How to Train a Cane Corso Puppy to Not Bite

Medium
2-12 Months
Behavior

Introduction

The Cane Corso is a majestic dog, weighing up to 100 pounds, muscular and noble. They have been bred for centuries as guard dogs. The result is a dog that is deeply devoted to her family, and protective of them against all harm. You will not need to train your Corso to protect you. She will grow up protecting your family as part of her nature. It is up to you to direct that protection instinct, to teach her to behave appropriately in a variety of situations. An adult Cane Corso who behaves aggressively in the wrong situation is a very dangerous animal. Even a playful, still-growing Corso pup can frighten or knock over an unexpecting visitor. 

Your Corso is extremely intelligent and longs to please you, and so it will not be difficult for you to train her when protection behavior is appropriate and when it is not, and what the rules are regarding mouth play. 

Defining Tasks

It is up to you to decide what the rules are for your Corso. Is it your goal for her to never lay her teeth on a person, but only to live with you as a family pet? If so, you must decide what the rules are around mouth play, and enforce these rules with friends and family. If you want your Corso to protect you, your family, or your property, it is up to you to teach her how to do this appropriately. If she bites in the wrong circumstance the consequence could be disastrous. However you want to live with your Corso, it is essential that you socialize her well with people and dogs throughout her puppyhood and adulthood. A Cane Corso kept in isolation with her family is likely to misdirect guarding behavior in adulthood. A well-socialized Corso will understand human and dog behavior and will be much less likely to make a mistake.

Getting Started

To train your Cane Corso puppy to not bite, you will need plenty of things that she should bite. Puppies want to chew on a variety of textures, materials, sizes, and shapes, so provide a wide variety of safe chew toys for your Corso pup. Tugging can be a great way to teach bite control and expel some energy, but make sure you follow tug toy rules and always have control of the game. Having a variety of tug toys and treats on hand is a great way to keep your Corso's interest. Remember to use nutritional treats or even your Corso's kibble as treats while training. It is extremely important that your Corso pup has a good balance of nutrition as she is growing.

The Mouth Play Method

ribbon-method-1
Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Play with hands
Your Corso pup will already have learned bite pressure and some inhibition from littermates and her mom, but now she will need to learn how to use her mouth with her human family. Let your Corso play with your hands with her mouth, being careful never to pull away and trigger her to hold on.
Step
2
Ouch!
As soon as your pup makes you the least uncomfortable, exaggerate "ouch!", acting hurt and offended.
Step
3
Leave
Leave the room for ten to twenty seconds, closing the door if your pup tries to follow you.
Step
4
Return
Return to your pup, and immediately go back to playing with her with your hands. Remember to move slowly and not pull away to encourage gentle behavior.
Step
5
Practice
Practice consistently as your pup grows up, as well as socializing your pup thoroughly. Soon she will want to bring you a toy so she can crunch down instead of playing with your hands. Always have plenty of toys available.
Recommend training method?

The No Teeth on People Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Toys everywhere
Have plenty of tug toys and chew toys available, both on the ground with your pup and somewhere only you can access.
Step
2
Play
Play with your pup with the toys, making sure your hands are available to her.
Step
3
Ouch!
Whenever your pup touches your hands with her teeth in play, exaggerate yelling "ouch!" and pull back from play.
Step
4
Offer toy
After a moment, offer your Corso the toy again and continue playing.
Step
5
Repeat
Keep playing with toys with your Corso as she grows. Make sure to always keep your hands available during play so she makes a conscious decision not to put her teeth on your hands.
Recommend training method?

The When to Bite Method

ribbon-method-3
Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Protection driven
If your Corso is already showing strong guarding behavior and seems protection driven, it may be a good idea to give her an outlet for that instinct, and teach her when to bite.
Step
2
Sleeve
Teach your Corso pup to bite a bite sleeve by waving it enticingly and letting her catch it.
Step
3
Wait for command
Once your Corso is motivated to catch the sleeve, ask her to wait before giving the command to go for it.
Step
4
Increase time
Increase the time your Corso waits before being given the command. Build up to waiting long enough for her to 'sit' or 'lie down' before being given the command.
Step
5
Introduce false alarms
Begin introducing times when someone wearing the sleeve enters and exits and you never release your Corso. Reward her during these times with treats and toys. Practice until your Corso is relaxed until you ask her to bite.
Recommend training method?
author-img

Written by Coral Drake

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cinder
Cane Corso Italiano
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cinder
Cane Corso Italiano
9 Weeks

basic obediance

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lamont, For potty training, check out the Tethering and Crate Training methods from this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Next, check out these videos of a puppy class. Follow along with your puppy at home and practice the exercises to help with general basic obedience: Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Over the next six months, these commands can also be useful to teach. Socialization, potty training, crate training, and teaching bite inhibition will be the most time sensitive things to prioritize with a young puppy though. Although helpful to teach early, obedience commands can also be taught when older if you have to choose what to work on with the time you have. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It – Exchange method: https://wagwalking.com/training/drop-it Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Cinder's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Neyo
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
16 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Neyo
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
16 Weeks

He’s keeping biting, no getting aggressive but biting and going for our feet and because he is a big dog he hurts. The more we tell him and try different methods the more he thinks it’s a game and continues.

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

Hello! Here is information on puppy nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

Add a comment to Neyo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Cookie
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cookie
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
9 Months

My cane Corso is very hyper active. I am a mother to a special needs child and a toddler. I walk her when my oldest is at school with my toddler. Cookie still jumps on me, nips, play bites and chews. She will do the same to my children sometimes. What can I do to stop her from doing this ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aleah, First, I would work on teaching Out and Leave It to teach pup to respect boundaries. Heel and Place should then come next, to make walking pup calmer, and allow you to send pup to Place with a chew toy when everyone needs some space. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bi Jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel For the chewing, check out this article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Cookie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Armoni
Cane Corso
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Armoni
Cane Corso
3 Months

He has been biting my kids lightly and lightly bitten me and wife at times. How do I stop the biting?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jeff, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. The fact that pup is doing it lightly is actually a really great sign. That means that although pup is still biting, which you do eventually want to stop before pup gets adult jaws, pup is learning how to control their mouth, and that makes them safer as an adult later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Armoni's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Tank
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tank
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
3 Months

I’ve been trying to teach my cane corso puppy that biting isn’t okay as long with chewing on things. So far it’s been hard to break him out of it. Is there any helpful tips?

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

Hello! I am going to send you information on the nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies or older dogs may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

Add a comment to Tank's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd