How to Leash Train a Cane Corso

Medium
2-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

If you have a Cane Corso, you probably were attracted to the breed's unique looks, athleticism, and their reputation for being wonderful family dogs. Unless you grew up with them, you might not be accustomed to their stubborn side and willful side. If you haven't established strong leadership with your dog, you may have trouble getting him to follow you. Training is essential, especially focusing on leash training your Cane Corso. If he's not properly leash trained, you might be the one being taken for a walk.

This breed of dog needs exercise every day, so making sure your dog can walk on a loose leash every time you head out is essential. With proper training and attention to his specific learning style, you'll not only have a fun buddy to walk with, but you'll be laying the foundation for a trusting relationship for years to come.

Defining Tasks

It's important that you establish yourself as leader of the pack early on in your relationship with your dog. If he sees you as the boss, he'll be happy to comply with your wishes, but if he doesn't know you run the show, he's more than happy to take that spot. Leash training your Cane Corso is an important step in establishing those boundaries.

Be sure to give him boundaries and stick to them. Sure, he's got those big melty eyes and adorable paws, and it's easy for you to cave and let him get away with little things. Little things can turn into bigger issues as he pushes those boundaries. Spending time making sure he can follow your direction on a leash will help establish this bond.

Getting Started

When you get started, make sure you always use positive reinforcement and reward him for good behavior. Never hit or threaten your dog. When you're ready you'll need a few items.

  • A strong collar or harness
  • A medium length leash
  • Tasty treats he really likes
  • A "no exceptions" policy--your dog must follow you with no exceptions
  • A quiet place with little distractions
Starting out with a puppy will be easiest, and it's the best time to set your boundaries. If you have an older Cane Corso, take it slow and don't give him any chances to go back to unwanted pulling behavior. Read the three methods below and try them out. With consistent work, you'll be able to walk anywhere comfortably without your dog pulling you along. 

The Follow the Leader Method

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Step
1
Fit a collar or harness
Make sure you have a strong and well fitted collar or harness for your dog. If you have a puppy, make sure he hasn't grown out of it yet.
Step
2
Put on the leash
The moment you snap on the leash, you are establishing yourself as the leader. You decide where you go and when. You can even start this in the house. If you're outside, start the session by leading him to a spot to relieve himself.
Step
3
Walk a few steps and stop
Walk two or three steps and stop. Your dog should stop right beside you or behind you. Don't let him strain the leash or stop in front of you. Give him a treat for stopping in the right spot. If he walks in front of you, turn around or change direction so he is no longer in the lead.
Step
4
Practice walking and stopping
Keep practicing, stopping at longer and unpredictable intervals until he's looking at you always to see what's next. If you are outside, don't let him mark or sniff. You can say "no" or make a sound to draw his attention back to you.
Step
5
Change direction
Now throw an abrupt change of direction every now and then. If he's with you he should follow your lead, so give him a treat. If he doesn't and the leash gets tight, say "no" and catch his attention.
Step
6
Practice makes perfect
For the first few weeks, you may only walk the length of a block. The most important thing is that you always demand he follows your lead. Be firm and he will reward you with his respect and attention.
Step
7
Keep him on his toes
As he gets better at heeling by your side and staying with you, keep challenging him. If you see his attention focus elsewhere for too long, change direction or stop. Make him engage on your walks.
Recommend training method?

The Stop and Go Method

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Step
1
Attach the leash
This method is best for younger dogs who don't yet have the muscle mass to pull you off your feet. When you are ready, put the leash on the dog inside the house, before you set foot outside. Don't let him barge through the door. Make him wait until you are ready.
Step
2
Let him relieve himself
Take him to a tree or bush to relieve himself. This will be the only time he is allowed to go during the walk. No marking allowed.
Step
3
Start to walk
When he's ready, start to walk down the street.
Step
4
Stop when you feel tension
The second he walks ahead of you and puts tension on the leash, stop in your tracks. Don't move.
Step
5
Relax the leash
He should respond by looking back at you or taking pressure off the leash. You might encourage him to engage by making a sound.
Step
6
Go forward
Once he releases the tension, walk forward as a reward.
Step
7
Keep practicing
Every time you feel tension on the leash, stop immediately. Don't move until he comes back or releases the tension. He should learn that walking with a loose leash means he gets to have fun and pulling means he doesn't have fun.
Recommend training method?

The Biscuit Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Pick a good spot
This method is great to try in the house, before going outside. Pick a spot like a long hallway or a wide room where you can practice without distraction.
Step
2
Put on the leash
Bring her to one end of the hallway or room and put on her leash. Make her sit and stay.
Step
3
Show her the biscuit
Have a friend hold up a biscuit and walk to the other side of the room or hallway and place it on the floor.
Step
4
Walk forward
Begin to walk toward the biscuit. If she lunges or pulls on the leash, stop immediately. Don't go any further, turn around and start at the beginning. Wait until she stops putting pressure on the leash.to start again.
Step
5
A loose leash earns a biscuit
Only move forward when she is not putting pressure on the leash. If she pulls or lunges, take her back to the start. It might take a lot of time, but eventually, she will learn that pulling doesn't get rewarded, but loose leash walking does.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Katie Smith

Published: 02/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Dudley DooLittle
Cane Corso
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Dudley DooLittle
Cane Corso
7 Months

When walking, Dudley constantly bites the leash and tugs on it like playing a game of tug of war. This behavior began two weeks ago and has escalated. I have tried to stop and reward with treats when he releases the leash but goes right back to it when we start to walk again. He then will buck like a horse. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Denise, I recommend practicing the Turns method from the article I have linked below. I would make a lot of speed changes and abrupt turns so pup is working to keep up with the changes and doesn't have time for his antics as much. Do this in an open area like a yard, field, green space, calm park, or cul-de-sac without cars in the area. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel I would also spray the leash with bitter apple or bitter melon spray (if your leash could be ruined by those buy another simpler leash to use temporarily) When pup bites the leash, you can also pull the leash toward the back of where pup's jaws meet, near the corner of their mouth. That tends to be a sensitive area of pup's mouth and many dogs will try to spit the leash out when you do this because its a bit uncomfortable and takes the fun out of their game. I would focus the most on working pup a lot with heel practice so they are actively having to try to keep up with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sheba
Cane Corso - Pit
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Sheba
Cane Corso - Pit
8 Weeks

Giving her too much of anything other than food and her having loose bowels.
Not only that, but she is more focused on the treat than obeying the command.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Fredderick, I recommend only using pup's own kibble as training rewards. You can subtract the amount you use for training in a day from how much you give pup at meals to avoid overfeeding. The amount coming from pup's overall food amount also means pup is more motivated to work for only their dog food because they are a little hungrier for their kibble. You can also use things like toys and a short tug or catch a toy with you as a reward for obeying. Finally, after pup has learning what a command means, you can use things pup wants in general to motivate obedience and practice - like sit before you open the door for a walk, down before putting the food bowl down, come before tossing a toy, ect... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Titan
Cane Corso Italiano
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Titan
Cane Corso Italiano
1 Year

When i am walking my cane corso he does pretty good. The problem we have is if he sees a smaller dog or something he wants to get too he will drag us. We also cant take him to socialize with other dogs because he plays to rough ( the previous owner played super rough with him). The last problem we have is that if he sees certain stangers sometimes he will start growling.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
240 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here are some tips on leash pulling. Leash pulling is often successful for the dog because the person inadvertently reinforces the pulling by allowing their dog to get to where he wants to go when he pulls. But you can change this picture by changing the consequence for your dog. When he pulls, immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes, either by your dog taking a step back or turning around to give you focus. When the leash is nicely relaxed, proceed on your walk. Repeat this as necessary. If you find this technique too slow you can try the reverse direction method. When your dog pulls, issue a 'Let’s Go' cue, turn away from him and walk off in the other direction, without jerking on the leash. You can avoid yanking by motivating your dog to follow you with an excited voice to get his attention. When he is following you and the leash is relaxed, turn back and continue on your way. It might take a few turns but your vocal cues and body language will make it clear that pulling will not be reinforced with forward movement, but walking calmly by your side or even slightly in front of you on a loose leash will allow your dog to get to where he wants to go. You can also reinforce your dog’s decision to walk close to you by giving him a motivating reward when he is by your side. Once your dog is listening to you more, you can vary the picture even more by becoming unpredictable yourself. This means your dog has to listen to you at all times because he never knows when you are going to turn or where you are going to go next. Instead of turning away from him when you give the let’s go cue, reverse direction by turning towards him. You can turn in a circle or do a figure of eight. Any of these variations will get your dog’s attention. Do not forget to praise him for complying, because the better you make him feel walking close to you, the more he will chose to do so.

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Question
Mila
Cane Corso
20 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Mila
Cane Corso
20 Weeks

She will only go for a walk if there is 2 people and not go with one she refuses point blank

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
240 Dog owners recommended

Since we know she CAN walk on a leash and is choosing not to, you may have to set this exercise up to trick her into walking. Take her out by yourself. Don't plan on doing much walking the first few times. Put a tiny bit of pressure on her leash while waving a really tasty treat so she thinks more about the treat than about how the pressure of the leash. She should come to you, or follow your hand to take the treat. Allow her to have the treat and try to continue walking. If she is walking, give her treats every few steps. Do this for a few days until she is comfortably walking without any issue. Then you can wean her off of the treats.

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Question
Renee
Cane Corso
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Renee
Cane Corso
8 Weeks

How do i train her to walk with a collar and leash

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
240 Dog owners recommended

Hello! What a beautiful puppy! Leash walking is something that takes a little time and patience in the beginning, but over the next few weeks, your puppy should be totally use to the idea of a leash and collar. You can start indoors. Put the leash and collar on and provide a treat. While supervised, you can let your puppy roam around, dragging the leash for a few minutes at a time. If all seems well with that, you can start walking your puppy on the leash. Any time she follows you while you are leading her on leash, provide a treat and lots of praise. Slowly she will start to get the concept and you can stop giving treats.

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