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Handle Animal (Cha; Trained Only)

You are trained at working with animals, and can teach them tricks, get them to follow your simple commands, or even domesticate them.

Check

The DC depends on what you are trying to do.

Task Handle Animal DC
Handle an animal 10
“Push” an animal 25
Teach an animal a trick 15 or 201
Train an animal for a general purpose 15 or 201
Rear a wild animal 15 + HD of animal
1 See the specific trick or purpose below.
FAQ/Errata

2 Does training an animal using Handle Animal to be Combat Trained grant it Light Armor Proficiency?

No, using Handle Animal to train an animal, or mount, in this way does not grant it a free bonus feat. It is not unreasonable, however to assume that an animal specifically designed to be ridden (such as a horse or dog) could be purchased with Light Armor Proficiency as one of its feats (swapping out Endurance or Skill Focus respectively) for the same cost.

[Source]

Common Uses

Handle an Animal

This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

Push an Animal

To push an animal means to get it to perform a task or trick that it doesn’t know but is physically capable of performing. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than 1 hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

Teach an Animal a Trick

You can teach an animal a specific trick with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated DC. An animal with an Intelligence score of 1 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 can learn a maximum of six tricks.

Common Tricks

The following tricks can be taught to animals by training the animal for a week and making a successful Handle Animal skill check against the listed DC.

Aid (DC 20): The animal can use the aid another action to aid a specific ally in combat by attacking a specific foe the ally is fighting. You may point to a particular creature that you wish the animal to aid, and another that you want it make an attack roll against, and it will comply if able. The normal creature type restrictions governing the attack trick still apply.

Attack (DC 20) The animal attacks apparent enemies. You may point to a particular creature that you wish the animal to attack, and it will comply if able. Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including such unnatural creatures as undead and aberrations) counts as two tricks.

Bombard (DC 20): A flying animal can deliver projectiles on command, attempting to drop a specified item that it can carry (often alchemist's fire or some other incendiary) on a designated point or opponent, using its base attack bonus to determine its attack roll. The animal cannot throw the object, and must be able to fly directly over the target.

Break Out (DC 20): On command, the animal attempts to break or gnaw through any bars or bindings restricting itself, its handler, or a person indicated by the handler. If not effective on its own, this trick can grant the target character a +4 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks. The animal can also take certain basic actions like lifting a latch or bringing its master an unattended key. Weight and Strength restrictions still apply, and pickpocketing a key or picking any sort of lock is still far beyond the animal's ability.

Bury (DC 15): An animal with this trick can be instructed to bury an object in its possession. The animal normally seeks a secluded place to bury its object. An animal with both bury and fetch can be instructed to fetch an item it has buried.

Come (DC 15) The animal comes to you, even if it normally would not do so.

Defend (DC 20) The animal defends you (or is ready to defend you if no threat is present), even without any command being given. Alternatively, you can command the animal to defend a specific other character.

Deliver (DC 15): The animal takes an object (one you or an ally gives it, or that it recovers with the fetch trick) to a place or person you indicate. If you indicate a place, the animal drops the item and returns to you. If you indicate a person, the animal stays adjacent to the person until the item is taken. (Retrieving an item from an animal using the deliver trick is a move action.)

Detect (DC 25): The animal is trained to seek out the smells of explosives and poisons, unusual noises or echoes, air currents, and other common elements signifying potential dangers or secret passages. When commanded, the animal uses its Perception skill to try to pinpoint the source of anything that strikes it as unusual about a room or location. Note that because the animal is not intelligent, any number of strange mechanisms, doors, scents, or unfamiliar objects may catch the animal's attention, and it cannot attempt the same Perception check more than once in this way.

Down (DC 15) The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that doesn’t know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect, or the like) or its opponent is defeated.

Entertain (DC 25): The animal can dance, sing, or perform some other impressive and enjoyable trick to entertain those around it. At the command of its owner, the animal can make a Perform check (or a Charisma check if it has no ranks in Perform) to show off its talent. Willing onlookers or those who fail an opposed Sense Motive check take a –2 penalty on Perception checks to notice anything but the animal entertaining them. Tricksters and con artists often teach their animals to perform this trick while they pickpocket viewers or sneak about unnoticed.

Exclusive (DC 20): The animal takes directions only from the handler who taught it this trick. If an animal has both the exclusive and serve tricks, it takes directions only from the handler that taught it the exclusive trick and those creatures indicated by the trainer's serve command. An animal with the exclusive trick does not take trick commands from others even if it is friendly or helpful toward them (such as through the result of a charm animal spell), though this does not prevent it from being controlled by other enchantment spells (such as dominate animal), and the animal still otherwise acts as a friendly or helpful creature when applicable.

Fetch (DC 15) The animal goes and gets something. If you do not point out a specific item, the animal fetches some random object.

Flank (DC 20): You can instruct an animal to attack a foe you point to and always attempt to be adjacent to (and threatening) that foe. If you or an ally is also threatening the foe, the animal attempts to flank the foe, if possible. It always takes attacks of opportunity. The animal must know the attack trick before it can learn this trick.

Flee (DC 20): The animal attempts to run away or hide as best it can, returning only when its handler commands it to do so. Until such a command is received, the animal does its best to track its handler and any creatures with him or her, remaining hidden but within range of its sight or hearing. This trick is particularly useful for thieves and adventurers in that it allows the animal to evade capture, then return later to help free its friends.

Get Help (DC 20): With this trick, a trainer can designate a number of creatures up to the animal's Intelligence score as “help.” When the command is given, the animal attempts to find one of those people and bring her back to the handler, even if that means journeying a long distance to the last place it encountered the target creature.

Guard (DC 20) The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.

Heel (DC 15) The animal follows you closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.

Hunt (DC 20): This trick allows an animal to use its natural stalking or foraging instincts to find food and return it to the animal's handler. An animal with this trick may attempt Survival checks (or Wisdom checks if the animal has no ranks in Survival) to provide food for others or lead them to water and shelter (as the “get along in the wild” use of the Survival skill). An animal with this trick may use the aid another action to assist Survival checks made by its handler for these purposes.

Perform (DC 15) The animal performs a variety of simple tricks, such as sitting up, rolling over, roaring or barking, and so on.

Maneuver (DC 20): The animal is trained to use a specific combat maneuver on command. An animal must know the attack trick before it can be taught the maneuver trick, and it only performs maneuvers against targets it would normally attack. This trick can be taught to an animal multiple times. Each time it is taught, the animal can be commanded to use a different combat maneuver.

Menace (DC 20): A menacing animal attempts to keep a creature you indicate from moving. It does its best to intimidate the target, but only attacks if the target attempts to move from its present location or take any significant action (particularly a hostile-seeming one). As soon as the target stops moving, the animal ceases attacking, but continues to menace.

Seek (DC 15) The animal moves into an area and looks around for anything that is obviously alive or animate.

Serve (DC 15): An animal with this trick willingly takes orders from a creature you designate. If the creature you tell the animal to serve knows what tricks the animal has, it can instruct the animal to perform these tricks using your Handle Animal bonus on the check instead of its own. The animal treats the designated ally as friendly. An animal can unlearn this trick with 1 week of training. This trick can be taught to an animal multiple times. Each time it is taught, the animal can serve an additional creature you designate.

Sneak (DC 15): The animal can be ordered to make Stealth checks in order to stay hidden and to continue using Stealth even when circumstances or its natural instincts would normally cause it to abandon secrecy.

Stay (DC 15) The animal stays in place, waiting for you to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by, though it still defends itself if it needs to.

Track (DC 20) The animal tracks the scent presented to it. (This requires the animal to have the scent ability)

Throw Rider (DC 15): The animal can attempt to fling a creature riding it to the ground. Treat this as a trip combat maneuver that applies to all creatures riding the animal, and that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. An animal that knows the throw rider and exclusive tricks can be instructed to attempt to automatically throw anyone other than its trainer who attempts to ride it.

Watch (DC 15): The animal can be commanded to keep watch over a particular area, such as a campsite, and raise an alarm if it notices any sizable or dangerous creature entering the area. This trick is often included in the Guarding purpose.

Work (DC 15) The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.

FYI There are new feats intended for Animals. Here are a few:

Train an Animal for a Purpose

Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can simply train it for a general purpose. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a preselected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme, such as guarding or heavy labor. The animal must meet all the normal prerequisites for all tricks included in the training package. If the package includes more than three tricks, the animal must have an Intelligence score of 2.

An animal can be trained for only one general purpose, though if the creature is capable of learning additional tricks (above and beyond those included in its general purpose), it may do so. Training an animal for a purpose requires fewer checks than teaching individual tricks does, but no less time.

General Purpose DC
Combat Training2 (or "Combat Riding") 20
Fighting 20
Guarding 20
Heavy labor 15
Hunting 20
Performance 15
Riding 15

Air Support (DC 20): An animal trained in air support knows the attack, bombard, and deliver tricks.

Burglar (DC 25): An animal trained as a burglar knows the come, fetch, maneuver (steal), seek, and sneak tricks. You can order it to steal a specific item you point out.

Combat Training (DC 20) An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel. Training an animal for combat riding takes 6 weeks. You may also “upgrade” an animal trained for riding to one trained for combat by spending 3 weeks and making a successful DC 20 Handle Animal check. The new general purpose and tricks completely replace the animal's previous purpose and any tricks it once knew. Many horses and riding dogs are trained in this way.

Fighting (DC 20) An animal trained to engage in combat knows the tricks attack, down, and stay. Training an animal for fighting takes three weeks.

Guarding (DC 20) An animal trained to guard knows the tricks attack, defend, down, and guard. Training an animal for guarding takes four weeks.

Heavy Labor (DC 15) An animal trained for heavy labor knows the tricks come and work. Training an animal for heavy labor takes two weeks.

Hunting (DC 20) An animal trained for hunting knows the tricks attack, down, fetch, heel, seek, and track. Training an animal for hunting takes six weeks.

Liberator (DC 25): An animal trained in liberating knows the break out, flee, and get help tricks.

Performance (DC 15) An animal trained for performance knows the tricks come, fetch, heel, perform, and stay. Training an animal for performance takes five weeks.

Riding (DC 15) An animal trained to bear a rider knows the tricks come, heel, and stay. Training an animal for riding takes three weeks.

Servant (DC 20): An animal trained as a servant knows the deliver, exclusive, and serve tricks.

Rear a Wild Animal

To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.

Action

Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while “pushing” an animal is a full-round action. (A druid or ranger can handle her animal companion as a free action or push it as a move action.) For tasks with specific time frames noted above, you must spend half this time (at the rate of 3 hours per day per animal being handled) working toward completion of the task before you attempt the Handle Animal check. If the check fails, your attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal fails and you need not complete the teaching, rearing, or training time. If the check succeeds, you must invest the remainder of the time to complete the teaching, rearing, or training. If the time is interrupted or the task is not followed through to completion, the attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal automatically fails.

Retry?

Yes, except for rearing an animal.

Modifiers

  • Low Intelligence Non-Animals You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.
  • Animal Companions A druid or ranger gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Handle Animal checks involving her animal companion. In addition, a druid’s or ranger’s animal companion knows one or more bonus tricks, which don’t count against the normal limit on tricks known and don’t require any training time or Handle Animal checks to teach.

Special

Untrained If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can’t teach, rear, or train animals. A druid or ranger with no ranks in Handle Animal can use a Charisma check to handle and push her animal companion, but she can’t teach, rear, or train other non-domestic animals.

FastPlay Rules
See this skill in FastPlay format.