I’ve had 3 rottweilers. My last rottie was a rescue. She didn’t play nice with other animals, so we had to be a one dog family. On December 23rd, 2019, our girl Cleo crossed over the rainbow bridge. It was rough for my family.
Recently, we were in Arizona for my son’s travel baseball tournament. One day in, my awesome neighbor tagged me on a Facebook post. A 22 month old Cane Corso needed a new home. It was a black, female, with cropped ears. She was beautiful. She was exactly what I was looking for.
It was a long story. The lady that was fostering the dog was super nice, and she was re-homing the dog for her sister. This was an AKC, pure bred dog that had been formally trained. This seemed too good to be true. We spoke on the phone. Nobody had really been able to handle this dog. The breed alone isn’t for everyone. But the original owners were actually injured when trying to control the big puppy.
I’m not intimidated by dogs. My last rescue was a tough case. I was ready, so I thought, to take on this snuggly monster dog. Unfortunately, I was too late. I saw the post about 7 hours too late, and another family had been selected. I was really bummed out. How could this be? This dog and I were a perfect match!
About a week later, I got a call from the foster mom. She told me that the people that took the dog didn’t work out. Hmmm. I wondered why. I said that I would have to speak to my wife. After owning a rottie that was “dog-aggressive”, my wife wanted to get a Labrador that we could take everywhere, for a change. However, I couldn’t pass on the beautiful Cane Corso!
The dog was bigger than I thought! She instantly took a liking to my son, which is good because she outweighed him! We had to see what life was going to be like with this giant, adorable beast. The size was no big deal, as my rottweiler was a large 100lb female. But there were a few things we weren’t ready for.
The last family that had her had named her Kona. I thought that was a great name, so it stuck. Kona looks like a panther. She is a really beautiful dog. A guy stopped his car when I was walking her to say, “that is a beautiful dog!” She is also the most affectionate dog that I have ever had.
Kona sleeps in her crate, through the night, without making a peep. She is getting used to her environment and the house rules. She is a bit of a weirdo! She hates being out in the yard and prefers to be in the house all of the time! She is willful, and really smart. When we try to get her outside, she will lay down and roll on her back, as if to say, “what are you gonna do about it?”
The last person that had Kona warned that she grabbed everything and chewed. He also said that she wanted to eat other dogs, and would pull hard to get at them. He was right.
I kept Kona busy with her toys. I also introduced her to a few more toys that we had around. When she went to grab a cell phone or a TV controller, I would scold her, and give her her own toys immediately. She caught on quick, and learned the rules. She is super curious, but if you keep an eye on her and let her sniff new things, she won’t try to chew stuff. We keep our shoes downstairs, and she learned not to mess with them. Each time she sees a “new” pair, we have to go through the exercise again, but she gets it.
Here are the big draw backs. I’m working with her every day to try to deal with these things. It’s like a full time job.
Kona is super stubborn. If she doesn’t want to go outside, she doesn’t care if you drag her. We have to come up with creative ways to get her to do what we want.
She tests constantly. This is probably mostly due to her being a big puppy. She knows to stay out of the kitchen and not to beg for food, but she’ll come back every few minutes to see if you’ve let your guard down. Every once in a while she gets in a mischievous mood. She knows she is not allowed upstairs on the new carpet, but let your guard down, and she is already at the top of the stairs! Yes, and she pooped on the new carpet, all in about 5 seconds!
She’s strong as hell! A strong, willful dog can be difficult. If you want a Cane Corso, think hard about the fact that only a few people will be able to control the dog. My son and my wife can’t handle Kona, so it is all on me.
Kona’s foster dad said that she got between him and his wife. My wife gave me a hug, and the dog did, indeed, get in between us. I’m not sure how to fix this behavior.
Kona, like all Cane Corsos, is very protective of her “pack”. This is great for home protection. Not so great when the dog sees the neighbors as a threat. I’ve been told that this is barrier aggression, and it is common. I’m taking precautions to prevent this behavior by not letting the dog greet people at the door or in her crate, but this one is tough.
Lastly, it appears that, since Kona was difficult to handle, she spent a lot of time in her crate and not enough time socializing with kids and animals. She is fairly dog aggressive. This really sucks when you’re walking her! She probably wants to play, but if she every got off the leash and charged at an older lady walking a pug, I have a feeling it wouldn’t end well.
So, what’s next? I’ve committed to raising Kona. Based on her history and the difficulties that people have had with her, I feel like I am her last hope. When I saw the barrier aggression, I had second thoughts as well. But, if not me, who? Large black dogs get euthanized more than any other dog. I’m all she’s got. I’m going to do all I can. She is a smart dog and she makes great progress every day! Although I can’t afford a trainer at this crazy time in our world, I have lots of time to invest in her. With love and patience this is going to be one of the best dogs that I’ve ever had. I helped my last rescue transform into an amazing dog, and I’m gonna help Kona get there as well!