• Heather Sahagian

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring because a Cane Corso lived there and they were scared shitless.

Ah, the holidays. Hard to believe just a few short, hot months ago we were celebrating Labor Day. Now, with a chill in the air and a fire in the fireplace, we're writing our guest list for Thanksgiving and, as always, it is with a twinge of apprehension. No, no, it's not because of our in-laws but, rather, because of our dogs. I'll be one hundred percent transparent when it comes to our Corsos and how we function when guests come to our home. In the spirit of helping Corso owners out there whose Corsos are not good with company, please know that though there are many people whose Corsos are awesome with company, there are also as many whose Corsos are not good with guests and I don't want anyone to feel like they're failing as a Corso owner because their dog isn't "good" when people come over. Just because your Corso barks and carries on when someone comes to your house doesn't mean he is being "bad." To help people understand this a bit more, and to get to the root of why this happens, let's revisit a bit of Corso history.

Cane Corsos were guard dogs. Protection dogs. Hunting dogs. They were responsible for protecting livestock, property, family, home, and farm from intruders, be they wildlife or man; they were used on farms to herd cattle and swine; they were used to hunt boar and bear, their athleticism, bravery, and courage written about with such admiration, you'd think some of the pieces were written about a beloved human by a lover. The blood of those gladiators runs through the Corsos of today and though when we look at our hunk of sweetness sleeping on the couch beside our second grader who is currently using him as a pillow, we'd like to think the Corso we have is far removed from the working dog of yore, we would be, however, mistaken. Our Corso's instincts to guard and protect are as deep and natural a part of him as breathing. So, when a person comes to your home, your Corso's first instinct is to ensure your safety.

Take Cassius for example, one of our males, he is the quintessential Cane Corso. He is stunningly beautiful, blue fawn, powerful, masculine, and heavily muscled. He favors the Neapolitan Mastiff from the old days - not the heavy skinned, overly wrinkled dog of today - rather the muscular, working dog of the past. He is deeply affectionate, extremely bright, loves his family, and has a strong desire to please. Outside of our home - away from our home - he is relatively indifferent to strangers - he may give a slight growl if someone appears strange but will allow people to approach us and will even let people pet him. At our home, however, he is an entirely different dog. He cannot be out of his crate when people come over. He cannot be allowed to interact with people when they come over. When he is home, he is in protection mode. "You should have trained him better," we've been scolded, "You don't have control over your dog," they've also opined. Actually, we are allowing our dog to do what he is supposed to do - what he was bred for generations to do - guard and protect our family and home. We don't put him in a position where he is punished for doing what is a natural instinct for him - for what we ask of him - we have three other adult Corsos who will bark at strangers but will settle down when we invite people in, dogs that don't have to be crated when we have company [unless they are just getting annoying with their need to perform and be loved on]. Cassuis, on the other hand, is not that type of Corso and we honor that for him and for our guests.

This holiday season, much like every holiday season, Cassius won't be sipping cognac by the fireplace with the neighbors during our holiday open house. He won't be participating in the cousin's Secret Santa gift exchange. He'll be tucked in his crate, snug as a bug in a rug, while everyone is over and then, once they're gone, he'll come snuggle on the couch with us, and we'll tell him the story of the night before Christmas so many years ago when we got the best gift in the world, a fat, roly-poly Cane Corso puppy, and we named him Cassius.

Cassius, a Christmas Cane Corso
Christmas with a Cane Corso

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