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Crate training your Cane Corso pup can be a bit different to training many other breeds of dog. Your Cane Corso is a highly intelligent breed, which translates to being able to master many commands faster and easier than other breeds. Bear in mind that just because your Cane Corso is a small pup when you bring him home, he is eventually going to grow into a large dog. If you don’t take the time to train him while he is young, you are likely to end up regretting it by the time he is an adult.
If you don’t crate train your dog while he is a pup, you could find yourself with 120 pounds of dog thinking he is running the show. The most important thing you can do is make sure your pup knows his place in his new "pack." Ensure that each of you has established their role and has established leadership over your pup, in a positive manner during basic training.
The task itself sounds pretty simple, your goal is to train your dog to stay in his crate as needed for extended periods of time. However, you should never, repeat NEVER, use spending time in his crate as a form of punishment. When you do this, you create a negative experience with going into his crate. Contrary to this, you want your pup to associate going into his crate with positive experiences such as treats and praise.
The good news is that all dogs have an instinctual need to find a den for themselves. In the wild, this is typically a cave where they can get out of the weather, raise their family, and hide from danger as needed. All you are doing by training him to go into his crate is taking advantage of this natural instinct and turning it into a useful behavior.
The most important part of crate training your Cane Corso is realizing you will need two or more crates to see your pup through to adulthood. That adorable little puppy that showered you with kisses on the way home for the first time, could top 120 lbs. or more when he is fully grown. So, while you need a smaller kennel to start with (one that won't overwhelm your pup), you may have to upgrade more than once as he grows.
Setting up the crate right is just as important as buying the right size. Since you are creating a "den" for your pup, it needs to be comfortable. Give it a nice bit of wall-to-wall carpeting, a soft bed for him to crash on, a water bottle, and of course, a nice selection of fun chew toys to give him something to do. You should also keep a nice supply of your pup's favorite treats on hand.
The Come and Go Method
Place his den carefully
Finding the perfect place for your pup's new "den" plays a vital role in the success of training him to use it. The best spot is one where you and the rest of your family tend to spend the most time. He needs to feel like part of the family even when he is in his crate.
Make it a home
Make your pup's new crate into a complete home by bringing his food and water dishes over to it. Place them on the floor just outside the crate door.
Over the course of the next week, let your pup wander in and out of the crate at his own pace. He may dart in and out at first, but in time curiosity will overcome fear. You might suddenly find him sleeping on the bed or playing with the toys.
The next step
Time to catch your pup inside the crate and close the door. It won't take him long to realize he can't get out and start trying to wake the neighborhood. This is normal, and it may take him a bit to calm down. Ignore him until he does, the praise him and give him a treat.
When you take your pup out of his crate, be sure you take him straight out to the backyard, so he can go potty and run around to stretch his legs.
Start extending the time
Slowly start extending the time between when he stops barking and when you let him out. Not only will this encourage him to stop sooner, but it will teach him to stay in his crate for longer periods of time. In time he will be able to stay in his crate for as long as you need him to.
The Zero Force Method
Give your pup a new home
Take a look around your home and find a nice spot for your pup's crate, one that is going to be near where the family spends most of its time. Set up his crate as described and then toss in a few of his favorite treats, close the door, and walk away.
I smell treats!
It won't take your pup long to catch a whiff of the treats inside the crate. Let him scratch around the crate, fuss with it, walk away from it and come back again. This time when he begs you to open the door and let him in, do so and leave it open. When he comes back out, DO NOT praise him. The idea is to teach your pup he gets praised for going into the crate, but nothing for coming out.
To the back
This time toss the treats all the way up against the back wall of his crate and give the cue "Crate" or "Kennel." When he steps inside to get the treats, be sure to give him lots of praise. Repeat for several days.
When we get behind closed doors
Time to work with a closed door. The next time your pup goes into his crate, close the door quietly behind him. If he starts whining, ignore him until he stops. When he does, give him a treat.
Keep working with your pup, extending the time between when he quiets down and when you give him a treat. It may take you several weeks to reach the point at which your pup can be left in his kennel for longer periods of time. Be patient and work with your pup, it will happen!
The I Hear Nothing Method
A good home
Start by finding a good home for your pup's new den. It should be in a spot where everyone in the family spends time together. This way your pup won't feel left out when he is in his crate.
Add one Cane Corso
Gently place your Cane Corso into his crate next to his pile of toys. Quietly close the door and step back. Then go about your normal daily routine and no matter how much he barks and cries, ignore him.
Do nothing until your pup finally decides he has made enough noise. Then after he has stopped fussing, let him out take him out to pee and stretch his legs.
Make him wait
The rest is all about making your pup wait longer and longer for you to open the door and take him out. Be sure you do so in small increments over a period of a few weeks.
Keep working it
Keep working with your pup until he will go in with no fuss and wait quietly for you to let him back out. In time, he will learn to stay there for as long as needed.
Written by PB Getz
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 02/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021