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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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bella
Cane Corso
10 Weeks
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Question
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Bella
Cane Corso
10 Weeks

Doesn't want to come forward on leash treat or no threat

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gene, There are a couple of things that could be the problem. First, if you have not already tried enticing her with a toy and a game, then try that instead of the treats. If that does not work and if you have not already introduced her to the leash properly, first spend time doing that though. At ten weeks of age she might simply be reacting to the pressure of the leash by pulling against it. It's natural for dogs to pull against something until they learn something different. To get her used to the leash, when you are at home and supervising her, let her drag the leash around the house for a week. After that, gently pick up the end of the leash and follow her around. After that, every once in a while apply a little bit of pressure to the leash and as soon as she moves toward the pressure release the tension and give her a treat, a toy, or affection, whichever one she likes best. Expect to stand there for several minutes with a little tension in the leash while you wait for her, the first few times that you do this. She does not know how to make the pressure stop and so it will take her a long time to move that direction at first probably. If it takes thirty minutes the first time, then simply be patient and stand there and wait. It will get much quicker the more you do this, and she will have to move eventually. Practice this until she will consistently move toward the pressure of the leash when she feels tension instead of pulling away. If she is only pulling back when you reach certain areas on a walk, then it is likely due to fear and you will need to spend time socializing her with whatever she is afraid of by praising her in a confident, excited tone of voice, acting silly and happy, playing a game such as Tug of War or Fetch in that area, or giving her food if she will take it while standing. Once she overcomes the fear, then the walking should follow. If she has been properly introduced to the leash and is not anxious about that, and if you have determined that she is not afraid of something in the environment, like a noise, smell, or sight, and she simply does not want to go where you are going, then try the following: Attach a leash to a regular front clip harness, not a no-pull harness that constricts movement, and in a grassy area walk quickly in the direction that you would like for her to go, and allow her to be carefully pulled along for a couple of feet with you. As soon as she starts taking a couple of steps forward on her own while you are doing this, then quickly praise her, and reach down and give her a treat while you turn back toward you home or the direction that she wants to go in. The idea is to show her that following you will equal a reward, which in this case is a treat and being allowed to return home or wherever else she wants to go. As she begins to walk a couple more steps forward than she did before, with practice, then you can gradually go further and further on your walk with her before turning back. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jagger
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
3 Months
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Question
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Jagger
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
3 Months

I need help please!! Trying to walk him outside all I seam to do is drag him and I hate that. I have taken treats and try to reward him but he refuses to walk. So please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carla, First, make sure that he is not walking because he simply does not want to, and not because of fear or discomfort. Depending on where you live, the ground might be hot, hurting his paws. When you take him outside, feel the ground and make sure it is not hot. If it is, then you can purchase dog shoes for him to wear or you can treat his pads with a special wax made for protecting sleddog's paws. If the ground is alright, then the next thing to check is whether or not he is afraid of something in his environment outside. Does he refuse to walk everywhere or just in certain parts of your neighborhood? If it is only in certain locations, then it's probably his environment At three months of age he could be going through a fear period and will need more socialization around whatever is making him nervous. Common fears are other dogs, strange people, odd yard decorations like statues, or construction noises and other loud noises. The last thing to check is whether or not he is simply tired. As a young puppy, he probably does not have a lot of endurance. If he is stopping part of the way into a walk and not at the beginning of the walk, then he is probably getting tired. It also might be a combination of being tired and being stubborn. If he stopped in the past because he was tired and that caused you to pick him up or turn around right away, then he might have learned that that is an effective way to control the walk. If you feel like he is simply being stubborn, then choose a location that your puppy can normally walk to without stopping. This location might be the end of your driveway or cul-de-sac at first and that is alright to start with. Tell him "Let's Go" and quickly move toward that goal. If he stops, then keep moving, don't pause. It looks unpleasant but you need for him to take a couple more steps on his own and that will require some leash pulling at first. As soon as he starts to take a couple of steps again, stop, reward him, and turn around and go home. You want to reward him and go back home when he follows you for a couple of steps on his own when he does not want to, rather than turning back right when he stops. Overtime he should start to realize that stopping does not end the walk immediately but following you will eventually cause the walk to end. As he improves, increase your end goal by a couple of feet. Overtime you should be able to increase the length of your walk. He should also improve with age as his endurance increases. Do not expect a long walk out of him at this age. If he seems nervous in a particular location, then take him to that area along with his favorite toys, a long leash, and treats. Attach the long leash to him and get him excited by acting silly and playing with him with the toy in that area. If he will take the treats, then give him treats also. You want to help him relax in locations where he is afraid. Don't be afraid to act like a goofball yourself. That will help him to relax and enjoy things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Caesar
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Caesar
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
7 Months

Hi, my puppy started of leash training just fine, but "forgot his training" after I went out of town for week and left him with a friend. Now he is resisting walks and even jumping back and twisting once he has the leash on. This is making it extremely difficult for walks, though I understand he needs a-lot of exercise. How can we fix this issue? I will be buying a choke collar and thicker leash tomorrow.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Asha, Is he pulling to go back toward home or pulling ahead away from your home? If he is pulling to go back home and does not want to go on a walk, then it sounds like something traumatic or scary may have happened to him on a walk with your friend. It may have been something your friend didn't even notice. It that's the case, then he needs to get comfortable with your neighborhood again. Be patient with him and spend a lot of time playing with him, practicing training, and just hanging out outside in your front yard and in different spots throughout your neighborhood. Take lots of treats, food stuffed chew toys, and a book - if you get bored. Go to various spots and scatter treats around every once in a while and simply hang out until he gets comfortable and bored, and calms down. Do this often enough that the spots becomes familiar and he feels confident there again. Practice this in various spots throughout the neighborhood. Also, practice tricks and obedience with lots of rewards in various spots throughout your neighborhood, starting with your own front yard first. Play training games like fetch and finding objects or food. When you are walking him, carry treats on you and whenever he sees something scary or new and you notice him watching it or tensing a bit, before he reacts toward it and tries to run away or growl, get excited, do a little dance, and give him a couple of treats...By doing this you are telling him that the new thing is fun and alright. if your excitement makes his response worse because it is not fear based but excitement based, then start a mini training session and reward his focus on you while the scary thing is around. Keep the session moving fast and very focused by keeping your focus on him and going through commands quickly or practicing heel and changing directions and speed a lot. If he does not seem at all afraid of being outside, and simply doesn't want to go for a walk, then I still suggest looking for a reason behind avoiding walks, like being cold or paws being sore. If there is nothing wrong, then use a pinch collar rather than a choke collar to gently correct his resistance. If he is pulling ahead - away from home, then also use a prong collar instead of a choke collar. Check out the video that I have linked below for how to properly fit a prong collar. I suggest a pinch/prong rather than a choke because, although they can look fierce, they are actually MUCH safer. A prong collar works by creating even pressure around the entire neck by evenly squeezing the neck a bit. This pressure is applied behind the ears where a dog is sensitive to the discomfort but it is not damaging. The prongs are angled and good ones should be rounded at the end, so they do not poke straight into a dog's skin, they just squeeze the entire neck a bit to create an uncomfortable sensation. Because of how a prong collar works, when it is fitted correctly - high on the neck, you need very little force to correct with one. I can usually correct with only a couple of fingers. The throat is not damaged and the correction is very effective at stopping pulling, which takes pressure off of the trachea from even a buckle collar. How to fit a prong collar video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3iczULPcdE A choke chain on the other hand, does not have a stopping point, so you run the risk of choking the dog and damaging the trachea if the dog does not stop pulling. Because the chain is not usually felt by the dog until he is pulling very hard or corrected with a snap, it requires a lot more force to correct with it, and this force is bad for the front of the neck. Also, if used correctly, a choke chain is meant to be a quick pop and release, rather than a continuous pull. This is less damaging, but the pop still happens at the front of the throat, potentially hurting the trachea. They also are not as effective at stopping pulling. Choke collars look far safer, but a prong is a better option for a strong puller. When you walk a dog on a prong, it needs to be combined with heel training too. When you combine it with heel training, then the dog learns to pay attention, which helps with any future off-leash training, lets you use less corrections because the dog is heeling by choice and the leash can be kept loose 99% of the walk when the dog is trained - and that makes the overall training experience more pleasant for the dog. Combining training with the prong also ensures that the prong works more effectively, and the dog does not simply get used to the prong's sensation and start pulling again in a few months. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Turn" method after fitting the prong collar correctly. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rose
Cane Corso
6 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Rose
Cane Corso
6 Months

Hello,
I cannot get Rose to walk on a leash. She flat out refuses to move. Yesterday I tried the harness to see if she would like it better and when I went to put it on her, she just lay flat and rolled on to her back. I got it on her and let her walk around for a little bit. Then when I put the leash on she laid back down. I tried to pull her a bit and she took a few steps. We were still in our yard where she runs around with no problem. So I got her outside the fence and she refused, she sat down and wouldn't budge. Shes been outside the fence before without the leash. So i figured I would remove the leash and she still didn't move, even after I walked a few steps away. How can I get her to walk with me? I've never had any issues walking my other dogs. My other pit bull Mammamia is 14 yrs old and walked with no problems, but shes too old to go on walks with me now, she tires easily. Please help me. Thank you!
Cynthia

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cynthia, First, do a bit of problem solving to figure out why she won't walk. Check out the article linked below on introducing a leash - if pup just isn't used to leash pressure, or that's one of a couple of issues, work on something like having her just drag the leash around while you are home to supervise, inside your house. Drag method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Since puppy still refused to move while off leash I suspect this is a fear/need for more socialization issue too. Take pup to various locations in your neighborhood (carrying her or driving there if needed), then simply spend time in various places outside - bring treats, toys, and anything she finds fun or relaxing like your other dog or family members. Create a fun, low-pressure environment and spend at least 30 minutes - 2 hours in that spot each time, bringing water and finding shade if it's hot. Use a long leash for this so that she is safe but feels less leash pressure. Do a little trouble shooting too. Listen, look around, and feel the ground is there something specific she is afraid or, is the ground hot? Be sure to help work her through any specific fears you discover and make sure her paws aren't being burned! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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