How to Train a Cane Corso to Hunt

Hard
2-4 Months
Work

Introduction

What is a Cane Corso? If you are the proud owner of a Cane Corso you may be getting tired of hearing that!  This large, powerfully built dog was developed in Italy and is a very old dog breed, reputedly used as a war dog by Roman Legions centuries ago. Cane Corsos have been traditionally used as guard dogs, livestock protection dogs, and hunting dogs.  Their attributes make them great hunting dogs, but they do need an experienced trainer and a suitable outlet for their talents.

Using a Cane Corso to hunt, which is one of the main reasons this breed was developed, and ensuring that his skills are controlled and directed, provides a good outlet for this dog's abilities and high energy. Working as a team with your Cane Corso is very important, as this dog bonds with his family, and having a job to do with you will help your Cane Corso develop a healthy attitude. Plus, hunting will keep this muscular, high energy dog in good shape by providing plenty of exercise.

Defining Tasks

Cane Corsos are natural hunting dogs. Their scenting ability, strength, stamina, and general fearlessness, as well as high pain tolerance, has made them ideal for hunting large, dangerous, game, such as wild boars, bears, lions, badgers and coyotes. Because of their strong prey drive, they can also be used to hunt small animals, including rabbits and birds. It is important to train your Cane Corso to be sociable and obedient, as his strength gives him the potential to do extreme harm to other pets or people. Although they tend to bond well with their family, these dogs tend to not to be friendly with unfamiliar people, or people outside their family. For this reason, having a well trained Cane Corso that has been given an appropriate activity for his high energy is important. This is not a breed or activity recommended for people who are new to training and hunting with dogs. Cane Corsos need firm direction to channel their natural prey drive and direct them to appropriate hunting targets in controlled environments.

Getting Started

Cane Corsos should be started in training as young as possible when they are manageable and when you can form a strong relationship with this dog. Teach your Cane Corso to perform obedience commands or activities to earn meals and play. This is a working dog and as such is geared to work for a living. Teaching your dog that “nothing is for free” and that he needs to perform to get food, affection, and play will help you in directing and training your Cane Corso to do more complex tasks like hunting.  Socializing your Cane Corso early is advisable to prevent issues later between large, mature dogs that can result in injury.  Make sure your dog is in in good physical condition for hunting large game. 

The General Hunting Method

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Step
1
Teach obedience
Teach your Cane Corso obedience commands, especially off-leash recall, and 'Leave It' commands. He should master other commands such as sitting, staying, and heeling while on the leash.
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2
Practice constantly
Use obedience commands frequently so your dog can earn food and toys. Working dogs need daily jobs to keep their minds occupied. Constant practice of obedience commands is important with large, powerful dogs like a Cane Corso to establish expectations and so you can direct and control behavior when hunting and in the field.
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3
Exercise
Make sure your Cane Corso is used to traveling over rough terrain and gets lots of daily exercise, so he is fit for long chases and confronting hostile quarry.
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4
Acclimatize to equiment
Familiarize your dog with guns, tracking collars, ATVs, transport vehicles, and any other equipment you will be using while hunting. This may take some repeated practice.
Step
5
Introduce prey scents
Expose your dog to the sights, sounds, and smells of prey animals such as hogs or other quarry. Familiarize your Cane Corso with commercially prepared scents or scents from butchered animals on drag items or hides.
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The Scent Trail Method

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Create a scent trail
Create scent trails using commercially obtained scents of prey animals, roadkill, or hide and scent glands from a butchered animal. Leave a scented drag or toy at the end of the trail.
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2
Locate trails
Take your Cane Corso to the location of simple scent trails and allow your dog to explore, investigate, and locate scent trails on his own. If he struggles, consider luring him towards the appropriate areas.
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3
Follow trails
Encourage your dog to follow scent trails. When your Cane Corso finds the item at the end of the trail, encourage him to play with it and praise him.
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4
Add complexity
Make scent trails longer and more complex. Introduce distractions and competing scents and encourage your dog to focus on the designated scent trail.
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5
Find wild scent trails
Start looking for scent trails in the wild with your Cane Corso. Pursue game. When your dog locates, flushes, and chases quarry, encourage and praise him.
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The Hunting with Others Method

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Introduce dogs
Large dogs like Cane Corsos are often used to hunt predators and work in groups with other experienced hunting dogs. Socialize your dog when he is young with other dogs he will be hunting with. Make sure he is comfortable with the group and there is a well established order before working in the field.
Step
2
Start slow
Keep your dog on a lead at first when working with other experienced hunting dogs to allow him to get used to the sights and sounds of working with the pack
Step
3
Increase exposure
Gradually give your dog more freedom, longer leash or off-leash time working with other experienced hunting dogs as he learns tracking, chasing, and catching skills from experienced dogs.
Step
4
Use commands
Practice direction and obedience commands while working with other dogs. Ensure you have control and allow responses of other experienced dogs to help teach your dog how to follow direction.
Step
5
Allow full hunting experience
Allow your dog to work off leash with the pack and scent, flush, chase and catch live prey. Take the lead from other trainers to establish a good working relationship all around.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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