This page is to discuss the different types of protection dogs and where the Cane Corso fits in. Personal protection dogs can be broken down into two main categories: the Natural Guardian and the Agitation trained Attack Dog. Both Dogs at their highest levels can be true man stoppers. While the end results may be similar, what causes these two types to attack/protect come from two very different sources.
The Agitation trained attack dog is one that has a very high prey drive and is easily agitated. In fact the higher the prey drive and the easier it is to agitate him the better working ability he is said to have. Some fine examples of this type of dog are the working Belgian Malinois and working Shepard breeds. This type of dog performs from some type of trigger, it may be a trainers command or the way a person is acting. These types of dogs have both advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of an agitation trained attack dog.
- Agitation work can stiffen up an indecisive dog, or break the “taboo” a dog might have against biting a person, thus making possible varying degrees of usefulness in dogs who could not otherwise qualify for guard dog work.
- Agitation training makes it easy to set up situations in which a dog can demonstrate his readiness to bite a person who acts a certain way.
- His reputation of being attack trained may discourage intruders.
- This is the preferred type for many Military and Law enforcement applications.
Disadvantages of an agitation attack trained dog.
- He can be stimulated to attack under the most regrettable circumstances by a person who may innocently act like an agitator, such as a small child darting in front of him, etc.
- The patterns of reaction that trigger him will often override his discernment and good judgment.
- Since this type of dog can be triggered by someone who appears to “make the wrong move”, they can never provide the fine discrimination that is based on a sense of responsibility.
- He can be teased into a booby trap much easier than a natural guardian .
- Due to the above reasons this type of dog does not do best in the home environment. Even the most experienced dog trainer must always be alert when this dog is in a home environment.
The Natural Guard Dog: This type of dog is motivated by inherent temperament traits (high protection /defense drives) to accept responsibility for the protection of persons and property and to use the proper amount of force to do that job. At its highest levels this is also a true man stopper. These are the same temperament traits that a Mother Grizzly Bear displays while protecting her young. These protective instincts can be very strong in certain breeds, the Cane Corso being one of the best examples. Unlike the agitation trained dog, this type of dog thrives in a family/home environment.
Advantages of the Natural Guardian Dog.
- Motivated by a responsibility for what is his, he won’t leave his own property to bite someone who happens to act in a certain way.
- He is more completely aware of his surroundings and less subject to distraction that an aggitation attack-trained dog would be.
- His judgment is better: He won’t leave the baby and run out toward the road to investigate the waving motions of a road worker.
- He is discriminating in his enforcement as well as in his decisions. It is not uncommon for him to merely warn friends who try to come near his baby but attack a stranger who takes the same actions.
Disadvantages of a Natural Guard Dog:
- He is much more difficult to obtain.
- Because he is motivated to protect something by “what he feels” rather than to fight something because certain patterns tell him to do so, he is harder to test and demonstrate.
****If you have ever heard that the Cane Corso is one of the best Natural Guard dogs on the planet but have wondered why you don’t see them more often in sporting events like schutzhund competitions where dogs like the Belgian Malinois seem to thrive, this is the reason. They are simply a different type of protection dog.****
At Outlaw Kennel we further break down the Natural Guardian into 3 different levels.
1. The dog that only acts as an alarm by barking.
2. The dog that acts as an alarm and may offer some physical deterrent.
3. At level 3 you have the real Man Stopper. This dog has the temperament and physical qualities that make him a game and capable fighter!
We try to breed and test the Cane Corso at its very highest level as a Natural Guardian, one that’s a true level 3 man stopper.
During the reconstruction of the breed it was decided by the S.A.C.C. that the CC should always remain a dog with core temperament traits that include Great Courage , Fearlessness , Family Stability, High Intelligence, Loyality etc.
We go through GREAT effort not only to keep these core temperament traits true but even improve them some along the way! Again it’s the Outlaw difference!
The Natural Guard Dog (high protection/defense drive) should be temperament tested differently than an agitation trained (high prey drive) dog. The Traditional Cane Corso has performed well at a few different jobs over the last few centuries, but they have always been MOST PRIZED FOR THEIR ABILITY AS A NATURAL GUARDIAN!
Note to professional handlers:
While I don’t disclose the exact temperament testing procedures that I use. I would like to include the following information because I feel it may be of some benefit to professional handlers/trainers. I breed this line of CC as a Natural Guardian.
I find that the Natural Guardian reacts best out of since of responsibility as opposed to learning to react off of a triggered response. I would suggest that when looking for a strong desired response that the dog be placed in a very realistic scenario in which it thinks it’s actually defending it owner or property. If this type of dog is placed in a strange environment and handled by a stranger you may find it does not respond as well to some of the Traditional Agitation training methods (but there are always exceptions to the rule). Also as you would suspect I can definitely see the difference in stamina in the heavier CC’s particularly those that have the Neo. gene present in the phenotype. Since I breed the CC as a Natural Guardian I test it in its natural state at approx. 1 year of age after any potential genetic temperament traits have had time to develop. I test the dog without any type of advanced Agitation work of any kind. I do this because I feel that advance work could change the testing results I look for. I try to only look at the genetic traits that have been bred into the dog rather than how it performs after additional training. This should give it its strongest starting point for latter work. As I’m sure your aware not all professional trainers are skilled breeders and vice versa. Each requires a specific skill set. My skill set is as a breeder (that actually temperament test the Natural Guardian ) not as any type of professional handler although I’m a great admirer! If your a handler that is new to this breed I would definitely seek the advice of other professional trainers that have experience with this breed for any tips in your specific area.
When I breed and test I’m looking for 5 specific genes to work with.
Courage under pressure, since of responsibility, Alertness, Loyalty & Intelligence. I look specifically for these traits as I feel they are the ones that best pertain to the CC as a natural guardian. I do not directly test for a dogs tracking ability etc. that some handlers may be looking for. I always suggest that you look for a breeder that may be working a line that is excelling in the exact areas you need.
On a personal note, when doing any type of advanced obedience work on my personal dogs I have always used the Koehler method , the only modification I make to this is to incorporate the e-collar for the latter stages of off lead work. The CC seems to respond very well to this type of training for me. Also pleased be advised that this line is still fairly young (3 generations in) so I’m still striving for true consistency in type but it shows great promise. I would also like to thank any professional handlers (trainers) for the work they do. Some of the working dogs that these handlers are able to train are truly amazing! Many of which help keep America safe! Thank you for your dedication to your craft.
If your a novice reading this and looking for a dog solely for protection sports, I would personally recommend starting with a dog like Belgian mal. Be sure to find a breeder that specializes in the working type. This dog will have a much higher prey drive. Which in turn will make it very responsive to traditional agitation training. There is no one perfect dog for every situation. Each has there own skill set. It’s a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.