The garden plot Nerius had recently acquired had come with quite the selection of plant creatures, including one very ornery vine creature with a lot of teeth. It wasn't the easiest thing to garden around, and the plan had been to bring the creature to the park to be trained not to be so bitey. Then he had learned there was an upcoming tournament, and the whiptail would be an excellent choice to enter. So now he was taking Jumanji to the park to be taught how to bite things on command, rather than not to bite at all. Which was where the 'not a great idea' thing came in.
She was, at least, agreeable to being walked. Of course she also tried to lunge at anything smaller than herself that moved, and given that the vinesnatcher was much stronger than he was, made the walk to the park a bit of a challenge. He really should have brought his trod for this, but it was too late for that now.
It wasn't like Nerius had an established training spot to reach, he had, once, but it had been... um.. years. 'Pet training' could join 'feats of strength' on the list of things that weren't his strong point. Speaking of the second one, he was getting real tired of fighting with the whiptail, and this spot would work as well as any. It had a sturdy tree to attach the chain leash to, and there wasn't anyone else around training. And really, that's all he was looking for right now.
After double checking to make sure the leash was secure, Nerius did not want the vinesnatcher to get loose and run off, it was time to actually get to the training. Err, how did people do this again? Maybe he out to start with teaching the creature to respond to her name. Not exactly the most useful thing for a battle, but a good place to start.
"Jumanji," he called, and not surprisingly, the whiptail ignored him.
This part he did remember, most pets tended to ignore sounds at first, unless there was food involved. Which he had brought, and decided to start with the smaller little treats.
"Jumanji," Nerius repeated, as he opened the treat bag. The whiptail's attention immediately focused on him, or rather, the meat pieces in his hands. She didn't appear to have any eyes, but that didn't stop her from effectively locating food. He tossed a piece in front of the whiptail, he didn't feel like getting his hand bitten off, thank you very much. Which was highly likely given how she lunged for the treat, it barely hit the ground before she snapped it up.
"Good, um, vine," would a whiptail even respond to praise? It was worth a shot, at least, even if he wasn't very good at the whole 'happy perky praise' voice. It was a weird human thing, he supposed. Jumanji didn't seem to care, and was sniffing around for more food.
"Jumanji," another repeat of the name, and again Nerius was ignored. "Jumanji," he tried again, this time rustling the treat bag. She hadn't learned to associate that sound with food yet, but the shaking resulted in the (gross) smell of meat treats to waft out of the bag. That got her attention, and he tossed another treat, which was again quickly gobbled up. "Good murder vine." What? Whiptails kind of were.
"Jumanji," once again the name was repeated, and once again he was ignored. He rustled the bag again (ew), and, not surprisingly, that caught the whiptail's attention. "Good job," he tossed another treat, which was snapped up before it even hit the ground.
Nerius let the whiptail go back to sniffing around, and called again "Jumanji." You know, that was one of those words that started to sound strange when you said it too many times. It was an odd choice for a name, really, but it had come with the whiptail.
This time, the whiptail actually 'looked' up. Anticipating food, Nerius expected, but at least it was some progress. "Good murder vine," he told the critter, before tossing down not one, but two treats. The whiptail eagerly gobbled them up; sure, she hadn't been fed yet today, but given how she went after the treats one would think she hadn't had a proper meal in a week.
Then again, Nerius was about as bad with chocolate, so he couldn't judge.
"Jumanji," he repeated the name, and again the vinesnatcher turned her attention to him. "Good vine monster." Again she was rewarded with a treat, which was, as usual, nearly inhaled. Metaphorically speaking, that is, Nerius was pretty sure whiptails didn't actually breathe the way mammals did.
You know, next time he might just have the trod do this part, the simple commands should be easy enough for even his older model. That, just socialize the creature enough it picked those things up on its own. Ice had, though gem dragons were a lot smarter than whiptails.
"Jumanji." Again the whiptail turned her attention to Nerius, and again with rewarded with a treat and praise. Still, he doubted she was responding to the name particularly, and would likely react to any words for possibility of food.
"Pumpkin," it was that time of year, and the squash was the first thing to come to mind to test as a non-name word. Sure enough, the whiptail responded the same as she had for her actual name, expecting food. Food that was not given, leading to an irritated growl from the vinesnatcher, before she went back to sniffing around, just in case she'd missed something fall.
But she hadn't, and this time the actual name was used. "Jumanji." She looked up, but was still irritated. That might be something to work on later, but for now he was focused on getting the creature to recognize her name, and a treat and praise was given.
Now for another not-name word, or words. "Apple cider." Was he going to use fall snack related words the whole time? Probably, it was easier than thinking of something new every time. Again, the whiptail 'looked' at him, hoping for food.
But no treat was given, and the vinesnatcher growled, lashing at the tree with her tail, but it was a big sturdy thing, and wasn't threatened by the plant creature.
"Potato." It wasn't the most fall specific food, but it worked. Well, not 'worked' in the sense that the whiptail did as she was supposed to. She still turned attention back to him, though a bit slower than before.
"Turkey." This was probably the only food out of the bunch that a whiptail would actually want to eat. But a word was not food, and while the vinesnatcher did 'look' at Nerius, she didn't seem very expectant.
Better, but he didn't want her to stop responding at all. "Jumanji," he called, and was met with an unenthusiastic glance, which turned a lot more eager when a treat was tossed in front of her. "Good vinesnatcher." Did it always take this long? He couldn't remember, though he did know whiptails weren't the brightest creatures around.
So again Nerius repeated the process, picking a random food "Popcorn," (was that even fall related anymore?), and while the whiptail did look up (again), it wasn't very hopeful. Of course, no treat was given, and the plant creature quickly lost interest.
"Brownies." Nope, not fall themed at all anymore, and this time, finally, the whiptail didn't respond. "Cherry pie." So now he had gone from fall themed, to desert. It didn't really matter, what did matter was that the vinesnatcher again didn't respond.
Now he just hoped she'd still respond to her name, "Jumanji." He was a little surprised when the whiptail actually looked up, not very eagerly, but it was a response! One that was rewarded with two treats, and a "Good vinesnatcher." Which, to be honest, he doubted the latter made any difference.
He let the whiptail eat, then repeated the name again. "Jumanji." She was more interested this time, and was.. maybe associating the word with what she was supposed to do? Either way, she was rewarded with another treat and praise.
"Jumanji," the name was repeated again, and the whiptail responded. Nerius tossed her another treat, "Good vinesnatcher." Was he getting a little bored? Yes. Did this remind him why he didn't generally do a lot of pet training? Yes, but also no, because as dull as this was, it could be a lot more unpleasant, depending on the creature.
"Chocolate chip." Mmmm chocolate. The whiptail was much less excited about the mention of such a delicious food, and ignored him. Which was exactly what she was supposed to do.
"Sugar cookie." Which was less delicious than a chocolate cookie, but Nerius would still take one. Or the whole box. But again, the whiptail didn't react.
"Jumanji," he actually used her name this time, and the creature actually turned to 'look' at him again. (Nerius still didn't see any eyes.) "Good murder vine." Nerius tossed another treat, because as the 'affectionate' term suggested, he still didn't want his hand near those teeth. At least she seemed to get what she was supposed to do, and now it was time to move on to something a bit more interesting. And dangerous.
Dangerous, because now he felt like it was time to teach the 'murder vine' to use those teeth on command. Nerius had thought about it a little, and while he'd brought a chainmail bracer, he still didn't feel like having those jaws crunch down on his arm. Even without the sharp pointy bits, it was still likely to bruise. And hurt.
He didn't have a proper training dummy, which would have been ideal, but there were a lot of branches of lying around, of varying sizes. Those would work, a whiptail was a plant itself, after all. The trick would be encouraging Jumanji to bite the branch, as prone to that as she was, it wouldn't smell like food.
That's where the hunk of meat he'd brought came in. Selecting a smaller sized branch, he rubbed the meat chunk along the surface, coating it with the scent. Careful to keep his hands safely out of reach, Nerius waved the branch infront of the vinesnatcher, and called out "Crunch!."
The whiptail, smelling the aroma of fresh meat, lunged at the branch, snapping it with the force of her bite. She seemed confused, as much as Nerius could tell on a vinesnatcher, and dropped the splintered bits of wood. Still, he was quick to praise the whiptail, "Good murder vine!" As well as to toss an actual bit of meat, which she lunged for, not seeming to care how last time that resulted in a mouth full of tree branch, and gobbled up the treat.
That was a good sign, if she had quit biting after anything that smelled like meat, that would have derailed his training plans. As it was, he still had to coat another branch with meat scent, and chose a sturdier one for it than before. He hadn't realized just how strong the whiptail's jaws were. It made him really want keep his hands at a distance, but it would also be a force to be reckoned with in a tournament, especially for the smaller species.
With a thicker branch chosen, and coated in meat scent, Nerius again (carefully!) waved it in front of the whiptail. "Crunch!" She didn't understand, or care really, about the verbal command, but as usual, lunged at anything that smelled like food. The branch didn't shatter this time, but that was fine for now. Again Jumanji was surprised and displeased with a branch instead of food, and actually released the branch. Nerius was a little surprised, but that made his job easier. "Good murder vine." A treat was tossed, and eaten with the usual enthusiam.
Once the whiptail was done with the actual food, which took all of about two seconds, Nerius waved the mangled but still intact branch in front of the vinesnatcher again. "Crunch!" If there was one thing it wasn't hard to get the creature to do, it was bite something, and as expected she lunged at the branch, biting into it. "Good murder vine." Well, mostly good, except she didn't want to let go of the branch this time. But instead of wrestling with the whiptail over a stick, Nerius tossed down another treat, and Jumanji abandoned the not food for the possibly food.
The branch was barely holding together, but Nerius figured it should work for another bite. He waved the sad looking thing infront of the whiptail, again calling "Crunch!" The vinesnatcher lunged, this time shattering the branch with the force of her bite. "Good murder vine." he told the creature, tossing another treat.
But had she actually associated the word with biting something? Probably not, the reactions were likely just her usual response to anything that smelled like it could be food. Still, maybe he could get her to bite something even without the scent of meat. So Nerius grabbed another sturdy branch, and waved it in front of the whiptail. "Crunch!"
Which.. she didn't. The whiptail, for once, didn't immediately lunge at the branch, though she did turn her attention to it. It didn't smell like food, but it was moving, and that caught her 'eye'. Nerius wiggled the branch a little closer, still careful to keep out of reach himself, and repeated "Crunch!"
This time, the whiptail couldn't resist the wiggly movement so close to her jaws, and bit into the branch. "Good murder vine!" Nerius tossed her a treat, and Jumanji spat out the branch, and went for the actual food. Again, probably a movement based response, not one to the verbal command, but at least he wouldn't need to coat the branches in meat juice again.
The branch was still intact, she hadn't used a whole lot of force, so it was use again, and waved in front of the whiptail. "Crunch!" As it had been before without the meat scent, the bite wasn't terribly enthusiastic, at least compared to the vinesnatcher's usual behavior. But it was still what he wanted, so the whiptail was praised, and given another piece of meat. That would probably be something he'd have to work on later, in a fight Nerius wanted the whiptail to be using her full bite force, but for now he was more focused on getting her to respond to the command.
At least it was keeping the branch relatively intact, though that wasn't much of a benefit now that he didn't have to go through the extra step of coating it with meat scent. Said branch was waved in front of the whiptail again, along with the command "Crunch!" The result was more of a mild bite, but the branch ended up in the vinesnatcher's jaws, which was the goal. He tossed her a treat, "Good murder vine." Some people had 'whos a good boy', Nerius had a 'murder vine'.
Would she bite even without the movement? Jumanji may not have appeared very thrilled about biting a branch, but it was consistent. It was worth a try, so Nerius simply held the branch out without moving it. "Crunch!" The whiptail seemed to consider the branch for a moment, so he repeated the command "Crunch!" After a moment, the whiptail did in fact bite at the branch. She seemed even less enthusiastic than before, but maybe that was a good sign. It wasn't an instinctive food lunge, so maybe there was some response to the command.
Silver: Man I loooooove the aesthetic of the January mansion stuff ;o;
Jan 24, 2021 20:47:42 GMT -6
Silver: I ammended the skills announcement to include Draconics language things! :3
Jan 24, 2021 4:20:44 GMT -6
Silver: I'm so glad! I really want people to feel like they can 'do stuff' with their sentient pets, and Draconics especially! I'm excited to see what you guys come up with. :3
Jan 17, 2021 17:59:39 GMT -6
Morgan: I like the update overall.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:56 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm legit so happy now that draconics will basically be able to communicate in draconic instead of being completely unable to communicate from birth unless classically trained or 7+ intelligence. It was so weird to try to do story breedings like that.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:21 GMT -6
Riku: I hope things work smoothly for you, Jack. <3 // The new update looks awesome.
Jan 17, 2021 10:58:47 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for sticking with us!
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:33 GMT -6
Jack: So for those of you not on the Discord, I would like to say I'm still around, just not as much. Had to quit my job to watch the kids, opened an Etsy shop, and I'm trying to just keep things rolling through my current bad depression.
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:29 GMT -6
Riku: I am doing well. I also hope everyone else is doing well! <3
Jan 10, 2021 13:32:14 GMT -6
Morgan: I hope everyone is doing well. c:
Jan 9, 2021 15:20:41 GMT -6