Cane Corso exercise needs and ideas guide

Black Cane Corso panting

The Cane Corso is a lesser known breed that originates from rural Southern Italy. They are a working breed that was used for hunting, herding, and guarding.

The Cane Corso is intelligent, very trainable, and willing to please. However, they do require an owner that is confident and can provide firm leadership.

Despite being a big and scary looking dog, the Cane Corso is gentle and affectionate especially with their family. However, they are a naturally good guard dog so they will guard your property and can be wary of strangers.

How much exercise does a Cane Corso need

This breed needs a fair amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation. After all, they are a working dog and need to be kept occupied and have a job to do.

The Cane Corso  needs a lot of exercise and activity, both physical and mental. They require at least 45 minutes to 1 hour of exercise a day, but will never say no to more. Without the opportunity to release all that pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems. This can include barking, digging, destructive behavior and escaping to explore on their own. In some cases, frustration can lead to aggressive behavior.

There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Cane Corso every day.

  • 1. Daily walk
  • 2. Purposeful Activity including building muscle (see exercise ideas below)
  • 3. Mental stimulation

This recommended exercise quantity and ideas are for a healthy adult Cane Corso. The exercise needs of a puppy are different as they are still growing. The wrong quantity and type of exercise can cause injury to a puppy with growing bones and joints. See below at the bottom of this article for exercise for a Cane Corso puppy.

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

Cane Corso Walking Time

The daily walk is essential for a Cane Corso not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Cane Corso to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds, and smells they come across.

The length of the walk is only limited by your time and energy as a Cane Corso can go all day long. Ideally, the minimum should be 30 to 45 minutes daily but more would be better. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows. They can make excellent hiking companions and are sure-footed even on difficult terrain.

Dogs also like routine, so try to schedule the walk for around the same time each day. Daily walks are much better than nothing all week and a big walk at the weekend.

If your Cane Corso has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park, or out on trails off the leash is ideal. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash or long lead to allow them more freedom while maintaining control. In general, Cane Corsos are obedient and usually have good recall if trained.

You can add extra resistance to the walk by using a weighted vest or dog backpack. It is recommended that no more than 10% of their body weight be added. This is more than sufficient to tire them and strengthen their muscles without overworking them. Other ways of increasing the resistance on the walk are to walk on sand or include uphill sections in the walk.

Cane Corso exercise ideas

The Cane Corso is energetic, strong, and has bucket loads of stamina. Ideally, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills. This can include high-intensity games and strength training is recommended to keep their muscles in peak condition. By keeping the muscles strong they will support the joints and tendons preventing injury.

These are some of the recommended activities and games to play with your Cane Corso

Flirt Pole

Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. This activity is ideal for a Cane Corso as it works the whole body and strengthens their muscles. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon.

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your Cane Corso is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Cane Corsos are generally ball or toy crazy and can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Cane Corso is highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs

Weight Pulling

The Cane Corso is a strong and powerful dog. Weight pulling is an actual dog sport but you can incorporate this type of exercise into your dog’s muscle building and strength program. The most important thing is that you use a proper weight pulling harness. These are designed to distribute the weight evenly over your dog’s body.

Start with a light amount of weight and have your dog drag the weight 10 to 20 metres. Give them a rest for 2 minutes and repeat. As with conditioning your dog to run, start off easy and gradually increase the amount of weight and number of repetitions over time.

Jolly Ball

Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. This exercise caters to their herding instinct and sense of fun.

Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.

View Jolly Balls on Amazon

Frisbee Toss

Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Cane Corsos look spectacular playing this. Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your dog is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.

Backyard agility

Cane Corsos have great agility and often do well in agility type sports. Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon.

You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.

Stair Exercise

A good energy burner if you have stairs in your home. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, “Go!” Let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.

For more on stair exercise for dogs see here.

Running, biking or skating with your dog

The faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking, or skating with your dog to really get them moving. As the Cane Corso has good levels of stamina for a muscular dog, they can make great running partners. Just be sure to build up the distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.

Tug of War

A firm favorite of all strong dogs.  Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to.

Spring Pole

spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs and particularly power type breeds like the Cane Corso that love a good game of tug of war.

Treadmill

Walking your Cane Corso is no substitute for going for walks. However, it can an excellent way to help burn pent up energy if you are unable to get out walking as much as they need.

As the Cane Corso is smart and highly trainable, teaching them to walk on a treadmill is usually an easy process.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. This activity would be best as a supervised and control game as a powerful dog like the Cane Corso could destroy these types of toys. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.

Self Playing Dog Toys

There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your Cane Corso to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Most, but not all, Cane Corsos are dog-friendly, so ensure yours is to prevent the possibility of fighting.

Mental stimulation for Cane Corsos

All dogs need an outlet for their minds. This is especially true for a intelligent working breed like the Cane Corso.

If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds they will come up with their own ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping and other destructive behaviors. Read “Mental stimulation and mind enrichment for dogs” to learn about the 6 types or categories of mind stimulation a mental enrichment and some great ideas to provide this.

Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include;

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like the Cane Corso to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high intelligence, try to find puzzle toys that are a bit more challenging as they tend to work these out quite quickly. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.

In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Rottweiler to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Cane Corsos can have a keen nose. Playing scenting and nose games helps to provide mental stimulation. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some ideas.

Chew Toys

Provide your Cane Corso with good strong chew toys. Chewing is a great way to occupy them. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw.

For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys click here.

Learning

Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. Cane Corsos are highly trainable and training should be a life long activity.

Food enrichment

Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Cane Corso to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.

Enrich their environment

Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.

Over exercised dog symptoms

Cane Corsos can go hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” to learn more.

Cane Corso puppy exercise needs

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Cane Corso. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your Cane Corso puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Cane Corso puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down, or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.

For more on exercise for your Cane Corso puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

How much exercise does an older Cane Corso need

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

The Cane Corso is generally a healthy breed however, they can be quite prone to elbow and hip dysplasia as they get older. Read “Exercise for a dog with Hip Dysplasia” to learn more.

In conclusion, how much exercise does a Cane Corso need

The Cane Corso is high energy, muscular, and has good levels of stamina. They are also very smart and need to have their mind occupied as well. It is crucial to provide adequate physical and mental exercise and activity to release pent-up energy and prevent boredom.

A minimum of 45 – 60 minutes a day exercise and purposeful activity including muscle strengthening and activities that provide mental stimulation is recommended. The cost of not doing so can be an unhappy and frustrated dog. This can lead to behavior issues such as barking, digging, escaping, and destructive behavior.

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