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

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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

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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.
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The When to Bite Method

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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Ace
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
6 Weeks
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Ace
Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)
6 Weeks

Will it be easy for me to train Him To Sit & Not bite hard when playing?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taijah, The training itself is not difficult - what you actually have to do is pretty simple, but it will probably take her several months to learn it reliably. That is not because this method is necessarily hard but because it takes most puppies several months to learn to control their mouths with almost any method consistently. The control happens gradually, meaning that the biting should gradually decrease all the time, until it stops, opposed to one day just stopping suddenly. Puppies go through a teething period and a jaw development period, and they are mentally immature at first and have to learn self-control through practice. Biting is natural for a dog - especially during play. Teaching a puppy not to bite takes consistency and practice. As you practice and are consistent and she outgrows teething and jaw development, and mentally matures and has better self-control she should improve though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Franklin
Cane Corso
8 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Franklin
Cane Corso
8 Weeks

When my dog bites, I try too replace myself with a toy. However, my dog turns down the toy and goes straight back to biting! How can I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephen, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method. At the same time however, 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 yelp 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 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. Also, 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 at it. Work on getting puppy used to touch and handling too. Use puppies daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Finally, you can download the free PDF e-book AFTER You Get Your Puppy for additional general information that may help. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Zilla
Cane Corso
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zilla
Cane Corso
4 Months

My dog bit my friends dog the other day and really scared him. They were friends before this and playing all night, but he attacked him out of no where. Is there a reason for this

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

This is a tough question to answer without knowing the circumstances or the dog. How long have they known each other? Were there toys or food involved? I would suggest talking to a trainer online where you can explain the situation well. If you have a trainer in your area, speak with them so when it's time to take obedience classes, they know Zilla already. Another option is to look at this site: https://robertcabral.com/ You will see that there are many videos and articles on all sorts of issues and behaviors with dogs. Robert also offers online training. He is very good and respected in the field. Good luck!

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

I'm having a hard time getting Olly to stop bitting/nipping. I say no and tap her on the bum. I also have tried picking her up when she starts to bit and say no but she thinks that its a game. Some times she listens and stops but then other times it's like she's going in for the kill. I'm at the point where I'm afraid. She is really good with other people and will lick them to death, but charges at me and bits. I have no idea what to do with her.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, the Cane Corso can be a headstrong dog and very assertive. If you are feeling fear at 9 weeks old, it is good that you are dealing with the problem now. Call in a trainer that is used to working with strong and willful breeds like the Cane Corso. Doing so will be well worth the time and expense, allowing you to feel comfortable and teaching you to know how to show leadership to Olive. Obedience training is absolutely essential for every dog, no matter their size, in my opinion. It benefits not only the owner but the dog, too, who will gain confidence and security. Start with obedience commands at home now: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-great-dane. All the best to you and Olive!

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Question
Minkah
Cane Corso
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Minkah
Cane Corso
5 Months

My puppy loves to play 24/7 he play bites a lot and now that’s he’s getting older it’s hurting a lot more. If I give him a toy instead it’s more likely seeming like I’m rewarding him when he bites. I know it’s not aggressive because it only happens during play time or it’s how he tells you he wants to play. How do I get him to stop?

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

Hello! He is adorable! I am going to send you information on the 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.

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