If you hire me to train your dog I'll get soap in its eyes, pat it with a severed hand, and teach it to disembowel your enemies

A dog
(Image credit: Games Incubator)

Please don't tell anyone at our sister site PetsRadar that once again I've been put in charge of adorable animals and once again it's going very badly. I'm not trying to genetically engineer a red panda in The Sims 4 this time, I'm just trying to teach a dog some tricks in Animal Trainer Simulator: Prologue.

One of those tricks is how to kill a man.

I begin my career as a professional animal trainer by driving to my customer's house to pick up their dog, where I put them in the front seat of my truck—and even as a novice I know this isn't the safest way to transport a dog in a vehicle, so we're already off to a shaky start. Then I have to drive to the pet store to buy dog food and dog treats, two items you would think a guy with his own pet-training business would have bought before picking up his first customer.

I load up my truck with two enormous crates that would probably cost a few thousand dollars if they were really filled with dog food, and I take the dog, Winnie, to my animal training headquarters, which at this stage is basically an empty lot. I buy and install a "dog washing building"—that's what it's called—because once again I have done zero preparation before starting my animal training career.

I give Winnie food and water, then pet her to gain her trust, which is immediately disturbing because the game summons a disembodied hand from thin air that I then have to rub all over Winnie's face and body with my mouse. It's weird:

Petting a dog"

Look, plenty of games have floating hands you use to interact with things, but here's a tip: don't make your floating hand look like a real hand, with skin and knuckles and stuff and fingernails and stuff. Make it look like a cartoony hand, or a glove, or the icon of a hand. It's creepy, especially when I can position it so it looks like Winnie is holding a severed hand in her mouth like Dogmeat from the Fallout show.

After petting her a bit more with my floating hand it's time to wash her, so I spray a hose full-force directly into her eyeballs for about ten seconds. I'm starting to suspect Winnie might actually be pretty well-trained because she doesn't so much as flinch while I'm blasting water into her eyes, snout, and mouth. Then I take a sponge and scrub her face and head. A lot.


I know I should probably wash the rest of her, but it's kinda funny how the bubbles completely cover her head so I kinda just keep relentlessly scrubbing until I can't see her eyes or snout at all. Again, I'm deeply impressed with how well behaved she is. My own (real) dog gets nervous if I even run water in the sink for too long because he's so afraid of baths, and becomes the Tasmanian Devil when I try to clean his face. Winnie here doesn't object at all to me vigorously scrubbing her exposed eyeballs with a wet sponge.

As I direct another stream of water directly into Winnie's soap-filled eyes, confused thoughts swirl in my mind. It's weird to have your dog trainer bathe your dog, isn't it? Aren't baths something for groomers to handle? And why did I have to drive her over here myself? Am I also a Dog Uber? Who are Winnie's owners? She was just standing alone outside a house when I picked her up. Baffling. Once I've freed Winnie's head from soap jail it's time to bend her to my will.

Lesson one is "paw" and lesson two is "kill."

First I teach her to shake hands, a minigame that's a little strange because I have to wait to see where Winnie puts her front paw and then move my (severed) hand to that spot, rather than teaching her to put her paw where my hand is. Maybe Winnie is training me at this point?

Once she's learned to do the adorable handshake, we move onto the next cute trick: murder. Yes, lesson one is "paw" and lesson two is "kill." After I buy and build an "attack training yard" that consists of nothing but a man-shaped practice dummy, I hammer the spacebar to charge up Winnie's attack and then watch as she storms across the grass and sinks her fangs into her target's vulnerable stomach. 

Dog attack lessons"

The animation is just as awkward as everything else in this game, and I think she's actually supposed to be grabbing the target's arm, but the whole thing still feels kind of gruesome. There's charming piano music in the background as Winnie bounds toward the dummy in slow motion and then simulates ripping its sternum out with her teeth. What am I doing in this game? I'm washing dogs, teaching them tricks, and training them to be adorable stone cold killers. Transportation included.

After a few more attack runs, I also teach her to lie down, presumably so she can rest after disemboweling someone, then as a reward I pet her with my severed hand again. My bizarre job is done, so we get back into the truck and I drop her off at home where once again her owners are nowhere in sight. 

Horses are basically just big dogs.

It's a little alarming: I've trained their dog to sink its fangs into a human being's belly and spill its intestines into the dirt, but there's no part of the game where I explain to the owner how that works. I've taken their cute dog and molded it into a killing machine, shouldn't they be aware of how to activate Winnie's murderous programming and, perhaps more importantly, deactivate it? Ah well! What's the worst that could happen? Give me a ring if she needs another face-bath.

My next job is to train a horse named Dolly, because horses are basically just big dogs. I hook up a trailer to my truck, stuff a customer's horse into it (facing backwards, which I don't know for sure is incorrect but definitely feels incorrect), head to the store to buy a hundred dollars of "horse food," then head back to my animal torture ranch. I slap Dolly in the face with my disembodied hand until I've gained her trust, then begin training her to let me ride her.

Petting horse"

Yes, I am wondering the same thing you are: can I also train the horse to kill a man? Only one way to find out: I lead Dolly to the murder range. For a moment I think it's actually going to work—the camera zooms out to a profile view, just as it did when I turned Winnie into a killing machine—but I can't force Dolly to attack the target. As punishment for even trying, I wind up stuck on Dolly's back, unable to dismount or interact with her or anything else from that point on. Sadly, I have to quit the game before I can teach Dolly to stand on her hind legs for her owner's amusement.

I suppose that's what I get for trying to create a murderhorse. If you want to become an expert animal trainer like me, Animal Trainer Simulator: Prologue is out today on Steam for free. 

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.