest important socialization time into their pup, for it's future. There is a wealth of detail I could share here, but the short and simple puppy socialization golden rule is this:
Anything you want your Cane Corso to be accepting of and confident around as an adult, you need to expose it to as a puppy.
This means everything from children, adults, strangers, elderly equipment (crutches/wheelchairs/walkers etc), other dogs, cats, livestock, car rides, vet office visits, traffic, pet stores, assorted public places/people/crowds ... your Cane Corso should see, experience, interact with, and become accustomed to and comfortable with as a growing pup. This type of proper puppy socialization will result in calm confident adult dog that will go anywhere with you and face the world with a confident attitude and a wagging tail.
"About Time" puppies are started with housetraining basics already established, and the groundwork laid, to make housebreaking as simple as possible when your new pup arrives home. At 4 weeks of age when the pups start becoming mobile and eating, they are placed in a 5ft square exercise pen in our kitchen. They have a bed, food and water in the front, and paper down to cover the rest of the area. As dogs have a natural instinct to keep their sleeping and eating areas clean, they prefer to eliminate in a different area. At this young (and not totally mobile yet) age, anywhere the pup chooses to go outside of his bed is on paper. As they grow over the next week they will progress naturally to choosing the back corner of their area to eliminate - as far as possible from their food and bed area. Over the next couple weeks, the size of the exercise pen is increased, and the paper is decreased from covering the floor to just an area in the back corner.
By using this method we use the pup's own natural instincts to not soil their bed/food areas to allow them to paper-train themselves naturally! By the time they are 8 weeks old, they have run of the play area, with a determined paper area in the corner, and we have only an occasional "oops" somewhere else. They are also already introduced to beginning to eliminate outside.
There is one single word that sums up the key to simple housetraining: CONSISTENCY.
If you are consistent in ALWAYS encouraging and praising your pup for eliminating in the correct area, and if you are consistent in NEVER allowing your pup the unsupervised opportunity to have an accident in an unacceptable area, there is no reason you can not have a housetrained puppy within just a few short days. Every time you allow a mistake to happen, you are confusing your puppy and setting your training back. Remember, Complete Consistency is key!
When I am housetraining a puppy, the pup is either directly interacting with me, in my lap, leashed to my belt, or in a puppy playpen. They are never given the opportunity to roam the house unsupervised and have an accident. If you are not 'eyes-on' your puppy-in-training, put it up in a puppy-safe area (more on this below).
The best training tip I've ever heard when it comes to housebreaking...
Keep a rolled up newspaper handy, and when you find the little pile or puddle on your rug, take the rolled up paper and hit yourself over the head numerous times and repeat "I forgot to watch my dog, I forgot to watch my dog, I forgot to watch my dog". It may not correct the dog, but it will certainly address the root of the problem and get your attention!
Your pup will arrive with the basic foundation for paper-training already established. From that point on, you just need to build on it. To start, when your pup first arrives home in a new and unfamiliar place, go back to the basics by limiting your pup to a restricted area when feeding and for 30 minutes after meals: food and bed on one side, paper or pee-pad in the back. The pup should pick up right away to go on the paper. Then, once he knows where it is, start increasing the area, but be sure to feed close to the paper so he won't have to go far after eating. Once he clearly knows where the paper is, he will easily begin returning to it on his own.
Paper training is your foundation. Changing from paper to going outside is just a matter of steps. Remember, always make changes gradually, and build your new training on your original foundation.
To train to go outside, leave the paper down in the house for a backup option, and begin taking your pup out after meals and/or when you notice him starting to circle and sniff for a place to go. When he eliminates outside, praise him heavily, and take him back in. In this manner you can make him understand that you are pleased when he goes outside, and soon he should start looking to go out when he has to eliminate. By leaving paper down inside as well though, you provide a backup in the event that you do not get there fast enough to let him out. At least he can still go on the paper (good puppy) rather than messing on the floor (bad puppy).
Positive reinforcement and consistency are your best tools in training your dog. If you forget to watch him, and find a mess on the floor, DO NOT punish your pup after the fact for your inattention. He will not know what you are angry for. Instead, clean it up, and watch more closely the next time. If you catch him "in the act", make a sharp noise of displeasure, and simply pick him up, carry him to the paper or out the door, and then praise him when he finishes there. Praise and treats every time he does right will go much further than yelling when he doesn't. Soon enough you'll end up with a Corso that will come running to find you and show you he made a mess where he was suppost to, just because he wants his reward and treat!
Crate Training / Exercise Pens:
Crate-Training Your Puppy:
You don't want to keep your Cane Corso in a crate all day, but it is important to have a crate-trained puppy. If you are at any point in your dog's life in a situation where you need to crate your dog (while traveling, at a show, at the vet, temporary confinement, etc), you want a well-mannered accepting dog. The crate should be established as a good place, a safe place, the pups "den". You can place a soft bed in the crate, and always make it pleasant with treats and chew toys as well. Don't leave your pup too long while starting training - reward them for short periods of behaving with a treat and a hug! Soon you will be able to leave the crate door open and your Corso will retreat there when he/she is tired or just wants some quiet rest. When started right, confinement will never be a big issue.
A word of warning. If you do not bother to crate train your pup while he is young and small, you will soon be faced with the prospect of a 100+ lb dog that DOES NOT want to go in or be locked in a crate. A young pup will fuss and pitch a fit, then settle down and learn. An adult Corso has the full potential to fuss and break out of almost any average crate you buy, teaching himself that he does not have to stay in, and can destroy one and escape at any time. This is a very dangerous and expensive situation to have to deal with, but is easily and simply avoidable with proper training of your young pup from the beginning.
Exercise Pens - Limiting Areas:
New puppies are always easier to train when they are safely restricted to a limited area while not being directly supervised. A pup that is locked in a closed room will start to feel isolated and become bored/upset/destructive. A pup locked in a crate for long periods will be too confined, and develop bad habits. An exercise pen is one of the greatest inventions to have with new puppies! I use the wire type (pictured here) for a variety of reasons. The pen is light and easy for your pup to see thru - they don't feel isolated. Made of 8 hinged panels, they are extremely adaptable to almost any size, shape, space imaginable. You can even fasten them to your puppy's open crate, or stretch them out across a room/entryway to simply restrict a pup to half the kitchen etc. While a 3ft tall one is tempting for a young pup, plan ahead and get a 4ft tall pen so your growing pup doesn't start flying over it!
Immediate Correction and Positive Reinforcement are two of the biggest tools for training your Cane Corso puppy. Yelling at your pup after the fact when you find a chewed up shoe won't teach him anything except to hide it better next time. Correcting your pup immediately when he starts to show interest in an unacceptable object, then replacing it immediately with an acceptable toy and positive praise will go a lot farther. Remember, if you are not watching and available to supervise, restricting your puppy to a "puppy-safe" area will make both your lives easier and more pleasant.
Health Care & Pet Insurance:
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See how simple it can be to have peace of mind for your Cane Corso: