Dogs can't swim, donkeys don't fight, and other animal taming tips for Assassin's Creed: Origins

Attention, animal lovers: Assassin's Creed Origins is packed with wild creatures. Crocodiles, hippos, hyenas, and most others are pretty unfriendly, but there's a gentler way to dispense with them than by using a sword or your arrows. You can use sleep darts to temporarily render animals (and people) unconscious, and with an unlockable skill you can tame those slumbering creatures (the animals) by petting them, giving you a loyal animal companion in addition to your ever-present eagle and faithful mount.

I've found that tamed animals have their quirks, however. Here are a few tips on taming some new furry friends in Assassin's Creed Origins.

Dogs can't swim

Compared to cats, dogs are a bit of a rarity in Egypt. You might spot one every now and then, but they're not always easy to find. One reason for this might be that they suck. Unlike real dogs, the dogs in Origins will immediately die upon entering the water. After trying to coax my tamed dog onto a boat, I gave up and just paddled away, figuring it would swim after me.

It did. Well, it tried. You can see it leap eagerly off the dock in the gif below.

"Your animal has been defeated" is, I guess, a better way of saying "Your animal has instantly and inexplicably drowned." I even jumped into the water near the dock and swam around to make sure there wasn't some hungry hippo there. Nope, my beloved dog of three minutes ago just died from touching water. But why can't dogs swim? Dogs should be able swim. I'm certain of it.

Don't settle for a regular crocodile when you can tame a fancy crocodile

You can tame crocodiles, and you'll come across lots of them in Egypt. But why settle for a boring, drab, regular naked old crocodile when you can find a fancy one? If you head south to Krocodilopolis and start poking around under the bridge, you'll come across some gators wearing jewelry. Necklaces, scarves, even bracelets. I don't if someone was brave enough to dress them up like that or if they just ate a jewelry vendor, and frankly, I don't even care. Dart it, pet it, boom. You now have a fancy-ass crocodile.

You can tame cats

Frankly, there's no particular need to tame a cat in Origins. Cats will sometimes follow you around anyway. Plus, you can hunch over and pet them. Aww. But hurling a drug-tipped dart into a domestic cat and taming it will ensure it follows you no matter what. That's how I got my real cat. By throwing a toxin-coated dart into it.

You can tame oxen, but not if they're pulling a cart

I knocked an ox out with a sleep dart, petted it, and watched with some satisfaction as it began following me. But then I spotted two oxen pulling a cart. I was curious: what if I just tame one of them. Would it try to follow me, while the ox it was yoked to wouldn't? Would there be a huge ox fight as they each tried to go in different directions? Which would win, the ox trying to do its job or the ox that's in a post-drug love affair with me?

Turns out, you can't tame an ox pulling a cart. You can knock out one (or both, see above image), but you can't tame them. And you have to wait for them to wake up to drive the cart, no matter how impatient you are. And I was really impatient.

Rats are immune to sleep darts

You can't tame a rat. Fling as many darts as you like (I flung nine), the rat don't care. No wonder they've survived all these years.

Same goes for chickens. Chickens aren't following you anywhere.

Animals will teleport to keep up with you

So, I'd climbed aboard a ship and brutally murdered all the soldiers because they were transporting some caged lions, because I wanted to see if I could tame a lion without opening its cage and if, once tamed, it would try to follow me while still trapped in lion-jail. Yes, this is what I spend time doing in games.

Turns out, the dart breaks the bars of the cage, so trying to tame a caged lion frees it, at which point it tries to kill you, requiring the use of a second dart. With that important question answered, I tried to see if the tamed lion would swim after me when I dove off the boat.

In the video above, you can see the lion doesn't swim (I've got a cursor locked on it back at the ship) but it does somehow teleport to land at one point. I guess the big kitty didn't want to get wet. Also, please ignore the part where I drive the smaller boat straight into a rock and it falls apart and I get knocked down like an damn idiot. Thanks.

Donkeys won't fight for you

I tamed a local donkey and then got into combat and the donkey didn't even help me or nothin'. You can see above how I'm fighting for my life (not really, these were just some low-level scrubs), and my weak-ass tamed donk is just standing around with its baskets of fruit, not helping out or knocking down soldiers or even trying to sell his fruit to onlookers. Pitch in, man.

Birds can't be tamed

Maybe it's because you've already got a pet eagle, but all the darts I threw at various birds (a lot of darts and a lot of birds) had zero effect. They didn't fall asleep, and thus couldn't be tamed. It's a bit disappointing: I would have liked to have a flamingo follow me around. On the plus side (depending on how you feel about birds) target one for long enough and your eagle will kill the shit out of it (I assume out of jealousy).

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.