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Cane Corsos are large and protective dogs, often used for guarding and protection. However, this guarding instinct can sometimes develop into resource guarding, where they become overly protective of food, toys, or other possessions. This behavior can lead to aggression towards humans or other pets, making it important for owners to address the issue promptly. In this article, we will discuss ways to stop a Cane Corso from resource guarding. By understanding the signs and taking appropriate measures, you can help your Cane Corso overcome this behavior and live a happy and healthy life with their family.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tip below, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we reviewed for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.
1. Understand What’s Triggering Your Cane Corso’s Resource Guarding
The first step in addressing resource guarding is to identify the specific triggers causing your Cane Corso to display this behavior. Observe your Cane Corso closely and take note of which resources they guard and under what circumstances. Common triggers include:
The presence of other dogs or pets
Approach of family members, especially children
Sudden movements or loud noises near the guarded resource
Understanding the triggers allows you to manage the environment effectively, preventing incidents before they occur.
2. Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning Your Cane Corso Against Resource Guarding
Desensitization and counter-conditioning are powerful techniques to help your Cane Corso overcome resource guarding. Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the triggering situations, starting with low-intensity encounters and gradually increasing the intensity. Counter-conditioning, on the other hand, involves teaching your dog to associate the presence of the trigger with positive experiences.
For example, if your Cane Corso guards their food bowl when approached, start by standing a considerable distance away while they eat. Gradually decrease the distance over time, rewarding your dog with praise or treats when they remain calm. This process helps your dog associate your presence near their food with positive outcomes, reducing their need to guard the resource.
3. Teach Your Cane Corso the “Leave It” Command
Training your Cane Corso to respond to the “leave it” command is essential in addressing resource guarding. This command tells your dog to release whatever they’re holding or to stop focusing on a particular item. To teach this command:
Hold a treat in your closed hand and present it to your Cane Corso.
When your dog sniffs or paws at your hand, say “leave it.”
Once your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise them and reward them with a treat from your other hand.
Gradually progress to using the command with other objects, such as toys or food bowls.
Using the “leave it” command consistently can help prevent resource guarding incidents before they escalate.
4. Teach Your Cane Corso the “Drop It” or “Give” Commands
Similar to the “leave it” command, teaching your Cane Corso to “drop it” or “give” is crucial in managing resource guarding. These commands instruct your dog to release an item from their mouth or willingly give it to you. To teach these commands:
Start by playing with a toy your dog likes but doesn’t typically guard.
While your dog is holding the toy, say “drop it” or “give” and offer a high-value treat.
When your dog releases the toy, praise them and give them the treat.
Gradually progress to using the command with more valuable items.
5. Practice the “Trade-Up” Technique with Your Cane Corso
The “trade-up” technique involves offering your Cane Corso a higher-value item in exchange for the one they’re guarding. This method teaches your dog that surrendering a resource can lead to better rewards, reducing their need to guard. Practice this technique by offering a high-value treat or a favorite toy whenever your dog is guarding a less valuable item. Over time, your dog will learn that giving up a guarded resource is a positive experience.
6. Avoid Punishing Your Cane Corso
Punishing your Cane Corso for resource guarding can exacerbate the problem and lead to increased aggression. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training to modify your dog’s behavior. By consistently rewarding your dog for desired behaviors, you reinforce the idea that there’s no need to guard resources, as good things happen when they share or relinquish them. Remember that patience and consistency are key when working with a dog that displays resource guarding behaviors.
7. Try an Online Training Program for Resource Guarding
If your Cane Corso’s resource guarding behavior is severe or doesn’t improve with consistent training, it’s crucial to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. These experts can help identify the root cause of the issue and create a tailored training plan to address the problem effectively. In some cases, medical issues or anxiety may contribute to resource guarding, and a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist can help diagnose and treat these underlying conditions.
Our 2 favorite online courses are:
1. SpiritDog’s “Stop Resource Guarding” Course
The Stop Resource Guarding training course, attended by 243 students, consists of 42 comprehensive lessons that teach you science-based, fear-free techniques to help your dog trust you around their treasures and train a solid “Drop It” cue. With lifetime access, step-by-step instructions, and a certificate upon completion, this course will transform your relationship with your dog and eliminate resource guarding behaviors.
2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass”
More than just a resource guarding course, this more comprehensive training course tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog.
3 Signs Your Cane Corso is Resource Guarding
Growling or snarling: If your Cane Corso growls or snarls when someone approaches their food bowl, toys, or other possessions, they may be resource-guarding.
Stiff body language: A Cane Corso who is resource guarding may display stiff body language, including tensed muscles, a raised head and tail, and a fixed stare.
Aggressive behavior: Resource guarding can escalate to more aggressive behavior if left unchecked. If your Cane Corso has bitten or snapped at someone who approached their possessions, this is a clear sign of resource guarding that needs to be addressed.
In conclusion, resource guarding is a common behavior in many dog breeds, including the Cane Corso. However, it can be managed and resolved with patience, consistency, and proper training techniques. It is essential to understand the signs of resource guarding and address them early on to prevent any potential aggression or harm. Seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist if needed. Remember, every dog is different, and what works for one may not work for another. With the right approach and commitment, you can help your Cane Corso feel secure and confident and eliminate resource guarding behaviors.
Note: Resource guarding can be a challenging problem for a dog owner. In addition to the tips above, you may want to consider consulting the help of a professional. Two excellent online courses we like for resource guarding are SpiritDog and K9 Training Institute.
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