Showsight Presents The Cane Corso

THE CANE CORSO IN PERFORMANCE EVENTS compiled by RON HOSER

A s the Cane Corso breed has gained popularity, one of the segments of enthusiasts that has seen notable growth is the sport/working contingent. This group is made up of those competing in the AKC Com- panion events (Agility, Obedience, Rally O, Lure Coursing), IPO/ Schutzhund (protection sport), Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, etc. His- torically a farm utility dog, the Corso has the physical and mental capacity to do many tasks and participate in a variety of sporting and training venues. While not generally thought of as a “working dog” endeavor, it’s also worthy of note that there is a significant number of active Cane Corso Therapy Dogs currently making vis- its to schools, hospitals, libraries and more. To get a better idea of how training and competing with a Corso, alongside of the more “traditional” breeds compares and contrasts, we’ve asked some active exhibitors to share their experiences with us. by ALEXANDRA LOWRY (Italica’s Mr. FireHorse Moonlight BN CD RA CA TT RL3-AOE) Training a Cane Corso for performance events has unique chal- lenges, but far more rewards. Similar in many ways to the Rottwei- ler, a longstanding fixture in high levels of obedience and agility, the Corso is a versatile working dog that should easily be able to accomplish any task put in front of them. They are closely bonded to and committed to working with their people, so training comes easily. The Corso has many of the traits that are highly sought after in a potential performance dog. They have excellent natural focus, a strong work ethic, and are typically very food and toy motivated. Corso are highly intelligent and incredibly agile for their size. Like any large or giant breed, teaching good body and rear end awareness is imperative if you want to be competitive in the sport of your choice. They also need a much longer foundation period because the growth plates don’t close until 18-24 months of age, so high impact activities are out of the question until that point in time. The Corso is also not as high energy as many of the breeds typically seen in companion events. This means that you need to do a bit more work to “turn them on” and that they do not natural- ly have a high level of endurance. Because they are a handler sen- sitive breed, the Cane Corso does best with fair and motivational training in order to retain joy in the work. The Corso is a guard- ian breed and those tendencies don’t just disappear in a competi- tion setting. Ample socialization with people, other animals, and a variety of places is imperative to achieve a stable, social dog who can handle all of the rigors of performance events. by KATHERINE PEPE (Ch Italica’s Marcus Woolly Mammoth BN CD RE CGCA THD RATN CA TT BH AD IPO1 FO OB1 PA P1) (Ch Italica’s Regina Josephina Ballerina BN CD RE CA THDN CGCA TT FO PA) As the Cane Corso was bred to be a versatile all-purpose dog, they can and DO compete in any dog sport. Cane Corsos by nature

are very intelligent and trainable, with a stoic demeanor and a high working drive. Good Corso handlers utilize the Corso drive for excellent scores in the ring or on the field; Corsos have received high in trial awards in multiple sports and a Cane Corso won the 2013 PSA National Championship. While more traditional Corso sports are Obedience/Rally, and protection sports (IPO, PSA, etc), Corsos are also making a name for themselves in other venues as well. Corsos compete in Agility, Dock Diving, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunts, even Herding tests. Training a Cane Corso is different than some of the more ‘tra- ditional’ or well-known breeds. For example, Cane Corsos are very biddable and also handler sensitive, trainers used to more intractable breeds can easily over-correct. Cane Corsos are also high drive, but usually medium energy, therefore it is imperative to keep the breed motivated and engaged in training. Corsos have a natural defense drive, but also have very strong prey drive; lever- aging these drives during training can produce amazing speed and power in competition. Corso handlers can benefit from the breed’s natural intense focus; with proper engagement training, a Corso can produce a very showy heeling picture. by JOHN MIMM (FireHorse On A Mission BH) Training in IPO with a Cane Corso is extremely frustrating and at the same time extremely rewarding. The first obstacle to overcome is to find a trainer that is willing to work a CC and is knowledgeable about the temperament and drives that the

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