Saturday, November 25, 2017


Meet Pablo, my son! 

Today he's 7 months and 85 pounds. Because he's a Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), we're expecting him to weigh about 140-160 lbs (his dad weighed 160). It's always been a dream of mine to own a large dog and I've always wanted a Great Dane or a Doberman (thanks to the Solider video). After playing with a Doberman pup at a pet shop, I realized I wasn't in love with the high energy, lean breed. I noticed only one puppy was well-behaved and it was a Cane Corso! I immediately remembered that the same breed was on Game of Thrones as Ramsay Bolton's pet... which eventually ate him to his death (LOL). I love how they look ferocious and majestic even if they're clingy and affectionate towards family members while also being great guard dogs.  

I looked for a reputable breeder and found one in Upstate New York which was a bit over an hour of a drive from us. I wanted to find a dog with a good temperament and his parents were show dogs (champions) who behaved really well around kids and other animals. When we met him at 6 months I was a bit shocked because he was just a few inches shy from being as big as Darie's full-grown pit bull! I couldn't leave the breeder's home without taking him since he was just sooo affectionate and was immediately drawn to us. We also met his mum and grandpa, who were both well-behaved and quiet while we were petting him. 

We always had dogs growing up in the Philippines but we always had help raising them at home so I wasn't prepared to have one at all. My first concern was potty training. I am a total germaphobe and him having accidents inside the house was my biggest concern. We decided to crate train him, taking him out every 2 hours and telling him to "go potty" each time we went outside. Within a week, he only had 2 accidents until he got the hang of it. Cane Corsos are extremely trainable- one thing I considered before getting a dog. Other accidents happened because it was my fault, failing to recognize that him looking outside the glass door while whining was a signal that he wanted to do his business outside. Crate training was also helpful for us since it helped us create a schedule around him eating, going outside and leaving him there while we were out. On days Darie and I work, he's crated for a few hours in between 2 walks per day. That's another thing to consider when getting a dog in New York- if you have an office job, be prepared to spend $25 to $60 (city rate) for every 30 minutes of dog walkers' fees. He gets to eat, play and relieve himself while we're away and we get to watch him from our security cameras so we feel safe about entrusting him with someone else. 

Having a bigger dog means more expenses - he eats about 100 pounds of dog food a month, which is about $100. We also had to take him to the vet a couple of times and the regular visits and medicine (not emergencies) aren't covered by pet insurance. We had to get insurance just because a bigger dog can cost you $6,000 to $10,000 for emergencies- and we want to avoid that! We don't need groomers for him, so that saves us about $80 per visit. We instead invested on a dog trainer and he gets obedience training 4 times a month. Having a Cane Corso means you will get blamed for anything once he gets into fights with other dogs so obedience training is a must. Pablo almost never barks and he also never play bites, but you can never tell with breeds who are natural guard dogs. He only barks when we're all inside the house and he hears someone knocking or coming through the door. Obedience training and teaching him our own commands has been very helpful. After a month he's learned sit, stay, come, no, OK (signal to eat, go out the door or get the treat), potty, among others. Corsi are extremely smart but stubborn, so we've been firm with teaching him commands or else he can control us with his size. So far he's only destroyed a remote and a pair of glasses. Thankfully he hasn't chewed or gone on top of the furniture since we reprimanded him when he tried to do it. As for trying to escape our yard, it's happened once but he never went past the front yard (some say this breed doesn't really stray). We're planning to have our fences redone (another $$$) just so he can't try to jump out to chase someone coming near our property. 

So far I'm in love with this breed but of course there are some negatives to owning one. I've gotten used to having a rag or towel nearby just because water, food bits and drool are always hanging from his mouth after eating or drinking! Before it got cold he was trained to eat and drink outside by the deck so it wasn't as messy. Now that he eats inside his bowls are laid on top of a mat since water goes all over. He also takes massive poops (LOL) and having our own yard has made it easier since we built him a kennel with sand and we just scoop out the waste when he's done. Corsi can shed a bit. They're supposed to shed twice a year and this week I've just been vacuuming after him. I'm glad we have hardwood floors so cleanup is easy. As for space, make sure you have enough once you get a Corso since they are massive and Pablo loves to play catch inside to burn off energy when it gets too cold outside. They're a medium energy dog but my sister thinks he's too high energy since he requires a 15 to 20-minute walk each day (I don't mind). To get him tired I usually run drills with him inside to work his brain for 5-10 minutes. 

I wish I grew up raising a dog myself, as these are some things I wish I had known before getting Pablo. I love him to death - he is so handsome and attracts everyone on the street, he is super affectionate and stays beside me while I do everything, and he follows commands. Dogs are meant to please people, so a well-trained one should not be aggressive! There are responsible dog owners in the Philippines but sadly a lot of dogs are still chained or left outside to be taken care of by helpers so a lot of dogs bite and show aggression. I'm happy I get to train my dog so I know he's great with people but I also know he's going to keep our home safe at night. 

If you want a dog, I hope this post helps you think about the responsibilities before getting one. Getting one from a breeder helped me get a dog with an awesome temperament, and a healthy one unlike those from pet shops getting their pups from puppy mills. Research on the history of the breed so you're prepared for possible health issues and their energy levels. Getting one from the shelter is great as well. Rescues just take more patience and time since they can come with certain habits that you'd have to correct. The adoption process can take a while as well since the shelter will have to check if you have the right home for a dog- they shouldn't be caged 24/7! Whatever pet you get, they are going to be family- that's why I'm making sure Pablo's years with us are the best he'll ever get! 

Full-grown boxer (left) and Pablo

Follow Pablo on Instagram

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