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Cane Corso Dog Blog

2 Steps Forward, 3 Paws Back

Kona has been progressing very quickly. She has learned a few new commands. She can back up on command. I have her navigating posts; she heels well on a loose leash, around about 10 poles in a parking lot that are 3 feet apart (think about drivers training around orange cones). This dog is a few levels above stubborn. I have a treat bag and a clicker to reward her. She is highly intelligent and reprimanding her does no darn good.

Since I have to work at home, I created an office in the garage. Kona has her own area, right next to me. Now there isn’t anything for her to get into if I leave for a few minutes, and she’s comfortable knowing that we can hang out together all day.

Kona has made amazing progress. She’s great in the house. She is an amazing sleeper, and doesn’t make a peep. She will sit and wait to be served dinner until I say “okay”. It usually goes, “Alabama”, “Monkey”, “Snuffleupagus”, “okay”. She won’t move until she gets clearance.

Kona is remarkably snuggly. She is great with my son and I. We’ll get to my wife in a bit.

Like most large, intelligent dogs, Kona has strange quirks. She has a lot. Despite all of the walks and runs she gets, she suddenly changed her behavior about a week ago. She started to stop on walks. Or she will slow way down. It has progressed to her laying down on walks and sometimes wanting to change direction. This is tough. She is 120lbs of dead weight. I can pull on her collar, offer her food, encourage her, whatever… Nothing works. It is downright strange. I have to outsmart her, and change directions to eventually get where we need to be.

Another weird thing about her is that she hates rain!!! She was in the garage next to me all day. When there was a short break in the rain, I tried to get her out into the yard to pee. She wasn’t having it. I pulled on her collar with both hands to drag her to the doorway. She was determined to stay inside, even though it was a light drizzle. I finally had to pick her up and carry her to the grass. Have you ever picked up, and walked around with, a Cane Corso?

Aside from her quirks, she has been an amazing dog; until today. Today was absolute hell. Today stressed our whole family out.

I have been trying so hard with this dog. I know that I am all she has. I take her for at least 3 walks/runs a day, as often as I can. When her energy is burned off, she’s a pretty good citizen. But the rain hasn’t let up much. So, Kona is lucky to have a walk or two during rain breaks. But that is not enough for this dog. Her energy seems to build up and it has to get out. It can be like a volcanic eruption when she doesn’t burn enough off.

Here is what today was like.

Fun time #1

I took her for a short walk this morning. She was great about not charging the squirrels, rabbits, and other dogs. There were probably 20+ rabbits on our path this morning. She pulled a little, but fell in line with treats. On our way back, I had her heel and walk a little slower as we passed an older lady that was walking. All of a sudden she lunged at the lady wanting to play. Kona scared the heck out of this poor lady. On the wet surface, even with my two leash setup, I could barely hold her back. Boy, that was fun. And she had been doing so well.

Fun time #2

My neighbor came over and he spoke to me through the fence. Kona went nuts. I got her to calm down a little. My neighbor said, “I’ve met her before, maybe she just didn’t recognize me.” I had my neighbor put his hand out to the gate, slowly, with his palm down, as you would greet most dogs. She immediately tried to bite him, unsuccessfully, through the gate. As I grabbed on her collar, she put her teeth on me a bit. Since I had seen the barrier aggression before with her, I wasn’t completely surprised by this, as I know it is something we need to work on.

Fun time #3

I had another break in the rain, so I knew that I had better get a quick walk in with Kona. She didn’t want to go outside because it was wet. She is no Labrador, I get it. I dragged her outside. This time a man jogged passed us. Kona had been keyed up all day, so I anticipated that she wouldn’t be a perfect angel. Sure enough, she took a dislike to the man and lunged at him. This time it was aggressive with some growling and not her usual “I just wanna play” whine. The neighbors must hate me. Anyhow, I have to take some responsibility for this interaction. Since I anticipated the bad behavior, I kept Kona closer to me, and may have pulled a little more on the leash, making her think the man was a threat.

Fun time #4

I had to save the best for last. Kona was lying on her bed. My wife noticed that the dog had something on her fur, so I was rolling the dog over to check her out. My wife wanted to move a toy so the dog wouldn’t roll on it and hurt herself. As my wife reached toward the dog, Kona lunged for my wife so fast, nobody had time to even blink. She grabbed my wife by the arm WITH TEETH. My wife screamed, and went into the house and I made sure she was okay. She was really shaken up and scared.

The warning bite was a little surprising. Although she had lunged at my other neighbor previously, through the cage, I can’t understand why Kona would put her teeth on my wife. My wife pets the dog, I have my wife feed Kona occasionally, and Kona even wants her attention sometimes. Now, the dog does not have the same snuggly affection fests with my wife that she has with me and my son, but the warning bite scared me. I’m not the least bit afraid of the dog; I’m afraid of how she interprets situations. Kona may have been trying to protect me from my wife, which could have been bad. Really bad.

I don’t know what the next steps are. I do have a referral to a really good local trainer, but with the virus situation and the scarcity of work, the timing is terrible. I’m very concerned about the future with Kona. My kid was pretty depressed about the situation, and my wife… let’s just say she is not on Team Kona right now. I love this dog, and today was pretty disheartening.