I was wondering if you might be able to help me out with something. I have been researching Corsos for months now, and have decided that this is the breed that is perfect for me. My only question now is, am I perfect for the Corso? If you don't mind, I'd like to describe to you what my lifestyle is like, and you tell me if a Corso would be happy living with me. I am 21 years old and in college, majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and I work as a veterinary technician at an animal clinic. I would like to buy a puppy at the end of the school year, so that I can have the entire summer to get to know my dog, focus on its training and socialization, etc. I will be working at the clinic full time during the summer, but I will be able to take my puppy with me because we have spacious indoor-outdoor runs that he/she could play in while I am busy. During the school year, my schedule is such: In the morning I feed my cat and my macaw and let my cat outside to play while I get ready. I then go to classes from 8 am til noon. I have an hour lunch break, when my cat and bird get fed lunch. During this time I could also take my dog outside for some playtime. I work from 1 pm until 6 pm, then I come home and we all have dinner together. Of course, the dog would be joining us. Afterwards I go on a walk, and sometimes my macaw comes along for the ride, but obviously if I had a dog, he/she would come with me. Then for the rest of the evening, my pets assist me with homework, laundry, and housecleaning. At night, Cassia sleeps on my bed, Charlie goes in his cage...my dog would have a dog bed at the foot of my bed.
My concerns are: Will the Corso be getting enough exercise? He/she will essentially just have a 30-min playtime over lunch and a short (1-2 mile?) walk in the evening. Also, will I be home enough? If I'm gone 9 hours of the day, will a Corso get lonely or bored and develop seperation anxiety? The house is fairly large, and he/she will have plenty of toys, but I'm not sure if that is enough.
Any input you have will be very helpful. I want to make sure that when I get a dog, he/she will be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.
Thanks for the inquiry, Emily, and I'm glad to see you're thinking ahead and have questions and concerns like this.
Three big points of concern with life with a Cane Corso...
1) Proper, regular, frequent socialization with
people and other dogs beginning immediately after the
last puppyshot booster has been administered (usually
at 4 months)...
PROPER socialization means taking your Corso OFF your property for the purpose of meeting "stranger dogs" - dogs they've never met before -that is if you want your Corso to remain calm and not get hyper or aggressive and drag you around when it sees strange dogs out on a walk. Neglect this aspect of socialization and you will come to a sure knowledge of what I mean as the dog gets stronger as it gets bigger. They will never try and dominate you or be aggressive with you -they are exceptionally submissive with their family (even at the food bowl)- but without PROPER socialization as I've described here, they will involuntarily "tune you out" when they see a strange dog if they've not seen very many before. It's very important to understand that simply visiting the same couple of dogs over & over again without the opportunity to meet "stranger dogs" is inadequate and is NOT socializing your Corso. I've had some customers who've informed me that their Corso(s) by a year old are hard to control and handle when they see another dog while out on a walk and when I asked if they socialized them as I'd suggested, they answered "YES, my sister brings her dog over to the house every week or two, and our dog gets to play with the neighbor's dog most every day!!"...
What about regular trips to Petsmart, or Petco, or a dog park, or someplace were they can REGULARLY and FREQUENTLY meet 'stranger dogs'?
How much - how often?
"Maybe once a month, er...every 6 weeks I guess."...
This person did NOT follow my advice and did NOT
socalize their Cane Corso.
I specifically tell everyone that from the time the
shots are done (4 months), they need to take their
Cane Corso out to meet 'stranger dogs' TWO to THREE
times a WEEK (or more if you'd like). You can ask my
customers John & Victoria of Alamo, CA about the
results of following this advice. Their Colosseum
Shadows Corso has just earned his Canine Good Citizen
title which requires non-aggression towards other
dogs. Jerry & Kelly of Albuquerque, NM have properly
socialized their CSCC as well and Murphy Del Colosseo
actually didn't hurt two neighbor dogs that broke
thru the fence and into his backyard. If Jerry and
Kelly hadn't followed my advice, that story would
have most definately had a different ending.
Now that all that is said about point #1, it sounds like your dog would have ample opportunity to co-mingle and socialize with many stranger dogs most every day at the clinic!
The Cane Corso truly desires contact and socializing with its family. I can't think of anything worse for a Cane Corso than to be alone most of the time. If the owner or the people of the house have to be at work all day and can only be there maybe 30 minutes to an hour during lunch, then they might consider getting a 2nd dog (doesn't have to be Corso) to keep each other company. Also, until you're sure of your Corso's propencities, habits, and house-manners, you need to have a solidly fenced yard it can stay in while you're gone during the day - a place where if lonliness or boredom sinks in (again, another dog to play with goes a LONG way in keeping this from occuring), it won't be able to damage any furniture or household items. The yard needs 3 things- shade from the sun, shelter from rain or cold, and water. I would never sell a Corso to anyone if I knew it was going to be kept in a crate or even a small kennel all day waiting for its owner to let it out for an hour at lunch and then to finally be let out at dinnertime when the owner gets home from work. A Cane Corso either needs to go to work with you... or have the freedom of space to run at home (a fenced yard). In my personal opinion, this requires more than is provided by a 6' x 12' kennel and ESPECIALLY not a crate. I believe in crating a pup for a week or so if needed for housetraining (it must be let out every THREE HOURS -no longer), and they can be crated thru the night (6 to 8 hours) since they will be sleeping. But temporary daytime crating (for the purpose of housetraining) should never go beyond 3 hours! I have some customers in Phoenix who bought a male pup from me. They already had a female Rottweiler to keep him company while the couple works all day, and they had a nice secure though small backyard with a great block wall and a wide, deep porch for shelter and shade. I suggested this was IDEAL and that they leave their Corso in the backyard while they were at work all day until he was more mature and proven house-safe (the Rottie was already proven house-safe so she had the run of the house). This couple is truly one of the most conscientious and loving of pet owners out there. I love them for the way they spoil their animals... but maybe in this particular instance I'm about to relate, they spoiled my Corso a little too much :-) ...It was mid-summer in Phoenix and they thought it was too hot to leave him outside even though I had pointed out there was plenty of shade on the big porch. Contrary to my suggestion, they decided to confine him in the bedroom alone until they returned home from work. Well, he wanted to be with his new friend, Sandy the Rottie, so bad that by the time they returned home after having been at work all day, he had gotten thru the 1st layer of sheetrock on the bedroom side of the wall and was was working on the last layer! They had a big hole in the wall to patch! He would have been fine in the backyard with enough sounds and scents wafting in on the breeze to keep him somewhat distracted from craving companionship with the Rottie -and he couldn't have done much damage outside anyway... They both stayed outside during the day for awhile after that, but after some time, experience, direction, correction, and maturity, they both now -as mine do- stay inside to guard the whole house while we're away. They LOVE that dog -almost as much as he loves them :-) These guys will steal your heart with their needy affectionate natures...
Cane Corsos, especially under age 2, have ENERGY to burn and LOVE to burn it :-) They LOVE to play and LOVE to play hard. They have a VERY HIGH drive and sense of adventure and LOVE playing chase, ball, walks, jogs, hikes (long and all day, or short), drives in the car -just about any adventure. If you had your Corso play ball during lunchtime for a good hard 15 minutes or a more leisurely game of 30 minutes, and then went on a good walk or jog in the evening at the end of the workday, that would suffice for exercise requirements for the day -and it helps if the dog has a yard to roam thruout the day.
Well, Emily, you take it from here and let me know what you think about this info. My main concern is that you have a secure yard the pup can stay in until proven to be able to safely stay alone inside. Taking it to the clinic sounds good, but for the times you can't you need a yard. Do you have one?...
Randall C. Todd
~ CANE CORSO ~